Mobile Install

I have taken my HF mobile install through a number of different iterations (the constant being the rig: an Icom IC-706MKIIG). Today I hope that I have finally reached a lasting, workable setup. Here is a quick re-cap of my trials and tribulations:

First attempt (2007):
What this install lacked in experience, it made up in effort. The successes were routing the powerline and the feedline. The antenna system was a different story. My combination of Hustler and Hamstick antennas (along with the unfortunate choice of putting an Icom AT-180 autotuner in the mix) met with mixed success. I did make contacts and enjoyed the mobiling. The rig itself was placed under the passenger seat. Placed side by side with my TM-D710A left very little room and little clearance between the seat and the floor. I came to realize that my 2005 Toyota Tundra lacked any real great locations to stash a rig. The drivers seat (no way), behind the back seat (nope), under the back seat (not going to happen).

Tarheel Model 75A and the stake pocket mount (2008):
I have not regreted going with the Tarheel Model 75A. I finally figure out that using an autotuner was a non-starter and a screwdriver offered a great solution. The stake pocket mount was a mixed success. The way the pocket was always had the antenna sticking up at a funny angle. It also did not seem very secure. I still made lots of contacts and had lots of fun.

Switched to MT-1(S) mount (2009):
Switching to the MT-1(S) mount did a lot to improve my operations. By having the antenna mounted right to the side of the bed, my ground (… and other half of the antenna) was greatly improved.

February 2010

Using the iPortable (2009-2012):
I don’t usaully have a passenger in the front seat – just two kids in the back. But having a heavy weight passenger in the front seat was a no-go for IC-706 in the all too cramped location under the seat. The iPortable setup allowed me to consolidate the IC-706MKII and the TurboTuner in one spot. No more messy nest of wires. But the iPortable offered somewhat of an obstacle to the kids in the back seat.

Current (…and final?) install (2013):
I have had the TM-D710A installed for a while. The AVMAP makes a good pairing and you can find my location via APRS here.

Now the iPortable is in the large tool box mounted to the bed of the pickup.

The big task was to reroute all the cables: an extension to the powerline, pulling out the feedline, and moving the control cable for the Tarheel antenna. The IC-706 includes the AD5X fan modification.

I had to drill a hole on either side of tool box to route the cables in and out. So far, so good – everything works and I am getting a full 100 watts out on every band.

I did forget to run a line for a CW paddle… that is on the To Do List.
There are also a few additional improvements I would like to make.
– 12v booster to 13.8v
– Extra 12v battery
– amplifier? 🙂

Ever been to Cornbread Road?

My favorite amateur radio blog comes from Jeff Davis, KE9V. If you have been following Jeff’s blog through the years you’ll have seen a constant evolution of his site and content. In addition to his ponderings of the current state of ham radio, Jeff has produced a number of engaging podcasts. Long Delayed Echoes was Jeff’s podcast series that covered a great deal of the early history of amateur radio. It featured selections from Clinton B. DeSoto’s 200 Meters & Down as well as other significant historical sources of ham history. In addition to his written contributions to QST (see the May 2005 issue on page 56) Jeff has also shared his talent for fiction with us. He has several other ham radio related stories that he posts now and again on his blog (… it is worth checking his blog frequently because once in a blue moon he will put links up to his stories… my favorites are QRP Christmas and Tragedy on the Trail).

Besides his blog, Jeff prodigiously uses social media and you would likely enjoy his ham radio musing that can be read via Twitter and Google +.

Jeff combined his podcast talents along with his fiction writing skills with the production of Cornbread Road. All 13 episodes of the serial are currently available and on the 30th of September, Jeff has promised us a final installment. I’m looking forward to that!

In the beginning……

… there was Hugo Gernsback. Here are a few of his contributions:
– Established one of the first companies to sell equipment to radio amateurs in 1904.
– Founded the Wireless Association of America in 1909.
– Published two amateur radio oriented magazines: Modern Electrics in 1908 and The Electrical Experimenter in 1913.
– Initially proposed the idea of allocating 200 meters and down to amateur radio in 1912.

Why don’t we know more about Hugo Gernsback and his early contributions to the hobby? At what point did the momentum shift from Hugo and his Wirless Association of America to Hiram Maxim and his ARRL? … and why?

Hugo made a huge contribution to science fiction but it seems his contributions to amateur radio have been overlooked.

The Times They Are a-Changin’

My intent for this blog is to serve primarily as a notebook – a place where I can capture important details concerning my amateur radio activities and then refer back to them if needed. This includes interesting websites, hamshack successes and failures, equipment settings, as well as plans for the future. Occasionally the subject matter on the blog opens a bit broader… beyond amateur radio <gasp!>.

The cliche about some long time hams of having life “take over” at some point in a ham career is a cliche for a good reason. Sometimes the balance tips and radios are put on the backshelf. I’m at a mid-life career transition point, retiring from the military and moving into “the next phase”. Plan A is to become an elementary school teacher. None of my previous academic work really supports this transition and despite popular misconceptions, in the state of Kansas… you can’t just show up and say “Hey, I’d like to be a teacher!” It is actually a somewhat difficult process. Fortunately a nearby university has a well respected program that I am not too far from completing. The program is time intensive (this semester I am taking 13 credit hours… while working full-time). This is my last semester behind the desk. I start my retirement transition at the end of December and in January I start student teaching.

One of the great aspects to the program I am in is that I get plenty of time inside elementary grade classrooms so I have a clear idea of what I am getting into. Over the last 12 months I have had the opportunities to visit numerous classrooms seeing various grade levels and teaching styles. It is great going into this transition with my eyes wide open.

However, this educational experience (along with work) has been time-intensive. My time in front of the radio (or submitting blog entries) has been seriously limited. The hamshack has become somewhat of a dumping ground (for my other hobbies of O gauge model trains and 80’s arcade games) and only recently was I able to did a path out from the door to the operating desk. My goal is to adjust the balance just a bit and spend a little more time with the radios. We’ll see how it goes.