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Author Topic: Brand new not quite a HAM and questions on initial gear setup.  (Read 7020 times)
JRSTEENSEN
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Posts: 12




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« on: August 06, 2013, 11:54:17 AM »

Hey all. Seeing how this is my first post here, figure I'll introduce myself first. My name is John Steensen. I am the lead draftsman/designer on a UAV for the Army. I did 5 years active duty as an Army MP, including 3 years in Germany and 15 months in beautiful Baghdad just as the surge kicked off. I am still in the Reserves as an MP, and volunteer with my local Sheriff's Office as an unpaid sworn SAR team member. (I do tech, swiftwater, and helicopter based rescue - never thought I'd start rappeling out of helicopters AFTER the Army.)

My primary interest is in mobile HAM operation. I'm studying for my tech and general tickets, since i have to drive 65 miles for the test. Aiming to take it next month.

I'm starting to put together an equipment list. I have a little IC-92AD portable I've been listening to the local repeaters on. (Got myself a Moto HT1550 XLS for SAR, since thats the radio they issue the depuities....just cloned one of the loaner team radios.) Wish I could key it, but not yet.

The interesting part is my vehicle is not exactly condusive to radio mounting. (2002 Chevy Blazer ZR2)


Here is the start of my equipment list. All input will be appreciated!

Radio: IC-7000
VHF/UHF Antenna: Larsen NMO 2/70B
Mount: ?
HF Antenna: ?
HF Antenna Mount: ?

Radio: IC-F2821D (P25 enabled) (Public Safety UHF)
Antenna: ?
Mount: ?

Radio: IC-F1821D (P25 enabled) (Public Safety VHF)
Antenna: Larsen NMOQ B
Mount: ?

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JRSTEENSEN
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Posts: 12




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« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2013, 12:55:25 PM »

Revised my setup slightly based on research this afternoon. (SLOW day at work.)

Radio: ICOM IC-7000 HF/VHF/UHF Transceiver
VHF/UHF Antenna: Larsen NMO 2/70B
Mount: ?

HF Antenna: Little Tarheel II
Controller: N2VZ Turbo Tuner
Antenna QD: Hi-Q-Antennas GQD (Giant Quick Disconnect)
HF Antenna Mount: ?

Radio: IC-F2821D (P25 enabled) (Public Safety UHF)
Antenna: ?
Mount: ?

Radio: IC-F1821D (P25 enabled) (Public Safety VHF)
Antenna: Larsen NMOQ B
Mount: ?
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K5LXP
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« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2013, 01:37:52 PM »

Looks like you've drunk the P25 Kool Aid.  You sure you need it?  Or do you just like the Part 90 or MIL810 features?

For V/U antennas use NMO mounts.  Looks like you'll need at least 2, maybe 3 depending if you want to diplex the V/U radios.

Are you stuck on the Little Tarheel?  It will "work" but a bigger/more efficient one would be easier to work with.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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K0BG
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« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2013, 02:54:27 PM »

Well, the HF transceiver is fine, but the antenna is one of the lossiest money can buy. And why a base disconnect?

N2VZ no longer owns Turbo Tuner. The new owners do have a model for the 7000, but it is different that the original.

And why commercial transceivers?

You only need one antenna (NMO2/70BK), and a diplexer to feed two radios to it. But why not an Icom or other duel band transceiver?
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JRSTEENSEN
Member

Posts: 12




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« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2013, 09:37:06 AM »

Looks like you've drunk the P25 Kool Aid.  You sure you need it?  Or do you just like the Part 90 or MIL810 features?

For V/U antennas use NMO mounts.  Looks like you'll need at least 2, maybe 3 depending if you want to diplex the V/U radios.

Are you stuck on the Little Tarheel?  It will "work" but a bigger/more efficient one would be easier to work with.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM



Not kool aid. Requred to talk to surrounding agencies on SAR missions. Later this year my agency is going to P25.

