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Author Topic: is it safe?  (Read 3164 times)
KE7FD
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« on: October 25, 2012, 12:46:40 PM »

I think we should all be more objective asking ourselves of any mobile installation: Does placing a radio display outside our field of view (when we take our eyes off the road) induce risk while driving? We all know we can't always just glance at the screen but often have to "look" at the screen to assimilate the information. This takes our attention and awareness away from the road and could put us, anyone in our vehicle and others on the road around us at risk if we're staring totally away from the traffic ahead of us. In my previous '04 Grand Cherokee I had both a TS-480SAT & TM-D700A head located at dash level which allowed me to never take my eyes off the road. The knobs were easily within reach and by tactile touch I could tell enough of what I was doing to not have to look at the radios. (What's more, I never had a theft break-in nor any attempted break-ins, in case someone thinks keeping the gear “down low” is a better deterrent to crime. I also carry ham radio insurance; about what most people spend on soda pop in a month covers replacement cost of my gear. My current '12 Journey has a cubby hole that allows me to remote locate an FT-7900 head (I don't run mobile HF anymore/yet). Even this cubby hole is lower than what I would like and had before. I force myself to not look at it unless I'm stopped.

I grew up in Arizona, where my father worked two jobs, one of which was the photographer for the Pinal County Sheriff's office which at times required him to photograph the aftermath of often fatal accidents. I recall on just a few occasions of being present when we would happen upon an accident that had just taken place. Though I was quite young some of those memories have stayed with me. Worse yet, I recall coming across some of the black and white photographs and slides in files he kept of his years at that job. “Disturbing” is the best single word to describe the scenes of carnage recorded by his camera; not by choice but as part of his job. If those photographs were to be compiled and published today, I would hope the images would make any viewer a safer driver. I recall one such photograph, one that he never included in his official report for fear that the victims family might be so traumatized if they saw how their loved one had died.

That is why I question the thought process that goes into some the mobile radio installations exhibited by many hams. At times the level of craftsmanship is excellent with great care and attention to detail being evident. Yet even these are a death trap if they require the driver to take his eyes off the road. This isn't a challenge to the notion of “My rights as a ham” as I'm sure some will rush to say, but what is common sense. Would any of us who are fathers or grandfathers want our children or grand children to drive under the same circumstances that we do, with dangerous distractions? It might not be the same thing as texting but if our attention, or our field of view is compromised, it can be just as deadly.  Police cruisers are chock full of all sorts of equipment but the key items are kept at eye or dash level allowing the officer to keep his/her eyes on the road. Other gear that is kept closer to the floor is typically operated only when stopped or during critical pursuits, something that is NEVER part of the Amateur menu, and we certainly are not trained as they are.

I would hope to see better thought out mobile solutions than what most Amateurs resort to. If we cause an accident while operating a radio, how will that play out on the news? WE will become the poster children for why operating any electronic device should be banned while driving, forget teenagers with their cell phones.

IMHO,

Glen - KE7FD
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2012, 03:49:17 PM »

Really long post. Wink

Interesting subject, though.

I've operated mobile since I could first drive about 44 years ago and never look at my rig while I'm driving.  On HF, I've worked more CW than voice while driving and actually think it's a bit safer, as I have nothing in my hands at all, and just reach for the key paddle (permanently mounted between the front seats) when it's appropriate, and if I need that hand to do something more important, I stop sending and tend to the more important task.  I never cared if I broke a transmission in the middle of a sentence, a word or a letter.  Who cares?

The only control I normally adjust is the VFO (main tuning), with the same hand I would also use for sending; this doesn't require looking at anything, since I know right where that knob is.

I can change radio stations on my BC car radio without looking at it, either. Smiley  Ditto the headlights, the windshield wipers and lots of stuff.  I don't look to see where those are, I know where they are.

So, I think mobile operations can be done very safely with almost no distraction, or certainly no more distraction than having a conversation with a passenger.
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M6GOM
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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2012, 06:47:32 PM »

Yes moving it from the normal line of sight is dangerous - it takes the eyes longer to refocus. I've put my Icom 7000 on the center console just above seat base level in my new car and it is far worse than when it was on top of the dash on my old one. The Icom 7000 has band edge beeps which makes life easier and if I'm on V/U it is usually a memory channel I'm using but I still preferred it on top of the dash.
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K0BG
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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2012, 01:44:28 PM »

I too am amazed at the lengths some amateur operators will go when installing their gear. It looks good, but is it safe? Anything inside a vehicle that isn't bolted down, isn't safe! Yet, a recent article in these very pages is a prime example of not doing so.

The other issue as you aloud to is placement. Far too many mount their gear within reach of an air bag. Heck, I've even seen one where the due mounted his 706 in the center of the steering wheel. Imagine what would happen when the air bag exploded?

Yet another issue alluded to is not being familiar with the gear you use. Doesn't any body read the owner's manuals any more?

As for the 7000, I have to look down to see mine, but in lieu of that, I have the video piped into my Navi system. Can't do that with a Yeasu or Kenwood!
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WX7G
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2012, 06:46:16 PM »

KE7FD, thanks for the good post. I was just about to mount my FT-857 in my new car and you've gotten me to rethink the mounting position. It it now destined to be mounted on top of the dash.
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KE7FD
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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2012, 07:56:35 AM »

I knew I had a picture somewhere, and just came across it...
http://ke7fd.com/pix/mobile-mount.jpg

The platform is affixed so it won't move; there are no airbags near this install and everything is easily within view and reach, without having to take the eyes off the road.  What's more, the main units were mounted in a case that could be pulled out of the Jeep in a couple of minutes.

Glen - KE7FD
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N6AJR
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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2012, 12:45:11 PM »

I have 2 radios in my car, and 5 radios in the pick up.  All are securely mounted and most are well below the level of the dash. BUT what I do is select the frequency, mode and volume before  leaving the house.  I usually have the ft 857d in the car setting on my favorite repeater, and the 900 mhz spectra set on the local linked repeater there and leve it also.  If I chose to work  hf or even change frequencies, I use the mic control and I "know" the way my freqs are programed so I never need to look. 

Just be sure you have them mounted securely, and set where you want it  , then roll.
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KC2BUN
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« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2012, 03:17:00 PM »

I have a yaesue ft2800(2meter) n I have no idea where I'm mounting it -_- I also wanted to know if it's safe/ok to mount 2 hustler buck busters on top my 2005 Nissan Xterra. Where I want to mount them is beside my light bar(federal signal 3pod vector) using the bolts that mount the lightbar down, the bolts r bout 18"+/- apart. Can any fellow hams help me out? Thank you
KC2BUN
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KCJ9091
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« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2012, 03:51:22 PM »

What is a buck buster?  I see no mention of it on the New-Tronics web site.
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KC2BUN
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« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2012, 03:53:38 PM »

What is a buck buster?  I see no mention of it on the New-Tronics web site.

HRO sells them they r made by Hustler Antennas the sell for under $30 per
« Last Edit: November 25, 2012, 03:56:05 PM by KC2BUN » Logged
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