CW Mobile
By William T. Carter
have always dreamed about doing CW mobile ever since I heard Pat, K4BEH/M on the airwaves. WOW! You can really do that? Pat is a wonderful ham, I had the opportunity to meet him at several Hamfests here in Georgia and he was kind enough to even invite me over to see his shack. I learned so much that day!

I hate to miss the nets, but I am also involved in so many activities that I find myself out mobile many evenings wishing I could check into the nets. I am President of our local CPA (Certified public Accountant) chapter, involved in three radio clubs, part of the GEMA (Georgia Emergency Management Agency)/ARES team, and also part of MARS network (Military Affiliated Radio System).

Many schedules to keep up with for a thirty-nine year old. I must admit that CW mobile is fun. No, you don’t have to do it driving. I do QNI into the slow nets driving. Tapping the paddles is as easy as using a turn signal, turning on the AM radio, or messing with the heater settings. I think CW mobile is safer than using a cell phone while driving. I said, “I think” because I have never had a cell phone, don’t have any reasons to get one. I promise that if they make a law that bans sending CW from your vehicle while moving that I will abide by it! I arrive early to most appointments and meetings. I then allow myself one QSO via the paddles in the truck. I can’t tell you how many Rag Chews that I have had from my mobile rig, but there have been many and I thoroughly have enjoyed them all. One Op told me that all the CW operators are “Old Goats” and that I was the youngest one he ever had a QSO with, and mobile WOW. My mobile set consists of the following equipment.

The radio is a Yaesu FT-100D. I run three different antennas on the truck. I usually use the Yaesu ATAS antenna, which is a mini screwdriver that allows me to work 2 meters through 40 meters including 6 meters. I use a separate 2 meter/ 70 cm antenna that is mounted on the truck. I have an Outbacker Perth Plus and several marked stingers that use only for 80 meters. I do not leave the Outbacker on the truck, as I don’t want to look like a CB ‘er. The Outback has a Hustler quick disconnect on it, so I can have it on the truck in a matter of seconds. I have a Yaesu FC-20 tuner in the truck for use with the Outbacker antenna.

You don’t use a tuner with the ATAS and probably don’t need it for the Outbacker, but I worry about SWR. I use an MFJ Clear Tone Speaker because you can tilt it in the truck and I prefer its tone to any speaker that I have heard. I even use one on the QRP rig in the shack. The paddle that I use is made by Palm Radio and is a QRP paddle. Great paddle and can be found on the MorseX website. Just visit MorseX  if you want more info about it. The radio install was very easy. I remote mounted the face in the ashtray. A tie-wrap holds the face in place. I can even remove the face as the tie-wrap holds the back plate only. The Radio, Tuner, and MFJ Speaker are mounted on a board, which is held in place by a Bungee cord. All wires and coax enter truck under radio via a grommet that is located at the back of the cab between the truck bed and cab.

Wire management is easy with only a few wire tie-wrapped together running under floor mats to front of truck that are unseen by passengers. Paddles are mounted on a cell phone holder that sits in drinking cup. Cell phone holder is removed which really is designed to hold QRP paddles. Finally, antennas are mounted with Diamond K-400 antenna mounts. One takes the 3/8 Outbacker, the other takes the ATAS. With allen wrench and a ground strap I am on the air. I have not drilled any holes in the truck, antennas were a very easy install. If I remove all the equipment from the truck you would never know that it had been there. I am still very new to ham radio, almost two years a CW operator. I have much to learn and I am no expert in mobile installation. I am sure my install has room for improvement. I do get a good signal into Kentucky and Illinois with this equipment. See you on the bands - maybe CW mobile!

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