Lessons Learned, second in a series. Cars are not trucks.

When I last posted, I had a half-installed antenna, a box of parts, and a bald spot from scratching my head trying to figure out how to put it all together. I now had the stud I needed, but it didn’t fit my car. The one I got was made for a truck, probably an 18-wheeler. Petro is, after all, a truck stop, not a car stop. I searched around some more and ordered what I needed, and some other stuff because, as long as I was spending money, why not.

One of the more awesome things about this community is that chances are, if you’re trying to do something, someone else has already done it and has written a blog with photos, posted a YouTube video, or has commented somewhere about it. Alan Applegate, K0BG, has a very detailed website, K0BG.com , that has just about anything you would ever want to know about mobile operations. One of the things I learned about is a nifty box called a RigRunner that is nothing more than a power strip for ham radio equipment that uses Anderson Powerpoles for both input and output and has fuses for each of the sockets. This turned out to be a perfect solution for me for three reasons. The first is that I already had a wiring harness from the battery to the cabin that had powerpoles already on it, so that took care of the input. The second is that my car is notoriously difficult to run anything from the battery to the cabin, and I wasn’t about to do it for the antenna’s motor control switch, so I took K0BG’s suggestion and hooked it up to powerpoles and from there, to the RigRunner. Easy-peasy rice and cheesy! The third is that I can be truly mobile. I don’t have to disconnect and re-connect a bunch of things if I want to change cars or do a demonstration. I can simply pull the antenna off the mount, pull the cables and the radio, hook a single connection to a single power source, and go from there.

I spent a few days in between rain showers and snow and got the antenna and radio up and working. The radio has to be mounted to a permanent location in my car, and I’m thinking about installing the brackets to the back of the back seat so it’s in the trunk and out of the way but still easily accessible. But that’s a project for a day off.

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