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Photos and build details throughout bio page...

Hi, this is Craig, KC1ELZ. I was a long time user of 11 meter sideband. I finally needed a change of scenery & bandwidth. Years ago, I looked at the Tech manual and tried CW. I never was able to 'get' the rhythm of CW. That remained a stumbling block, until they dropped the CW requirement. But, life intervened and I didn't think about ham radio for a few years. But, in 2015, I got "the bug". I picked up the manuals, and studied until I, finally, tested & passed Tech and General, September 2015. Then, I completed my study barrage by testing & passing Amateur Extra, June 2016. Now, that testing is done, it's time to apply that knowledge to the practical.

Over the Winter of 2015-2016, I worked on my design and build strategy for my present mobile setup. If you care to, my design and build process videos can be viewed on YouTube via either of these links: https://www.google.com/#q=up+the+constitution+hf+mobile+2010+santa+fe+video+1

I took my new mobile setup live and fully operational on May 6, 2016. Many thanks to all who helped me get on the air on HF, VHF, and UHF, by providing theoretical, Elmering, professional, and practical assistance. Special thanks to: Alan (K0BG), for his extensive online resources and personal comments; Steve (N0TES), for his ongoing interest in his customers & products; Mike, at Miscellaneous Steel & Rail, for his assistance welding one of my 304 stainless brackets, Riverside Machine, for welding the other 304 SS bracket. A big thanks to Marcus Communications for a meticulous, diligent job on the final internal wiring, connecting and testing all components. Thanks also to KA0NEB, KA1KNW, N1EBQ, & NE6R for all their thoughts, comments, support, and kibitzing. Many thanks to radio clubs and groups that help would-be hams to find classroom and testing locations, such as the ARRL, the BEARS of Manchester, CT (that got me tested for my Tech and General tickets), and the Eastern CT Amateur Radio Club (that tested me in Brooklyn, CT, for Extra). Kudos to all of you.

My mobile is comprised of 2010 Santa Fe, Yaesu FT100D HF/VHF/UHF radio, LDG YT100 tuner, Alpha MOTO multiband/mobile antenna, Larsen 2/70 antenna, and two Diamond K9000 antenna actuators, plus various support buttons, switches, bonding, etc, including a RigRunner distribution block and an MFJ-819 wattmeter. Please feel free to consult my log to see my QSOs and QSLs**, so you can get a sense of what I have been up to as I travel around or sit in my driveway. I also have an Alpha Milstick folding 13' antenna. I have the 'milstick' on rare occasion when parked to gain that little bit of advantage offered by its extra length. So far (as of 2017-09-28), it has been helpful on 6-40m.

ARRL Field Day 2016 was my first, ever. From that experience, I discovered that my radio niche is more equipment ragchew and conversational DX. I look forward to meeting you on the air.

2016-07-07: See my review of Alpha MOTO mobile-multiband antenna that I posted in two topic areas on eHam.

"She ain't perfect, but she's mine." ...and it's still getting me QSOs & QSLs.

http://www.eham.net/reviews/review/142421

http://www.eham.net/reviews/verreview/10357

UPDATE: 20160725: Photos for this are at the end. Two days ago I built, and used my fishing pole and SpiderWire line to sling and anchor my new 98 foot 1/32" bare multistrand stainless steel random wire "sloper" antenna into my oak trees. I have been getting good results despite spotty propagation, as you can see in my log. QSOs** for 20160723 & 24 are a mix of sloper and Alpha MOTO antenna yields, in my yard and general area, here in the hills of N.E. Connecticut.

God bless you, and 73,

Craig - KC1ELZ

**20161108: Side note about QSLs: I am still getting more hard copy QLSs than QSLs on LOTW, QRZ, or eQSL, for first contacts.

Now for some photos and build details. For more extensive design and build info, please visit my YouTube video link in main bio, above. Thanks for visiting!!

Alpha MOTO mobile/multiband antenna (from Alpha Antenna). I substituted a longer 66 inch Wilson whip for the shorter Alpha whip. The black transmatch (below spring) is the same to which I also attach 98 foot long random wire (shown later). Diamond K9000 actuator raises and lowers antenna with no problems, even sustaining 45-50 mph snow covered branch hits and 85 mph highway driving.

  

Detail of Diamond K9000 actuator.

Below: 304 stainless steel (3/16") homebrew, over-roof, brackets providing solid grounding and ground plane for antennas (anchored to body and to rear roof rack).

  

If you use this style bracket, be sure to note gap clearance requirements and do a cardboard mockup. Actuate door/hatch with prototype in place to be sure that you have sufficient clearance so as to not abraid paint on door/hatch edge. (Electrical tape is for temporary restraint of antenna feedline during build.) I suggest using Cobalt drill bits for 304 stainless.

