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My car is my shack but in my case I am "portable", not "mobile" because I cannot operate while driving.  I do not have a large mobile antenna attached to my car and have to park the car to attach an antenna, usually a wire OCF. I really enjoy CW and that is a good thing because I sure need the practice. LateIy I have been using a Nye/Viking paddle but do have one of those touch paddles and a straight key as well.  I never use the straight key so do not qualify as an SKCC contact.....don't ask.

My little Yaesu FT-817 will do just about every mode known to man, but mostly I operate CW with a little SSB thrown in when I need to practice talking. Maybe I will try some of the digital stuff one day. The FT-817 is not connected to the car's electrical system, it is powered by a 12 volt sealed lead acid, 19AHr battery. Another 4AHr SLA battery gives power to a little Chinese born amplifier that turns the 5 Watts into 75 watts when the bands do not cooperate.

While parked in our yard the rigs are connected to a permanent 134 foot long OCF dipole antenna (coax fed Windom) running north & south 45 feet up between 2 big fir trees. That works all bands except 15M.  If away from home, I use a portable OCF (about 60 feet long) that can be thrown over a tree branch or other support.

Two coax cables run forward from the glove box, through the fire wall so it only takes a couple of minutes to hook up to an antenna. The FT-817 has two chassis antenna connectors selected by an internal switch through the cursed menu system.

Lately (May 2016), due to Solar activity 5 watts is often not enough so a Yaesu FT-450 was added to the glove box about a year ago. Now I can use up to 100 Watts if necessary, especially for QSO's to Japan. The FT-450 is connected directly to the car Battery. At home I usually hook the shore power up and a smart charger just to make sure the batteries keep working.

The FT-817 is easily removed from the car and back packed if neccesary. I prefer to use the FT-817 when conditions allow as it is a much better rig. When back packing the 4AHr battery is used rather than the lnternal 9.6 V ni-MH battery but if the SLA expires the little FT-817 automatically switches over to the internal battery with lots of time to change QSO plans. The SLA batteries can be also be charged while driving the car.

The next move is to install the laptop.

Email address: parleea@gmail.com


I have had this Heathkit HW-8 since the late 80's but now it is the back up rig. It only puts out 2.5 watts but that is plenty for the 80M nets like BCEN (3752 mhz) here in BC and the WCN (3540 mhz) down in WA.  Nice little rig but getting old like me so it sleeps a lot in the back seat.

Close up of the amplifier face. The switch labeling is a little confusing. With 10 watts  I am supposed to get 150W out but the FT-817 only puts out 5W so I never go over 75 watts out. With the FT-450 I go all the way up to 80 or 85 which seems to be enough. DX is not my thing but if it stumbles on me I will talk to it.

There are three batterries to look after so I made a little control panel.  The 3 little red momentary on switches show the voltage of each battery, the button being pressed in the lower pic indicates the 4AHr SLA that runs the FT-817 is at 12.7V, it usually cycles manually from 12 to 13.3V. Next button is the 19AHr that runs the AMP and the 3rd button being pressed in the top pic is the car battery that runs the FT-450. The bigger switch is selected right to charge the 19 Amp battery.  The middle position is off and the left position charges the 4 Amp battery. The 3 little toggle switches select power off/on for the FT-817, the Amp and Cigar lighters. Cigar lighters run GPS, laptop and other toys.​​ The FT-817 has an internal 11V nicad that can be charged by turning the 817 power off at the face and selecting the small toggle to on.  The voltage of the nicad is indicated on the radio dial.

Here is the whole station sitting in the glove box.  My trusty old Radio Shack clock that tells the time, temperature and date, to the right is the faithful little MFJ antenna tuner that gets the Off Centre Fed dipole SWR down enough for the FT-817 auto tuner to finish the job.  Next, way over to the left is the Chinese amplifier and to the right of that is the beautiful little FT-817 and then the radio selector switch with the big ugly FT-450 on the bottom.

This is the old paddle that I manipulate with my left foot to butcher CW.  The odd time it decides I am finally doing it right so it sticks and sends out nothing but dots.

This is my $1 desk that I found at a garage sale.  It is one of those old 1960's TV dinner trays with a big bean bag on the bottom so it will sit on your knee.  Just the right size and it has an analog clock built in with a place to store pencils and pens and the whole top is hinged so you can store some paper and maybe the salt and pepper. All in all, I would describe the shack as "cramped" but functional. I am finally adding the computer and that is maybe the straw that breaks the camel's back but I have just done an update to my QRZ page here in the car.







































7367335 Last modified: 2016-06-07 19:36:19, 8465 bytes

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