Relocating Ham Radio

So…hypothetically…let’s say I was a ham radio operator looking to move. Let’s say that, although it’s not a requirement per se, I would like to, possibly, find a new home that already has a nice tower installed so that I don’t have to front that expense myself.

Considering this completely “hypothetical” situation, how would I, as a ham, find this new “dream” home?

Though there is an essentially unlimited supply of real estate information available on the Internet there are still terms for which you can search with relatively few useful results. It seems that, although we hams view a nice beam antenna as a thing of beauty, we have thus buckled under the weight of society which thinks otherwise. I’m not saying this is necessarily wrong because we would far rather our house look desirable to the greatest number of potential buyers. An unfortunate side effect is that we essentially eliminate the possibility of finding a buyer who just might appreciate that tower.

There are a couple, and only a couple, of useful links I found regarding house hunting hams…

It’s nice to see both sites doing something to help the situation however it’s disheartening that, in a world full of CCR’s, we have done so little to foster better communication and work within our community to fill the gap.

I figure that any ham searching through real estate listings would love to find homes for sale that already have antennas or are known to be antenna friendly. It would be a wonderful option to “include” homes in search results that have or allow towers vice “exclude” homes that include CCR’s and HOA’s.

Seems simple enough…but it’s not…

2011 Toyota Tacoma Ham Radio Installation

Control Head Mounted in ConsoleWell, the project is done and I think it turned out pretty well.  I wasn’t able to take any “in process” photos but I did take a series of pictures after completion and I’ve posted them on Picasa at the link below.

I was able to complete the install without doing any “permanent” changes to the vehicle aside from the hole drilled in the roof for the NMO mount.  The cup holder insert and the storage compartment in the back are both replaceable if ever needed.Fully Stocked Storage Compartment

Toyota makes some nice little plastic retainers for cable routing that are installed under the kickplates.  Using a flat blade screwdriver I was able to pop them open and route my cables through with no problem.

The GPS antenna receives a good signal on the back window and is mounted with the same Radio Shack SuperLock I used for the radio body.  I also mounted the 12VDC accessory outlet temporarily with SuperLock until I come up with a solution I like better.

All in all the installation went very well.  Some may feel that the control head is mounted too low to be very useful but I’m happy with it.  I wired the audio directly into the sound system, mainly because it was there, but it has actually worked out very well for me.

Hopefully there is another Ham out there that will find this useful.  If you have any questions I didn’t cover, please ask!

New truck…let’s take it apart and add some radio equipment…

This past week I purchased a brand new 2011 Toyota Tacoma.  It’s always nice to purchase a new vehicle, but as a Ham Radio operator it creates a lot of work.  I removed all the radio equipment I had in my 2002 Tundra a few days ago and this evening I began the project of reinstalling it all in the Tacoma.

Marcus, the new guy...

The New Tacoma

The first decision generally is where to mount everything.  I normally prefer mounting the radios under the seats if possible but, in the double cab Tacoma, there are vents under the seats.  As I started poking around I discovered storage areas behind the back seats and decided I would use the drivers side storage area as the mounting location for the radio body.

I purchased another Diamond NMO antenna and mount and have already run the cable to the radio and the center of the roof above the dome light.  Haven’t drilled the mounting hole yet but will get to that later.  Routed the cable straight back from the dome light, over to the rear drivers side column, and then down inside the storage compartment through holes I drilled in the back of the enclosure.

Ran the power cable from the battery back to the firewall, across the firewall to the passenger side, and then through a small penetration plug (that looks like it was placed there just for this purpose).  Routed the power cable down the passenger side all the way back to the rear of the cab, across behind the seats, and into the storage compartment.

Ran out of time and daylight so the project will have to continue until next week…no time in the schedule this week to continue working on it…

Satellite Antenna Controllers

(List compiled by Bill Sinbine, N4XEO, on AMSAT-BB mailing list.)