Ham Radio

Friday, August 07, 2009
Toyota RAV-4 Mobile HF - VHF HAM Radio Station
Here is the latest vehicle to house the amateur radio equipment I use whilst working mobile. It follows a long line of previously owned Toyota's as it is my 7th Toyota/ 2cnd RAV-4.

We decided to change from the Estima whilst paying out a fortune in diesel during our recent visit to Cornwall, were loosing a bit of space but gaining more miles to the gallon and these days with things around the World been so tight it seems a good idea. The latest RAV is in very condition and has low mileage with only one previous keeper, it should be good for a couple of years of DXing and touring around. Some of you already know that my journey to work is often undertaken on one of my 4 motorcycles, which I enjoy very much (apart from not being able to play radio on the motor cycle).

The vehicle will be used purely for Ham radio, dog transporting (Dudley likes to travel in style) and holidaying/touring around, not forgetting those freezing cold icy winter days that are a bit dangerous on two wheels.

So as you can imagine, I have had my tools out once again installing the radio equipment and antenna systems into the new Toyota.

I started of with the antenna mounts which would house the HF antennas(maldol mono banders)and also the dual band VHF antenna(Watson 2m/70cm). It is very important to get a good earthing to the vehicle especially for the HF antennas to work properly. To ensure this, I use mounts that grip the vehicle rear door which work by using small grub screws. The Vhf mount is also fixed in the same way, make sure any feeders are secured using plastic cable ties and are routed to avoid the coax from being crushed. See the picture below.The next job was to wire in the power direct from the Toyota's battery, through to the interior via the bulk head enabling a good supply to the Yaseu FT-857. I always double fuse fit the harness conveying the 12-13.8Volt supply as the load drawn from the battery is around 20 amps and could easily start a fire if a short circuit occurred. By placing in line fuse protection close to the battery poles and also close to the equipment/radio the risk of any damage is minimised. I also like to fit some small ferrite chokes on the Yaesu FT-857 power lead and also to the Toyota's engine management system(brain). This can cut down any unwanted noise as well as preventing any RFI entering into the vehicles electrical system.Once the antennas and power feeders were wired in place,the next job was to fit the little FT-857 into the dash board. The location for my personal preference is just below the CD player (which I also installed at the same time)the MIC can be fixed with various brackets which I have yet to do. This picture shows the Yaesu FT-857 fixed in place to the vehicle receiving well.Another view of the Mobile FT-857 installation.The set is working very well as usual, I have already made some nice QSO into Switzerland, Lithuania, Italy and I heard some Middle East stations coming through 5/9+. I am looking forward to many more miles of ham radio mobile operations with this new/second hand vehicle. 73 have a nice weekend.
posted by Simon Davison @ 8:49 am  
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