  

Below: Completed dual mobile HF/VHF/UHF antenna system with dual Diamond K9000 actuators secured to homebrew 304 stainless brackets that put both antennas 24" inboard of all the SUV's outboard vertical planes and well over ground plane mass of vehicle. Antennas up and down. XtremeTape used to wrap and secure feedlines to stainless brackets.

 

    

Note detail bonding straps, below, from antenna anchor points to support/ground brackets. All doors have one bond strap, as do the antennas. Hatch & hood have dual straps near hinge points. Exhaust system is bonded to frame in 5 locations. Five 5 static bleeds (like aircraft static wing bleeds) trail off lower rear of SUV. This a one radio & tuner system (Yaesu FT100D & LDG YT100), on which I use one band at a time. There has been no perceptable interaction between the two antennas. Forward end of HF/6 Alpha MOTO multiband antenna rests on adhesive rub strip mounted forward of sunroof (when antenna is in prone position).

  

 Below: note VHF/UHF antenna tunnel adapter/spacer (left antenna in this view). The adapter was necessary for adapting Larsen 2/70 NMO to K9000 actuator.

Below: initial adapter design for VHF/UHF NMO mount between Larsen 2/70 & K9000 actuator. I ended up cutting head off bolt and welding bolt shank into bottom of tunnel to give more clearance and reduce moisture accumulation.

 

Cabin area: MFJ-819 peak wattmeter for monitor power and SWR, as I find the FT100D metering is hard to read and, as its about a 16 year old radio, the meter may or may not be accurate. Having the wattmeter is also very helpful when switching Alpha transmatch between the whip and my new 98' sloper, as they each have very different RF characteristics. Remote radio head mounted on one bolt floor mount gooseneck. Left of radio are two (red & blue)remote switches for antenna actuators. Mic is hanging on homebrew bracket made from scrap computer harddrive stainless, that is held on gooseneck by hose clamp. Covering for mic wires was splitting with age, so I used XtremeTape to bind and secure that and make built up easement to reduce stress on wires next to mic. One push remote switch for YT100 tuner is located to left of steering wheel and through lower dash, similar location as antenna switches. Note that radio system barely infringes on any critical driver or passenger space. With my 6 foot height there is no significant visual impingement caused by the suction cup mounts on windshield.

 

Rear driver's side: YT100 tuner and remote sensor for MFJ-819 wattmeter. The support bracket is anchored to the body on the side, NOT into the headliner. This high, rearmost, mounting provides a VERY short feedline from the antenna to the tuner. I wrapped all potential friction points with self-curing XtremeTape, wherever it was necessary for any electrical/RF line to cross any hard point in the system.

 

Radio mounted to sidewall in rear. All lines are buried as much as possible, to avoid snagging or abrasion. Note toolbox liner material tucked out of the way, temporarily. Liner material is flat black, with fairly large holes. Use of this discourages visual assessment of equipment from outside the vehicle, and yet provides shading of and airflow around components.

  

Update: 20160728: With better late afternoon light through the trees, yesterday, a more detailed examination let me see, how the whole random wire runs through the tree branches, as follows: about 68 feet of it drops at about 25 degrees off vertical, from the nearest tree branches to my parking spot. From that uppermost bend of the 68 foot slope, the wire goes about 10 feet horizontally. Next, it then drops straight down about 20 feet, and is restrained from sliding out of the branches by the SpiderWire fishing line. AB1WT aptly called this antenna a quasi-inverted-L.

When I originally attached the endfed directly to my SUV's Alpha MOTO multiband transmatch (w/out whip), my RigExpert AA-54 yielded the following random wire readings off the transmatch's tuner-side feedline, but with no tuner connected. Remembering that an infinitely long wire can have a perfect SWR and that readings can change with the weather, yet these readings are an interesting reference point in my antenna experimentation. (This random "inverted L" was shot and draped through the trees without any special consideration for insulation from contact with the trees.)

