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New mobile antenna for me.

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Antennas' started by W5LZ, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    I used to do a lot of mobile radio stuff. Mostly on HF, and through several different vehicles. I found that the best antenna I could use was a so called 'Texas BugCatcher' made by Henry Allen. It is/was big, ugly, cumbersome, and not the easiest thing in the world to mount on a vehicle. It also takes time and effort to tune correctly. But, once you did, it worked very, very nicely. For HF mobile operations, I don't know of anything better
    When the 'screwdriver' antennas came out, I thought that was just the neatest thing to ever come along! So, had to try one. This was when there were no commercial versions, all of them were 'home-made'. Used a real-live cordless screw driver's motor, PVC pipe for a coil form, some kind of metal tube large enough to hold everything, and some weird stuff called 'finger-stock' to make contact with the coil. Not exactly 'state of the art' unless you were into finger painting, sort of. It worked. Not exactly 'well', but it worked and you didn't have to stop and change coil taps to change bands/frequencies.
    This was also about the time I got into mobile amplifiers. To say that I abused that screwdriver antenna is very much an under statement. Found that the torroidal impedance matching coil would 'saturate', and just exactly what 'saturation' means in terms of heat. Also what 'too much power' would do to a PVC coil form with too small wire making up the coil. Add all of that stuff to a 102" whip and you wind up with a mobile "inverted 'L' antenna". Not good. You might say I was sort of disappointed with the whole mess and went back to that 'BugCatcher'. 'Swore' I'd never do that again!
    Haven't done any HF mobile in a while, and dreaded the thought of trying to mount the 'BugCatcher' on my truck. Looked around and found that there are several commercially made screwdriver antennas now. "They want WHAT for one'a them @#$ things?", holy _ _ _ _! Ain't no way! I'll stick to 2 meters.
    Well, I lied, sort of. Got me a screwdriver antenna. It got here yesterday. It's something like 27 degrees. It's gonna stay in that shipping tube for a while. Talk about a shipping tube! This thing's about 8 inches in diameter and something close to seven feet long. Half inch cardboard, the solid stuff, not corrugated. End caps put on with philip's screws, wooden end caps by the way. I think there's as much work put into that tube as there is in the antenna. Dang!
    There's also a set procedure for removing things from that tube. Don't even think about doing it some other way, it voids the warranty. I've no idea how others do their shipping so this may be standard, 'normal'. I can say that I've gotten glass thingys shipped in lesser containers, I'm impressd.



    More to follow. Gotta go do some of that four letter word thingy...
    - 'Doc

    If/when I find the camera I'll take pictures.
     
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  2. WX2MIG Still Alive & Well

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    This should morph into quite an interesting thread Doc......:D

    Can't wait to see what comes of this project.......:drool:
     
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  3. mackmobile43 Jock Supporter

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    sounds as if it might double as a mighty fine fishing rod also.:D
     
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  4. SR385 Active Member

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    All that and you didn't even tell us which one you got.
     
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  5. EDUK8TR Administrator

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    Yeah:confused: Which one did ya get:confused: Inquiring HF mobile ops want to know.;) I'll wager its a Scorpion or a Tarheel based on the description of the shipping container.

    73

    Wayne C.
     
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  6. rfoverlord guardian of freedom

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    my HiQ came in a serious tube that you needed a screw driver to remove the end cap. but it was only 5 ft., it could be used for a mortar tube.
    C'mon Doc fes up.
     
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  7. W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    I can see from what's been posted that the shipping container may not be as unusual as I thought. Not exactly common as dirt, but certainly still impressive.
    I also found out that you'd better follow those unpacking instructions. Just happened to have the thing in the bed of the truck at work (imagine forgetting to take it inside at home ;)), and tried to get a look-see at stuff during a break at work. Finally got all them screws out of one end cap and managed to get it off. 'Bumped' it a couple of times as the instructions said. Nothing came out. Aw @#$%, gotta do the other end too? Ran out of break time. RATS! Oh well, when I get home. It never did get above freezing and was dark when I got home, forget it. Maybe today during break time!
    I have also come to the conclusion that my idea for mounting the thing on the lid of the tool box might not be as 'reasonable' as I thought. I figured that is I braced the lid with a couple of plates it ought'a work just fine. (Tool box lid is a double layered thing with foam insulation between the layers. I wonder why you'd insulate a tool box lid?) Came to the conclusion that without some means of support between those layers, it'd just squeeze them together, no real help, right? That foam just isn't gonna provide any useful support. May have a viable alternative, it's kind'a expensive though. Hey, I'm making 'big money', so why not, right? (I got my banker trained! When he sees me coming all I hear is, "I don't wanna know what you want it for, just tell me how much!". He thinks I'm crazy anyway, afraid of what kind'a 'tantrum' I might throw in the bank. :) Hates it when I whine/whimper/and cry! Age is a wonderful thing, lets you get away with a lot of 'stuff'!)
    Still need to do some of that 'pre-installation' stuff, like running a power line for the radio and antenna, plus the control cable and feed line. That will definitely wait till warmer weather... maybe.
    - 'Doc


    Wayne, it comes standard with two whips, a long one and shorter one. That tell you which antenna it is??


