What sort of setup are you rally hams using? - Page 2
Page 2 of 5 FirstFirst 1234 ... LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 48

Thread: What sort of setup are you rally hams using?

  1. #11
    LSPR speccie/worker & YBJ fan JTYooper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    U.P. of Michigan
    Posts
    795

    Default

    I have the Yaesu 2900R at the top of my radio list, based on seeing it mentioned more than a few times here. Can a few people using that radio provide links to the antennas they are using, so I can reference those as a starting point for what to buy for an antenna also? Thanks.
    John T.

    LSPR - "Oldest, Toughest, Meanest Rally on the Circuit"
    NATIONAL!! Thu-Sat Oct 16-18, 2014 | Houghton - Covington - L'anse

    LSProRally.com | facebook.com/LSProRally | @lsprorally

    LSPR 2013 flyers - General | Volunteer | Spectator | Biz Card

    "Watching rally is like traveling to a series of middles of nowhere."
    Johnny Loftus, Detroit MetroTimes - S*D 2007

    "And rallying, Iím afraid, is a sport for the terminally gormless."
    Jeremy Clarkson

  2. Remove Advertisements
    SpecialStage.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #12
    your other left, you idiot
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Wisconsin (was-Michigan)
    Posts
    3,909

    Default

    Larsen:

    http://www.pulseelectronics.com/products/antennas

    http://www.pulseelectronics.com/down...en_lmr_catalog

    I order from AES:

    http://www.aesham.com/

    I still use mag mount - haven't drilled holes yet on my DD.

    On the rally cars:
    NMO2/70SH

    ymmv

    Quote Originally Posted by JTYooper View Post
    I have the Yaesu 2900R at the top of my radio list, based on seeing it mentioned more than a few times here. Can a few people using that radio provide links to the antennas they are using, so I can reference those as a starting point for what to buy for an antenna also? Thanks.
    press on,
    just a poor, dumb, Michigan(now Wisconsin) navie
    KC8YHT
    jimmy

  4. #13

    Default

    For years I've used a combination of a Comet B-10 1/4 wave for at home and a SBB-5 1/2 wave for out in the forest, with a variety of mounts (thru-roof, roof rack, hatch lip, mag-mount)

    Those are going on the rally car now, and the service rig/worker vehicle got a thru-roof NMO mount, and mounts a Comet SBB-1NMO 1/4 wave for casual use and a SBB-5NMO for rally use.

    I've got an Optek 5/8 wave around too, but it has generally had poorer performance than even the 1/4 wave Comets, so it's mostly good for fishing stuff out from under cars or behind cabinets . . .

    Something to keep in mind is when you hit a branch at speed, there are a few possible scenarios.

    The antenna can bend just enough and snap back.
    The antenna can bend a lot and whip around. This can result, and has among people I know, result in a smashed window if the antenna is long enough.
    The antenna can not bend, and break. I had a very expensive, very pretty multi-segment Comet Challenger 1/2 wave once. Than I ran 00 at Shooting Star, and by the end of the rally I had a stump of an antenna left (but it still worked well enough). I don't do multi-segment antennae anymore. I've had a shorter 1/4 wave get caught and snap off the antenna at the base.
    The mount can break as well.
    A mag-mount can be simply flipped over. Or it can be knocked clean off the car. I've seen two cases where this happened, and then the antenna swung around like a pendulum on the cable and smashed out a window in the vehicle.

    At this point I go with hard-mounted (thru-roof), single segment antennas that are not rigid, but not whips either. Hence the antennas I listed (except the SBB-1NMO which is a "rubber ducky" type, and mostly there to protect stuff when I'm not actively using the radio).

    Mark Holden - G2 Nissan Sentra SE-R

  5. Remove Advertisements
    SpecialStage.com
    Advertisements
     

  6. #14
    into right 2 tightens
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    San Diego, CA.
    Posts
    1,570

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JTYooper View Post
    I have the Yaesu 2900R at the top of my radio list, based on seeing it mentioned more than a few times here. Can a few people using that radio provide links to the antennas they are using, so I can reference those as a starting point for what to buy for an antenna also? Thanks.
    With antennas, you need to consider operating frequency band, wavelength type, mounting & connector type.

    Operating frequency: you want a 144-148 MHz (2 meter), or possibly a dual band 144-148 MHz (2 meter) / 440-450 MHz (70 cm) if you may upgrade later to a dual band radio & want that capability

    Wavelength type: which works best depends on terrain in use, but perhaps more significant is the ground plane you are using. If you are not planning to drill a hole in your roof for an antenna mount, e.g. if you're using it on a mag mount, you will likely be better off with a half wave antenna. 5/8 wave antennas work better in some terrain, but normally require a few square feet of ground plane.

