Aloha smart hams!
Today I made my first dx contacts from my smart rig. I have had a 2 meter Diamond NR72NMO which I mounted to the front pillar opposite the standard radio antenna which works well connected to my Icom 92AD. However, I recently bought a Yaesu 897D and needed to come up with a workable mobile-base solution for HF, as I just could not get out on HF from my home QTH.
I already had a hitch receiver installed for my bike rack, so I had a custom platform fabricated that could be easily removed with one quick-pin. It is a simple straight 2" square tube that extends the width of the car, which, at a glance one would think is just a bumper. However, there are two holes drilled through on each end to attach an upright clamping bracket, about 30" tall. This is attached to the top of the "bumper" with two bolts and wing nuts. This upright has two clamps, also secured with wing nuts, that secure the bottom section of a 40 foot Spyderbeam telescoping pole. An end-fed wire with a matchbox is tied on with rubber bands as the pole is extended. The matchbox is connected by coax to the LDG tuner.
I have also installed a pair of Anderson Powerpole connectors in a chassis mount on an L bracket next to the cigarette lighter to power the rig (with the second pair to power the battery charger for the 897 internal batteries if needed). I drop the tailgate and set up the radio, notepad, etc. on that. The 897 displays operating voltage, so I can easily keep an eye out and avoid draining the battery and being unable to start the car. If I were transmitting heavily, I would probably start the car every couple hours or so to be safe.
Set up is easy- it takes under 10 minutes to attach the vertical clamping bracket, secure the Spyderbeam, secure the wire about every three sections while extending the pole, plug in the power cord, screw the coax connectors on, and set up a folding chair to settle in for a session. Everything fits IN the car for transport, except the "bumper", which I leave on most of the time. I have a second vertical bracket, which I am going to clamp a piece of ABS pipe into, and then use that to hold a large umbrella for shade on the opposite side of the "bumper".
So, today I parked down at the Hawaii Kai boat ramp, about 10 feet from the seawater, and made contacts in Tennessee, Louisiana, Maryland, California, and British Columbia, with good reports from all. Nice.
Sorry, I left my camera at the office, but maybe next weekend I'll take some good pics if anyone is interested.
OK, posted pics today:
John, are you a Ham too?
Found this at SEMA
might be a good way to attach antenna to smart (or trailer)?
Looks like a great setup. You've inspired me!
Do you use a counterpoise of some sort with that antenna?
No, this setup does not need it. It is helpful to be very near the water edge, but I have also had good success inland as well. You can find instructions on how to build the matchbox, or buy direct from our club, at earchi.org