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Mobile Command

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Just making sure the company/seller doesn't sell needless stuff and $$$ are spent. Need input/suggestion on powering a vehicle that will be loaded with equipment configuration listed below used as a mobile command vehicle (full size SUV/pickup truck) besides a external/portable generator?

It needs to power at least 3 (to max output) or all in low/medium power, with some to spare for laptops, etc.

1.) HF 1.6-30 MHz* Micom/Mobat (w/WIMA HF Antenna, bumper mount) @ 125 Watts Max. (13.8V +/-20%, 29A)

2.) VHF-AM 118-136 MHz* @ 36 Watts Max. (13.8V +/-20%, 5A)

3.) VHF-FM 136-174 MHz* ** @ 110 Watts Max. (13.8V +/-20%, 20A)

4.) UHF-R1 380-470 MHz* ** @ 110 Watts Max. (13.8V +/-20%, 24A)

5.) UHF-R2 450-520 MHz* ** @ 45 Watts Max. (13.8V +/-20%, 24A)

6.) VHF-AM/FM**, UHF-1**/2**, 700**/800** or V/UHF to HF Cross link* ** any @ 5 Minim. to 110 Watts Max. (13.8V +/-20%, 24A max dependent on band)
Note: Not for all applications

7.) Emergency Beacon DF Unit (4 Roof Mount Antennas*) @ 12 VDC/Cigaret lighter powered.

8.) GPS Navigation. @ 12 VDC/Cigaret lighter powered.

9.) Portable IMPAC System 2/3/4G LTE Cellular Capable, Daniels Repeater**, or portable single radio charger/s.
Note: Not for all applications, and not roof mounted.

All antennas mounted on a roof rig.

*1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 normally operated at minimum required output. Removal of other antennas (NMO mounts covered) when high/max output is need. **Analog and P25 (GPS, Encryption, etc).

Important Note: Already know that at max Tx output it can and is a RF hazard.

Any other technical info needed???

Your knowledge is greatly appreciated.
 

prcguy

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I would supplement the HF whip with 50 to 75ft of wire that can run horizontal for regional NVIS comms, it will make a huge difference over the whip. Hopefully the tuner will handle additional wire. Is there room for lots of solar panels on the roof? A pair of 85w panels feeding an 8D battery or two can run a lot of stuff without firing up a generator or when fuel runs out and you can't get it.

Running a lot of high power VHF/UHF radios with close co-located antennas can cause receiver de-sense problems like the VHF FM radio wiping out the VHF airband radio, etc. You might consider band pass filters for the VHF/UHF radios. Using small transportable base antennas and placing them on masts that attach to the side of the vehicle can get your higher powered stuff up away from people and other antennas to minimize de-sense plus extend range with the added height.

There are some cool gizmos that mount to the side of a vehicle, then you snap a mast in at about 45deg from vertical and rotate vertical to lock, then the mast slides down into a cup to secure it. Makes for quick deployment and removal of antennas and masts.
prcguy
 
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The Micom WIMA installations I work with use 4 4foot sections for a 16ft whip with the whip tied down to improve the NVIS capabilities. The power output on your VHF-AM radio looks a bit high, most are 5-10 watts, don't need much power to accomplish your mission.
 

R8000

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You need to ask yourself, do you really need 110 Watts on VHF and UHF ? You'd be amazed at how well just a low power radio will do with a decent antenna. I'd encourage you to think about your VHF and UHF power levels a bit. In the future your always gonna add another radio and the moment you key up a 100 watt mobile..desense.
 

kayn1n32008

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You need to ask yourself, do you really need 110 Watts on VHF and UHF ? You'd be amazed at how well just a low power radio will do with a decent antenna. I'd encourage you to think about your VHF and UHF power levels a bit. In the future your always gonna add another radio and the moment you key up a 100 watt mobile..desense.

Agreed, if you can not make it with 25-50w, 110w will not do it either.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

freddaniel

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Consider using a Low Pass filter on the HF radio, and Bandpass filters on the other radios. This will cut down out-of-band RF overloading to other radios, due to proximity.

Consider a small Honda EU2000i generator. It is very fuel efficient [10 hours on 1 Gal] with a light load like you will have, but can handle loads to 2 KW when needed. Also outputs 12 VDC, but suggest you use 120 VAC instead. It uses a sine wave inverter so the generator motor can vary RPM to match the load.

Last, buy some three legged TV antenna tripods with small VHF and UHF antennas, with 50 ft of coax for each. These can be setup as needed outside the truck to overcome overload problems. Every time you double the distance between antennas horizontally, you gain 6 dB more isolation. Maybe pick up an additional 25 dB.
 

jim202

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Front end overload is always an issue with multiple radios operating in the same vehicle. Depending on the radio brand, you might want to consider adding some protection to the radio receiver front ends. Putting a pair of back to back hot carrier diodes across the input to the first transistor device can do wonders in preventing it from being blown out.

