HAM antenna mounting - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-14-2013, 02:36 PM   #1
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Name: Mike
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HAM antenna mounting

After all is said and done I will probably take my FT817-D with me and or my FT-7900R. I would be curious if other hams on the forum have mounted any antenna and if you have pictures or issues you have run into. With my shell stripped out now I do have an option to bolster any areas with additional support but don't necessarily want a connection right over my bed head.

thanks
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Old 04-14-2013, 04:18 PM   #2
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If no one answers up, check with Byron Kinnaman, he and his wife Anne are Hams and travel quite a bit with their radios. Anne and Byron's 2013 winter trip
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Old 04-14-2013, 04:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMike A View Post
After all is said and done I will probably take my FT817-D with me and or my FT-7900R. I would be curious if other hams on the forum have mounted any antenna and if you have pictures or issues you have run into. With my shell stripped out now I do have an option to bolster any areas with additional support but don't necessarily want a connection right over my bed head.

thanks
I don't have anything mounted directly to the trailer. I would prefer to keep the versatility to operate from either a picnic table, the tail gate of my truck, or a roll up table I carry with me.

For 2 meter-70 cm, I put a 1/2" water pipe flange on piece of hardwood. The I mounted a J-Pole on a piece of 4' 1/2 water pipe. Added 2 or 3 four foot sections of 1/2 water pipe with couplers. The board is put under one of the stabilizers to with clearance for the vertical pipe. This has worked pretty well for 2 meters.

For HF I carry 3' steel fence posts and a 33' fiberglass telescoping pole along with a 19' fiberglass telescoping pole. The poles are usually carried by kite shops. The poles are budgied to the fence posts which I drive into the ground with a 3lb dead plow hammer. The usually go in pretty easy and come out pretty easy.

For antennas I carry two, both PAR Electronics ENDFEDZ, a 20 meter and 40 meter. These are configured as slopers with one end attached to one of the telescoping poles. The other end is often connected to a convenient handle on the truck cap. Sometimes I'll use the shorter pole for low end and only extend it about 7'. A couple pieces of 25' coax completes the antenna collection

Two radios go with me an FT-8800R mounted in the truck with antenna mounted via a lip mount on the rear door. (Extended cab Dakota). The other, an FT-857D mounted in a home made box that also has a LDG Z100 tuner and a Signal Link digital interface mounted along with power distribution. There's cover like that of a portable sewing machine that goes over the whole thing. The 857D rides behind the drivers seat and usually covered with jackets. I feel that the truck cab is more secure than either the bed under the cap or the trailer.

The 857D and tuner are powered by a 50amp hour gel cell battery that rides in bed of the truck. The battery is charged with a 65Watt Solar panel that does double duty and charges the house battery on my trailer.

I feel this system is pretty versatile. I can also tell you that there's not a lot of 2 meter or 440 activity in many places I've traveled.

I have a Garmin Nuvi GPS that has the data base from ARRL repeater books installed. With a few touches and I can find the closest repeaters and PL tones.

The 8800 is set for one side on 146.520 and the other gets close repeaters. I have my call sign and my wife's call sign along with 146.520 on the spare tire cover on my trailer. In 4 years of travel with close to 10,000 miles per year I have only gotten 6 to 8 calls while traveling.

Here's a couple pictures. One with a Buddie Pole antenna. I have since started using the EndFedz.
The other gives you a idea of the box I carry the 857 in.
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IMG_1016.jpg   DSCN0721.jpg  

