Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mobile setup

One of the things I noticed early on about 2m is that the majority of the people using it seem to be traveling when they are using it, except for things like nets. After a while, I started to wonder how I could get involved with the same thing. Eventually, I got my set up figured out, and let me explain it here, along with some of my future goals in the matter.
So, my basic set up involves a mag mount antenna running to the roof of my car through a car door, hooked up to an HT. This works surprisingly well, I am almost always able to hit repeaters from 15 miles away, using only 5 W. Furthermore, it is easy to take the HT in to my house and charge it. And the HT seems to have enough battery power to have plenty of conversation for the time I am mobile. This simple set up has allowed me to remain active on 2m, and is generally speaking a more productive time than what I have been doing during my car rides home.

The biggest problem with this set up is running the cable. I've had the cable slammed into many a car door, and it just doesn't work as well as I would hope. Future plans include some sort of a more permanent mount, but this would involve drilling a hole in the roof of the car. I am still looking at some other solutions though. Let me first start with the hole option.

There are several options, but the one that seems the best is the NMO mount. This involves drilling a 3/4 inch hole in roof of the car. K0GB has a great article about various antenna mounts as well. Permanent mounts can be easier to repair the hole in many cases than some of the damage caused by non-permanent mounts.

There are also options where a cable could be run through a door for a special patch cable made just for that purpose. The primary problem with this is that most temporary mounts include an attached cable. Having 2 cables further increases the losses, and having a large amount of cable on the roof of a vehicle isn't a good idea in general.

I recommend that every amateur has a method of at least temporarily having a mobile set up, good for emergencies or mobile contests. They can be a lot of fun! Be careful in mounting it, but it will certainly increase your enjoyment of the hobby!

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