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Author Topic: Ham Radio & Motorcycles  (Read 747 times)
N2PQP
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Posts: 4




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« on: September 25, 2008, 09:12:03 PM »

Just wondering if anyone ever thought of attempting to operate HF from a motorcycle. If yes what type of antenna could be used. Thanks
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PD2R
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Posts: 131




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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2008, 01:55:01 AM »

I never tried this but I do ride my BMW R 1150 GS almost every day. Here in Holland most of the time it isn´t wise to pay attention to anything else other than the traffic around you.
So I would never consider operating any bands whilst driving my motor bike.

But i can imagine that in some parts of the USA the traffic conditions can be very different allowing to safely operate while driving your motor bike.

As for the antenna system, maybe you could look at the motor cycles the police uses. They will be most likely be using VHF but it could point you in the right direction.

Police motor cycles here in Holland use some sort of Ground plane antenna system. I think you could also use antenna systems that are used on non metal car roofs or non metal boats.

On the other hand, why not try a normal mobile HF whip or a small Screwdriver? I think that using such a system would be difficult on a KaYaHonSu ZXGSXCBRRYZRR1 kind of motorcycles. On other bikes you should be able to mount something on the back of the bike.

Good luck and I would like to hear what you came up whit.

73, Maarten
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K1CJS
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« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2008, 04:32:48 AM »

It seems that due to the complexities of the antenna system needed it would be next to impossible to construct an HF antenna system that would give any kind of reasonable operational ability on a motorcycle.  VHF operation is possible with a larger (longer) antenna, but HF is for all intents and purposes (including the attention needed) next to impossible when two wheeling.
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W5DXP
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2008, 06:08:35 AM »

*HF* CB radios are offered as factory options on many touring bikes. I have successfully operated 17m from a Kawasaki touring bike. Anything above 14 MHz should be feasible. Just don't try VOX on a Harley. :-)
--
73, Cecil, w5dxp.com
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73, Cecil, www.w5dxp.com
The purpose of an antenna tuner is to increase the current through the radiation resistance at the antenna to the maximum available magnitude resulting in a radiated power of I2(RRAD) from the antenna.
AD4U
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Posts: 2173




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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2008, 07:26:35 AM »

I ride a HD Soft Tail Duce and a Honda Shadow.  I tried to use a Yaesu FT100D and Hamstick antenna to operate HF.  I finally gave up because.....

Too much road noise to hear radio
Too much moisture to suit radio
Too much vibration to suit the radio
Too many distractions made riding even more dangerous
Too little ground plane to made antenna work

To sum it all up, there are just too many negatives to out weigh the few positives.

Dick  AD4U
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W6NJX
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« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2008, 08:13:09 AM »

Never done HF from my bike, wouldn't even consider it.

However I can and do operate VHF/UHF from my BMW R1100RT. I just clip my ht onto my tank bag and use a longish rubber duck antenna.

Audio is run through a comm system that is designed for motorcycles and filters out road noise and provides VOX.

I did have to power the ht from a dc-dc converter to eliminate ground loop issues and use many ferrites on some of the cables.

~~Guy
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WA7NCL
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Posts: 625




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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2008, 08:22:44 AM »

I've worked a guy running QRP (k2) from a off road quad running 5W to a hamstick on 20m.  He was very weak on CW and not in motion.  So it can be done.

You should expect pretty poor results on HF because the antennas are short.  I don't know how much power you can get on a big bike, but I would assume the 20-25A currents required for 100W HF might be a problem.

If I was really curious about how it would work, I would get a hold of an HF mobile antenna, say a ham stick, and put it on my bike in some sort of lashup.  Then I would put my HF rig on a card table and hook it to a car battery and see what kind of signal reports I got as a stationary portable.  Then you could make up your mind if you want to go any further.

After all, this is a hobby and if you can't just fiddle and experiment, why would you bother.
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K4MAM
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« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2008, 08:34:57 AM »

HF is very doable on a two wheeler.  Yaesu makes an outstanding radio, FT-857D, which has a detachable faceplate, and can be mounted on the handlebars.  I use a "tank bag" and put the guts of the radio in the bag.  They also make the ATAS-120D antenna which handles 80 - 2 meters.  Best part is that you can operate HF or VHF or UHF, ALL from the same radio and antenna (not at the same time, of course).  You will have to find a headset that works for YOU (in ear vs. in-helmet speakers) because the road noise can be quite loud.  Also, if using a full-face helmet, noise picked up from the mic is quite less.

Good luck!
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K6AER
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« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2008, 08:35:52 AM »

I ride a Yamaha R1 and cannot imagine having any sensory ports left over for a radio or it’s operation.

With drivers off in la la land yakking on their cell phones I feel like Bambi on the opening day of dear season.  They change lanes with out looking and are surprised that your upset about almost getting run over. My riding style is to pretend I am invisible and everyone is out to kill me. It has served me well in 40 years of motorcycling. Only country riding is pleasurable.

On the technical side a motorcycle has very little counter poise for any antenna efficiency in the HF band. Motorcycle ignitions are high energy and put out a lot of ignition RF.

Vibration and weather also make operation hard on the equipment. Also not mentioned is typical motorcycle alternator is at most about 380-450 watts output. With head lights tail lights and general operation there is little power left for any radio let alone one with high power output.

Low power CB sets and 10 watt FM radios will work OK but I’ll bet voice peaks on an HF transceiver, when the voltage drops, your ignition might start to shut down. Motorcycle batteries are very small and are typically about 15 AH at best. Not much reserve left over for high power operations. Typical police motorcycles have higher power alternators and their radios are not much over 15 watt units.
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K6AER
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« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2008, 08:40:31 AM »

K4MAM,

What motorcycle did you install the HF radio on? How is it working out?

Mike - K6AER
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W7ETA
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Posts: 2527




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« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2008, 08:52:39 AM »

Many touring MCs feature CB set ups.
73
Bob
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KZ1X
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Posts: 3228




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« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2008, 08:56:15 AM »

Yep.  Been there; done that.  I was young, the Honda got 50 MPG, and the sunspots were out.  10 meter FM was a blast!

Now I am (a) old, and (b) the sunspots are on siesta.  

I would seek other ham thrills until you can solve at least one of those two problems.
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WB6RXG
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Posts: 73




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« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2008, 01:35:28 PM »

For K6AER,

Mike, I've been riding for 35 years with a similar philosophy.  It call it the two rules for surviving riding a motorcycle.  Rule #1: You are invisible.  Rule #2: The drivers that can see you are out to runn you over.  I have always thought that new drivers should ride a motorcycle for 30 days before getting their license.

I've been thinking about mounting my handheld on a motorcycle with a headset since commute time is about the only on-air time I get these days.

73
Stuart
WB6RXG
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N3OX
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« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2008, 10:55:32 AM »

"With drivers off in la la land yakking on their cell phones I feel like Bambi on the opening day of dear season"

Hey!  Get with the times!  They're not yakking on their cell phones anymore, they're TEXTING while driving.

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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
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