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Old 04-14-2013, 07:06 PM   #4
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Very nice. I have the 857 also and the 450D but felt the 817 would do just fine. Appreciate the input. Currently on the car I run individual whips with quik-disconnect but for the last 2 issues of QST I see a new mobile antenna with a built in antenna tuner in the base. Handles 200 pep as I recall. Its a stealth antenna but havent seen any pricing. May consider that. Right now I run mostly JT-65 but would do some SSB and cw on the road. I might just put a simple bulk head feed into one of the ports and run a pig-tail inside case it got nasty outside and nothing to do.
My mom is 87 and lives in Searcy Co, Arkansas. We always go to Mountain Home folk center when I go back and we go listen to the fiddlers and dulcimers. There is an annual dulcimer contest. She gave me her Walnut Creek model from Cedar Creek Duicimers. I just look at it and dont know how to play but it's a beauty.
Gracias
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Old 04-14-2013, 08:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMike A View Post
After all is said and done I will probably take my FT817-D with me and or my FT-7900R. I would be curious if other hams on the forum have mounted any antenna and if you have pictures or issues you have run into. With my shell stripped out now I do have an option to bolster any areas with additional support but don't necessarily want a connection right over my bed head.

thanks
Hi Mike

I have installed a couple of "sockets" on my EggCamper for antennas/antenna supports, one on the tongue jack and the other on the spare tire holder. I used clamps designed for commercial WiFi antennas and made the sockets of short lengths of 1 1/4" gray pvc. The antenna supports are fiberglass fishing poles generically called crappy poles. One is 16' and the other is 20'. The 16' by itself holds a 20m quarter wave vertical and for 40m I use an inverted L configuration with the 16' pole supporting the vertical portion and the 20' pole mounted on the tongue supports the horizontal. This is worked against the trailer frame for ground. If I'm really industrious I throw out a couple of non-resonant counterpoise wires. The system is matched through a MFJ-16010 matching network strapped to the rear bumper through a banana plug. I ran a feedline along the frame and through the floor to a port by the dinette.

The rig in the camper is a Yaesu FT-817 with a SignaLink USB.

In the truck I have a Yaesu FT-857. Vehicle antennas are a roof mounted Larsen for 2/70 and a Hamstick mounted on the grill guard for HF.

The mobile antenna you have been looking at in QST is made by a company in the UAE. They make mostly military, government and heavy industrial communications equipment. They have a US distributer. I sent them an e-mail a while back asking about pricing but haven't received an answer. I'll bet the price will be astronomical.

I've been looking at the Scorpion screwdriver antenna for my next mobile/portable system. You can get a second mount for the camper and move it from tow vehicle to camper in about a minute. Of course there's the part about the $800 price tag I will have to get over. I saw several of them mounted on campers at the Yuma hamfest.
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Old 04-14-2013, 09:30 PM   #6
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My husband has a Tarheel. Not sure if this is the same model or not, but for a mobile antenna, it's impressive. I made a case for it, and he just mounts it at the camp site (doesn't keep it up all the time).
Model 100A-HP
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Old 04-15-2013, 07:28 AM   #7
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Thanks guys I think the overall consensus is that really no one mounts any hardware directly to the shell e.g. a whip. Thats probably a good thing and one less item to break off. I will go ahead and put probably a BNC connector somewhere coming inside via one of the locked door ports and that will be plenty for my power and usage. I'm not into field day any more and more of a rag chewer, but honestly when you get into a campground its more eyeballing then talking on the radio. Save the radio for a rainy day. I carry my portable VX-8DR sometimes, and as Byron also indicated, I rarely rarely hear anyone on 2 mtrs that's why I never mounted that rig. I did run my 857D on my last trip to Seattle though.
My daughter lives in Sherwood. Or so I do get back up that way a couple times a year - perhaps will catch you all at a rally one of these days after I get my reno done.

Heck I might even bring my Dulcimer!!
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Old 04-15-2013, 07:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMike A View Post
Thanks guys I think the overall consensus is that really no one mounts any hardware directly to the shell e.g. a whip. Thats probably a good thing and one less item to break off. I will go ahead and put probably a BNC connector somewhere coming inside via one of the locked door ports and that will be plenty for my power and usage. I'm not into field day any more and more of a rag chewer, but honestly when you get into a campground its more eyeballing then talking on the radio. Save the radio for a rainy day. I carry my portable VX-8DR sometimes, and as Byron also indicated, I rarely rarely hear anyone on 2 mtrs that's why I never mounted that rig. I did run my 857D on my last trip to Seattle though.
My daughter lives in Sherwood. Or so I do get back up that way a couple times a year - perhaps will catch you all at a rally one of these days after I get my reno done.

