*New Commo On The ATV*
09 JUNE 2003
Since the 4 wheeler is getting a make over I finally got around to reinstalling the 2-meter ham rig this afternoon. I didnít install the HTX-242 due to the large size instead I installed my Icom-28A. Itís installed in the "new to me" box that Skip hooked me up with. I yanked the antenna off the front rack and mounted it on the back. When it was on the front occasionally Iíd hit a bump and itíd ding me in the head. I now need the rack space for other stuff.
The Icom is also modified so I can still use Fire/Ambulance/SAR/Police/Forestry etc freqs. Hey, having expanded capabilities might just come in handy out in the middle of the woods some night. Canít have too much commo.
BeforeÖ. noooo, really?
I was trying to think of how to mount it to the rear rack and have the whip clear the box cover when it opens. Mounting it directly to the rack was quickly ruled out. I have some scrap aluminum plates here I got from Ike. Itís stuff he canít use and it drifts my way, itís great stuff.
Box doesnít even hit the whip when itís open
I bent the aluminum plate to an angle and then drilled it and bolted it where the rack bolts together. After it was bolted I had to do some final tweaking to get the piece sticking off the back level. The plating is fairly thick and really tuff. The tuffer the better.
Then I drilled a hole in the plate for the antenna to mount in.
First things first, I had to run the coax from the inside of the box to the outside. I didnít want a big hole in the box and to stuff a PL-259 connector through would require one. Instead I stuffed the antenna stub through which is only about ľ the size of a PL-259.
Coax is zip tied to the mounting straps
The coax runs across the box and down through the right side and pops out above the fender. I have 16í of coax and I didnít want to cut it cuz 16í is what the antennaís designed for. Itíd be too much of a PITA to retune it on a shorter piece.
Better view of the mounting job
I faked the remainder of the coax underneath the box and above the built in storage hole. I zip tied the heck out of it to ensure it stays there. In the above pic you can see how I mounted the antenna. The zip ties on the plate are to keep it in place so that bushes canít yank it out.
I bolted the mounting bracket to the box and mounted the radio. There is also a cigarette lighter plug.
So, I brought the wires up right behind the radio and hooked Ďem up to the battery and fired it up. Checked the SWR and it was a lot better than I expected it to be. I figured Iíd have to mess with it a lot like I did last time. What a surprise, it was easy. Hereís what I did to lower it.
I cut about Ĺ" off the whip. It was still a little higher than I like. HMMÖ. need more ground plane. OK, think think think pace pace pace think think think, after about 5 minutes I go..HEYÖYEA, thatíll work. I have a bunch of old antenna whips lying around. I took 2 of them and cut Ďem at about 24". I then used 2 electrical ring connectors and soldered one on each whip. Then I drilled at the edge of the aluminum plate and bolted them down.
I used good rugged connectors, not the cheap ones. I tried the cheapos first and they fell apart due to vibration.
The radials stick out at about a 45-degree angle from the back.
Looking at the bottom
The SWR dropped right down. I checked it throughout the band and it is almost perfect. Now, we canít have radials sticking out all the time cuz theyíll get in the way. Theyíre fine if Iím driving with the wheeler but if I need to pack it on a trailer with other wheelers, theyíd take up too much space. SoÖ
They spin around and tuck in above the fenders and are out of the way. The ends fit underneath the box and donít stick out. Couldnít have planned that better if I tried.
I used 1/4 Ė20 bolts with lock washers and wing nuts. Tighten them down and them puppies ainít goiní no where. I added a 7/16 wrench to the tool kit incase I canít loosen the bolts by finger power.
I got the thing working just in time to check into the county ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) net. I checked in as 4 wheeler mobile.
I then mounted a mic clip on the outside of the box so I can have access to it w/o having to open the box. Where the mic comes out of the box I carved some of the edge away so it doesnít crush the cord.
Sometime Iím going to find a good headset and wire that into the radio so I can hear it easily and transmit easily.
This wheeler is going to be awesome when the modifications are done. Itíll be packed and ready to bug out.
I took it out for a ride and the radials bounce around a lot, but never loosened or moved. Cool beans.
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