    Bit the bullet, dared the adverse weather conditions (froze my butt!), got the thing out of the shipping tube this morning. ... Oh my... I'm not sure I deserve anything this nice... I think I'm gonna cry. If the builder was an apprentice, I'd say he just earned his Master's rank. I don't care if it works or not, it's beautiful... gotta find a towel to wipe all the drool off of it...
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009
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  8. rfoverlord guardian of freedom

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    Still need to do some of that 'pre-installation' stuff, like running a power line for the radio and antenna, plus the control cable and feed line. That will definitely wait till warmer weather... maybe.
    - 'Doc

    Believe me Doc, i understand the the wait till warmer weather thing.



    Wayne, it comes standard with two whips, a long one and shorter one. That tell you which antenna it is??


    I'm going to say it's a "Scorpion":D and i'm figuring it most be good since you let out a few bats when that wallet opened up.:D
     
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  9. W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    I think I may have 'out smarted' my self. I'm going to have to re-think mounting this thing. I planned to mount it on the top of a tool box, but after getting my hands on the antenna, it's weight makes more 'sense' than just reading about it, sort of. Which just means I'm not sure the aluminum box lid would be strong enough to support it, flex too much? Thought about using a couple of 'plates' (top and bottom) on the lid, but since it's 'diamond plate' type stuff, that might complicate things mechanically. I can't weld aluminum so that's not much of an option. I guess I just need to look around a little more for ideas (that's a hint, by the way).
    It makes a lot of sense to have metal 'under' an antenna rather than 'beside' it, that's one of the things that I'm keeping in mind. I may be 'over doing' that, maybe, but it's like one of those 'tunes' you can't quit hearing, you know? I can definitely say that you will never mount one on the roof of a typical car/truck, unless you rebuild the @#$ car/truck's roof! Also have come up with several ideas about a mounting bracket. From as simple as an 'L' shaped thingy for the front of the tool box to a 'wedge' shaped thingy to 'fit' the front of the wheel-well inside the bed. The 'sticking point' is that @#$ tool box, which I really don't want to do without. I think what'll happen is I'll just drill the box lid and not worry about it till it breaks, sort of.
    - 'Doc


    wonder what would happen if I drilled that hole, picked out some of that insulation in there, and filled it back up with 'J.B.Weld'? Shouldn't take more than about a quart. 'Sleeve' the mounting stud so I can get it out later? 'Duck-tape' the bottom of the hole so the 'J.B.Weld' doesn't run out over everything??
     
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  10. Robb Yup

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    Well, that's an interesting problem you have there, Doc. Is it the 'Tarheel' that you've got? Don't know much about mobile HF antennas, except that they aren't very efficient and they are very expensive. So, have you resolved yourself to put a plate inside that box wall to take up the potential space occupied by the insulation? Don't know if doing all that would still create a stable mount.

    How heavy is that bugger? You may have to fabricate a separate plate mount that can be put between the box and the cab. However you end up doing it, it will end up being a compromise to the vehicle. Because, I'm pretty sure that you would want that thang to do all that it is capable of. Keep us posted, this is better than watching TV!
    Got pictures?
     
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  11. W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    If I could get access without messing the lid up completely, I'd try it. The problem is that 'access' thing, just no practical way to do that I think. The lid's about an inch thick. A metal plate to fill that space would be sort of difficult to manage, weight, not to mention drilling holes in it. I think wood would work too, but how to get it in there? I'm gonna quit worrying about it till it gets ridiculously 'bent'. A fairly large washer top and bottom ought'a hold it at least for a while.
    Efficiency at HF is sort of a "forgetaboutit" thing. Even at 10/11 meters you're only talking about a few percent. At 80 thru 20 meters, if the efficiency ever reaches double digits you are very lucky! Not going to happen with the typical screwdriver type antenna, that's what you pay for the convenience with, efficiency. And when you stop and think about it, what do I need with that kind of efficiency anyway? If I get that desperate, I'm in enough trouble anyway.
    Found the camera. Now just have to charge the battery. And remember how to work the @#$ thing. That's the biggest problem with having all these 'toys'... remembering how to use them. Oh well...
    - 'Doc


    (Yeah, I know I haven't said. Wait and see. :))
     
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  12. W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    Intro music: Theme from 'Rocky'.

    Screen brightens from early morning dawn as music gets louder.

    Background: Gorgeous silver (pewter) Silverado pickup with bright light sparkling/flashing from gorgeous silver object on tool box in bed of said gorgeous truck.

    Foreground: Gorgeous owner/installer of said gorgeous silver object on tool box in bed of gorgeous pewter Silverado pickup, standing in proud pose with various hand tools in hand, examining the gorgeous product of his toils.

    Quiet descends as these humbly muttered words heard from above mentioned gorgeous owner of gorgeous silver object on gorgeous truck... "It'll do, for now."

    Pictures to follow... after the @#$ batteries in the camera get charged.
    - 'Doc

    also heard after phone rings; "How the @#$$ can I be interfering with anything, it ain't even hooked up yet!"
     
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  13. rfoverlord guardian of freedom

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    ;) Doc, anyone ever tell you that you are a big tease! just spit it out already. :LOL:
     
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  14. W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
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  15. EDUK8TR Administrator

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    That window guard behind the cab should be considered as a mounting point. I'm sure you could fashion a way for that to work.

    BTW, Me likey antenna!
     
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