School Bus Conversion Radio Installation

Discussion in 'RV Operating and Camping' started by W0MGR, Apr 3, 2018.

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  1. W0MGR

    W0MGR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I recently installed an HF station in my coach and am quite pleased with the results. The noise level is low, here in the countryside of south-central NC and DX has been quite easy to work. I was able to use 2 pieces of coax through a hole in the wall under the desk to route the balanced line into the shack. The radio is a Yaesu FT-450D into an MFJ-974HB tuner. The antenna currently is a 125' insulated doublet fed with about 75' of 450-ohm window line hung in the trees at around 35'. I used my longbow to place the antenna support ropes, with decent success. I will have to do something for when we are away from home, but that will come. I may go with a Scorpion screwdriver, with the sturdy steel supports that are used to frame the roof structure of the coach.
  2. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Screwdrivers are ok, but for maximum performance it's hard to beat a piece of wire.

    For travelling (car or RV) I made up a drive on support bracket from a piece of unistrut bolted down to an aluminum plate. Attach some EMT pipe collars on it and install some knobs from a broken work light and you end up with this.


    Next you will want a 30' tall telescopic extension pole to use as a portable mast to place inside the EMT collars that are attached to the unistrut.


    Where to buy one.

    Unlike fiberglass poles, this extension pole is made from aluminum and is strong enough to hold up a lot of antennas. Not just wire antennas.

    Here's this extension pole holding up an aluminum rotatable dipole...


    So basically you just park on it and you don't need to actually attach anything to the Bus / RV. It sets up and packs away very quickly. Park the bus, throw it up in 5 minutes and you're on the air with a very big signal, because you're using better antennas. (not mobile antennas)


    This 30' tall pole and wire antenna will blow away any screwdriver or other kind of mobile antenna.


    So there's my ramblings and a quick portable antenna setup option to think about.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
    KJ6NQW, W0MGR and K6CLS like this.
  3. W0MGR

    W0MGR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I LOVE this idea! I will try to get my hands on some unistrut and aluminum plate and will see what happens. Thanks for the tip!
    KC8VWM likes this.
  4. K3UJ

    K3UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I like the unistrut piece, it looks professional.

    Go to the hardware store and browse.
    Some round or square steel tubing, flat plate and a fried with a welder.
    Piece of 1X6, short piece of pipe and a closet flange.
    U-bolts through the bumper.
  5. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    nice idea and good construction. I'm going up north to visit relatives and was thinking of taking my FT757.
    I have 2 possibilities, a collapsable vertical that works from 40m-10m or a fiberglass tree trimming pole with a pair of hamsticks
    for 80-40-20 made into a dipole. they could be mounted vertical or horz. Problem is the fiberglass pole is only 16'
    it would be good to find some light weight poles that would fit inside one another - hoping to get at least 25'

    Got a couple of months to try it out before we go.
  6. K3UJ

    K3UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

  7. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    thanks, The doca pole is $125 Canadianon amazon.
    more than I want to invest but the ebay item set off my idea light
    we just got a new and better Princess auto store and I remember seeing these

    which I think are the fiberglass version which they call tent poles.
    going to check them out again. 5 bucks each so 6 or 7 of these would do the trick and easily store
    I'm hoping for a non guyed setup with the ham sticks.
    The pool vaccum pole is only 16', the fiberglass tree trimmer pole is 16' and the painting pole also 16'
    sort of a common theme

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