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Home Mobile DX Rig

Hello!

Vehicle owner here to address some common questions or comments: First, this is an exhibition setup. I remove the HF antennas when I'm in a VHF contest; I remove the Yagis when I'm not in a VHF contest. Here is photo of how the car looks most of the time...

20231119_Farm-02-1920.jpg


Even this image is a tad behind since the car is constantly changing. As I was building and sharing photos with friends, one said, "You HAVE to take at least one ridiculous photo with everything mounted." I did; that's what inspired me to share the exhibition setup at shows. The car was a hit at HamCation last year! It was my first hamvention of any sort in over 20 years. I get decent questions at car shows; but most car nuts don't quite understand what they're seeing or what to ask. HamCation blew me away with awesome interaction.

The photo at the top with the Rohn tower section was an "improvement" that was recommended by an engineer acquaintance. She felt that my original "micro-tower," shown in the second photo, lacked structure. While the Rohn piece certainly has structure and is strong, it's simply too tall for my likes. I experimented with the Rohn tower on a trailer during the VHF contest weekend...

CBBT-Rover-Tower-1920.jpg


It worked and was functional. However, the trailer is VERY difficult to back in the dark. I simply cannot see it or where its wheels are going. Backing is important for a contest rover because of our "grid circling" techniques. Being able to turn around quickly to get across a grid line is beneficial as we pursue points multipliers for working stations from a new grid. So, the trailer saw one contest and will soon see the tower's removal.

I will return to a setup that's very similar to the first photo, but without "all of the antennas," except for exhibitions. ;-) In fact, here's a photo from last June's VHF contest... no loops...

20230611-VHF-Contest_Chincoteague-1920.jpg


The new setup will look very similar to this, but I will cut about 18 inches from the mast to bring the setup down to 10'2", or about 3m. With the 432 MHz Yagi below 40 inches, I may need to relocate the taller verticals and travel without the loops, the 6m loop for sure. I'm using a smaller caphat on my Scorpion these days; so, perhaps it won't be affected by the 432. We'll see when I get it done. Stop by and see me at HamCation to see how it turned out.

Some answers to common questions or comments: The car is street legal. In the US, most roads must allow for a height of 13'6", or 4.1 meters. Any bridge or tunnel that's shorter is clearly marked, often well in advance to give trucks enough warning to find another way around. The thing that gives me the most trouble is TREES. Most highways have plenty of clearance, but those pesky landscaping trees in cities are problematic. They're cute when they're first planted, but grow into the lanes over time. I catch my 6m Moxon at the sides far more often than anything touches from the top. I completely understand why trucks and RVs travel in the center lane when landscaping trees are present.

YES, I am married... 32+ years to this keeper...

XYL-Helper.jpg


She's not licensed, but is willing to help when needed. Here, I had forgotten to ziptie a coil and coax to the new Moxon. UGH! I was trying to decide between tilting the antenna to fix (time-consuming) or whether the rack could support me when she came home from exercise class. "How would you like to learn how to use a ziptie?"

Here's the operating position, obviously setup for STATIONARY use...

Rotator-NewDesk-04-1920.jpg


Here's the equipment space...

20231120_Phase3-Overview-Oblique-1920.jpg


It features a Yaesu FT-857D (VHF SSB), Icom ID-5100, a D-STAR hotspot, Midland GMRS, Yaesu FT-891, Mirage 160W amp for 2m, and Toptek 80W amp for 70cm. The sign is hiding a hold-down nut for the false floor, which opens to reveal the spare tire well.

For power supply, I have a 100-Ah/1280-Wh LiFePo4 battery with a 120-amp BMS. It's charged by an Orion 360-watt DC-DC charger by Victron. The charger also limits current draw from my alternator to just 30A. There's no way for the system to overdraw from the alternator, even if I key everything at once and draw 80+ amps! I'm looking forward to upgrading to Victron's new 50A charger in a few months.

LiFePo4_Overview-07-SQ-1920.jpg


Okay. I think that about covers it. Let me know if you have questions.

R,

Scott
Welcome to the forum, and thanks for stopping in to tell us about your mobile Station.
It's a awesome set-up.
I found the first pictures doing a search on the internet and was impressed by how well it was put together and had to share with the guys here.
Kudos on a sweet ride.
Again, welcome!

73
Jeff
 
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Hello!

Vehicle owner here to address some common questions or comments: First, this is an exhibition setup. I remove the HF antennas when I'm in a VHF contest; I remove the Yagis when I'm not in a VHF contest. Here is photo of how the car looks most of the time...

