I finally got around to getting an ARB canopy to finish off my SOTA truck . The Colorado seems great on fuel I get at least 100km/10 litres of diesel and it seems to go along the road nicely at 2000 rpm on the speed limit. With the heavy duty springs in the rear it gets a pogo up on bumpy whoops but luckily there are not many of those to travers. It’s an x police paddy wagon so I am not sure how much work it has done hopefully it was mostly use to get coffee for the team at the station.
The ARB canopy is a great addition and will be handy to store a few things in for my trips away with the lift up side and rear windows making it easier to stick stuff in or get it out.
I was able to fit my HF spring mount on the bull bar and the independent to ground vhf antenna on the mud guard, I am working on a spot for a UHF CB rig as well with remote head.
When I go in my shed I can hold back the stainless steel tip on the VHF antenna so it does not scrape on the door way and roller door, but I take the HF whip off of course . That HF whip is a home made 40m helical whip about 1.8 m long and it works very well. I have another whip for 30m home made as well but slightly shorter in length but it works well I have made dx qso’s to USA on 30m cw when I was mobile. My 80m antenna is an old Hustler Loading coil type that attaches to a longer home made Hustler shaft which works extremely well but I don’t go mobile with it, it is pretty long.
The rigs in my Ute are both Icoms the old “pager swamper” ic 2720 Bloody useless within 10km of a pager but it has duel watch vfo or memory screens so it is handy when mobile to watch a simplex and repeater frequency at the same time.
The HF rig is an Icom ic 706 2 G with a IT 100 tuner just to nip up the vswr between cw and ssb modes.
Both rigs are remote head so the body of the radio is under the seats and nicely bolted down in the same holes SAPOL used to mount their gear. I only had to remake 1 hole in my bracket to suit fitting my rigs . I was able to run the HF coax under the vehicle rather than under the floor liner and come up through a grommet in the floor but the power cables and remote cable are under the floor liner. My main power comes direct from the battery to a large Anderson Pole plug so it can all disconnect if need be quite easily.
This is the ic 2720 and large extension speaker under the drivers seat.
This is the ic 706 under the rear passenger seat with all jacks facing out so it’s easier to plug in or out gear and power, the IT 100 is along side zip tied in place with a large extension speaker facing out which works well.
This is where the remote heads fitted the best and the cw paddle is handy for some mobile cw, using my left hand I can rest my palm on the plastic cover on the key for support and sit it on my knee when driving along. The heads are mounted on a flat aluminium plate I made up from a plastic tem plate I made from an ice cream container which was easy to work with to find the best angle and fit. I put part of the plate in the sliders for the ash tray making a tight fit. The bend in the plate down wards is enough to see the heads nicely when driving and the bottom of the plate clips in behind the fitting for the gear lever cover. I used two existing holes in my dash where SAPOL had stuff mounted for my microphones . The mic cord on the 2720 could be a bit shorter and it is made form a cheap flexible lead which gets tangled at times. Icom mics are not really very robust IMHO and the micro PTT switches give out easily I have had 3 Icom mics pack up at the PTT switch over the years. Just a thing about the cw paddle lead I platted it from 3 pieces of light gauge wire as I was sick of trying to find some multi core wire that was robust enough to do the job. So far it has held up well, pretty clever don’t you think.
That is my SOTA ute and Rigs I just need to get it dirty now.
thanks for reading cheers
Ian vk5cz ..