Description of the current WA2IID/R operation, equipment, packaging and setup. You may want to go back to our home page and open the photos in a separate window, as I will refer to some of the photos. When you finish looking at the current operation, I would highly recommend that you look at the History and Evolution section since that describes some of our learning, mistakes, etc. and could save other rovers from making some of the same mistakes.

Our rover vehicle is an Explorer towing a small Utility trailer. The equipment is packaged permanently in the trailer which is dedicated to Roving and Emergency Communications

First the stations:

Packaging - The antennas can best be seen by clicking on the photo of our operation on Equinox Mountain that is on the home page (click it for details). There are three masts. The front one has (top to bottom ) 1296 looper, 2 meter beam 5 elements, 222 beam 8 elements and 432 Beam 11 elements. The near rear mast contains 903 on top, 2304 and 3456 just above the dish and the dish for 10368 and 5760. The other top slot can be used for a dual band vertical beam for FM on 144 and 446, or for a second 2304 looper with a power splitter. The far rear mast holds the 6 meter loop. All the masts are telescoping fiberglass tubes and rods that are telescoped down for travel and then telescoped up for operation at a site. I obtained the fibreglass tubes and rods from Max-Gain Systems . Allen Bond there is quite helpful. He also regularly attends the winter hamfest in Orlando for those of you in the south.

Power - Over time (as amplifiers and stations are added) power becomes an increasing problem. We started with just automobile power. Then we went to a deep cycle battery, then to two deep cycle batteries, and then to two deep cycle batteries fed with a 40 amp switching supply and a generator. We actually have two generators which provide backup and also can be run in parallel to supply enough to run a heater in cold weather.

Setup - one key parameter to successful roving is to minimize setup and teardown time. Setup only takes away from valuable operating time. Upon arriving at a site our setup consists of the following: Get out the step ladder. Push up the microwave masts vertical and rotate the 903 and 1296 antennas to allign with the dish (They are center mounted so we rotate them along the axis of the trailer for travel). Push up and clamp the front and 6 meter masts. Align antennas for rotator accuracy. Get out the generator, place it about 45 feet away, start it, and plug in power. This can all be accomplished in under 15 minutes. In the previous configuration, we could set up in just over 10 minutes. However, antennas were not high enough to be fully effective and the new configuration does take a bit longer. Just one of those many trade-offs.