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Old 08-07-2008, 08:29 PM   #1
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Default Installing the HF Station in the 5th Wheel

The first thing you do is make a plan, and then screw up.

One of the reasons we purchased this particular floor plan is the neat place to put a ham radio station there in front of the picture window (behind the two chairs). Conveneint to this location is a 120 vac duplex outlet. All that is needed is a way to get antenna cables into and out of the trailer.

An exploration under the counter and behind cabinets yeilds several posibilites. I want something flexable and inexpensive. I recall a solution I saw at an antenna test range. Tempoary cables were fed into and out of a building though the wall using a foot long 6" diameter PVC pipe with a rubber cap at each end. An "X" was cut into each of the rubber caps. A cable could be pushed through the x-cut, yet most of the weather was kept out. This would be the basis of my feed through design as the cables must pass through not only the floor but the underbelly material as well.

A cabinet door is also convenient to the station location. The feed through will be located behind this door. A hole is placed in the side of the cabinet such that cables can go through the hole and the door closed after setting up and during station operation. This hole is dressed up with one of those plastic feed through things you find on computer desks.

The floor of the Rockwood is a sandwich of plywood and styrofoam. Easy enough to cut through with a 2" hole saw.

And then a disaster...sort of, more or less.

Turns out that styrofoam isn't the only thing in the floor sandwich. Right where I chose to put my hole for the feed through, there are two aluminum square channels that are just chock full of wiring. The good news is although I buggerd up the channel pretty good, not one wire was even touched.

I drilled a few "feeler" holes to make sure there wasn't anything else hiding under there, and sucsessfully placed a second hole a few inches over. A bit extender was used to make a pilot hole to center the hole in the underbelly material. The 2" OD PVC pipe was maked and cut to length to allow for the caps to be attached at either end.

More pictures to follow this weekend.
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File Type: jpg 8280SS.jpg (35.6 KB, 371 views)
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Old 08-07-2008, 08:46 PM   #2
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I gather you are not going to boon dock at all and use 12v?
I leave my FT-897 loose so that I can take it outside with some longer power and antenna leads should I want to.
Part of what I like about RVing.
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Old 08-07-2008, 09:21 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by w7wv View Post
I gather you are not going to boon dock at all and use 12v?
I leave my FT-897 loose so that I can take it outside with some longer power and antenna leads should I want to.
Part of what I like about RVing.
I have a car battery to boondock with, should the urge arise. But if comercial power is availabe, there is an outlet there to use. In fact, I was impressed by the number and placement of 120vac outlets all around this trailer. Nice.

Nothing in this install would prevent me from moving the whole thing outdoors under the awning. I'll make some pics as I finish up the project this weekend.
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Old 08-08-2008, 02:52 PM   #4
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Good job,, I went through the floor of my Class A (inside a cabinet) the wires run down a inside wall behind the radio into the cabinet and then through the floor and along the frame to the antenna tuner... Power lines just run inside the cabinet and up & out the wall since the power distribution center is... Right there (I only ran 12 volt)
For antennas I connect and disconnect I put in a stove vent vent, next to the radio, Feed 'em in and out that way.. Eventually I'll improve on that a bit by installing feed through fittings (Bulkhead fittings) and dressing stuff up a bit but for now.. Unless I have antennas up it looks like a exhaust vent. (Which it is)

I've decided that this week I'm calling my Rig: POETIC.

Cause.. That way I can say I'm "Waxing Poetic"
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Old 08-08-2008, 11:23 PM   #5
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Glad you didn't cause any serious damage Radio. I can see how that could happen though. I know someone who accidently drilled into the top of his "black tank" attempting to snake some wiring. He eventually got it sealed back.

I run my mini-8 coax out at each stop. It's become a routine for my wife and I. We slip it out one of the slideouts, at the floor. Then put the slide totally out. It seals well in the rubber seal. I have a quick disconnect on the roof ladder for the antenna with a SO-239 on the base of it. It's been working well for us so far and I don't have to drill.

We'll be home Monday after having been on the road since June 14th (our longest trip out). I'll try to get our travel log caught up to post soon with photos. We've had a nice time. Currently located at Ho Hum RV Park, near Carrabelle, FL.



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Old 08-09-2008, 02:54 PM   #6
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Default Step by step

These four pictures show the finished feed through, although I really should call it a "pass through."

The second photo shows how the "stopper" on each end works. The originals I saw at the test range were 6" across and has a big "X" cut in the rubber ends. You could easily push your cable (and your hand) through there. But with a 2" OD pipe it's more difficult to manage, so I cut a "C" shape into the ends and installed a knob to open and close the end caps.

The third photo shows the pass through in place in the floor. The hole under the outlet lets the cables run into the cabinet without the need for the door to be left open.

The last photo shows the outside view underneath the trailer.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg FinishedPassThru.jpg (26.8 KB, 354 views)
File Type: jpg OpenPassThru.jpg (24.7 KB, 344 views)
File Type: jpg IntalledPassThru.jpg (33.4 KB, 343 views)
File Type: jpg UnderPassThru.jpg (20.3 KB, 345 views)
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Old 08-09-2008, 03:09 PM   #7
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Default All set up - HF station!!