I have done this to a number of radios over the years. It means adding an additional capacitor to keep from messing up thr4 bias on the device. I look for the output from the last antenna tuning coil that generally has a coupling cap before the first transistor or FET. You lift the cap and place a second cap in series to the point where you lifted the original one. Then add the diodes to ground from the common point. There are some that will say you need to add a series resistor added. If that's what you think, then you can add, say a 50 or 100 Ohm resistor in series with the first cap.

This will at least same the first transistor from being destroyed by a 100 watt transmitter in the same vehicle. I use to have to drive by a high powered UHF radar system where I worked years ago. It blew out the front end of my VHF commercial radio a couple of times before I figured out what was happening. After the diode mod, never had a problem with it again.
 
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The Micom WIMA installations I work with use 4 4foot sections for a 16ft whip with the whip tied down to improve the NVIS capabilities. The power output on your VHF-AM radio looks a bit high, most are 5-10 watts, don't need much power to accomplish your mission.
I'm familiar with the use of the HF antenna you are talking about, including some of the technical reasons as to why they are done.

Regarding the VHF-AM radio, the radio is a Icom and they Tx 35 Watts and lower if selected/programmed, but the output is adjusted with terrain, buildings, distance coverage needed on a case by case basis.
 
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You need to ask yourself, do you really need 110 Watts on VHF and UHF ? You'd be amazed at how well just a low power radio will do with a decent antenna. I'd encourage you to think about your VHF and UHF power levels a bit. In the future your always gonna add another radio and the moment you key up a 100 watt mobile..desense.
I am aware that high power is not always a good idea, and that a good antenna is also a good option to choose, but having used radios with 50 watts or less, I know for a fact that at low power the sound/voice doesn't come through well/clear enough to understand when their is 40+ miles of terrain to cover without a repeater (have done it).

Although, I have been able to get 34+ miles in a dense city (clearing tall building walls, at car/street-not hill level/height) from a VHF-FM 5 watt portable in analog and P25, but the sound/voice is scratchy.
 
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R8000,

Regarding the "110 Watts on VHF and UHF" mobiles, its because the same radio/s can be removed and used for longer periods of time (over 24 hour incident) if a IC is set up in a building that can house a semi-permanent comm room.:D
 
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Front end overload is always an issue with multiple radios operating in the same vehicle. Depending on the radio brand, you might want to consider adding some protection to the radio receiver front ends. Putting a pair of back to back hot carrier diodes across the input to the first transistor device can do wonders in preventing it from being blown out.

I have done this to a number of radios over the years. It means adding an additional capacitor to keep from messing up thr4 bias on the device. I look for the output from the last antenna tuning coil that generally has a coupling cap before the first transistor or FET. You lift the cap and place a second cap in series to the point where you lifted the original one. Then add the diodes to ground from the common point. There are some that will say you need to add a series resistor added. If that's what you think, then you can add, say a 50 or 100 Ohm resistor in series with the first cap.

This will at least same the first transistor from being destroyed by a 100 watt transmitter in the same vehicle. I use to have to drive by a high powered UHF radar system where I worked years ago. It blew out the front end of my VHF commercial radio a couple of times before I figured out what was happening. After the diode mod, never had a problem with it again.
I like your idea! :D
 

jim202

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I am aware that high power is not always a good idea, and that a good antenna is also a good option to choose, but having used radios with 50 watts or less, I know for a fact that at low power the sound/voice doesn't come through well/clear enough to understand when their is 40+ miles of terrain to cover without a repeater (have done it).

Although, I have been able to get 34+ miles in a dense city (clearing tall building walls, at car/street-not hill level/height) from a VHF-FM 5 watt portable in analog and P25, but the sound/voice is scratchy.

Are you saying an incident is covering 40 + miles in distance, or is this the distance back to the main dispatch? If your talking this distance back to the main dispatch, have you considered using some yagi antennas? They work real well mounted up on a mast. Maybe consider a couple of them with a connector mounted someplace where you can connect the coax feedline to and be able to get back to the radio being used.

I have seen a great number of command vehicles over the years and they all get configured to the type of communications that they run into all the time. A city command vehicle doesn't look or function the same as one used out in the rural areas.

Another point that I try to get comm people to understand is to mount antennas for the same band as far apart on the roof of the command vehicle as they can. You will run out of roof top space without careful planning. The use of an antenna patch panel that all radios go to helps. This allows for swapping coax connections around easily. If you wipe out an antenna, you can patch the radio to another one. Always a good idea to have at least one spare antenna on the roof for each band you operate on.
 