20231119_Farm-02-1920.jpg


Even this image is a tad behind since the car is constantly changing. As I was building and sharing photos with friends, one said, "You HAVE to take at least one ridiculous photo with everything mounted." I did; that's what inspired me to share the exhibition setup at shows. The car was a hit at HamCation last year! It was my first hamvention of any sort in over 20 years. I get decent questions at car shows; but most car nuts don't quite understand what they're seeing or what to ask. HamCation blew me away with awesome interaction.

The photo at the top with the Rohn tower section was an "improvement" that was recommended by an engineer acquaintance. She felt that my original "micro-tower," shown in the second photo, lacked structure. While the Rohn piece certainly has structure and is strong, it's simply too tall for my likes. I experimented with the Rohn tower on a trailer during the VHF contest weekend...

CBBT-Rover-Tower-1920.jpg


It worked and was functional. However, the trailer is VERY difficult to back in the dark. I simply cannot see it or where its wheels are going. Backing is important for a contest rover because of our "grid circling" techniques. Being able to turn around quickly to get across a grid line is beneficial as we pursue points multipliers for working stations from a new grid. So, the trailer saw one contest and will soon see the tower's removal.

I will return to a setup that's very similar to the first photo, but without "all of the antennas," except for exhibitions. ;-) In fact, here's a photo from last June's VHF contest... no loops...

20230611-VHF-Contest_Chincoteague-1920.jpg


The new setup will look very similar to this, but I will cut about 18 inches from the mast to bring the setup down to 10'2", or about 3m. With the 432 MHz Yagi below 40 inches, I may need to relocate the taller verticals and travel without the loops, the 6m loop for sure. I'm using a smaller caphat on my Scorpion these days; so, perhaps it won't be affected by the 432. We'll see when I get it done. Stop by and see me at HamCation to see how it turned out.

Some answers to common questions or comments: The car is street legal. In the US, most roads must allow for a height of 13'6", or 4.1 meters. Any bridge or tunnel that's shorter is clearly marked, often well in advance to give trucks enough warning to find another way around. The thing that gives me the most trouble is TREES. Most highways have plenty of clearance, but those pesky landscaping trees in cities are problematic. They're cute when they're first planted, but grow into the lanes over time. I catch my 6m Moxon at the sides far more often than anything touches from the top. I completely understand why trucks and RVs travel in the center lane when landscaping trees are present.

YES, I am married... 32+ years to this keeper...

XYL-Helper.jpg


She's not licensed, but is willing to help when needed. Here, I had forgotten to ziptie a coil and coax to the new Moxon. UGH! I was trying to decide between tilting the antenna to fix (time-consuming) or whether the rack could support me when she came home from exercise class. "How would you like to learn how to use a ziptie?"

Here's the operating position, obviously setup for STATIONARY use...

Rotator-NewDesk-04-1920.jpg


Here's the equipment space...

20231120_Phase3-Overview-Oblique-1920.jpg


It features a Yaesu FT-857D (VHF SSB), Icom ID-5100, a D-STAR hotspot, Midland GMRS, Yaesu FT-891, Mirage 160W amp for 2m, and Toptek 80W amp for 70cm. The sign is hiding a hold-down nut for the false floor, which opens to reveal the spare tire well.

For power supply, I have a 100-Ah/1280-Wh LiFePo4 battery with a 120-amp BMS. It's charged by an Orion 360-watt DC-DC charger by Victron. The charger also limits current draw from my alternator to just 30A. There's no way for the system to overdraw from the alternator, even if I key everything at once and draw 80+ amps! I'm looking forward to upgrading to Victron's new 50A charger in a few months.

LiFePo4_Overview-07-SQ-1920.jpg


Okay. I think that about covers it. Let me know if you have questions.

R,

Scott
Very impressive!

I do a lot of mobile HF myself being a truck driver and gone from home a lot. My set is rather simple but effective. My only secret weapon is replacing the stock screwdriver antenna whip when I'm parked with a telescoping 17ft whip for increased efficiency from 20 meters down to 80. I do get a few looks from passer-byes but nothing like you do!

That is very clean and well organized install of components and wiring in the vehicle and trunk.

I did question the weight impact to the vehicle roof when I first saw this with all your antennas on but I just read here where you say that's your "ridiculous photo". LOL!

My only question would be, was most of this all thought up and designed to be installed at one time or was it and is it an on-going project?

