View Full Version : Where Is Your RV Ham Shack and How Do You Go About Not Disturbing Other Occupants????

12-13-2009, 07:54 AM
Looking for ideas, insight and opinions on where to locate and how to go about HF Haming in an RV space shared with a non Ham XYL. I'm talking about voice, not CW.

I have decided to only operate when parked, but am wondering about not disturbing others in the early morning or late at night with, ...... well you know what.


12-13-2009, 09:09 AM
DW is licensed but is a "reluctant ham" so I can relate. Our RV is our home and office. We took the dining table out and put in two desks. My desk doubles as my shack.

Morning QSOs don't bother her but I have, in the past, dangled the mic. and speaker out the window - to the outdoor living space if she is watching TV. I also have a setup where I can operate the TS2000 from my TH-D7(A)G. See my Ham page (http://www.fulltimerv.us/ham/ham.html) for details of my setup.

12-13-2009, 05:06 PM
Thanks for the show and tell Steve, nice setup!

Good idea about through the window, but how do you change frequencies, or is it for rag a chew? I was thinking about an antenna switch and carrying the rig outside.


12-13-2009, 07:51 PM
My operating position is out in the middle of the living room.

Propagation is so poor lately I'm not on all that much anyway.

Note Sweet Wife's traveling mascot at the top of the picture. She teaches orchestra, and the part of the Violin bow you hold on to is called the "frog." Hence our mascot. :whistle:

Note that I use headphones and a MFJ "voice keyer" so that cuts down the noise by a significant factor.

12-13-2009, 08:51 PM
Nice setup Wade. Thanks for the tips.

JIM :)

12-14-2009, 01:22 AM
Looking for ideas, insight and opinions on where to locate and how to go about HF Haming in an RV space shared with a non Ham XYL. I'm talking about voice, not CW.

I have decided to only operate when parked, but am wondering about not disturbing others in the early morning or late at night with, ...... well you know what.



Since I am not full time as we have too much to take care of and the wife isn't retired, my shack is in my stick built. so I suppose the rest of my post is not to the point.

We moved my then 83 year old father in law into the garage, of course after we converted it into a nice little apartment for him. In doing so we needed a new garage so we built one behind the old one that is now "Grandpa's" apartment. We built a breezeway between his back door and the new garage with a room off the breeze way.

I claimed that room as mine and now my radio equipment is in there. The room is 9 x 13 and on the other side of the wall is grandpa's bedroom. But my F-I-L is deaf or nearly so,(won't wear his hearing aids) and I never seem to bother him. If I did, it would be a simple thing to soundproof that wall. To return to my part of the house I can go out and around to a couple of other doors to get in.

It is an unfinished work in progress. I can get out there and get on the air, but that isn't all I wanted to do in that room.

Because my hobbies and things come last around here. Between my own health issues, the taking care of the F-I-L, being chief cook and bottle washer, and of course the honey do list which is longer because I am retired and my wife still works. Right now it is unheated so it is hard to get it up to a comfortable heat range.

Someday I'll get it the way I want it.

Andy N1ORK
12-14-2009, 05:38 AM

Right now it is unheated so it is hard to get it up to a comfortable heat range.

Dan, what you need is a couple of old tube type rigs and a 1.5kw tube amp. That'll warm up the shack for ya! Hi Hi!:) Those little ceramic heaters work well too.
My shack at camp (park model, no more trailer) is on the enclosed porch on a small table next to the guest futon. So, even though I use headphones, the guests will just have to put up with my CQs or wear earplugs.


12-14-2009, 09:32 AM
I think I can change frequencies with Sky Command but I am not a contester and usually just chat.

12-14-2009, 10:04 AM
What is sky command?


12-15-2009, 09:48 AM
Sky Command is a proprietary communication between Kenwood radios. There is also another way with these particular radios but I can't remember what it is called and I don't think you can change frequencies with it. I don't use the communication setups very often. I once set them up for APRS between them but I haven't used it since I can't hike anymore.

12-15-2009, 11:13 AM


One Country Boy
12-16-2009, 08:17 PM
I've got a Kenwood TS450S and a 2 meter rig I haul around in the 5er. I ham from the bedroom. The radios on one end of the dresser. I have a photo somewhere. I don't do any late night hamming so it's not a problem.