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Jim202,

Are you saying an incident is covering 40 + miles in distance, or is this the distance back to the main dispatch/command?
Answer: Both are, Yes.
Note: Already have portable airborne repeaters for mountainous areas where their is no ATC converge or hill top repeaters, but they cost $200.00+ per hour to operate in a aircraft.

If your talking this distance back to the main dispatch, have you considered using some yagi antennas?
Answer: Currently done where their is a permanent base/building.

"Command vehicles... configured to the type of communications that they run into all the time."
Answer: I know.

"A city command vehicle doesn't look or function the same as one used out in the rural areas."
Answer: The local County Sheriff and Co FD use the same command vehicle/trailers in rural areas as they do in the city.

"Another point that I try to get comm people to understand is to mount antennas for the same band as far apart on the roof of the command vehicle as they can. You will run out of roof top space without careful planning."
Answer: I know, that is why I'm asking for input here in the forum, because some of the local shops just throw/push for anything to add to their profits.

The use of an antenna patch panel that all radios go to helps. This allows for swapping coax connections around easily. If you wipe out an antenna, you can patch the radio to another one. Always a good idea to have at least one spare antenna on the roof for each band you operate on.
Answer: I know. Any suggestion on configuration on a roof rig?
 

rapidcharger

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I am aware that high power is not always a good idea, and that a good antenna is also a good option to choose, but having used radios with 50 watts or less, I know for a fact that at low power the sound/voice doesn't come through well/clear enough to understand when their is 40+ miles of terrain to cover without a repeater (have done it).
That's what the p25 is for.
Scratchy signals, no more.
 

jeatock

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Welcome to RF...

Old saying: "Give me a $100 radio connected to a $5,000 antenna over a $5,000 radio connected to a coat hanger any day." I am always amazed by mobile comm vans with way too may $5,000 same-band radios each connected to their own $9 quarter-wave roof antenna.

Question: How badly do you need simultaneous high power transmit on multiple channels? (Note: I said TX, not RX.)

If not, consider:

Multiple/dedicated low TX power (just enough to go full-quieting) control point radios, so desense is not an issue. As a previous poster mentioned, if you can't do it with 10 watts, 110 probably isn't going to help.

Combined with

One high power / adjustable power stand-alone transmitter on a proper antenna with EIA tone channel select capability, combined with appropriate receive-only radios connected to a multi-coupler (RX antenna shared with TX through an automatic antenna switch, or RX fed from a second proper antenna), both setups with automatic RX shutdown when the big transmitter is up.

Its the same as a base station / console setup. Most tone remote-controllable radios allow for at least 12 channels, and the EIA standard tones support 16. If your standard preprogrammed channels are wrong for a unusual incident, break out your laptop. No issues since there are no RF filters to tweak.

The antenna(s) can be a real base 3db or 6db omni mast-mounted or "stand-up" rooftop; if separate TX and RX antennas are used, locate them on opposite ends of the roof. Remember that vertical separation is better than horizontal. In this case the old "Location, location, location" adage is translated as "Location, elevation, isolation".

IF you REALLY need two operators to have access to the same high power transmitter at the same time, but on different channels, seat them next to each other, and tell them to wait 15 seconds and share the transmitter.

No matter what you do, any transmitter active on 154.785 is going to desense every 154.295 receiver in the same close environment. Expensive and complicated RF filtering can help the van internally, but will do nothing about the fire apparatus with a 110W radio and 3db antenna transmitting from fifty feet away. I know firefighters- they all subscribe to the Binford "If a lot is good then way too much is way better" theory.

Depending on your budget you can use anything from direct radio control to a simple telephone style radio tone deskset (with separate rx-only speakers on non-selected channels) to (one or more) full blown self-contained tone remote console(s).

I know that this is going to get the digital crowd riled up, but desence on analog equals scratchy, while desense on digital equals BER above decode limit which equals blissful silence.
 
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jeatock;2243771,

Old saying: "Give me a $100 radio connected to a $5,000 antenna over a $5,000 radio connected to a coat hanger any day." I am always amazed by mobile comm vans with way too may $5,000 same-band radios each connected to their own $9 quarter-wave roof antenna.

Note: I am aware that their are cheap antenna/s, but the antennas picked out are in the $30-400+ range, with high quality coax along with good connectors/connections.

Question: How badly do you need simultaneous high power transmit on multiple channels? (Note: I said TX, not RX.)
Answer: When VHF repeater access is not possible HF at 125W or less, and VHF-FM at 50W (low), 110W (High) and HF at the same time.

Note: 110W mobiles are removed/installed in a building as a temporary base (2+ Days).

If not, consider:

Multiple/dedicated low TX power (just enough to go full-quieting) control point radios, so desense is not an issue. As a previous poster mentioned, if you can't do it with 10 watts, 110 probably isn't going to help.

