How to Make Your Ham Radio System Mobile

Many ham radio operators carry radios for fun, safety and public service activities. Radios for both VHF and HF frequencies can easily be installed in vehicles.

Things You'll Need

  • Amateur Radio Equipment HF Radios
  • Amateur Radio Equipment HF/VHF Radios
  • Amateur Radios HF/VHF Radios
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  1. HF Operations

    • 1

      Check vehicle owner's manual carefully to make certain installation of a radio transmitter will not adversely affect vehicle operation or void warranty.

    • 2

      Locate mounting area for HF radio, which can be somewhat larger than a VHF radio.

    • 3

      Consider a quick-release mount. Most hams choose not to leave a valuable HF radio in an unsecured vehicle.

    • 4

      Carefully review antenna selection. HF antennas are larger and bulkier than those for VHF.

    • 5

      Ground antenna to metal framework of vehicle.

    VHF Operations

    • 6

      Read your vehicle owner's manual carefully. Vehicle operation or factory warranty may be affected by installation of a radio transmitter.

    • 7

      Decide where in your vehicle you want to mount your radio.

    • 8

      Decide whether you want to wire directly to the vehicle's battery or into the fusing circuitry.

    • 9

      Consider installing a specialized radio, one with a small control head installed in the passenger compartment and the main body in the trunk.

    • 10

      Position radio or control head near driver's seat, allowing for proper clearance on entrance and exit.

    • 11

      Make certain radio or control head does not obscure vehicle controls or gauges.

    • 12

      Choose the type of antenna you prefer.

    • 13

      Install antenna.

Tips & Warnings

  • HF operations are ideal for long trips.

  • Many hams mount HF radios in RVs and motor homes, which allows them to keep in touch with friends while camping.

  • Glass-mount antennas permit postfactory installation without marring a vehicle's finish.

  • Antennas that clamp on edge of trunk can be easily removed and stored when required.

  • Safety is a priority. HF operations take a higher degree of concentration. An experienced ham chooses the proper time and circumstance to operate.

  • Noise levels and signal readability can interfere with solid communications when operating HF mobile.

  • Mobile operations come second. Safe driving is the priority.

  • Some mobile installations may be plagued by electronic noise generated by the vehicle. Filters are available.

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