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Author Topic: Testing Next Week! Looking For Help With My First Rig!  (Read 50 times)

Posts: 1

« on: Today at 05:53:26 PM »

Hi folks! I'm Mike, hailing from Long Island, New York.
I've been interested in earning my ticket for a while and some friends have been persisting that I should make the leap from the CB (Cobra 29 BT LE LTD) that is in my camper.
I finally am! I am the chief of the local volunteer ambulance corps, and a few people were also interested so one of our members - an Amateur Extra and a VE - set up the tech classes for us.
I've been rocking the practice tests on qrz, and have even been reading up on General - currently testing in the high 60's - low 70's. We'll see how confident I feel as to if I test out General.

Tonight, I come to you with some mobile install questions. I have been doing lots of reading both here and on other sites. I have also been watching lots of videos on modes, and features, as well as radios and equipment to help me with my shopping. I am certain I want a 2m/70cm dualbander. I was considering the Icom ID5100A], the Yaesu FTM-400DR, as well as a Kenwood (the model number escapes me).
I am pretty much sold on the Icom. I really like the touch screen interface, and I like the remote control head. I also like the gprs interface with the compass/heading. Plus, I like that it has a database of repeaters which is great for when I am on the road.

So, then came the antenna question. I am looking to install my system on a 1977 VW Westfalia Campervan - with a fiberglass roof.
I really would like a gutter mount solution. I do not want to drill in the fiberglass roof as it is a single panel and anything drilled is exposed from the interior. I also would prefer something that can easily come down... I frequently put the bus in the garage - so big antennas are a complication.
A friend - who is an Extra now living in Florida - suggested the Diamond K9000 Motorized Mount which I REALLY like... Just because it seems like a cool toy  Cheesy
But I am curious what antennas folks suggest, what cable types, and connection types. As well as if anyone is familiar with the Diamond and specifically the gutter mount for it.

Diamond K9000 KR

Diamond K9000 KRS Gutter Mount]

I also see many different types of cable - with different connectors. I had believed I would need to use NMO connectors, but it doesn't seem that the Diamond mount is meant for NMO - so maybe I am not fully understanding. I did see that some mounts have a thin pigtail that is meant to go through the body or a door opening. That would be perfect for me so that I can drill a small hole in the roof - which would be protected underneath the elevating roof - from the elements. Then I can use the standard coax inside the body.

Here are some photos of the camper so you can see what I am looking at.


Posts: 5160


« Reply #1 on: Today at 07:47:44 PM »

Trust me on this - I guarantee it - if you go with a foldover/tiltover mount there will be that one time you forget to fold/tilt.  They add cost and complexity and the first time you forget you break the antenna, break the mount, and bend the vehicle sheet metal, or some combination of the above.  Pick a setup that requires zero operator intervention in whatever form that might be, and you will be rewarded with a reliable setup you can use for many years and miles.  Consider durability and convenience over gain or "performance", because even super whizbang mega RF slinger antennas you'd need test equipment to tell the difference over basic quarter waves.

My vote would be for a short dualband antenna smack in the middle of the cab portion of the fiberglass roof, with a groundplane either on the inside or outside surface.  This would give decent performance, a good match for both bands, and be physically durable enough that you could bend it 90 degrees going in and out of parking structures without issue.  Use an NMO mount to maximize your options to select whatever band and gain combinations you choose to use at any time.

As far as the rig, I agree with going dual band and the way I pick them is by figuring out what will fit in the spot I picked out for it in the vehicle.  If the form factor of a 5100 fits your spot, then check the box.  The rest of the mounting and cable routing become an academic exercise.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM

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