HF Mobile Antenna Installation
In the corner of the garage I’ve had a High Sierra HS-1800/Pro for about a year. I’d procrastinated as I knew the install would be a little “mechanical”, involving drilling the bodywork of the Green D90.
But, having recently attained my General Class license, I though I should just get it done.
Having purchased the ”Platinum Package”, I had everything I needed to install the antenna.
Firstly, I lined up the mount at the rear of the D90 (making sure I had garage clearance), and had the top 2 bolt locations line-up in the rear interior and the bottom 2 line-up inside the wheel-arch outside the truck. I braced the nuts and bolts with a couple of sheets of aluminum on the non-visible sides. Next, I drilled holes for the ground, power and co-ax. The ground is a short run below the antenna to the exhaust bracket. The power runs in the top of the bracket to the interior. The co-ax runs a little higher and into the interior with a female-female SO-239 connector.
With the bracket mounted and the basic cabling laid, I added powerpole connectors to all the electrical connectors.
Plugging in the tuning module (basically a fancy switch that moves the antenna up and down, and altering it’s electrical length while showing the SWR), I could see the antenna was working - I could also hear it working!
I knew I wouldn’t like the HS way of tuning the antenna, so at the same time I bought a ”Turbo Tuner”. This would enable me simply to hit the tune button on my IC-7000, wait a few moments, and have the Turbo Tuner find the lowest SWR for the frequency I require. As the Turbo Tuner has great reviews, I thought it’d be a great way of doing this.
Alas, I ran into problems almost immediately. Despite triple-checking the connections (one to the CI-V port, the other into the tuner port), and the settings (basically the baud rate and the CI-V address) I could not get it to work. After more experimenting I decided to do a factory reset on the IC-7000 to see if that would help. But that meant loosing all the information I had stored in memory… I had a cup of tea and a think…
As luck would have it, the mail showed up, complete with CI-V leads and my IC-7000 cloning software - perfect timing! A couple of days ago I ordered the WCS7000 software from RT Systems. As soon as I installed the software, I had the rig backed up and performed the reset.
Voila! It worked! The tuner was tuning. But not quite right. The instructions suggest that for the HS1800/Pro antenna the direction should be “normal” and the stall current should be “750ma”. After some experimenting, I had to change the dip-switch settings so the direction was “reverse” and the stall current was “500ma” (so the antenna would reverse direction when it reached the end of its travel).
That seemed to fix things, but then my radio started playing up. I’d read some background on how final stages can be destroyed by ill-using antenna controllers. But I’d done my research and the Turbo Tuner shouldn’t do this! My IC-7000 display was wavering and when I hit PTT most times it would restart.
Then I realised that I’d be transmitting all morning, and the antenna was moving up and down and the rig needs a good 13.8V to work correctly. So I started the D90 and all was well again, phew!
I dressed in the cables, and am ready to give it a good test tomorrow!