How to Make Your Ham Radio System Mobile

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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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Instructions

  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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