Heck I might even bring my Dulcimer!!
Let me know the next time you come up this way. I'm in Salem. Sometimes you can catch me on 145.290, no tone. If I know you're coming I'll monitor more closely. The coverage is from just north of Eugene to Portland. To hit the repeater at the edges of coverage you'll need more than 5 watts.

My call sign, AK7EE.
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:10 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
Let me know the next time you come up this way. I'm in Salem. Sometimes you can catch me on 145.290, no tone. If I know you're coming I'll monitor more closely. The coverage is from just north of Eugene to Portland. To hit the repeater at the edges of coverage you'll need more than 5 watts.

My call sign, AK7EE.
Will do - thanks for the invite. I know that route very well
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Old 04-16-2013, 05:50 PM   #10
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Mike wrote: Thanks guys I think the overall consensus is that really no one mounts any hardware directly to the shell e.g. a whip. Thats probably a good thing and one less item to break off.

I agree. The fewer holes in the roof the better. Also remember that the fiberglass roof doesn't provide a ground plane so any antenna you put up there has to be ground independent such as a half-wave end fed or you have to put in a ground plane of copper tape. That's what we had to do for VHF and UHF antennas mounted on fiberglass bodied ambulances.

I have a portable antenna for 2 and 70 that is made of RG-58 that works well. I support it with the fiberglass pole in the socket I posted a picture of earlier. I just ty-wrap it to the pole.

One thing I did consider for my installation is to make everything independent of external guy points or bases by creating mount points on the trailer. Since the mount points are just bolted on they can be removed or modified without leaving any scars.

Mike wrote: I will go ahead and put probably a BNC connector somewhere coming inside via one of the locked door ports and that will be plenty for my power and usage.

Why not put a weatherproof BNC feedthrough low on the body of the trailer near your antenna support point and run coax to your operating location? That's what I did only I used a series N fitting. Weatherproof caps are available for BNC or N.

Mike wrote: I'm not into field day any more and more of a rag chewer, but honestly when you get into a campground its more eyeballing then talking on the radio. Save the radio for a rainy day.

True, you make more eyeball QSOs when you are in a campground but when you are boondocking way back off the beaten path there is usually no one to talk to unless you are on the radio.

Mike wrote: I carry my portable VX-8DR sometimes, and as Byron also indicated, I rarely rarely hear anyone on 2 mtrs that's why I never mounted that rig.

I also carry a VX-8R (not the DR) but mostly for monitoring non-ham frequencies, GPS capabilities and for APRS when on the move.

When I'm not using the VX-8 for other things I've found that making a call every ten minutes or so on .52 will often garner a response especially in the more rural areas. The local hams often monitor it as a sort of intercom frequency. If you really want to have some fun crank the 857 up to the 6m or 2m SSB calling frequency and make a call. It sure makes the miles go by when you tie into an Es opening or a tropo duct.
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:43 PM   #11
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Thanks for the reply Orlen. Yes I had batted back and forth adding an ground plane since I have the ceiling open and cleaned off but the portable will suffice with the internal antenna. I was more or less thinking of a Buddy Pole on the back side of the egg and thats why the feed thru back there. Since I'm only running 5 watts and 10 feet or so of RG214 the BNC will be plenty. MFJ makes a variety of bulkheads or it would be easy to fabricate one myself.
My current goal is to have only the rivets needed for the vent on top. Right now the current egg looks like swiss cheese and I have been FGing every day to get them all patched up. It was 85 today so I like to work in the morning before it gets too danged hot. Being single again requires me to split my time up about 37 ways but keeps me active. Nice to have some commonality in addition to Egg Campers.
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