We need to hear from as many as possible on your installations - what works and what doesn't. Pictures are always a plus.
There are a lot of subjects to cover for this topic, but I will start off with one of our golden rules - it doesn't pay to buy cheap. As always, quality will pay dividends, the most important of which will be reliability and durability. Both being important considerati0ns when your travels take you far from home and when you may need to depend on your gear to get help. This may be a continuing list, but we will start here:
The parts of your radio set-up which are usually most vulnerable are the ones exposed to the elements. Taking the time to protect these parts and spending the money to buy equipment that will survive the worst that weather and use can dish out, are one big step to ensuring that your radio will work, and work well. All these precautions are especially important if you live in a wet climate or are near the beach. Make no mistake about it, however, protecting electrical connections, for example, are of utmost the importance no matter where you live or travel.
1. CO-AX Seal
It is not uncommon for a radio to be completely disabled due to corrosion on the co-ax connections. A great way to protect electrical and antenna connections comes in the form of a black tar-like material marketed under the name of Co-Ax seal. It works well and it lasts a long time. With just a little bit of patience, it comes off without leaving any trace of the material.
2. QUALITY PARTS
This is one area that could take months worth of nets to cover, so we will mention just a few. The point here is to highlight the fact that high quality parts are not difficult to find as well as pointing out how easy it is to find just what you are looking for, with a little bit of research. In keeping with the section above, this section will deal with radio equipment that is exposed to the elements and includes:
Mounts for antennas
connectors (e.g. NMO mounts)
We will discuss these in more detail on the net but here are a few examples of products that meet our criteria:
Breedlove Mounts. I discovered Breedlove Mounts some time ago while equipping the Ham radios in my vehicle, (https://www.breedlovemounts.com/home.html). If you are looking for heavy duty, solid, and well made mounts and related gear, you should consider Breedlove. If you don't find exactly what you want, he can make something to suit your needs.
I run a Scorpion HF antenna (6M-80M) when on the trail, and as the picture below demonstrates, the antenna is quite large. Given the brush and tree choked trails that we usually encounter, there is no way that I would be willing to run the antenna in the "up" position while traveling. The solution was to make or find a fold over mount that would allow me to run the antenna in the "down" position while traveling and make deployment easy, once we reached camp. Breedlove had the answer with their "fold-over" mount, made of solid 6061 aluminum, and it is about as heavy duty and solid as you can get. For the gadget minded traveler, Breed love makes an electric (12V) fold-over mount.
Breedlove also makes a great selection of NMO's, ball mounts and quick disconnects, all of which are made from solid brass.
Co-ax cable sometimes is one of the most neglected parts of your radio set-up, and usually for good reason - once installed, the cable is usually out of sight and therefore, out of mind. If you installed the co-ax in your vehicle, chances are that it runs under the carpet or between the roof and headliner. There is no question about it - making a clean installation of co-ax cable is a PITA. Between the difficulty of installation and the benefits of buying quality co-ax, there is no good reason to go cheap. An additional benefit of running quality cable is the greater power that can be run and the improved frequency capabilities that it offers.
There are various types of co-ax on the market, and while I don't usually recommend against a particular brand, I will say that it is a very good idea to avoid the inexpensive very thin co-ax cables. We have been doing these nets for over 9 years and for most of these years, we have used a 25 foot RG-142 cable to connect the 8800 to the Elk Antenna. It gets installed and removed every week and has withstood everything we dish out. Cable Xperts sells this in pre-cut lengths or any length you specify, see: http://cablexperts.com/cfdocs/cat.cfm?I ... ship=1&c=0.
Here is some interesting information regarding RG-142, from Allied Wire and Cable : http://www.awcwire.com/productspec.aspx ... rg142specs
Use in the military
The RG142 cable was specifically built for the United States Military in the World War II era. It has a military equivalent part number of M17/60-RG142. This part number gives the United States Military an excellent option to use the highly reliable RG142 in their satellites, systems, and other tactical operations and equipment. Because of the obvious importance in these cables, the military requires them to have minimum and maximum dielectric adhesion values, specific shrink back allowance, eccentricity standardizations, stress crack resistance tests, and many more specifications that add to the durability and reliability of the RG142. All trusted manufacturers will produce the same high-quality RG142 because of its high QPL, which demands stability and rigidity in the testing and construction of specs and authenticity.
Benefits of the RG-142
RG142 meets all MIL-C-17 specifications and utilizes standard connectors, so proprietary or exotic pieces are not required to build its infrastructure. RG142 also has good shielding effectiveness (between 40 and 60 db) and has Low Passive Intermod (PIM) degradation of signal quality which is kept to a minimum. Since the RG142 is made with a solid dielectric this allows a high rate of crush resistance, which makes it the coax of choice for tactical operations and applications. Even though the RG142 isn't your most phase stable wire, the phase stability can be enhanced through preconditioning in the specific temperature ranges of your project.