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Author Topic: A vehicle for the emergency kit  (Read 3970 times)
KK4IKO
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Posts: 67




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« on: April 29, 2012, 07:05:13 PM »

I'm rather new at ham radio, but as I was installing an IC706MKIIG in my Jeep Cherokee, it occurred to me that I had a go kit already on wheels.  Unless you use a compact mobile radio as a base station, where you need to have a convenient way to move it outside, a mobile rig already has all the requirements.  The only things which might be added are a portable antenna for long range, and a second battery, which can be charged by the vehicle through a dual charging switch, which isolates the second battery from the vehicle battery.  These dual charging switches are commonly used on boats where the trolling battery charges from the motor, but is isolated from the starting battery.  As long as you have fuel, you have a station.

I do have the advantage that a 30 minute drive will put me at an elevation of 5500 to 7000 feet, a big boost in range.  My first contact was made from 5500' through a repeater 80 miles away, using the normal mobile setup; it was made accidentally as I was tuning through the VHF band.

The modern rigs which allow head separation only need an extension control cable to set up outside the vehicle.  I have one on my rig because I needed the extension to reach the main unit in the back of my Jeep.  I needed 18" more, but the only available control cable is 11' long.  I'm building a portable 10 meter antenna.

73

Bruce KK4IKO



 
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K7RBW
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Posts: 398




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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2012, 09:45:49 AM »

The good news is that you can carry everything and operate out of your car. The bad news is that by permanently mounting your station in your 4-wheeled go-kit, you'll only be able to operate out of your car. As comfy as a Grand Cherokee might be on (or off) the road, it can get pretty uncomfortable as a full-time station. Think about where you'd keep all the paperwork for passing traffic, keeping notes, etc. Not to mention where are you going to eat, relax, stretch your legs (while it's pouring rain outside) and all things you'll need to do while deployed.

If it were me, I'd permanently mount a sturdy mobile radio (e.g. a V/UHF mobile) to the car to use while driving and then mount a portable HF kit in the back seat so you can use it from in the car or take it out to use in some place more comfortable (e.g. a tent or a trailer) and use the car as your antenna base or just a place to keep things out of the rain.

I've seen some of the more dedicated hams, take out the passenger seat and mount a radio package there. That works, too, but still try to design it such that it can be taken out of the car and used someplace more comfortable.
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KK4IKO
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Posts: 67




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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2012, 11:07:56 AM »

I agree about not being comfortable cooped up in the vehicle for extended periods of time.  I certainly cannot sleep in there.

With my setup, I only need to run extension control head and speaker cables so I can take the control head and a small speaker anywhere within say 20 or 30 feet of the vehicle.  Maybe in a tent (with a small table, chair, and queen size airbed), or under an awning attached to the vehicle, or over a picnic table. In order to use a portable HF antenna, I just have to run a transmission line back into the vehicle.  My doors will close and lock without crushing the small cables.  A file box will hold all the paperwork.  I have 22' feet of head control cable now, with no discernible effect on performance.

I've camped enough to know that besides an all band, all mode radio, file box, and portable antenna, my jeep will hold enough gear so two people can camp for a week almost without needing to go to the store, provided I don't take any fishing gear.  By adding my small utility trailer, one can live in relative luxury.

I guess it comes down to knowing what you don't really need to operate successfully under field conditions.  Using lessons learned from being in the Army Signal Corps, it will take about 15 minutes to get on the air, less than two hours for a complete camp setup.

73
Bruce, KK4IKO   
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K1CJS
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Posts: 6042




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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2012, 05:20:21 AM »

When people think of a "go kit", they think of emergency communications.  From your explanation, it seems that all you're looking for is an adaquate portable station for your enjoyment--and your setup is certainly that.

I have a similar set-up so I can go portable, yet don't have the hassle of setting up a table and dragging batteries and other equipment along with me.  I simply have a ten gauge power 'extension' cord and a couple of co-ax extensions that will allow me to use my vehicle's power and antennas to run my rigs if I choose to.  Your choice of using an extension cable and a remote head is an even easier way of doing so.  73!
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 06:34:39 PM by K1CJS » Logged
KK4IKO
Member

Posts: 67




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« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2012, 05:52:10 PM »

I will get the opportunity to set up my portable and give it a good workout, as I have been invited to sit in with a club in the Adirondacks, while on vacation over the ARRL Field Day weekend in June.  There will be several HF and VHF setups.  I'll take some pictures.

73

Bruce, KK4IKO

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