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Ham Radio
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Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 4/09
Picture of Cantrade
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Has anyone set up a ham radio station in their Barth. I was wondering how that all went.

Don, KM5XK


1993 Breakaway 33'. Cummins 6BTA5.9 with Bosch injection. Upped to 260 HP or so. Third owner.



"If it's not worth doing, it's not worth doing well!!" Cummings Law
 
Posts: 133 | Location: Central New Mexico | Member Since: 04-18-2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 10/08
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Yes Don I have and enjoyed it a lot. I have an unusual set up. I have UHF/VHF on while running down the roads and have had some very enjoyable conversations with truckers and some locals. Range of UHF/VHF is good as the metal roof is a natural ground plane.

For HF, I generally operate while stationary. I have a hinged 20 foot aluminum pole that goes vertical with a 13 foot extension to give me full coverage 80-6 meters. I do monitor 10M-6M while driving and have had some good results during band openings. The 20 foot pole is horizontal about 16 inches off the roof while driving and will load well on 10M-6M. Had about a dozen contacts with So. America on 6M during a band opening last your in Texas.







Ed
94 30' Breakaway #3864
30-BS-6B side entry
230 Cummins, Allison 6 speed
Spartan chassis
K9DVC
 
Posts: 1893 | Location: Los Gatos, CA | Member Since: 12-08-2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 3/14
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Very cool. I want one...
 
Posts: 284 | Location: Sequim Washington | Member Since: 05-12-2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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During the sunspot cycle of the late 1970's I got my DXCC (100 countries confirmed) on a Radio Shack CB converted to 10 Meters while running mobile in a 1966 Chevy van.

Doug W4JDZ


1972 AirStream Overlander
W4JDZ
To Air is human.
 
Posts: 576 | Location: Venice, Florida (short for paradise) | Member Since: 03-27-2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 4/09
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Ed,
That's a fine looking installation of your xcvrs. I had an Airstream and always thought the body of it made a great ground plane also. I used a Hustler vertical with a removable mount for travel and easy refit when parked. Radio was KW TS-130 which is a real small package for an older HF device.

When living in Alaska I had a truck camper with the same radio in it. On a trip through the Yukon we had lots of interest from the locals who would cruise campgrounds looking for antennas. We had some great eyeball visits with those bush dwellers.

I have 3 VHF radios and one will fit nicely in the Barth if we get one.

Thanks for the reply and pics.
Don, KM5XK


1993 Breakaway 33'. Cummins 6BTA5.9 with Bosch injection. Upped to 260 HP or so. Third owner.



"If it's not worth doing, it's not worth doing well!!" Cummings Law
 
Posts: 133 | Location: Central New Mexico | Member Since: 04-18-2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Good morning;

I am very pleasantly surprised to see this topic on the forum. I am partially through the process of installing a "ham radio" station in my 1987 Winnebago Elandan WCP31RT which is 32 feet 4 inches long. The phrase "ham radio" is in quotes, because, in actuality, it will cover much more than just ham radio, and would best be described as a "Mobile Communications Station."

And the Barth, the Winnebago Elandan, the Dodge Travco, and many other "older" motor home RV are better suited for this use than the new "modern" motor homes that are "taking advantage" of the recent increase in the vehicle height limitation which now goes up to 13.5 feet. Yes, that increased height does allow for more storage and a "basement" for more storage underneath, but that also eliminates the ability to mount working antennas on the roof when it is that high.

The Winnebago Elandan I think is similar to the Barth in its height, and mine is 10.5 feet to the top of the air conditioner covers. The roof itself is 9 feet high above the road. That yields 4.5 feet of space in which to fit an antenna before it hits the 13.5 foot maximum height limitation. And you can fit most VHF antennas on the top of the vent and air conditioner covers with no problem. The vent covers are probably best suited for UHF antennas where you can fit the ground plane or radials into the space of the vent cover. Again, that is the vent cover; not the crank-up vent lid.

One of my upgrades has been the conversion to LED lighting to reduce the power load on the coach batteries, so there will be more power for the radios, plus it did get rid of that noisy florescent lighting. And I have checked the LED lights also with the Anritsu MS-2711B spectrum analyzer to make sure that they do not put out any RFI. I had some 120 VAC operated LED lights in the house that had to be changed because they talked to the radios in the home station.

One of my self-imposed limitations for the motor home is; "No holes in the roof." Everything goes onto existing covers and things already mounted up there, and the coaxial cables for the antennas and the cables for the power from the solar panels get inside the motor home by going through the refrigerator condenser heat exchange vertical shaft down to the galley area, and then forward to the main radio operating position at the dinette table.

The 2 inch square tube receiver on the back is where a 27 foot tall modified Hustler-Newtronics 6BTV HF vertical antenna is mounted when parked. The coaxial cable for it goes through one of the coach battery access panels to get underneath the chassis and goes back to the rear bumper. I do not tow a car. "The Toad" is a folding bicycle that is usually carried inside, but it can also go into and be lashed to the luggage rack on the roof.

