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Old 11-18-2016, 09:02 AM   #1
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Wife of HAM, need advice for RV

My husband is working overseas (Iraq) and will deploy home in a couple of months. I want to surprise him with a ham radio rig and antenna installed in our 1994 RV-Winnebago class A. What should I buy so he can talk on 40 meters, etc. and how should it and the antenna be installed? I'll have to hire someone to do this unless there is a "plug n play" option?
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Old 11-18-2016, 09:26 AM   #2
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Half the fun of a hobby, be it an RV or armature radio (double the fun when combined) is picking out the equipment you want, installing and getting everything just how you want it. As such rather than surprising him with a complete and installed mobile station just set a side the funds for him to have fun with when he get's back. Plus if he does the install you might save enough for a better antenna array or the transceiver he has always had his eye on.
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Old 11-18-2016, 09:53 AM   #3
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Sweetbriar, that's a great idea! And Bizolly, thank's for wanting to do something so nice for your man in uniform! It gives a nice and warm feeling and I thank you for that!!!

Happy Thanksgiving and Christmas to you and yours.
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Old 11-18-2016, 09:54 AM   #4
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Excellent advice. If your husband is like me, and every other HAM radio operator I know ... he has put a LOT of thought into how he would like to set up his "RV mobile" station. Just knowing that you support his hobby and want him to be able to set this up the way he wants will be the best thing you can do.

Hope he knows how lucky he is to have this kind of support!

Welcome him home, from KB5W
Lee & Leslie and Ellie & Jake the wonder dogs
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Old 11-18-2016, 12:03 PM   #5
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Yes this is a good point. He only gets 3-4 weeks off so I don't think he will have the time to tinker with this unless he does this on the road. Researching, finding and installing the "perfect" power rig will take him some time. I was hopping there might be a portable item you can plug in and easy attach antenna to hold him over...
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Old 11-18-2016, 12:07 PM   #6
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Yes I know it would be best to let him pick out his own equipment but I wish there was an easier, in between so he could use it when we leave to camp for a month. May not work out.

I appreciate all the input.
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Old 11-18-2016, 12:22 PM   #7
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I second the notion of letting him pick out and install what he wants, that's more important than the 'surprise honey....something is already done for you'!
DaveB, Raleigh, NC
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Old 11-18-2016, 01:20 PM   #8
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I agree with the others about letting him pick the equipment. You could, however, prep the RV. You could get appropriate power cable and coax from a trusted ham store and have it installed, kind of plug and play. They will give you good advice on appropriate supplies.

Choose a location in the MH that would work for his ham shack - table with room for radios, computer, etc. Route a power supply and antenna coax to that location.

If you have a rear ladder, it's likely that the antenna will end up there in some configuration, so route the coax to that location with some slack to allow for his creativity. The prewired coax I purchased for my RV came with end protection, so leave those on. You might run two coax, one for HF and the other for VHF/UHF.

For power, I ran a line from the house batteries.

We have a shop in our area that sells and installs car audio, CBs, and the like. Many of our club members, including me, have used them for installs in our vehucles. We usually supply the cables and coax. You should be able to find something similar in your area.

Finally, if you really want to surprise him, go get your license. That's the finest form of support.

Have fun.

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Old 11-18-2016, 02:13 PM   #9
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Great idea to give your Hubby that kind gift. Not meaning to be negative, but here are a few variables to consider when selecting a radio:

1. Will it be used exclusively in the RV and "hard wired" to the RV?
2. Will it be used as a portable and need a dependable/lightweight power supply?
3. How much output power - QRP (very small output power, say less than 5 watts?)
4. Will it be limited to 40 meters only, or would it be multiband - 15/20/40?
5. What kind of antenna will be used - vertical, Yagi, other - and how convenient will it be to raise and lower? (Wouldn't want to leave it up while underway - too many low underpasses)

As suggested above, perhaps consider giving Hubby a "gift card" for $$$ and go with him while he selects a radio and enjoy the moment :-)

Best of luck,

2005 Fleetwood Excursion 39L, 350 Cat, Allison 3000, 2007 Honda CRV Toad
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Old 11-18-2016, 04:02 PM   #10
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I may or not achieve this goal but would like to try. Found an interesting article here about ham radio and RV: radio in an RV

Not sure if it will work but may be a great temporary solution. ...still looking, would love to find a way. Thanks for all these ideas. I'm hopeful, really want to do this for him. HAM means a lot to him. Thank you all for checking in with your advice.

WB3HUZ's wife
HAM also found at: (but don't let my surprise get out, please)
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Old 11-18-2016, 06:05 PM   #11
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HI Bizolly
As a retired Army guy my thought would be this:

If you have a local shop that you trust and they will give a return policy on a radio or antenna or whatever then go for it. i.e. I'm a big motorcycle fan and my wife got me a new jacket; wasn't the right size so I returned it for the right size but I appreciated the effort.

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Old 11-19-2016, 02:08 AM   #12
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What to buy depends on your budget but say an ICOM IC-7600 would be ... Well "Drool Worthy" (Kind of top end)
Fron an antenna a Screwdrive with remote control is nice

Giga-parts ( or DX-Engineering can provide, though DX is more expensive.. Ham Radio Outlet is another source.

For install.. Consider the local Ham Club

And finally. The best surprise you can give him... Contact that club, take a License class and get your very own license and call. That way he can talk to YOU.

True story (By the way DX means Distance or Long distance) Friend, in fact my first ham radio contact, for 40 years his wife complained about the radios lining two walls of their bedroom.. So finally he built a Garage, moved all his gear out to that (Very nice Very professional installation) and .... She got HER license.. So she'd work real DX at Dinner time 'His call, Her Call, "Dinner's ready"
Home is where I park it!
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Old 11-19-2016, 05:45 AM   #13
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Great! I'll follow up and research these suggestions. Since time will be so short I do hope it will work out. I wasn't sure if my RV would need an additional power source once I find something or special work to attach an antenna on the Winnebago.

Thank you and everyone for the advice.
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Old 11-19-2016, 07:11 AM   #14
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Now this is dependent on the RV. but on the motor home I have there is excellent 12 volt power, Progressive Dynamics 9180 with wizard, and about 500 Amp hour of batteries.

The main fuse (Power distribution) block is about half way in between them.

The raid is about ... Well I needed to add about 1' to the factory supplied power cord to reach the fuse panel.
Home is where I park it!
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