Here's the HF station, thus far anyway.

Kenwood TS-570 and the Astron RS-35M power supply. For boondocking we'd take along a car battery. When not going along on a trip the station disapears completely, leaving no trace outside the cabinet. The table could be moved away from the cabinet and sat in front of the window without a problem.

The pass through accomidates 6 to 10 cables of reasonable size and of nearly any type - coax, twin lead, Cat-5, power, data, telephone, whatever.

Really really looking forward to feild day next year!
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File Type: jpg HFSetup.jpg (47.5 KB, 337 views)
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Old 08-09-2008, 04:36 PM   #8
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Hey OM, that looks almost as comfortable as my operating position.
Life is tough is it not??
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Old 08-10-2008, 06:50 AM   #9
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That's a neat installation. I like that !!

73,
Jim - WB4QBW



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Old 08-10-2008, 12:40 PM   #10
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Default Tough life, indeed.

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Hey OM, that looks almost as comfortable as my operating position.
Life is tough is it not??
Yeah. Sitting out on some beach or in the cool shade in some state park somewhere, cuddled up in my comfy chair working the Black Sea on 20m.

The only thing that would really ruin it all would be the smell of coffee in the perculator and bacon frying in the pan.

Just awful.
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:02 PM   #11
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Nice job....lazy boys are great to operate from
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Old 03-28-2009, 10:42 AM   #12
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Hate to resurect this thread, but I have a question.

How many and what type of "Searching" Holes did you drill Im not really] hip to drill a lot of holes in there

Here is my Floor plan (Keystone 322R)

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Old 03-28-2009, 01:00 PM   #13
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Um, I should have used a nail or something to probe the floor for the aluminum conduit structure that I drilled into. So the answer I guess is "none"

But I should have. I think the more inboard you go, until you come to the frame rail, the better. My conduit was very close to the outside wall. But mine is a Forest River product and keystone may have a totally different approach. I do know this: The conduit is close to the surface, like flooring material, thin plywood and BANG! Conduit! So you don't have to go too deep to find it, and it is after all hidden inside the cabinet.
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:44 AM   #14
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Man I found I have enclosed underneath and its got a million screws.

Dunno how Im going to run it now. UGH.

Anyone have Ideas, Ive got Coax Running LOCK big time
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Old 05-23-2009, 11:00 AM   #15
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Mine doesn't "run" anywhere...it drops straight through the bottom of the trailer. No cables are permanently installed anywhere. What I have is a weather sealed hole in the floor that's out of sight (and out of mind!) when not in use.

I can put any combination of cable into or out of the pass through, so it never becomes obsolete or inappropriate for the situation at hand.

I cut the inside floor hole first. Then I borrowed a 24" long 1/4" bit, with this I drilled a pilot hole for the hole saw from the inside, to insure the floor hole and the belly covering hole would line up. Follow me?

Keep me posted on what you wind up doing!
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Old 05-24-2009, 01:06 PM   #16
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The problem with most operating positions is this: You check into the net and let's say you are number fifteen on the list.. Well, they are on 13, 14 is on standby and.... You feel that urge to visit another place where you can sit for a bit.. By the time you get back to the operating position they are on 17 and you got listed as "no-show"

I don't have that problem with MY operating position.. And I can tell you... It can be VERY comfortable. Epically under the above conditions.
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Old 05-24-2009, 08:12 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post
The problem with most operating positions is this: You check into the net and let's say you are number fifteen on the list.. Well, they are on 13, 14 is on standby and.... You feel that urge to visit another place where you can sit for a bit.. By the time you get back to the operating position they are on 17 and you got listed as "no-show"

I don't have that problem with MY operating position.. And I can tell you... It can be VERY comfortable. Epically under the above conditions.

Now there's a ham with some net experience. Hi Hi..... Been there, done that.



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Old 06-08-2009, 09:29 PM   #18
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We have a Jayco Recon zx 5th wheel toy hauler:radio I just finished installing a Tarheel ll screwdriver antenna up on the roof I have it clamped to the ladder mount and will fold down to lay flat while driving the wires are run down to a vent in the garage area their was enough space between the grill on the vent and the cover to close it with the wires running threw it. the radio a Icom 730 I set it on the work table which folds up when not in use. I am very impressed with the operation of the antenna it works just as they claim. Have had many good reports with it.
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Old 06-09-2009, 07:35 AM   #19
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We have a Jayco Recon zx 5th wheel toy hauler:radio I just finished installing a Tarheel ll screwdriver antenna up on the roof I have it clamped to the ladder mount and will fold down to lay flat while driving the wires are run down to a vent in the garage area their was enough space between the grill on the vent and the cover to close it with the wires running threw it. the radio a Icom 730 I set it on the work table which folds up when not in use. I am very impressed with the operation of the antenna it works just as they claim. Have had many good reports with it.
Nice 5th wheel. We looked at some of those while at a dealership in Birmingham a few weeks ago. Are you getting any interference into your hf receiver on the lower bands ? Especially 75 meters.

Jim



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