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Author Topic: HF mobile, which rig?  (Read 9930 times)
KC8AHN
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Posts: 108




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« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2011, 04:08:30 PM »

Lots of things to consider here. Again, i must consider that I am on a budget (most of us are, I am just getting back to work after being off for 2 months due to an injury) and am just wanting something reliable.

When I make my trips down south, I want to be able to check into some of the nets on 40 if it is open (Specifically SouthCars since I will be in the south and maybe the Nightwatch net if I am out in the evening). I like 20 for longer range and DX, and I understand I should not expect to work DX with a hamstick set up). I may use the rig as well in my home. Currently I have the FT450, I do not have anything to compare it to, but it seems hard to beat, except it is too big for mobile use.
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AD4U
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« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2011, 05:44:19 PM »

Just remember, even if you elongate a 15 meter hamstick to operate on 20 meters, you're still nearly 20 dB under a decent, full-sized screwdriver.


I wonder if even a dummy load is 20dB down from a screwdriver.  I do not use Hamsticks because I think there are better alternatives.  I use the original big ugly Texas Bug Catcher.  What I was trying to present is that you can improve the performance of Hamsticks by doing as I suggested.  It still probably won't make a Hamstick top dog on the mobile venue by a long shot, but it does improve its performance.

Dick  AD4U
« Last Edit: January 09, 2011, 02:30:56 PM by AD4U » Logged
N5MOA
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Posts: 1053




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« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2011, 06:19:33 PM »


and I understand I should not expect to work DX with a hamstick set up).

You can work some dx with a hamstick, I don't think anyone suggested you wouldn't.

If they did, they are mistaken.

Hamsticks aren't the worst antenna around, they just aren't anywhere near the top of the list. At least not my list. Tongue

After getting your radio setup, and operating with a hamstick for awhile, you may find it does all you want to do mobile. If not, there are other antennas that do, imo, a better job you can upgrade to.

As others have mentioned, the antenna install is the most important part of operating mobile.

A hamstick, properly installed, will most likely function better than the latest greatest whiz bang screwdriver or bug catcher installed improperly.

73, Tom
N5MOA

 
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K5LXP
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« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2011, 06:10:10 AM »

I proudly operate one of the poorest HF mobile antennas there is, the ATAS100.  It "works", and so do hamsticks.  It all depends on your expectations.

For me, it's just a diversion while driving, not a contest flamethrower.  I spend probably 80% of the time just listening.  In the past two months I've driven about 5000 miles on trips to TX and WI, and had a lot of fun with this sucky antenna.  Worked a couple dozen zones during CQWW (even JA's on 40M), contacts with MIDCARS, and general QSO's and special event contacts on 20 and 17M.  This past trip over Christmas I had fun in the Rookie Roundup and SKN in addition to numerous CW and SSB skeds with the folks back home while enroute, and a bonus QSO with eHam notable WB2WIK on 40M CW.  You don't need to be busting pileups to have fun with HF mobile.

The only problem I would have with hamsticks isn't so much the performance but the issue of being stuck on one band.  During any given trip it's inevitable that you'll have the "wrong" antenna on the car and you'll either have to stop at the side of the road or wait until the next gas stop or whatever to switch antennas.  I would recommend buying/homebrewing a hustler-type "spider" setup with two or three resonantors on it for the bands you think you'll be on the most, say 40 and 20.  Screwdrivers aren't necessarily all about performance (though it can be nice) but convenience as well.  Swapping coils and masts all the time gets old.

You need to start somewhere though, so get the rig installed, do your chassis bonding and as you gain experience you can optimize your antenna setup to a system that works for your style of operating.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
« Last Edit: January 07, 2011, 07:31:19 AM by Mark Brueggemann » Logged
K0BG
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« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2011, 06:42:59 AM »

As Mark alludes to, you can make contacts with a lousy antenna; millions of amateurs have been doing that since day one! You just have to decide which is best for you.

I use a Scorpion 680, which I believe is the best made of all of the remotely tuned antennas. I suspect its average coil Q is equal to, or better than, any other commercially made antenna. It sports a cap hat few mobile ops would tolerate. There are remedies applied to control common mode. The vehicle SLI, and remote battery are both BCI size 34 AGMs, supported by a 130 amp, continuous alternator. And, I use an amplifier.

I often hear or read where other mobile operators have an S6 or higher noise level, and are forced to use the NB 24/7 as it were. I have essentially zero QRN from the vehicle itself, because I've spent the time and money to make it so.

So what are you after? As I said, that is your decision.
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KC8AHN
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Posts: 108




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« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2011, 05:14:47 PM »

Thank you all for the replies. I beleive I mentioned but may not have, this is just for fun, something to do while I drive the many miles up and down the interstate, maybe to keep me more awake, maybe to just have come "company" on the long road trips. I have a 2m/440 in the car that was near useless when I made my trips last year, I do not want to deal with that again. I am not looking for a contest mobile station, just something fun.

Typically I leave on my trips between 5-7am, arrive in Memphis (if that is my final destination) around 3-5pm. My first trip last year did not have me leaving until after 1pm and I made Memphis by midnight. I may go into Dallas directly which is about a 19 houir trip, gotta have some company along for that.
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K0BG
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« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2011, 05:27:47 PM »

I can relate to that. When I started operating mobile back in 1972, I was traveling nearly 75,000 miles a year, over 7 states. A couple of years later, and it was 100,000 miles, over 12 states. Although there were a lot of auto-patches back then, 2 meters got boring rather quickly, especially when you were 100 miles from the nearest repeater. As a result, 20 meters was the place to be. By 1977, the sun spot numbers were so good, 6 meters was open 24/7. An old HyGain loop, and a Gonset, you could work WAS in about a week if you were active enough.

