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Author Topic: SUV/Truck for HF Mobile?  (Read 2292 times)

Posts: 15

« on: December 02, 2010, 12:23:23 PM »

I'm in the market for a new SUV or truck. I currently drive a Chevy Avalanche, which has been a PITA to work with because of all the exterior plastic.

What is the group opinion of a good transportation platform that can be adapted to HF?

Has anyone mounted an HF antenna on the new (2010-2011) Subaru Outback?

Any recommendations or vehicles to avoid?


Posts: 10248


« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2010, 12:39:52 PM »

You can visit my web site for some ideas.

Any new vehicle is going to have some drawbacks, no matter the brand, no matter the style. Pickups provide a good antenna platform because you can mount the antenna free and clear. Using trail hitch, and other low mountings, are always a trade off. That's about the only option you have with the Outback unless you're into drilling holes, and making custom brackets.

Almost all vehicles are all plastic. That fact alone, should keep you from buying one. Probably just as important is the electrical system. Unless you run high power (>500 watts), that isn't a problem with any new vehicle. Trucks and large SUVs, always have more than you need, especially if factory equipped with a trail hitch.

There is more too, but as I alluded to above, a visit is worth a thousand words.


Posts: 117


« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2010, 01:45:58 PM »

I bought a commercial van from a guy. All metal construction, so no drawbacks on plastic structures. I've got my Tarheel mounted on the driver's side near the back door.

I had an old GMC Suburban that was all metal, too, but the combination of it being old (an '85 as I recall) and me getting too old to sleep in the back lead me to sell it and get a cargo van which I can get into and out of for camping much easier.

You can get metal trucks, but you may have to go commercial if you can't find a used SUV in excellent shape.

Posts: 7718

« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2010, 02:38:14 PM »

You might want to test potential vehicles for RFI. Set a mag mount Hamstick on the vehicle and power a transceiver from the 12 V cigarette lighter plug. Turn on the vehicle and tune around the band listening for vehicle databus noise and ignitition noise. You might find a quiet vehicle and avoid the trouble of quieting one down.

With my car noise that appears every 20 kHz is only present during some event such as shifting or applying the brakes.

I operate CW mobile from a Smart Car and the databus noise (every 20 kHz) is not a big problem. It is only present during shifting or braking. I detect no ignition noise.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2010, 05:43:59 PM by DAVE CUTHBERT » Logged

Posts: 10248


« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2010, 05:38:14 PM »

I touch on this on my web site, but things are changing in the automobile industry, and the fed who in-part control it. That is, the NHTSA, and the EPA. Starting with the 2012 model year, all vehicles sold in the US must have OBDII-EOBD. Included in the collected data, is all manner of crash data, and whatever other data the manufacturers want to include. Even the last 60 seconds of audio pervious to a crash are included by at least one US maker.

In order to facilitate the requirement, data busses will become ubiquitous. Whether they interfere with amateur communications remains largely unknown. Of those vehicles which already comply, buss RFI appears to be rather low (<S1). However, under bad band conditions, poor antenna placement and mounting (common mode problems), and perhaps a few other considerations, the resulting birdies might become a problem.

Of course, RFI is a two way street, but thankfully the folks who design the various CPUs design them to the point, they're almost bullet proof.

None of us can jump to any conclusions, but the next year or two is going to be telltale for all of us who love mobile operation.


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