Station here is mobile

Something in radio terms I’ve personally found fun is operating mobile (or at least static mobile..., 'portable from the car'...,) you know!

When I first (finally) obtained my amateur license in 2005 it was the only way I could really get on air as at the time I lived in a flat in Plymouth with no prospect of setting up aerials. So the Mercedes E220 became my mobile shack being set up for VHF with the FT480r and HF with the FT747GX using AMPRO aerials for 20m, 17m and 40m with a fair amount of success as well as 80m (less successful mobile). Occasional 10m operation was fun when conditions were good enough with an old CB aerial, (a Les Wallen ‘Modulator’). Living near Dartmoor at the time offered some good locations to play radio including Roborough Down, ‘the duck pond’ (on the Princetown road above Yelverton) and just above Ashburton (pics below in this case using a 'silver rod' ground mounted on a spike and lashed to the car tow hitch for HF operation on 20m and 17m with the FT707). Fortunately I had the forethought to take some photos at the time as very often these things are lost to time!!

The move to the cottage at Rozel in Jersey meant being able to erect a limited array of aerials but mobile operation was still fun though mainly on VHF with the locals or the short hop (!?) back into the UK from the Mercedes A140. In fact from the north coast of Jersey I regularly could work mobile through the Dorchester and Torquay 2m repeaters, just occasionally through GB3PL near Callington (when the wind was in the right direction!!).

Getting a Yaesu FTM-10r and the FT857d in the car made things a little more accessible when operating mobile and whilst it’s not a regular occurrence these days it’s nice to have the equipment available for those odd occasions when time permits. Also the 857 is a superb bit of kit giving consistently good results on both HF and VHF when mobile. The FTM-10r is superb having a bluetooth headset (see separate page).

Sirio Performer 5000 for 28MHz is the newest acquisition for 10m mobile operation (though is a CB antenna of course but it is fairly broad banded); costing a bit more than an Ampro for 28MHz but is one of the better antennas available by various accounts. I looked for a 6’ Avanti Moonraker mobile but they’ve not been made for years and the last one I saw advertised was well over £100. Below the 'original' home made mobile mounting bracket fixed to the body of the car at the tailgate opening, its been there since about 2008 and still works well though like 'Triggers broom', its not on its first run of co-ax!! The original Performer was not that easy to tune in for 10m and in actual fact required slight lengthening of the whip (!) so next task is to get a new base extender (3/8 threaded bar) to make up the difference and also raise the loading coil a little more. I was quite taken with the 'trucker' version of the aerial and it sits well on the car particularly taking into account the height of the mounting.

Mid 2019 and I’ve been able to get another Sirio Performer at 1/3 off the normal price (a new gimmicky 'light up' version has come out and appears beloved of Plymouth taxi drivers!!). This is now giving me highly effective 10 m mobile in both the cars! SO239 mount (with DV mount adapter) fixed through the roof and giving a good sturdy mounting! I was going to duplicate the body mount above but never got around to it; this is better in many ways though giving a more even transmission footprint taking the car roof and bodywork into account as a ground plane (though the original corner mount has always worked well for me).

UNDER CONSTRUCTION:

Operating mobile introduces a few specific challenges with set up and operability.

Good aerial mounting - I built a bracket on the back of the A140 years ago for a ‘DV’ base mounting which works better than a mag mount for HF though the mag still works fine for VHF (using a 1/2 wave or Watson 5/8 wave and occasionally the huge old 7/8 wave 2m monobander!), see above.

Radio mounting and positioning

Earthing

Microphone - Watson boom microphone with PTT switch and scanning buttons for properly handsfree on the FT857 and bluetooth remote headset for VHF/UHF on the FTM-10r.