I earned my Technician Class Amateur Radio license in March 1995 and upgraded to a General Class license in March 2007. I do not have a ham station in my home. I have always been “all-mobile all the time.” My VHF/UHF radios have a respectable range with the use of repeaters and even the Internet. Repeaters receive signals from distant or weak stations, amplify them, then retransmit the signal for greater range. Relatively new technologies, such as D-STAR, enable an amateur radio operator’s signal to be carried to distant locations via the Internet. I’ve made nearly effortless contact with stations in Europe with just five watts and a mobile hotspot. My HF radio provides the ability to communicate worldwide via “sky waves” enabled by the atmosphere.
My Scorpion SA-680 Black Widow is one antenna that stands above them all, literally, and deserves its own paragraph. I don’t operate much on HF. Still, I wanted an antenna that can handle full legal power, has excellent adjacent frequency rejection, and stands up to abuse. The SA-680 is arguably the best mobile HF antenna that money can buy. It’s expensive, but should last a lifetime. In fact, it has a LIFETIME warranty! My mounting position isn’t ideal. But it was best for my desire for a temporary mount so that my “hot hatch” could maintain its sleek appearance when I’m not using the HF rig. I haven’t made any overseas contacts with it yet. So far, my most distant contact was to northern Texas, about 1,000 miles away. I’m tempted to install a 500-watt amplifier. Perhaps that will give me just a tad more “punch” to be heard in the distance.
Let’s face it: Most of our friends, family, and acquaintances are NOT into ham radio. When convoying in two separate cars, it’s fairly convenient to just use cell phones for short discussions. But, for groups of three or more cars, having the ability for group discussion or directions is fantastic. That’s where the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) band shines. GMRS shares some frequencies with the Family Radio Service (FRS) bands. However, GMRS allows the use of external antennas and more power, which greatly extends the range of communication. I have a Midland MXT275 15-watt GMRS radio installed. It features an “all-in-handset” control head. I mounted its chassis under the driver’s seat. I’m currently using the included magnetic-mount antenna. But I can also duplex it to share the same as antenna as my ID-5100A,
The last piece of communications equipment that I’ll share is something that’s not often found on passenger cars: A WeBoost Drive 4G-X OTR cellular signal booster. This particular model is designed for over-the-road trucks. It is also popular with RVs and overlanders. So, why not a passenger car that travels on remote roads? The WeBoost places an antenna outside the car, a high-gain antenna in this case, brings the signal inside for amplification, and then retransmits through a smaller antenna inside the car. It does the opposite with signals from inside the car. It can make the difference between no signal and good signal in some areas. With the antenna shared here, I limit myself to using it when I have a cargo rack mounted. But I also have a smaller antenna that I can leave mounted full time.
I’ve shared a photo album below to show some installation details that may not have been evident above. I have addressed the physical attributes of the electronics panel, my subwoofer upgrade, and a sophisticated 12V power distribution network on separate pages. All are complex enough to warrant their own pages. Feel free to ask any questions about my rather unusual setup. See a video presentation on my YouTube channel.