There are two operating positions in the Elandan. The main one, as mentioned, is at the dinette table where the main ham radio, low band VHF FM radio, AM Aircraft band radio, 2 Meter and UHF FM radio, high band VHF FM radio for public service agencies, SAR, and others, and the Marine VHF FM band radio.

The mobile station equipment is up front on the engine cover, except for the CB radio, which is still on the left side below the instrument panel where it was when the Winnebago Elandan arrived. I pulled off the wooden cup-holder and catch-all tray off the engine cover, and made a same size flat plywood cover that the rack with the mobile HF radio, the dedicated 10 Meter only radio (I will explain), and the 2 Meter-440 Mc radios are mounted.

And at least the HF radio is "driver friendly." It is a Kenwood TS-480SAT with the VGS-1 Speech Synthesizer in it. If I touch a control, it tells me what control I have reached, what parameter I am about to change, and by how much I have changed it. All without my looking at the radio while driving. This is the radio of choice for blind people and for those who should not be looking at a radio, such as drivers. And the Elecraft K2 and K3 use the Kenwood protocol for computer control and speech synthesis also.

And the antennas for the mobile station are mounted on the front on a specially built rack mounted just under the front bumper. It uses 1 & 1/4 inch square tube receivers for holding the antenna mounts. The main mobile HF antenna is a Hi-Que Antennas Hi-Q-5/80 which is about 12 feet long and is used for 80 Meters to 15 Meters. The Hi-Q-5/80 is too long to work well on 10 Meters. For 10, there is a separate Radio Shack HTX-100 (modified) and a stainless steel whip 99 inches long on the right front corner. The third antenna mounting position is used for some other things.

And the Kenwood TS-480SAT is a duplicate for the HF radio at the main operating position, along with the 2 Meter-440 Mc radio, and they are quickly available as a back-up radio to swap with the main radios at the main operating position for redundancy if required.

Finally, as people on this forum are well aware, a motor home RV is an excellent choice for a mobile communications station in time of need. If we can drive there, we can be there for at least a week without being resupplied. And with the solar panels and the wind generator, my radios can operate much longer than I can without being resupplied. I am the main limiting factor in that equation.

Enjoy, and ARL SIXTY TWO CHRISTMAS;

Ralph, N7KGA/M
Latte Land, Washington
1987 Winnebago Elandan WCP31RT,
restored, upgraded, and modified
 
Posts: 49 | Location: Latté Land, Washington  | Member Since: 12-03-2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
kenwood TS-480SAT with the VGS-1 Speech Synthesizer


http://hamstation.com/shopping...info&products_id=150


_________________________

The 82 MCC {by Barth}
is not an rv--
it is a Motor Coach!!

 
Posts: 2057 | Location: Nova Scotia | Member Since: 12-08-2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Good morning, Doug Smiley;

OK. I am not sure what you are implying in your message to this forum.

In following the link you provided, it leads mainly to a specification listing of the Kenwood TS-480SAT mingled in with a somewhat confusing addition of some of the specifications for the higher power TS-480HX version, which is best described as the same radio with the built-in antenna tuner removed, and a second 100 Watt transmitter amplifier section with its own separate power supply cable also, installed in that space inside the case where the antenna tuner was located. The VGS-1 Speech Synthesizer is an optional part, yes, and I did include the specific reference to it and its part or model designation when I was talking about how well suited for mobile operation this particular ham radio really is with it installed. I do not think that I implied that the VGS-1 automatically was included as a standard part of either the TS-480SAT or the higher power 200 Watt TS-480HX version. If that were the case, then I would not have bothered to give the model designation and description of the Speech Synthesizer.

And I normally do not suggest the 200 Watt Kenwood TS-480HX high power version over the standard TS-480SAT with the built-in antenna tuner. With the way that we work with a limited power source, usually the batteries in the motor home, doubling the current draw from the batteries during transmit for a 3 dB signal increase does not seem to be worth the price, plus you lose the quick QSY capability of the SAT version guilt-in antenna tuner if you move from one end of the band to the other with a mobile antenna, which does become even more important with such things as the simpler but less expensive "Hamstick" type mobile antenna.

Another "optional" part that I recommend with any mobile radio is the high stability and more accurate TCXO main reference oscillator. The main benefit is the wider range of temperature where the accuracy of the radio frequency is guaranteed. Mobile radios will experience a wide range of temperatures during their operation. This accuracy and stability over temperature is very desirable with some of the digital modes on HF where phase modulation is often used. The digital modes are very useful when trying to move a lot of data lists and information where you want to be more sure that the receiving station does get the correct spelling and description or numbers associated with the information being sent. This kind of higher data reliability is a good thing in time of a communication need, such as a natural disaster or other similar calamity where we may be asked to provide communication services.

Enjoy, and 73;

Ralph, N7KGA
Latte Land, Washington
 
Posts: 49 | Location: Latté Land, Washington  | Member Since: 12-03-2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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@ Ralph
Do you know Jonathan @ KK7PW?


"Keep On Truckin"
94 30' Breakaway #3866
5.9 cummins on spartan chassis
 
Posts: 215 | Location: Seattle | Member Since: 04-22-2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Good morning, RainCatcher;

From your Username, it is obvious that you are also in Latte Land.

