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Thread: Mobile Instead of Base Station

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    New Orleans

    Default Mobile Instead of Base Station

    So, I may get the award for most inactive HAM ever. I've had a license since around 1987 with a little lapse last year when I didn't realize it expired. I started as a Novice in college, and I must have taken another test to get Tech Plus, which didn't require additional Morse Code skill. In those days, Novice required some basic code skill, which was not a problem for me. Regardless, I've done almost nothing with the ticket. I had a Heathkit CW rig in college and a HTX-202 (defunct). That's it. I recently bought an Alinco dual band HT impulsively to try to rekindle some interest. I find that I can easily hit one repeater in my area, but that one has ZERO activity and isn't associated with a club. I don't know why somebody is bothering to pay for it. It would be nice to find some guys who want to use it. The two nearest clubs are about 20 miles away. All that being said, I was thinking the HT purchase wasn't the best all-around decision.

    As far as a base station, my antenna options are limited due to funding and neighborhood rules. I suppose I could get away with a homemade J-Pole in the attic. I think a mobile rig is a better idea, because they have decent power, and I could probably bring it inside with a DC power supply if I decided to put a J Pole in the attic. However, I recently put a dipole up there for shortwave listening, and the results were mediocre.

    Anyway, to cut to the chase, is a mobile setup a valid compromise? I just want to hit some 2M/70CM nets, and I can't afford a base station and good antenna given my other hobbies. I have no problems at all sitting in my vehicle in the driveway for nets. I'd rather not bring the rig inside if I don't have to.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Huntingdon, England

    Default Me too!

    Hi J, I too am pretty inactive. I spent eight years off air because I was spending every waking hour trying to master the pedal steel guitar (!) - still an ongoing thing, but I want to get back on air and am restricted in terms of external antennas. I am trying to put together a loop antenna for multiband use inside the attic, but am looking at /M operation as a way forward.

    Some 25 years ago I had a great time with a /M installation on 10m - I used the rig in the mornings on the way to work, during midday, and in the evenings on the way home. I worked all over the world on a cut-down quarter-wave centre-loaded CB antenna on the gutter. That was fun, and just shows that if conditions are with you, you can do a lot from the car.

    I also used a 5/8 for 2m work through local repeaters - again, with considerable success. The world is your oyster!


  3. #3


    Hello jrmcc999:

    I don't think a mobile setup is a compromise at all for VHF/UHF. Mobility offers a lot more flexibility over a base station and this very nature makes it a lot of fun! Depending on where you live, I wouldn't leave the radio in the car however as it could be stolen. Take a look at Anderson Powerpoles that would make connecting and disconnecting the radio a lot easier.



  4. #4


    Many hams use mobile radios as "base stations" inside their houses. All you need is a good power supply and antenna and you're good to go.

    Here's a picture of my (cluttered) operating station. For 2m/440 operation I use a Yaesu FT-7900R mobile radio. It's the radio in the center that is lit up. To the left of it is a 6 meter FM Alinco mobile radio. My HF rig is at the bottom sitting on the desk. Directly above the FT-7900 is an Alinco 30A power supply that powers all three radios. It has enough capacity that I can listen to all three radios at the same time, but I don't transmit on them simultaneously.

  5. #5


    I agree with k6cpo

    most hams nowadays use mobile rigs as base stations interchangeably. One week you could throw it in your car and then the next week throw it in your office. I would go and buy the set up for mobile... and then buy a few oddball parts and homebrew some base station stuff. That way you can have both and not be in the hole money wise. Homebrewing antennas for base station use is really easy... but homebrewing something that will not fly off your car is a whole other deal.

  6. #6


    I know quite a few guys and gals with mobile rigs that they put in and take out of their cars or trucks and use as base stations and vice versa too.

    One can get pretty creative with stealth antennas too. The antennas don't have to look fancy just hard to notice by casual observers.

    One thought is some radios let you do cross band repeating. I have thought about setting up one in my car on the frequency I want to use and then use a handheld radio to talk through it. But I haven't gotten around to trying it yet.

  7. #7


    Mobile 2m/70cm portable rigs make great base stations. Just need the DC power supply and the base antenna.

    I have a portable in my truck and the same one in my house. I did not want to keep changing it out and funds allowed me to have two.

    Sent from my SM-G935P using Tapatalk

  8. #8


    Most of the better specified mobiles make fine base stations nowadays, so worth a punt - and I'm dazed to find somebody else in England who's into pedal steel guitars (which are the spawn of the devil - well, my Fender 400 is!)

    Back in the 70s, many useful features were only on proper base stations, and then in the late 70s/early 80s, the mobiles started to get the extra features making them a pretty functional radio and easier to use. Now, the real omission in many well specified mobiles is SSB, making their base station usefulness a bit less.

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