02-09-2010, 06:44 PM
I have an Ft-857 with an Atas 120 ant and a Kenwood "710" with a magmount mounted in the toad. It's there fulltime even though we don't fulltime !
I carry with us a go kit comprised of an Icom 7000 with a tuner, battery, power supply,
and 3 different antenna set ups including 40 ft mast that telescopes from the ladder for a wire or hamsticks.
Rich KC8HMJ in Michigan

02-10-2010, 08:47 AM
Well... I too was concerned about finding a spot for the TS-2000 where it would not bother the wife... So I looked at my house on wheels and realized that there was indeed a small room (And I might add a somewhat larger room) with it's own door that I could close to block sound

What's more in my house the 12 volt distribution panel is on the other side of one of that room's walls (that is the back of the panel is inside a cabinet in that room) so I had lots, and lots of battery voltage (and I might add the 120v panel is right below the 12V panel, same cabinet) and other power there.

Plus.. You ever have that problem of checking into a net and when the NCS says "Stand by ... you" you feel a sudden and strong urge to visit a specific chair in your motor home..... Well... That's the chair I sit on when I operate (The one with the SeaLand label on it) so I never miss my turn due to that problem HI.

Now the somewhat larger room has a Tethford macerator version of that same chair so wife is not bothered by my being on the radio, instead of the throne She uses the biger room)

It also means I check into a net or two I'd not have found if I was not sitting on the operator's seat... For other reasons... long about 2-8 AM (pick any time in that bracket) Bunch of nice folks on the Before Breakfast Club (3-5 but pre-net starts earlier) or Breakfast club (5-8 am) Times are Eastern.

02-10-2010, 01:09 PM
I do mostly PSK-31 ... So all she hears is CLICK CLICK CLICK of the keyboard.

02-11-2010, 09:13 AM
Well, that too, though I do a few SSB nets from time to time

Cans help too (headphones for you younger folks) that way she does not hear the radio.. Just my voice.

I use cans on the breakfast club and B-4 Breakfast club

(Wear cans while I'm sitting on the.... well you get the idea)

02-11-2010, 09:33 AM
I could always go sit in the Toad (Towed) where I have an iCom 706. I've done that before too.

02-12-2010, 09:40 AM
One of the fun things I have done with my RV's radios is set 'em up in cross band repeater mode.. Then I can go sit most anywhere nearby with by FT-51R and take advantage of the power of the MH's radios (Up to 100 watts).

What's even more fun though is sitting there, say in Los Vegas, with the FT-51R (What, 5 watts max) chatting on 70cm with hams half way around the world (IRLP) but .. That's another thread.

I think cans (headphones) are about the best option for non-disturbing of others. Epically if the band is noisy

Wife asks why sometimes the radio is clear and sharp and sometimes noisy... (Humm, TS-2000, "SUB" receiver is usually very clear, sharp and 2-mtr FM (or 70cm) Main is usually set to SSB mode)

07-07-2011, 11:36 PM
I set up radio equipment on the dash, in front of the passenger front seat. It's a decent sized area and a comfy chair. Fully out of the way of anything else in the RV. Cables enter the passenger side window.

07-08-2011, 10:12 AM
My Intruder is a bath and a half/ham shack model. Since the half bath has a door I can close, it makes it much nicer, I use headphones as well when listening on occasion. (Depending on signal quality and things)

Another option.... They used to sell a fairly heavy insulated curtain that one could use to section off the "Cockpit" from the rest of the house. This way when driving you could section off the cockpit and the dash air (or heat) would be way more effective... Same should work for sound deadening if you put the station in the cockpit.

One additional advantage of the half-bath shack.... Ever check into a net and when the NCS says "Go ahead___ and stand by __your call__" you get that sudden urge to go sit somewhere... Else?

I have.. Except.. That happens to be where I'm already sitting so I don't miss my turn.

03-10-2012, 01:01 PM
I have an icom 7k as well as a flexradio 3000 for the MH

Since i work DX during morning grayline, i leave the flex3000 inside the MH and just take my laptop and headset outside and sit somewhere she can't hear me (it could be also sitting inside the toad so nobody can hear me talking). My laptop has a 9hr battery so i don't need AC power.

I just have to run long firewire and ethernet cables

I also record my call sign and play them when contacting DX so that she doesn't keep hearing my call sign over and over again.

I also ask her to use the roof ac/heat pump in the morning that takes care of such issues when i can't step outside due to bad weather (assuming we are not dry camping).

If nothing else, i just don't get on the air. I know that i will miss that DX today, but will have an opportunity another day to work him. It has never failed except for dxpeditions.

One Country Boy
03-10-2012, 04:13 PM
I presently do not have my equipment set up in our motorhome. I had a nice setup in our 5th wheel. A customized cabinet with HF, VHF and power supply all stacked. I'm still thinking on the motorhome.

Caymann, could you share your call with us (not a necessity) and/or first name please?