Thanks for stopping by here and maybe we"ll cross paths on the air!

73
 
Hello!

Vehicle owner here to address some common questions or comments: First, this is an exhibition setup. I remove the HF antennas when I'm in a VHF contest; I remove the Yagis when I'm not in a VHF contest. Here is photo of how the car looks most of the time...

20231119_Farm-02-1920.jpg


Even this image is a tad behind since the car is constantly changing. As I was building and sharing photos with friends, one said, "You HAVE to take at least one ridiculous photo with everything mounted." I did; that's what inspired me to share the exhibition setup at shows. The car was a hit at HamCation last year! It was my first hamvention of any sort in over 20 years. I get decent questions at car shows; but most car nuts don't quite understand what they're seeing or what to ask. HamCation blew me away with awesome interaction.

The photo at the top with the Rohn tower section was an "improvement" that was recommended by an engineer acquaintance. She felt that my original "micro-tower," shown in the second photo, lacked structure. While the Rohn piece certainly has structure and is strong, it's simply too tall for my likes. I experimented with the Rohn tower on a trailer during the VHF contest weekend...

CBBT-Rover-Tower-1920.jpg


It worked and was functional. However, the trailer is VERY difficult to back in the dark. I simply cannot see it or where its wheels are going. Backing is important for a contest rover because of our "grid circling" techniques. Being able to turn around quickly to get across a grid line is beneficial as we pursue points multipliers for working stations from a new grid. So, the trailer saw one contest and will soon see the tower's removal.

I will return to a setup that's very similar to the first photo, but without "all of the antennas," except for exhibitions. ;-) In fact, here's a photo from last June's VHF contest... no loops...

20230611-VHF-Contest_Chincoteague-1920.jpg


The new setup will look very similar to this, but I will cut about 18 inches from the mast to bring the setup down to 10'2", or about 3m. With the 432 MHz Yagi below 40 inches, I may need to relocate the taller verticals and travel without the loops, the 6m loop for sure. I'm using a smaller caphat on my Scorpion these days; so, perhaps it won't be affected by the 432. We'll see when I get it done. Stop by and see me at HamCation to see how it turned out.

Some answers to common questions or comments: The car is street legal. In the US, most roads must allow for a height of 13'6", or 4.1 meters. Any bridge or tunnel that's shorter is clearly marked, often well in advance to give trucks enough warning to find another way around. The thing that gives me the most trouble is TREES. Most highways have plenty of clearance, but those pesky landscaping trees in cities are problematic. They're cute when they're first planted, but grow into the lanes over time. I catch my 6m Moxon at the sides far more often than anything touches from the top. I completely understand why trucks and RVs travel in the center lane when landscaping trees are present.

YES, I am married... 32+ years to this keeper...

XYL-Helper.jpg


She's not licensed, but is willing to help when needed. Here, I had forgotten to ziptie a coil and coax to the new Moxon. UGH! I was trying to decide between tilting the antenna to fix (time-consuming) or whether the rack could support me when she came home from exercise class. "How would you like to learn how to use a ziptie?"

Here's the operating position, obviously setup for STATIONARY use...

Rotator-NewDesk-04-1920.jpg


Here's the equipment space...

20231120_Phase3-Overview-Oblique-1920.jpg


It features a Yaesu FT-857D (VHF SSB), Icom ID-5100, a D-STAR hotspot, Midland GMRS, Yaesu FT-891, Mirage 160W amp for 2m, and Toptek 80W amp for 70cm. The sign is hiding a hold-down nut for the false floor, which opens to reveal the spare tire well.

For power supply, I have a 100-Ah/1280-Wh LiFePo4 battery with a 120-amp BMS. It's charged by an Orion 360-watt DC-DC charger by Victron. The charger also limits current draw from my alternator to just 30A. There's no way for the system to overdraw from the alternator, even if I key everything at once and draw 80+ amps! I'm looking forward to upgrading to Victron's new 50A charger in a few months.

LiFePo4_Overview-07-SQ-1920.jpg


Okay. I think that about covers it. Let me know if you have questions.

R,

Scott
Welcome!
Please disregard my crack about the tower section, I first thought it was a joke. We have all seen the mobile with 100 radios mounted in it..... Your setup is clean and well thought out, a true testament to your passion. I think one of the best things about the radio hobby is figuring out what you want to do and how to do it. I am looking forward to seeing your adventures.
Chris
 
Now that I have a little more time, let me address some specific comments:

Have to stay out of the drive thru ATM's for sure...
My clearance is 8'4" or 2.5m without the tower mounted. I can fit through most of my favorite drive-thrus at that height.

Makes me feel that my addiction isn't so bad after all :ROFLMAO:
HAHA! There's always someone who has it worse. Look up K2EZ and KF2MR for examples. Both are 10 bands or more. K2EZ is full-time with her setup; Jarred is at least sane enough to remove his equipment after each contest. :)

I bet that thing makes a racket run down the road.
It's really not that bad. I also have a rooftop cargo box. IMO, the antennas aren't any noisier than the box. In fact, one of my loudest offenders turned out to be the factory mast on my newer WeBoost cellular signal booster. I removed the mast since I don't have large cargo on the roof and the noise vanished.

Good Grief. Going through the car wash could be an expensive proposition LOL!

And where the heck is the 108 inch whip ?!?!
I hand wash only; not only because of the antennas, but because of the ceramic coating. As for the 108" whip, the caphat is electrically longer. :cool:

Not exactly a daily driver. Nice VHF/UHF Rover station however.
I can drive it every day. Sometimes, the weather immediately before or after an event is unpleasant; so, I setup or teardown days or more outside of my actual need. When I first built it, I went through weeks of road-going noise testing while checking for interference and detuning. I went through several layouts before I settled on my current configuration.

I like the 4ft hunk of tower in the first picture. I am going to put one on my truck.

:rolleyes:
The tower section is 38" tall. I suspect it would work well in the bed of a pick-up truck. ;-)

Welcome to the forum, and thanks for stopping in to tell us about your mobile Station.
It's a awesome set-up... Kudos on a sweet ride.
Thanks! I appreciate that!

Very impressive! My only question would be, was most of this all thought up and designed to be installed at one time or was it and is it an on-going project?
A little of both. I had a vision, but not a wallet that was large enough to support it! HAHA! I built everything in stages and rearranged things as testing dictated. This link with the search word "Phase" shows my videos that covered my overhaul in "phases." Have a look, if you're interested: https://www.youtube.com/@StealthGTI/search?query=phase

Welcome!
Please disregard my crack about the tower section... Your setup is clean and well thought out, a true testament to your passion.
No worries! I appreciate your comments. I recently said on the radio, "If ham radio is an artform, then I guess I'm an artist. With art comes critics. Some critics love my work; some think it's garbage." HAHA! What I love is the statements from the theoretical experts who proclaim that there's no way it can work. Yes, more space between the antennas would be better, but that's not possible in a mobile platform. So, we go with the less-than-ideal setup. Guess what? Propagation is a magical thing that allows my "never-going-to-work" VHF+ setup to reach out hundreds or thousands of miles when conditions are good. Contact is contact. :cool:

Cheers!
 
WHAT! No 102 inch whip!
The hitch mounted Scorpion with caphat is electrically longer. :p BTW, here's the replacement tower and setup, as driven to HamCation and back a few weeks ago...

RearQuarter-Minus4-1920.jpg


2024-Tower-POQ-02-1920.jpg


Average fuel economy was 25 mpg. My latest YT video describes this setup. I'm taking a compact setup to RARSfest (Raleigh, NC) and on to Texas in April. I used a variation of this setup during CQ's Worldwide VHF contest last year...

2024-Compact-Tower-01-1920.jpg


A convenient side effect of having Moxons instead of Yagis is that I can rotate them and travel with them pointing sideways without them overhanging at the sides...

2024-Compact-Tower-03-169-1920.jpg


I'll evaluate fuel economy during the Raleigh trip. For now, I'll shoot a video about it and then remove the tower until April.
 
HAHA!

@StealthGTI You my friend are a radio nut, meant in the most complimentary way. Great job! No conflicts or problems with the car electronics?
No offense taken! I'm quite surprised to be able to report zero conflicts or problems with the car's electronics. I do get a little bit of motor noise from the Scorpion motor when it drives, as well as some noise from the voltage inverter. But none of that is native to the car. Fuel pumps, spark plugs, various computers, and the other usual suspects appear to be silent. Either my car is great, I did something right, or I'm just lucky! ;)

Lots of good info, and explanations. One question popped into my head regarding a persons account. After 3 days he is a Sr. Member? has membership dropped recently. No nasty intent, just curious.

I spotted that, too. If it's time-based, I've been here for just over a month and may have gotten promoted. It's possible that "Sr. Member" is not really that "senior" at all. Or perhaps I'm awesome! :p
 
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