Full Range: Best RigExpert AA-54 Readings Nearest  Band

Band

Frequency

Return Loss

SWR

160

1.900

9.66 dB

1.98

80

4.060

4.62 dB

3.85

40

7.300

8.17 dB

2.28

20

14.320

10.90 dB

1.80

17

18.100

26.57 dB

1.10

15

21.340

11.24 dB

1.76

12

24.930

9.00 dB

2.10

10

28.900

11.00 dB

1.78

6

53.740

5.87 dB

3.07

After some further experimentation, to expedite portable work with this 'random wire' endfed, I decided to jumper my mobile mounted Alpha transmatch from the still installed mobile whip's spring top, using 27' of speaker wire. Then, I hooked the jumper to the homebrew 98' stainless random (1/32" stainless 7x7 braided) wire antenna. It's really a sloppy inverted L. With the anchor line snugged, there is 50-60' vertical rise from the jumper connection to the upper horizontal leg of the endfed. As you can see from the following photos of the initial direct connection to the coil, my estimated max height is about 60 feet to the horizontal section. Using the jumper, now, the vehicle hookup point is 27 feet from vertical riser. 50-60 feet up, the horizontal portion continues about 30 feet, before the wire drops earthward about 8-18 feet. (I didn't fly up into the trees to measure it exactly.) More detail about jumper follows, shortly.

All said, I'd say that was a pretty good first cast with a light fishing pole, using ten 1/4-20 nuts on the end of SpiderWire fishing line. The SpiderWire is VERY tough fabric braid line, and almost totally invisible in this application. Despite the 1/32" antenna wire being shiny stainless steel, it is relatively hard to see, depending on lighting conditions and angle, if you don't know what to look for.

    

Photo, below, shows experimental electrical grounding from vehical bleed straps to ground rod, to minimize static buildup on antenna system and vehicle. Since initial testing I have opted to leave out such grounding, as I do not operate connected to the endfed during storms.

20160730 Update: The following photos show my 'lazy-ham' jumper method of connecting my SUV to my 98' random wire antenna mentioned above. This 'lazy-ham' method provides a quick connect/disconnect with my random wire antenna while it hangs from the trees and is secured to the laurel bushes at the edge of my yard. I came up with this so that I could quickly begin/end access between my random wire and SUV's HF multiband antenna, whether during inclement weather or at night. This takes less that a minute to connect or disconnect, AND I do NOT have to move or adust the main 'inverted L sloper' antenna itself, or its anchoring SpiderWire fishing line. I was prompted to do this because we get some good propagation in these hills after sundown, but the SpiderWire is impossible to see in the dark. With this 'lazy-ham' method there is no fiddling with nuts, bolts, or anything besides quickly clipping or unclipping the jumper jaws to the ferrules on the random wire antenna and the Alpha MOTO. This saves time and aggravation, AND, this is a MUCH safer way to quickly switch from full mobile operation to quasi/semi-portable in bad weather or at night. I tested the 'lazy-ham' jumper with my SUV and sloper98, today, z20160730, between z20:11-z20:39. One QSO reported me as 59+ to the Midwest, despite his concurrent report that propagation was bad. This is a calculated 27' jumper, based on Ham Universe Random Wire charting. When added to my 98' sloper, that 27' addition brings my total wire length to 125 feet, which is NOT one of the 'do not use' wire lengths for random wire antennas. My LDG YT100 tuner has had no difficulty tuning either the 98 or the 125 feet of wire on any HF band that I've talked. I've had no interest in using 30 or 60 meters, so far, and have not tried those bands. However, to date, I have QSOd all the other HF bands and 6 meters, except for 160. Just haven't roped that one, yet...

Following my experiments with the 1/32" SS wire endfeds in the trees, I also adapted my HF side mobile bracket for use as portable with the 13 foot high Alpha Milstick folding aluminum antenna as you can see in my YouTube videos 11 and 12: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRj92DODEPI. That adaptation has worked quite well as a portable addendum, but the vehicle must NOT be driven while that 13 foot addition is mounted on the vehicle.

Update: 2017-09-28: Another variant, of my endfed 98' inverted L antennas, is that I installed a 9:1 unun between my first 98' inverted L and the 46' horizontal leg that I installed 8' over ground for last winter's operations. This 98' active element coupled via 9:1 unun to the 46' horizontal 8' over ground has garnered some QSOs and QSLs this summer, despite the generally poor conditions whenever I've gotten on the air. I use my various antennas at inconsistent times, and I haven't looked for any performance patterns, besides that R, X, and Z are acceptable to the FT100D and LDG YT100, on the various bands that I've worked.

IF, despite all the usual excitement and rewards of ham radio, there seems to be a persistent or lingering emptiness in life (like a bad propagation day with no local or DX chatter), may I invite you to investigate the greatest DX event of all time, through the following links, to find the peace and joy that passes all understanding in Jesus Christ:

http://www.godssimpleplan.org/gsps.html

 

http://aprayernotebook.net/access/TBC/BLRowley/messages/most_astounding_claims_ever_made.htm

 

8356854 Last modified: 2017-09-28 19:21:20, 24089 bytes

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