03-10-2012, 04:45 PM
Hi Jim
My call sign is AB1PJ
thank you for asking
Jim S Basu

03-10-2012, 05:01 PM
In case you were not officially welcomed to our private little zoo

to Jim/AB1PJ

One Country Boy
03-10-2012, 05:23 PM
Hi Jim
My call sign is AB1PJ
thank you for asking
Jim S Basu

Hey Jim... A great name you have there. Hi Hi... I may remember that one.:)

As Wade said, welcome to the forum. Glad to have you aboard. Good luck with getting a permanant setup in your RV. Post with us often.

03-11-2012, 08:00 PM
We;; in my RV there are basically 4 rooms

From the rear

The rear main bathroom with shower dual vanity and toilet (And cabinets)

The main bedroom (Foreward of the bath, 2 slideouts, full width)

and a short hallway I will return to this hall. Cabinets on one side (Washer Dryer or Storage, we choose storage, Water heater, are in this area, main power panels on other side) and one more thing off on that side I"ll return to)

and the The front multi-purpose room (living, Dining, Kitchen and part time bedroom also the cockpit is in this area.

Now the one other thing.. A half bath (Tiolet/ Lav and two "overhead" cabinets.

That room like the main bath has a genuine door, IT is also where I parked the TS-2000. Very handy.. Ever beein in a net and the NCS says to the station in front of you "Go ahead Call and stand by "your call or name" and just then you feel that urge to,,, shall we say,,, be somewhere sitting down?

Well, that's where I'm sitting.

03-12-2012, 10:30 PM
Mine is an armchair under the awning...Fiver is too small with three ladies along.

10-18-2016, 06:54 PM
In my 1994 Fleetwood Jamboree, there used to be a TV mounted in an overhead over the dining table. I decided to make that a spot to hold a good stereo receiver for the "house", and on top will be my Icom IC-735, a tuner, and a couple other items.
You'll be able to grab them, and put them down on the table to work or place up in the Granny's Attic and operate from there. Antenna will either be a multiband mounted to the back of the house on the outside or if I am parking for a longer time, a Butternut HF-6V will be ground mounted a few feet away from the RV. Ground planes and all.

10-20-2016, 10:48 AM
Well. there are 4 considerations in where to put the "ham Shack"
Disturbing other occupants.. This means you need a room with a DOOR
Power.. For example such a room in my RV happens to have the backside of the 12 volt distribution panel in i is very handy)
And Net participation, will describe that later.. Joe Walsh happens to have though of that one as well.

My RV is a "Bath and a half" modtwin lav's and a shower. Half bath is toileTS-2000

I canm close the door, As I noted above power is handy, and when the net control says "Go ahead station before me) stand by Me, and naturally that is when I feel the need to be seated... Somewhere speific... Well.. I'm already seated there.. Just need to make a few adjustments (Lift lid, drop trousers sit back down). and Joe and I do not miss our turn on the net... Very handy.

I apologize for the liquid now all over your keyboard and monitor.. but well.. That's where I put my Ham Shack.

and having a nice 80 amp power supply just 2 feet left of the Radio and a couple feed down.. Not a bad deal either. WITH FULL BATTERY BACKUP and 160 amp surge ability.

10-20-2016, 04:47 PM
It's at the driver seat, and they ain't no other occupants in the DP.

01-28-2017, 08:33 AM
I have considered long and hard on this matter, we are in the escape planning stage for execution in 5 yrs, I am 57. We will be going full time in a class A MH, I thought about the bunkhouse layout, but that would restrict the spare BR to a ham shack/craft room which may work out ok but reduce the other living space available. Recently I have been considering the Flex radios, because the rig could be stowed anywhere and operated from my laptop or now the new remote device (Maestro) they came out with last year. Which means the shack could be anywhere within range of the WIFI signal of my MH. So from the table under the awning to the throne room to the cockpit I could operate the shack. Next is to figure out how to rig the HY-Tower to the roof to pivot up into service when I want to operate! HI HI! so many things to consider!:radio:

01-28-2017, 10:28 AM
True Story: Entainer Joe Walsh (Eagles among other bands) has a toilet in his ham shack, that way. Well, it never fails.. You are in a directed net, Go ahead Pete and Joe stand by". and suddenly you feel the urge to.. Well, go sit somewhere for a bit.

In my motor home there are 4 rooms and a hall
The Great room (Where I am sitting as I type this) Kitchen, living room and dining room all in one
The half bath
The full bath
The bedroom

Now the baths have doors, that can be closed, AND toilets so you can .... Not miss your turn at the mic... So I used the half bath, Since the full was Wife's domain.

Another consideration.. Next to the Hlaf bath in my RV is the hall. on the hall/bath wall is the main power distribution panels, both 12 volt and 120 volt.. The panels are "Open" in back to the cabinet under the sink.. So I had a real easy time running the 12 volt line from the TS-2000 to the back fo the main fuse block (80 amp) Very easy to hook up. Solid ground, Soild power.