Yes, I believe that I do know Jonathan, KK7 Papa Whiskers. He is out in West Seattle, and I used to live there also. He is also a member of the WSARC, along with Curt WR7J, and others. But I think that I need to talk with Jonathan a little more. I did not know that Jonathan was associated with Antioch University here. I also went to Antioch College, but that was in Yellow Springs, Ohio. And I must also admit that it was a few years back. And Jonathan and I should also talk a little more about solar and wind power. My portable station and the mobile station in the Winnebago Elandan are operated off alternative energy. If the Seattle Fault or the South Whidbey Island Fault (which passes under the house) move, then we should be able to keep talking. That is nice to know that there will be someone else out there to hear me.

Enjoy;

Ralph, N7KGA
Latte Land, Washington
 
Posts: 49 | Location: Latté Land, Washington  | Member Since: 12-03-2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Jonathan is an old friend and has tried unsuccessfully to get me to become more ham radio literate to no avail.

Cheers,

Mike Broili


"Keep On Truckin"
94 30' Breakaway #3866
5.9 cummins on spartan chassis
 
Posts: 215 | Location: Seattle | Member Since: 04-22-2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Good morning, Mike;

Nice to hear that Johnathon has been doing his best to infect others with this funny disease.

One thing that is not common knowledge is the subject of the former Morse Code requirement. On 2007 February 23, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) dropped the requirement that US citizens demonstrate proficiency with Morse Code as part of the process to get a ham radio license. For many people, that was the main stumbling block to getting a ham radio license. We can still use Morse Code once we have a license, because it is simple and fun, but it is not required.

The testing now for a ham radio license is only a knowledge test of regulations, operating practices, and some facility with basic electrical and electronics information. And the test format itself is the common multiple choice question form. There are classes available that can be taken over a single weekend to prepare for taking the basic or foundational Technician Class license exam.

Information on the classes and the license exams in your area can be found by going to:

www.arrl.org/

If you click on the third blue box from the left across the top of the screen, that will take you to the page for information on Licensing Classes and Testing. Go half-way down the page to just below the large oval ARRL-VEC emblem, and there you will find two boxes for the Classes and Tests. Click on the short blue text part in each box to go to a page with fields to fill in with your city and state, or your ZIP Code, and that will then show you the classes or the tests near you.

And there are so many ways to have fun with ham radio. Has Jonathon provided you with any literature or books containing information on the many different kinds of things that you can do with ham radio?

Enjoy;

Ralph, N7KGA
Latte Land, Washington
 
Posts: 49 | Location: Latté Land, Washington  | Member Since: 12-03-2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
any literature or books containing information on the many different kinds of things that you can do with ham radio?


...and where can one find out more information???


_________________________

The 82 MCC {by Barth}
is not an rv--
it is a Motor Coach!!

 
Posts: 2057 | Location: Nova Scotia | Member Since: 12-08-2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Good morning, Doug;

Two things:

(1.) For the people here in the United States, you can use the same web site or URL given before of:

www.arrl.org/

Go down the page under the four-part changing advertising section to the place labeled "New to Amateur Radio?" and click on the "What is Ham Radio" blue text link. That will answer some questions, but it does not really cover all the things that you can do. I might need to spend some time coming up with such a listing.


(2.) Doug, for you up in Canada, you have the R.A.C. (the Radio Amateurs of Canada) who are at:

www.rac.ca/

Over on the left side is a choice "About Amateur Radio." Click on that one, and it will tell you a little bit about it there, but like the US ham radio group, the A.R.R.L. in Connecticut, there is no really comprehensive listing for all the things you can do with ham radio.


Doug, if you can send to me a Private Message through the BarthMobile system, or an e-mail message using the address listed for me, and provide your regular mailing address (snail mail?), I can send to you some of the older ARRL brochures I have, and the combination of those will give you more of an idea of what can be done with ham radio.

I can say that it ranges from guys doing radio astronomy, talking over satellites, talking underground using radio in caves, using radio with computers and also the Internet for some things (not all things; there are commercial exclusions and some other things), experimentation with radios, antennas, and other equipment, developing power systems using solar, wind, hydro, and other power sources for radio operation, talking literally with people all over the world, bouncing radio signals off the moon (the first woman who did that lives about 15 miles from me), developing modes for digital communication that allow a working communications path in what looks like just noise, and many other technical and fun activities, including trying to talk with people in all the US States, the Cantons of Switzerland, the Prefectures of Japan, all the countries of the world, and other things like that (sort of like stamp collecting but using radio), providing a back-up communications capability for local agencies in time of need (think Hurricane Katrina and earthquakes in California), providing information and co-ordination for large participant sporting events such as the Boston, New York City, and Seattle Marathons (for many years, I was "Water Truck 3" for the Seattle Marathon), and many other things. I did say it would take a while to list the things you can do with ham radio. I am not done yet.

Enjoy;

Ralph, N7KGA
Latte Land, Washington
 
Posts: 49 | Location: Latté Land, Washington  | Member Since: 12-03-2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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