It was about this time, I discovered that an average mobile setup was just that—average. If you really wanted to compete in the DX chase, you needed to work CW, and you needed a large antenna, and lots of PEP.

If your needs are less, then go for it. But don't chastise someone for wanting more.
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KC8AHN
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Posts: 108




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« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2011, 05:31:30 PM »

K0BG, you wont find me chastising anyone. I commend those like you with great set up's, and the resourses you provide are top notch as well.

I would love a top notch set up in my car (heck, even in my shack) but my budget will not allow for it. Being a single parent (I am primary parent for one of my kids) and paying child support, I just do not have much extra income so I must do with what I can.
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AD4U
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« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2011, 06:03:55 AM »

Between Christmas and New Years, I drove my "little truck" 450 miles from SC to Va Beach to visit my two grandchildren.  Since I was driving alone, I operated HF mobile much of the 7 hour trip to pass the time.  

In my "big truck" a Ford F-250 diesel, I run the original big ugly Texas Bug Catcher, an ICOM 7000, and a 600 watt Metron Amp.  IMO this set up puts out a very respectable and competitive mobile signal, equal to most.

In my "little truck" I use a Yaesu FT-100D barefoot and the Hustler 54 inch mast and several different Hustler resonators.  During the trip I operated 40 meters exclusively.  My 40 meter antenna consists of a 30 meter Hustler resonator with a LONG whip to make it work on 40 meters.  Again (IMO) more antenna and less coil = a better mobile signal.

Even though the Newtronics Hustler antennas are not very highly thought of by some, I am completely satisfied with the results.  I had a number of stations on 40 meters comment that I was so strong (compared to other signals on the band - moblie and fixed station) they did not believe that I was actually mobile.

I know that band conditions play a very important part in mobile success, but it just goes to show that even less than optimum mobile antennas can still radiate a decent signal and you can have fun doing it.

Dick  AD4U

PS:  Although I have never done a side-by-side comparison between the "set-up" in the "big truck" VS the "little truck", I feel the 600 watts and the Texas Bug Catcher in the big truck would be consistantly around 2-3 S units stronger than the 100 watts and the Hustler antenna set up in the little truck.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2011, 07:32:44 AM by DICK WHETSTONE » Logged
K5LXP
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« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2011, 07:30:47 AM »

KC8AHN, you have have your cake and eat it too.  You can start out with economical hamsticks or Hustler coils and then in the mean time, build someting that offers better performance and more convienience.  You can build masts and high Q resonators using home improvement store materials very inexpensively, or even free if you have the materials on hand.  You can even build a decent performing screwdriver antenna if you like.  Here's a site with plans that are pretty easy to follow:

<http://www.mobilescrewdriverantenna.com/index.html>

You could build one of these for less than the cost of a couple of hamsticks if you're resourceful.

I respect Alan's position of optimizing performance.  Like most things though there is a point of diminishing return vs your level of expectation.  Like you, it's just a diversion while driving for me and most often just listening to CW, a net, or a shortwave station is sufficient.  Any QSO is fun, doesn't matter if I'm 599 or 539.

I think more important than anguishing over details and having the "best" right out of the chute is to start with something, anything.  Once you gain experience you can build on your success and make changes and improvements over time which is fun, challenging and rewarding. 


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12899




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« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2011, 07:43:08 AM »

I'd be willing to bet that a properly installed Hamstick is not 20dB down from a screwdriver on 20M (75M is a different story). If you were running S9 on a Hamstick, switching to a screwdriver would make you 20db/S9. In playing with Hamsticks, I don't see that much difference with a full sized 20M dipole.

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KC8AHN
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Posts: 108




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« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2011, 02:24:52 PM »

Looks like I have an IC7000 coming. I found a deal that was too good to pass up so once the funds are here, I am buying this rig. I just need to get use to it here in the house before I take it to the car.
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WD5GWY
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Posts: 403




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« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2011, 02:03:10 PM »

You will like the performance of the ICOM 7000. I have one and it
is a great radio. One thing to note, if it seems to be hotter than
some rigs you have used in the past, it is. But, unless you
are blocking air passage, and not allowing the internal cooling fan
to work properly, then you should have no problems. I was worried
about that and it turns out after doing some temp checks that it was
well within specs for operating temps.  (you can always put an external
fan directed over it (don't block the air path for the internal fan, that'll
create problems) and cool it even more.
  Once you get it set up the way you want it, you will not need to access
most of the menus very often.
Have fun.
james
WD5GWY
 
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KE5DFK
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Posts: 28




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« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2011, 02:35:46 PM »

Carlos, you're correct. For the money it is hard to beat an Hx. However, if you have to use the noise to quell the level as you've done, perhaps you need to do a little more noise abatement.

I do know that the older I6 Jeeps make a lot of RFI, especially ones with plug wires. This said, I believe an unNB level of S7 can be improved with a little work.

Have you done any bonding?

Alan, whip me with a wet noddle no I have not bonded  Embarrassed.  I have been on your site over and over again and read what I need to do but have not done it.  It is an I6 2001 Jeep no plug wires it has the rail system.  The only "grounding" I have done is to have separate 1 inch ground straps, one for the radio and one for the MFJ-993 auto tuner, both to the same bolt.  I did bond the doors, maybe the hood also.

Carlos
KE5DFK
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N4SXX
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Posts: 13




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« Reply #29 on: January 18, 2011, 05:51:07 PM »

sorry I did not read if anyone made this suggestion SO   I run a nice set-up for me it has been in several autos it is the Icom 706Mk2G with a screwdriver antenna the rig has a detachable face which make mounting very discreet for me right now it is mounted behind the seat ( rig ) face in console antenna control also in console I am now driving a small pick-up and before this it was in a 1987 BMW 325is
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