New to portable operation, tips?

Discussion in 'On the Road' started by KK4JW, Sep 16, 2019.

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  1. KK4JW

    KK4JW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just bought a Yaesu FT-891, planning to use it for some portable operating on occasion. I've never really operated HF portable so I'd like some tips and tricks from the folks who make it look easy. I do NOT plan to operate while moving. My intentions are to operate out of the trunk of my car, or on my truck tailgate.

    My antenna will consist of a 5" magnetic mount, and either a 20M or 40M hamstick, depending on band. I like this idea for a couple of reasons. It's easy, it's extremely portable, I can operate from inside a hotel room (run the coax inside the door), I won't have much need for a tuner (as the hamsticks are monoband). I plan to file a small reference notch in the whip of each hamstick for ease of setting it's tuning when setting up my station.

    I also will have at my disposal an end fed half wave that covers 10-40M. This will be used for more "I'm going to be sitting here awhile", or away from my car kind of operation. I understand the nuances with EFHW's, and will be taking precaution to mitigate common mode. I'll also have a length of paracord and a tennis ball for getting the antenna over tree limbs, trees, supporting it, etc.

    As far as powering the transceiver - I have made a custom power cord that's about 30' long that will plug into my transceiver. On the other end are alligator clips to connect directly to battery terminals. It's fused, of course.

    I also have a small 20A power supply for use when 120VAC is available, as well as a 50' extension cord. All of this fits nicely in a small duffle bag (except for the hamsticks, ha)

    What am I forgetting? What should I consider? Tips? Tricks? Advice?

  2. KF9BD

    KF9BD Ham Member QRZ Page

    The 30 foot dc power line is most likely going to be a problem. The length of wire will have a significant loss in voltage. Might want consider a much shorter length.

    Length and diameter of the wire will have an impact on the voltage delivered.

    WA6FX and KU3X like this.
  3. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey Josh! I op QRO CW from the trunk on my Toyota Solara quite often. It sure is fun! FT-857 and LDG YT-100 tuna.
    Here's the scoop and you can't go wrong, it's safe and easy.
    Find a 2x6 board abt 18 inches long, screw a plumbing floor bracket to it that will take a 1-1/4 pipe, get a pipe 16-18" long to screw in.
    You're gonna park your rear tire on it to make a base plate to support the vert
    That pipe will hold your vertical made of aluminum tubing. I made mine to slide into the pipe but you can size the bottom tube to slide over instead.
    I get my tubing from DX Engineering, 3 or 6' lengths avaialbe. I'd suggest 6' to start you with unless you have trouble hauling that length.
    I also ordered Ever piece diameter sized of the 3' lengths this last time. MAKE Sure you insist they slide every piece into the other to ship them.
    I had rec'd mine and they didn't do so and I wound up cuttin 6" from a $12 pice because of a small dent. Will not telescope dented.
    A 4:1 UnUn is what you will match with and I have three odd length radials I just lay out, longest is about 25'. I use radiator hose clamps throughout .
    Just run it up about 30' or maybe a tad more depending on wind speed and your tuner will match it all bands up to but not including 80m. I hv a way to 80 tho.
    I run a 33ah AGM deep cycle battery and two 100w solar panels...
    I op 100w CW for 5 hrs at a sitting and my batts stay up, only took 2.5 amps @ 14.2 volts to top off last three outtings.
    So, thar you have it...
    WL7PM, KF5KWO and W1TRY like this.
  4. WL7PM

    WL7PM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Excellent idea on the 30 foot telescoping AUTOmobile stabilized base... I like it !
    Why not add a sloping horizontal wire, in the fashion of a loose guy wire from top of the vertical get resonant on 75 meters ?
    N8AFT likes this.
  5. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

  6. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yup! Done just that on occaision. I have to go long since I'm never on SSB but lower on 80m.
    I had the vertical, as it stood, tuning and loading well on 80m last outting too.
    No, the efficiency would not have been that good, vy likely still better than maybe a hamstick or Hustler mobile whip.
  7. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, however that voltage loss will depend on his wire gauge and how much amperage is being drawn through it.
    It WILL work so don't get too discouraged so as not to try it!
    See volts drop at key down, full output, load a dummy, CW mode. Measure source volts and volts radio shows. Do the math.
    You can mitigate any losses by running a lower RF output so current demand will be less. Battery chg will hold longer too.
    Doubt yer rig will even notice the drop per the manual... I think the lowest voltage my FT857 will op at is 11.8vdc so keep >12v.

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