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Author Topic: Can going mobile HF be simple?  (Read 2360 times)

Posts: 22

« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2005, 08:48:01 PM »

It is simple and fun.  I use the HTX-10 plugged into the cigarette lighter and a 102" steel whip mounted on the spare tire mount of my Honda CRV.  I have a 45-minute commute to and from work each day.  Right now, 10m is occasionally open, but not that often.  Spring/Summer will be better.  I'll get around to grounding everything one day, maybe run the rig directly to the battery.  But for now, my set-up is easy and fun.  Had a great opening today on 10 on the way home - Monterey, Mexico and California were coming into MD very nicely.  May try a 10m Hamstick though...

73 de Jeff, KF3KWO

Posts: 11

« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2005, 10:11:31 PM »

Voting for mobile.

I've been licensed over 25 years, and for the first half operated strictly VHF.

During the last cycle, early in 1992, I bought an htx-100 and mag mount 11m (CB) simple whip. It was pretty easy to cut down for 10M, and as previous poster pointed out the 5A max drain of the rig didnt get upset being run from cig lighter.

Was able to operate much DX, and remember this was my first HF, mostly Europe and Central America but did hit Australia once.

First, at 25W out, even with the inefficiency of the whip relative to a base antenna, you're still only 1 or 2 S-units down on the other end, no big deal.

Second, and this is the single most important point of all, a simple mobile setup THAT YOU ACTUALLY USE A LOT will really beat the hell out of an elaborate home setup that you dont use much at all.

Would you really set up an elaborate antenna farm at home so soon after your first license? And use it a lot?

Third, mobile means you can drive to an elevated overlook or down near the shore or similar and park and operate there...

So, if you think in terms of max efficiency of field strength and radiated power at the optimal takeoff angle, sure, home station will win...if you think in terms of max fun per hour get the point.

Buy an HTX-10 or HTX-100 or for a little more an Alinco or equiv that will go to 20M...see if you have any success on 10M and if not head down towards 20M...max investment will be $300...whatever you do, dont run more than 25W and let the ionosphere do the work for you

Please advise how this works.

Good luck.

Posts: 57

« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2005, 03:34:07 PM »

I work on the road all the time. I spend a lot of time in motels and can't set up a station. I do have the luxury of getting in the truck when at work and turn on the radio.
I have a new Ford pick-up (company truck).
I am using a Yaesu FT-857.
I mounted the radio under the passenger side seat and remote mounted the display.
I grounded the radio to the battery and to the chassis.
I placed an antenna mount on the side of the tool box. I ran a 5' braided ground from the mount to the frame.
Because its a work truck I didn't want to use a $300. screwdriver antenna. If one of my guys break the antenna, its only a $20. hamstick style antenna.
How good does it work??
I was coming back from the East side of Atlanta at 5:00 in the afternoon and was having a solid contact into Virginia on 40 meters. I received a 15 over 9 report with very good audio.
I am only limited by the band conditions. I operate from 80 to 10 on the HF bands using hamstick style antennas.
Can I break a pile-up on 20 from some rare DX station?
No I can't most of the time, but most of the base  stations can't either with 100 watts.  Sometimes those DX stations listen for the mobile contacts.
I am not as good as someone with a beam on a 100' tower but I make contacts everytime I'm in the truck.
Its like anything else, just know when and where to pick your battles.
If the band is open you can stay busy all day making contacts. If the band is bad its going to be harder. The only real difference between the base stations and the mobiles is that on the bad days the guys on the base stations can turn on the TV. I don't have a TV in the truck.
Bottom line is this. Its Ham radio, install it right. If it doesn't work,fix it. When the the cycle swings back up in a couple years you will have a ball..73's  

Posts: 26


« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2005, 07:22:16 AM »

Thank you everyone for your great feedback.  

I decided to take the plunge and bought a Kenwood 480SAT.  As of last night I am now live on 20m.  So far no major issues, but I guess 20m is easier that way compared to going mobile with the lower bands.  Now I have a bit of engine noise to work through and some better antenna bonding/grounding work to do, but I am in business.
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