Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Going places in the truck

So this post isn't about actually about going anywhere, instead it is about the direction that I want to go with the radios in my truck.  If you look at some older posts here you will see that I have tried a few things in the past, but I think that I am finally figuring out what I want to get in the way of radio gear in the truck.

So let's start at my current position.  Right now the only rig that I have in the truck is a Kenwood TM-710a dual-band 2m/70cm analog radio with APRS support built in:

This is an awesome radio with great receive and a lot of features.  Just like the picture above, I keep the left side tuned for APRS and use the right side for chatting/scanning.  I hope to add a Green Light Labs GPS in the near future, at which point I will enable beaconing, but it is a lot of fun watching the stations near me pop up on the screen and exchanging text messages with them.

Moving on, the next radio that I would like to add is the Kenwood TS-480SAT to get HF back in the truck.

I used to have an Icom 706MkII in there and discovered that I need at do a lot of work to get the truck RF quiet, which will be another post of series of posts.  But that doesn't change the fact that I miss having HF in there, especially on longer trips.  I want to couple this radio to a Tarheel 100A-HP antenna.

The Tarheel covers 80m through 10m without me having to get out and change a resonator tip or move a wander lead around.  I would like to either find an electronic auto tuner that enables the tune button on the 480SAT, or build one myself.  That would enable one-touch-tuning of the antenna for any band.

The next thing that I would like to add is the Icom IC-2820H to get me the ability to access 2m/70cm digital modes (D-STAR).

I'm starting to see more and more repeaters go digital and would like to be able to access them.  Plus I've been reading about a lot of fun stuff that can be done with PC integration in the D-STAR world and want to be able to play around.

Still in the D-STAR world, I would also like to add the Icom ID-1 radio.

This radio lives in the 1.2GHZ digital world, and also has the ability to do 128k data connection, which means internet access when there is a repeater that supports it near by.  You can also do 128k data simplex between two radios which opens all sorts of fun and interesting possibilities, especially for EmComm work.

Okay, still with me?

I have a few more things that I would like to add also.  One of them is a Cisco 1232AG 802.11 wireless access point.

And of course, even an AP needs an antenna, so I was thinking of getting one of the antenna below to resonate the 2.5GHz/5GHz microwaves from the AP.  If I added a high quality switch to flip the antenna between the AP and my laptop/mobile PC, I would also be able to war-drive nicely.  I could then tie in the GPS and plot open access points as I drive along, but that is a subject for another post.

An AP would let me access the data capabilities of the ID-1 from my laptop anywhere near the truck!  Of course, this AP doesn't run on 12V, so I would need a DC-DC regulator to get from 12V to the required 48V at 300mA.  I've seen several on-line, like the one below, but I think that I would prefer to build one.

So anyhow, after all of that, and about three or four thousand dollars, I would have comm gear in the truck that spans the spectrum from 3.5MHz to 5GHz.  Not quite DC to Daylight, but not bad for a civilian pick-up owned by a hobbyist.  Maybe in a future post I'll do up a Visio diagram of how it will all fit under the backseat and how the cables will route.  Then I can dream in earnest...  The plan will be all set and all that prevents its execution is, well, ya know... Money.  ;-)

With all that I will bring this lengthy post to a close.  I've been participating in the Kenwood TS-590 net on 7.235MHz as I write this.  Lotsa static, but a great net, so if you have a '590 come over on Wednesday nights at 0100z.


Richard, KK4JDO