Mobile ham radios are beginning to become the toast of many hobbyists at the passing of each day. Its portable nature make it very easy to move it about in its entirety along with a power supply source and other extra peripherals to any location you choose to operate from.
The very great thing about portable ham radios and what makes it tick for many operators is that you get to go on all kinds of fun recreational activities with them such as camping, hiking, mountain climbing all while on the move.
A two in one package that still lets you set up shop at your favorite location even if do not feel like doing any of the equipment lifting. You can begin to see where portable ham radios are more advantageous in their utility, giving you real value for time, space and money.
What You Need To Have In Place
Before starting out building your portable ham radio, there are certain key things you need to consider and have in place altogether to make sure you well set and ready to go. Proper planning is very essential for the overall success of your portable ham radio.
Now what are those things you need to consider and have in place for the smooth running of your portable ham radio?
1. First, is it going to be a constantly mobile ham radio? That is for instance, will you be using it from say a van.
2. What about power source? How do you intend to power you ham radio?. Will it come from a battery, an inverter, or an AC source.
3. If you hope to move about a lot, you might want to consider the size and the number of necessary accessories you want to carry along with you. You want to go for something as light and portable as possible to curb down on weight and other unnecessary equipments.
4. On the subject of ease and convenience, although there are really small and powerful radios out there you opt for, have it in mind that these kinds of radios are not very easy to operate and might require the skill of an experienced radio operator in order to use them.
So as a beginner, that should not necessarily be your first choice. It is always best to go for something within your reach and comes with more features and settings that you can toggle on and learn from until you become more hands-on with it.
5. Another factor to consider is the band coverage of your portable ham radio. As a beginner, always go light and small. What that means is that at a starting level, you should focus on just 1 or 2 bands. Frequencies such as 17 and 21 MHz are very easy to use and are quite power-friendly.
They are super-active and can stay operational for long hours within the day. They are not very demanding in terms of peripherals. For instance, they require very small portable antennas to operate.
How To Start Building Your Portable Ham Radio
In the previous module, we discussed the various factors to consider before starting out building a portable ham radio. Now we want to cover the bits and pieces as well as those key tools and apparatus to have in order to start building from scratch. There are five important tool you would need in building your portable ham radio namely:
• A Transceiver
• A Reliable Power Source
• A Portable Antenna
• An Antenna tuner
• Getting Licensed
Transceivers are devices that function both as transmitters and receivers. Although Transceiver are quite optional in the design of your portable ham radio, but can sill be very useful especially if you are looking for the very best performance.
Transceivers usually come having two meters and one band for small ham operators but you can always get a more advanced multi-band type that offers you much stronger connection power.
A Reliable Power Source
When it comes down to how you intend to power your portable ham radio, there are a range of really good options to pick from. Some cool options are listed below:
• Solar power: Very convenient for outdoor operations and events. It can also work fine in combination with lead batteries and can also comes with a charger as backup.
• Li-ion batteries: Very small, portable and powerful rechargeable batteries
• Lead acid batteries. Although they could be bulky, these batteries are quite power-packed and offer the best lasting performance
• Gel cell batteries: Almost the same as lead acid batteries and still do a great job.
A Portable Antenna
The good thing with portable antenna are the very easy to manipulate and move around with, making it easy to set up shop at any place anytime while on the move.
Even better, if you intend to set up your portable ham radio at the back of a van, there are really great portable antennas that you can use to increase radio performance while you are on the road
Your main focus should be on quality, so always opt for long higher-frequency antennas, that can trap and sustain a strong connection for a very long period while on the move in a van or stationary on the ground.
In the case you are operating from say a camp site, try to position your portable antenna very far above the ground using trees or tall structures. This way you can get the very best performance out of them.
An Antenna Tuner
This one is more or less an option tool as many portable ham radio operators do without them.
In any case, it is still an important part of the entire process and go a long way to give you a greater performance so is still cool that you have one if you desire to build a really strong that will far efficient in receiving and transmitting radio signals.
Many antenna tuners usually take on different shapes and sizes in their make up. Antenna tuner come in many great designs although the very attractive ones might be very expensive. Although you can still get a fairly good one for a relatively good deal.
Usually, an antenna tuner lets you transmit on more than just one radio frequency than a basic antenna will permit. For instance, a dipole antenna will let you transmit on only an 80 metre bandwidth. Using an antenna tuner will however give you the leverage of transmitting on several other bands.
Essentially, it is simply an equipment that gives you the option of transmitting on as many bands as possible, so for you trying transmit on a portable ham radio of averagely two bands, this is more than great bargain that you can fully utilize. But then again, it is an optional tool, so you can still choose to do away with it.
Getting Licensed To Operate Your Portable Ham Radio
After building your portable ham radio, you can’t start using it at once. It is required that to operate a radio officially, you must have a license. There are certain verification courses you will have to take before you can be license to have and operate a portable ham radio.
The topics of concern can range from electronics and radio technology as well as the rules and regulations needed to run them.