I'm not stuck on anything. I'm coming up with this stuff based on my research, which has been in a vaccum. Any input is totally appreciated!
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JRSTEENSEN
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Posts: 12




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« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2013, 09:40:51 AM »

Well, the HF transceiver is fine, but the antenna is one of the lossiest money can buy. And why a base disconnect? What antenna would you recommend? Was getting the base disconnect for things like going through the car wash, and when I get in thick brush/two track roads on SAR missions.

N2VZ no longer owns Turbo Tuner. The new owners do have a model for the 7000, but it is different that the original. What would you recommend as an alternative?

And why commercial transceivers? For SAR. I need to be able to talk and recieve easily on those bands.

You only need one antenna (NMO2/70BK), and a diplexer to feed two radios to it. But why not an Icom or other duel band transceiver? Is there a dual band P25? again, those are for SAR use, including talking to the helo when they drop down to our frequencies.

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JRSTEENSEN
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Posts: 12




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« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2013, 09:41:45 AM »

Alan, by the way, your site has been a great inspiration and a wealth of knowledge to me. Thanks for taking the time to put it together!
« Last Edit: August 07, 2013, 09:44:44 AM by JRSTEENSEN » Logged
JRSTEENSEN
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Posts: 12




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« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2013, 09:52:06 AM »

So as I understand it, I need a splitter (diplexer) that would hook up from a single Larsen antenna and split out to the VHF/UHF radios, which would reduce me down to three antennas - two UHF/VHF and one HF.

It would seem that a public safety duplexer for VHF and UHF is about 600 bucks from a quick search. What should i be looking at instead?

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K5LXP
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« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2013, 10:54:02 AM »

split out to the VHF/UHF radios, which would reduce me down to three antennas - two UHF/VHF and one HF.

Right.  While you're up there pokin' holes, consider running an extra mount or two over what you know you already need.  Good bet that in the future you may want to add another V/U radio, APRS, a scanner, whatever, and having the ability to add and swap antennas around on a standard mount type is useful.


Quote
a public safety duplexer for VHF and UHF is about 600 bucks

Nah.  A quick run through the spec's found these Comet diplexers that would work:

CF-4160K
CF-416A
CF-416W

Even MFJ has one:

MFJ-916B


Quote
For SAR. I need to be able to talk and recieve easily on those bands.

Looks like you could use those radios for amateur analog FM too, though modifying channels in the field will require a PC.


Quote
Was getting the base disconnect for things like going through the car wash,

Real hams don't wash their cars (or themselves).

The quick disconnects are OK for small antennas but if you get a better performing one, you might have to come up with your own QD hardware and bracketry to make that happen.  This is because the larger screwdrivers are supported along the tube instead of or in addition to the base.  Do you have a specific requirement for your HF mobile setup, like mobile ARES on 80M or would this setup be for more casual operating?  I have one of the uselessly small HF screwdrivers and it's "good enough" to make contacts when conditions are good but not much more.  If you require good efficiency on the lower bands (for say, ARES NVIS nets) then you might consider a different HF antenna.  Possibly someone in your SAR group would recommend a type/model HF antenna if communicating in the group is the goal.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM

« Last Edit: August 07, 2013, 11:04:40 AM by K5LXP » Logged
JRSTEENSEN
Member

Posts: 12




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« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2013, 01:06:55 PM »

split out to the VHF/UHF radios, which would reduce me down to three antennas - two UHF/VHF and one HF.

Right.  While you're up there pokin' holes, consider running an extra mount or two over what you know you already need.  Good bet that in the future you may want to add another V/U radio, APRS, a scanner, whatever, and having the ability to add and swap antennas around on a standard mount type is useful.


Makes sense!

Quote
Real hams don't wash their cars (or themselves).

