Category Archives: Mini Cooper

Getting ready for MTTS

Applied stickers for each stop. There are 15 stickers for the cities we will visit in 15 days.  Counting down the days until I hit the road.

Minis on the Dragon


Took the Mini to Minis on the Dragon last weekend. Not much radio time, but did meet two other hams at the event. There were over 600 Mini Coopers there, by the way. Here’s a nice shot of the car and antenna.

I’m thinking of heading to Dayton next weekend. Not much radio time with all this travel.

HF mobile in Mini Cooper

I spent most of Saturday getting the Icom IC 7000 installed in the Mini Cooper. It was a trick, but it’s in and seems to be working fine. I’m running the Yaesu ATAS 120A antenna, and have a gizmo on order that will allow me to tune the antenna manually. For right now, it’s tuned to 40 meter cw and that’s where it will be this week.
I had picked up a neat little paddle at Dayton a couple years ago, and hadn’t had a chance to really use it. I screwed it to the top of the Cooper’s ashtray, and it should work great there. The position is perfect.
I’d like to have the control head higher — closer to line of sight, but for right now its sitting next to the shift lever. Not great, but doable. If you really want to mess with the radio, pull off the road.

Going mobile

I was talking about getting active mobile again, that’s opertating cw HF from the car by my definition. I put the ATAS 120 back on the Chevy Equinox, and unfortunately, it seems to have died. I’ve run the Yaesu FT-857/ATAS 120 combo for a quite a few years and really like it, but the antennas don’t seem to last that long. This is my second one that has died, so I don’t think I’ll buy a third.
So I’m at a quandry — what do I use for an antenna. I ran Hamsticks for years, and may go back to that. They are simple, cheap, and you don’t feel bad when a $18 antenna fails. I’m also debating what radio and what car to do this in. I spend most of my road time in a Mini Cooper, but I spent a few hours trying to figure out how to shoehorn a HF rig into that car last weekend, an didn’t come up with a solution.
I presently have a Yaesu FTM-10 in the Mini, which is perfect for a limited-space installation of a 2 meter/440 radio. The microphone and speaker are housed in the control head, so the control head is the only thing in the front of the car — the rest is in the boot (Mini-speak for trunk.) But 2 meters and 440 are boring in my opinion — at least in the area I’m commuting. So there’s no news on my mobile installation.
The good news is the bands have been better, and been having nice contacts each weekend on 40 meter cw. Look for me there.

Slow summer



I’ve been remiss in keeping the blog up, but the month of July isn’t a great one for Ham radio. Too much band noise from thunderstorms, too little time, and too many other things to do.

The only exception for that was the IARU contest a couple weekends ago. This is a short, simple contest, with a very simple, fast exchange. I went downstairs Saturday night, and managed to rack up neary 400 contacts. I acheived a high QSO rate running a frequency for a couple hours. That got my contesting juices flowing, and I’m looking forward to next fall’s contest season. More on that as we get closer.

I have other interests and hobbies, one of which is cars. My daily commuter car is a 2007 Mini Cooper, and as a friend told me “Minis aren’t a car, they are a cult.” I participated in the cult this weekend at an event titled Mini Takes The States. It was a Mini rally, with several hundred Mini Coopers at the Road America race track in Elkhorn Lake, WI, about 150 miles north of Chicago. Despite some horrific traffic on the way up, it was a fun day.