    Mounting: the ideal is permanently installed in the center of the roof, with a good ground plane, and no other obstructions. If doing so, make sure to scrape off some of the metal on the inside of the roof, so the mount makes good electrical contact with the roof. However, a roof rack mount (I like the Diamond K series for this), or a mag mount normally work acceptably if using a half wave antenna. Some roof rack mounts come with the appropriate cable, and some are sold just as a mount, and you need to add the appropriate cable yourself.

    Connector type: there are a couple of different connector types, with SO-239 and NMO being the most common. I prefer NMO, and have standardized on NMO for all my VHF/UHF needs.

    So what does this all boil down to? Well, it depends somewhat on install situation & terrain, but for most rally installs, a 1/2 wave 2 meter single band (or a dual band with 1/2 wave on 2 meter, if UHF desired), with NMO connector should work well. Since it's half wave, it would work well whether mounted on an NMO connector permanently installed in the center of the roof, or in roof rack mount with an NMO connector/cable attached, or in a mag mount with an NMO connector, so is a flexible choice as far as mounting options go.

    I too like the Larsen NMO series, so would recommend either a Larsen 150 HW (half wave), or a Larsen 2/70B (which is dual band 2m/70cm & 1/2 wave on 2 meter). The Larsen 2/70 B has the advantage of being shorter (33.5" vs 51.5") than the Larsen 150 HW, which can be an advantage at rallies where low hanging branches or other obstacles may be an issue (and for daily use in parking garages etc.), as well as being dual band, but is a little more expensive (~$70 vs ~$50).

    Personally, my tow vehicle has a roof rack, with a tire & other obstructions up top, so I used a Larsen NMO 2/70B dual band NMO mount antenna, with a Diamond K series roof rack mount, and the appropriate radio to NMO cable.

    I don't have an antenna on my rally car at the moment, but when I do I plan to install a permanent NMO mount in the center of the roof, and use a Larsen NMO 2/70SH. The Larsen NMO 2/70 SH is well suited to a rally car install, as it's low profile being only 19" tall, and has a spring at the bottom so the antenna is more likely to survive if it strikes anything or a half roll etc. However, it's only 1/4 wave on 2 meter, and therefore also requires a good ground plane (like the aforementioned permanent center roof install) to work effectively. Anyway, with an NMO mount permanently in the center of the roof with a good ground plane, I could swap between the Larsen NMO 2/70SH, the Larsen 2/70B, or even a 5/8 wave, as desired.
    Last edited by Audi UrQ; 03-25-2012 at 10:24 AM.

  7. #15
    into right 2 tightens
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    San Diego, CA.
    Posts
    1,570

    Default

    Short version: Yaesu FT-8800R (dual band 2m/70cm, dual receive, with remote mount head), Larsen NMO 2/70B antenna on roof rack mount, with Kenwood KES-5 speakers inside & outside on roof rack. I also have a Yaesu VX-170 and a Yaesu VX-7R handheld (both with upgraded Diamond SRH77CA antennas).

    Long version: I currently use a Yaesu FT-8800R in my service vehicle, with the body mounted with a large slab of heavy duty velcro under the 2nd row seat, and the remote mount head installed up front in an open dash spot. The mic connects to the remote mount head, which is convenient, and the remote mount head receives its power from the radio body via the remote mount cable. The main radio body receives power via either 2-gauge or 4-gauge cable (I can't remember which) hardwired directly from the battery (via a 100A fuse at the battery) to a fused distribution block under the 2nd row seat, which is then run with 6-gauge cable to a Red-Dee-2 PS-75/45-4 (1 75A PowerPole input, 4 45A/30A/15A PowerPole outputs), and one of the Red-Dee-2 outputs is then run with dual-fused 10 gauge cable to the radio body under the 2nd row seat.

    Sidenote: the other 3 Red-Dee-2 Powerpole outputs run a Kenwood 110W business band 150 MHz radio (also with remote mount head, and NMO single band roof rack antenna cut for 151.625 MHz Weatherman frequency) for offroad races in Baja, a 400W continuous inverter, and there is one spare output for future expansion, or powering an additional radio if need be. Each of the 4 PowerPole outputs have 10 gauge cable runs with the appropriate fuse in both the positive & negative runs of the cable. I like this setup, because it uses the appropriate size cable & fuses at each step of the way, and is flexible, since e.g I can unplug all aux equipment by simply unplugging the 75A power cable connector from the Red-dee-2, or just one piece of equipment by unplugging its corresponding output cable run from the Red-Dee-2. And since it's properly fused at each step, even if one fuse blows, the other equipment should still function properly. Also, if I plan extended use for rallies, and don't want to run my engine or risk draining the batteries, I can throw an extra charged AGM battery in the back, and I have a 10 ft 8 gauge power cable with battery ring terminals on one end, and a 75A Powerpole connector on the other end, which I can plug into the Red-Dee-2. So I can run all my aux equipment off a second battery or power source, instead of vehicle power.