The quick disconnects are OK for small antennas but if you get a better performing one, you might have to come up with your own QD hardware and bracketry to make that happen.  This is because the larger screwdrivers are supported along the tube instead of or in addition to the base.  Do you have a specific requirement for your HF mobile setup, like mobile ARES on 80M or would this setup be for more casual operating?  I have one of the uselessly small HF screwdrivers and it's "good enough" to make contacts when conditions are good but not much more.  If you require good efficiency on the lower bands (for say, ARES NVIS nets) then you might consider a different HF antenna.  Possibly someone in your SAR group would recommend a type/model HF antenna if communicating in the group is the goal.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM


The IC-7000 will be for mobile operating. I'm not a RACES guy, I'm more of a hands on the victim sort of guy.
What sort of antenna/mount/tuner combo would you recommend?
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K0BG
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« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2013, 01:13:48 PM »

Everyone wants a tuner (in this case really an auto coupler, built in or otherwise) when in reality none is needed. Most built in ones are limited to about 3:1 SWR. On 75 meters, that will add about 30 kHz to the band width of an average monobander. While auto couplers and a whip work fairly well, they difference between one and a decent screwdriver, properly mounted is almost astonishing! Add an automatic screwdriver controller, and you're in business. You can't QSY as fast, but that just isn't a real issue. 
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JRSTEENSEN
Member

Posts: 12




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« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2013, 09:31:32 PM »

Everyone wants a tuner (in this case really an auto coupler, built in or otherwise) when in reality none is needed. Most built in ones are limited to about 3:1 SWR. On 75 meters, that will add about 30 kHz to the band width of an average monobander. While auto couplers and a whip work fairly well, they difference between one and a decent screwdriver, properly mounted is almost astonishing! Add an automatic screwdriver controller, and you're in business. You can't QSY as fast, but that just isn't a real issue. 

That sounds great! What would your ideal combination be of commercially available stuff? What would your affordable option be? (I'm thinking 5-800 for antenna set up.)
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JRSTEENSEN
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« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2013, 02:54:17 PM »

Here is my updated plan:

   Radio: ICOM IC-7000 HF/VHF/UHF Transceiver
   VHF/UHF Antenna: Larsen NMO 2/70B
   Mount: Larsen NMOK

   HF Antenna: Little Tarheel II
   Controller: TurboTuner-2 (TennaTronix ITT-1)
   Antenna QD: Hi-Q-Antennas GQD (Giant Quick Disconnect)
   HF Antenna Mount: Tarheel LTMT 1

   Radio: IC-F2821D (P25 enabled) (Public Safety UHF)
   Radio: IC-F1821D (P25 enabled) (Public Safety VHF)
   Duplexer: Comet CF-416A
   Antenna: Larsen NMO 2/70B
   Mount: Larsen NMOK

I'd like help tweaking that HF setup a little bit. I'm seeing that my plan on mounting the HF on the rear swinging tire rack may not be the best idea...I'm just not sure where I can get a decent ground plane off the back of the vehicle. I use my trailer hitch too much to try and go that route.
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K5LXP
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« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2013, 06:25:37 AM »

The trailer hitch is a popular spot but with the antenna you propose most of it would be adjacent to the rear hatch.  That antenna could fit neatly somewhere in front though or even on top.  A ball mount or bracket on one of the rear quarters would be an option for either the Tarheel II or something bigger.

http://www.k0bg.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=2385
http://www.k0bg.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=1072
http://www.k0bg.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=1758
http://www.k0bg.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=277
http://www.k0bg.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=1599


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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WN2C
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Posts: 470




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« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2013, 08:51:35 AM »

You are not even licensed yet.  Why not get licensed first and get your feet wet before you jump into all this expenditure.  If you still insist on jumping in head first then at least buy a Scorpion screw driver antenna.  Better than a tar heel or hi q and the best built screwdriver on the market with the best guarantee.  In fact (and I can't think of any other) the only one that is guaranteed for as long as you own it.  As long as you don't screw it up or break it.  The IC 7000 is a great radio for mobil HF with the Scorpion and yes you can mount it onto your truck.  Send me an email and I'll send you some pics of how I (and others) did mine.  I am good on QRZd dot com.  The SAR radios should be given to you by the Sherrif's Office if you are doing volunteer SAR work for them and the SAR team is using the S.O. frequencies and not ham frequencies. 

73 es gud luck
Rick  WN2C

Disclaimer: I do not have any thing to do with Scorpion Antennas.  I am just a very, very satisfied customer!!
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