Tag Archives: Mobile K9ZW

Thinking Mobile, on a Simple Basis

Just back from my first trip of 2011, with at least six more trips planned or in the final planning, and about six more expected beyond the initial count. Most will be like this one, mainly work with a bit of personal time tagged on to the trip.

This last trip didn’t lend itself to traveling with radios, especially as I would have little opportunity to set-up and work a station, and that we traveled as a group of seven with events scheduled throughout.

Several of the next trips will be easier to travel with radios, and should have some “solo down time” where I could operate.

Thinking of traveling with two separate set-ups besides a full portable HF SSB/Digital setup for long stationary vacation time:

  1. The Satellite Set-Up where I will be in any one place for less than two days and/or will have at most limited operating time. In addition to the laptop I typically already have to take traveling for work, the gear would easily fit into a briefcase, would take less than 15 minutes to set up, and could be a real challenge with rewards for any QSOs I could score.
  2. And second a PSK-31/Digital Set-Up for trips where I’ll be somewhere more than an overnight or two, will have a likely spot to put up a basic antenna, and operate for at least a few couple-hour sessions. Figure that I can fit everything into half a suitcase and under 25 pounds with some care. NUE-PSK Modem, a small 20 watt or less transceiver & matching power supply, and an ultralight antenna should do the trick.

For drive-to trips it might be just as easy to take my portable HF station, rather than fuss with a small station.

Very undecided about whether to take any gear out of country – whether it is going to be worth the effort given the nature of those trips. Maybe next set of overseas trips will have a better Amateur Radio profile.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Thinking Mobile – Planning Mobile HF at K9ZW

Well I’ve started the process to work towards having mobile HF (and VHF/UHF) in my daily driver.

The current daily driver is a 2008 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ – the one with the very cool engine that is a V8 when needed and settles back to a V4 when conditions allow.

This is my fourth Suburban, and complicating doing mobile HF is my usual driving pattern of 25,000-30,000 miles a year, and that I change the vehicle usually about every 2-2-1/2 years.

This means that any install will be yanked out and moved to the next vehicle 24 to 30 months after installation.

Also complicating my mobile efforts is my need to use all the space in the truck – we have a large family & travel together when used privately, and I often have equipment or materials in the truck when driving for work.

I also ferry my instruments when playing with various bands.

So the Radio Gear has to tuck away very well and not interfere.

Spending a good 1/4 of my time driving on the phone, using a Motorola T505 Bluetooth device providing a full hands-free setup.

The vehicle is also heavy on electronics – XM radio, GPS Navigation, Computerized Brakes/Stability/Traction (this system has saved my bacon several times over the years when people pulled out in front of me – HIGHLY recommend this option) and active safety gear.

The RF from the radios simply cannot interfere with the basic vehicle.

So I am examining my options. I did acquire a new IC-7000 a good friend had bought but ever used.

I want to pick an antenna that color matches, and can be re-painted to match the next truck. I also want to put the gear into a modular set-up that will come back out easy when it is time to move it to the next truck.

Very open to suggestions on how other people have solved this sort of problem.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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