    I have Kenwood KES-5 weather resistant 4 ohm speakers, both inside the vehicle and outside on the roof rack. At the moment, I have to manually plug in either the inside or outside speaker into the back of the main body under the 2nd row seat (both speaker plugs are routed there). However, I am considering rigging up a switch harness that would allow me to switch between inside or outside speakers, or both at the same time. But that is an optimization, and manually plugging one speaker or the other into the back of the radio works fine for now.

    Since I have a roof rack, with a huge spare tire & other obstructions on the roof rack, I currently use a Diamond K series roof rack antenna mount, with a Larsen NMO 2/70B dual band antenna, that is half wave on 2 meter. Despite being roof rack mounted, as opposed to the preferred install of being permanently mounted in the center of the roof with the whole roof as a ground plane, so far this setup has worked fine for me.

    What I like about the Yaesu FT-8800R is that it's dual band receive, which means that one can listen to e.g. net frequency on one side, and stage frequency on the other (when working a rally), or e.g. net frequency on one side & rally car frequency on another (when servicing at a rally). However, as pointed out previously, cramming 2 radios worth of buttons onto a roughly single DIN sized remote head makes for a slightly cluttered interface. And there is also the annoying Internet WIRES function which gets activated if you press & hold the left side lower control knob which sticks out (a lot of people accidentally activate this when they first get the radio). Luckily it's easy to deactivate by just pressing & holding again, but it would be nice if it were possible to simply disable the WIRES function via a menu. Anyway, it sounds like I am complaining a lot about the Yaesu FT-8800, but really it's a great radio, with great performance, and lots features, that has a user interface that is fine when the vehicle is at a standstill, but for certain features can be a little fiddly in a vehicle at speed on a bumpy surface.

    I also have a Yaesu VX-7R handheld (quad band, with upgraded Diamond SRH77CA antenna), which I could use to cross-band repeat with my Yaesu FT-8800R. However, I have only made use of that feature once. Most of the time it's possible to park the vehicle close enough to the stage start / finish / blockage area where it's possible to hear the radio, and easily step back over to it if necessary. I also have a Yaesu VX-170 single band 2m handheld (also, with upgraded Diamond SRH77CA antenna, predecessor to the current Yaesu FT-270R), which I actually prefer using to the Yaesu VX-7R since it's single band and therefore has a less cluttered interface that is easier to use, though it obviously doesn't have some of the fancy functionality that the Yaesu VX-7R does. Having a handheld can be useful in a number of scenarios e.g. I throw one in my bag when competing as a co-driver so I can listen in if a rally is delayed, or I can walk around service & still hear what's going on, or even use when working a rally away from my vehicle (though one's transmit range won't be as good as a mobile, unless using cross-band repeat, due to the lower TX power of a handheld, so not quite as useful as a full mobile in that capacity).

  8. #16
    into right 2 tightens
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    San Diego, CA.
    Posts
    1,570

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Anders Green View Post
    My recommendation is one of these:



    Yaesu FT 2900R. Single band, 75 watt. No fan (so no dust can get in), the case is just a big heat sink. You can literally drive over it with a truck and it will be fine (they've shown that in some ads). linky
    I like the Yaesu FT-2900R too, and is likely what I will get to put in my rally car at some stage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce View Post
    I second the Yaesu recommendation - they seem to be indestructible. One thing to remember, is that if you get to higher power rigs, you probably WON'T be able to run them at full power from a car power plug. And I'd worry just a little bit about having no fan - it means you have to provide it with some ventilation. Of course I've been known to use a radio in 10-12 different cars in a year...if you're permanently installing, you only have to address these things once.

    Bruce
    Yep, at 75W TX power, the specs say the Yaesu FT-2900R can draw up to 15A, which may be higher than the fuse and/or wiring for some cigarette lighter receptacles are rated. Of course, one can transmit at lower power e.g. 9A current draw at 30W, but that may not be sufficient depending on the situation, or even upgrade the cigarette lighter fuse and/or wiring if it's one's own car. But if it's a permanent or even semi-permanent install, it's best to direct wire it with a fuse near the battery.

