Portable ham radio setup. Mobile ham radios are beginning to become the toast of many hobbyists at the passing of each day. Its portable nature makes 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 you do not feel like doing any of the equipment liftings. 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 are well set and ready to go. Proper planning is 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 an always mobile ham radio? That is, for instance, will you be using it from, say, a van.
2. What about a power source? How do you intend to power your 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 equipment.
4. On the subject of ease and convenience, although there are tiny 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 an experienced radio skill operator 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 tiny portable antennas to operate.
How To Start Building Your Portable Ham Radio
In the previous module, we discussed the various factors to consider before building a portable ham radio. Now we want to cover the bits and pieces and those essential tools and apparatus to start building from scratch. There are five necessary tools you would need in making 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 Transceivers are entirely optional in the design of your portable ham radio, but can still be very useful, especially if you are looking for the very best performance.
Transceivers usually have 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 is a range of outstanding 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 come with a charger as a 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 a portable antenna is straightforward 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 great portable antennas that you can use to increase radio performance while you are on the road
Your primary 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 campsite, 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 essential part of the entire process. It goes a long way to give you more excellent performance, so it is still cool that you have one if you desire to build a powerful one 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 tuners come in many great designs, although the beautiful ones might be costly. Although you can still get a reasonably good one for a relatively good deal.
Usually, an antenna tuner lets you transmit on more than just one radio frequency than a primary antenna will permit. For instance, a dipole antenna will allow you to communicate on only an 80-meter bandwidth. Using an antenna tuner will, however, give you the leverage of transmitting on several other bands.
Essentially, it is merely equipment that gives you the option of transmitting on as many bands as possible, so for you trying to transmit on a portable ham radio of an averagely of two bands, this is more than a 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. You will have to take specific verification courses before you can be a license to have and use a portable ham radio.
The topics of concern can range from electronics and radio technology and the rules and regulations needed to run them.