Note: Yes & No, depending on the terrain and surrounding mobile (Air or Hill Repeater, Mobiles) stations.
I've experimented with low and high power, and it solves the problem with terrain (not extreme elevation differences) in the 100-400 foot range (topo map info).

Combined with

One high power / adjustable power stand-alone transmitter on a proper antenna with EIA tone channel select capability, combined with appropriate receive-only radios connected to a multi-coupler (RX antenna shared with TX through an automatic antenna switch, or RX fed from a second proper antenna), both setups with automatic RX shutdown when the big transmitter is up.

Its the same as a base station / console setup. Most tone remote-controllable radios allow for at least 12 channels, and the EIA standard tones support 16. If your standard preprogrammed channels are wrong for a unusual incident, break out your laptop. No issues since there are no RF filters to tweak.

The antenna(s) can be a real base 3db or 6db omni mast-mounted or "stand-up" rooftop; if separate TX and RX antennas are used, locate them on opposite ends of the roof. Remember that vertical separation is better than horizontal. In this case the old "Location, location, location" adage is translated as "Location, elevation, isolation".

IF you REALLY need two operators to have access to the same high power transmitter at the same time, but on different channels, seat them next to each other, and tell them to wait 15 seconds and share the transmitter.

No matter what you do, any transmitter active on 154.785 is going to desense every 154.295 receiver in the same close environment. Expensive and complicated RF filtering can help the van internally, but will do nothing about the fire apparatus with a 110W radio and 3db antenna transmitting from fifty feet away. I know firefighters- they all subscribe to the Binford "If a lot is good then way too much is way better" theory.

Depending on your budget you can use anything from direct radio control to a simple telephone style radio tone deskset (with separate rx-only speakers on non-selected channels) to (one or more) full blown self-contained tone remote console(s).

I know that this is going to get the digital crowd riled up, but desence on analog equals scratchy, while desense on digital equals BER above decode limit which equals blissful silence.
 

jim202

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One point that really hasn't been mentioned is just what brand and model of radios are being used. Reason I say this is some brands have a poorer front end to adjacent channel overload than others. The early models of the EF Johnson 5300 mobiles had a real poor front end overload problem on near channel operation. Haven't had a chance to play with then newer versions of their mobiles.

Another point to consider is that most of the commercial radios today have the ability to be programmed for high or low power. Then you also get to have a button to change the power setting. After being programmed for low power, the button gives you the option to place the radio into high power if needed. This reduces the intermod and desense that multiple radios will have operating on the same band.

The separation of antennas has already been mentioned by several people.

The main question you asked in the original post was what power source size would you need. That hasn't been mentioned by anyone yet. The answer is going to have to be supplied by how you operate all the radios. The first question to consider on this point is just how many radios can be be in transmit at the same time? This is going to provide a DC current requirement of what is needed. Like if there is any chance that 2 of the high powered radios will be transmitting at the same time, that throws at least 42 to 44 amps just for them. Then add up the other DC draw and you have your power supply minimum requirements. Make sure that you add a buffer capacity to what you end up with.

My suggestion is to have multiple DC supplies feeding different power buses. This way if you dump one of the supplies, you don't kill the whole operation.

Last comment. I don't recall if anyone has mentioned it yet. The use of double shielded coax cable inside what ever vehicle you put your system into will help reduce overloading the other radios some. Can't do much about the antennas on the roof or on masts you set up. Just keep this in mind when running coax cables.
 

KB7MIB

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Need input/suggestion on powering a vehicle that will be loaded with equipment configuration listed below used as a mobile command vehicle (full size SUV/pickup truck) besides a external/portable generator?
I just wanted to point out that the OP is looking for suggestions on a mobile command vehicle in the form of a full size SUV/pickup truck. I think some suggestions being made here would only work with an RV-sized command van.
I'm not sure if his configuration would include a towed trailer or the like. There was mention that his local Sheriff's Office and FD share a towed trailer.
 
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"EF Johnson 5300 mobiles." - Have used them, but definitely will not be considered for this project.

"commercial radios today have the ability to be programmed for high or low power." - Will/are programmed this way.

"first question to consider on this point is just how many radios can be be in transmit at the same time?" - 4 mobiles (HF, VHF-AM, VHF-FM, UHF-R2)

"DC current requirement... Then add up the other DC draw." - 13.8V +/-20% X 4, then 29A +5A + 20A +24A= x

"add a buffer capacity to what you end up with." - How much buffer capacity?

"have multiple DC supplies" - Any specific type to buy, and what to stay away from?

Are 2-3 additional deep cycle batteries besides the 2 batteries that come installed from factory enough in your opinion?

"if you dump one of the supplies, you don't kill the whole operation." - Thought of that prior to posting anything, but you input is appreciated.

"The use of double shielded coax cable inside what ever vehicle you put your system into will help reduce overloading the other radios some." - Thought of that prior to posting anything, but you input is appreciated.
 
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