    If one plans to use it in a bunch of different cars e.g. you often ride along in different cars doing course opening / course closing / sweep etc., then it's probably worth picking up a 15+ ft long cable with battery alligator clamps or ring terminals one end, and Powerpoles on the other end, and put Powerpoles on the radio power connector, so one can connect the radio directly to the battery of the car one is in (you can often snake the power wire out of the back of the hood and through the window). Of course, as Mike mentioned, that also brings up the point of how to secure the radio in this type of situation, and how best to do this depends somewhat on the car one is riding in. Sometimes stuffed between the seat & center console works, but then the speaker is often firing into either the seat or the center console, and is thus muffled & difficult to hear. Some people I know have mounted their radio & an external speaker to a piece of plywood which can then be placed on or velcroed to the floor. Heavy duty velcro directly applied to the radio may also work if the radio is not too heavy & can be placed in a suitable location.

  9. #17
    into right 2 tightens
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    San Diego, CA.
    Posts
    1,570

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bopApocalypse View Post
    \I'm torn between an external speaker, and just hooking it up to the car stereo (lots of speakers!).
    One advantage that communication speakers have is that they are typically designed for flat frequency response in the voice frequency range (i.e. approx 300 Hz - 3400 Hz), so they cut out some of the hum & hiss that can be present when using full frequency range speakers, as is typical & desirable for a car stereo. This can make them less tiring to listen to for long periods. The particular mobile radio speaker that I like is the Kenwood KES-5 (or older KES-4) as they are rugged, weather resistant, and have a higher power capability than many other mobile comms speakers. The only slight downside is that they typically come with just pins on the connector end, so one needs to cut the pins off, and solder a 1/8" mono mini plug on the end, so that they can plug into the typical mono mini plug jack on the back of a mobile ham radio. However, that is a one time fix, and easy to do. Ask a friend to help with this if you don't have the skill or equipment.

    Edit: if used inside a vehicle, or only moved outside the vehicle when the weather is fair, mobile comms speakers or PA horns that are cheaper than the Kenwood KES-5 exist that will also do the job acceptably.
    Last edited by Audi UrQ; 03-25-2012 at 02:35 PM. Reason: Corrected dimensions for mini plug from 1/4" to 1/8"

  10. #18
    into right 2 tightens
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    San Diego, CA.
    Posts
    1,570

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Holden View Post
    A mag-mount can be simply flipped over. Or it can be knocked clean off the car. I've seen two cases where this happened, and then the antenna swung around like a pendulum on the cable and smashed out a window in the vehicle.
    Though less desirable than other more permanent mounts, a mag mount can be useful in certain scenarios due to the quick install e.g. unplanned vehicle pressed into service at last minute. For situations when that occurs, one can help mitigate the chance of a mag mount coming loose, by utilizing a 5" or 6" diameter mag mount with a heavy duty magnet that has a higher holding power than some of the wimpier 3" diameter mag mounts. Also, one can mount the mag mount at the edge of the roof (rather than the center), and then zip-tie the coax where it comes out of the magnet to a roof rack rail, or similar, if such exists, reducing the amount of distance the mag mount can move if it becomes unstuck.

  11. #19
    LSPR speccie/worker & YBJ fan JTYooper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    U.P. of Michigan
    Posts
    795

    Default

    Thanks for the info guys, most helpful (once again). Printed and stuffed into my AES catalog for further review. I had some tax refund money tagged for a few things (including new tires & a radio). But it is slowly dwindling away...
    John T.

    LSPR - "Oldest, Toughest, Meanest Rally on the Circuit"
    NATIONAL!! Thu-Sat Oct 16-18, 2014 | Houghton - Covington - L'anse

    LSProRally.com | facebook.com/LSProRally | @lsprorally

    LSPR 2013 flyers - General | Volunteer | Spectator | Biz Card

    "Watching rally is like traveling to a series of middles of nowhere."
    Johnny Loftus, Detroit MetroTimes - S*D 2007

    "And rallying, Iím afraid, is a sport for the terminally gormless."
    Jeremy Clarkson

  12. #20
    50 caution yump
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    North Bay, Ontario, Canada.
    Posts
    532

    Default

    ICOM V-8000 - straight 2m rig - no flipping cross-band repeat - 75W and inexpensive - I have had some mic problems, but otherwise has been absolutely relaible. I attach it to a piece of plywood that rests in the passenger footwell.

    Larsen Mag-mount 5/8 wavelength antenna.

    Used Yaesu Hand-held for when I am out of the car - less than $100.

    A cross-band repeat radio will cost you north of $500 in Canada. If you go that route be careful - there are dual-band radios that DO NOT have cross-band repeat. The ICOM I have is down around $200 and the Larsen antenna is under $100. All set-up for less than $300. Even less if you can find some used equipment.

    Bring your manual and spare fuses. Wire it directly to your battery - no cig-lighter plugs or that crap. Duct tape to hold the antenna cable so it can't flop around. It also stops the antenna from falling off the car and smashing anything!
    Dave Cotie
    VA3 COT

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •