Mobile CW station is back

The Little Tarheel ready to go on the Mazda 3. I have a 2 meter/440 antenna on the right, but I’m not sure why I put it on the car. When you have HF mobile, why mess with 2 meters?

Last weekend we had nice weather, so I didn’t have any excuse not to get the Icom Ic7000 installed in the Mazda 3 and get back on mobile CW. I have finished the installation with only one hole drilled in the back of the back seat, and everything is working.

For an antenna, I picked up a Litttle Tarheel on eHam classifieds a month or so ago. It was brand new, it had never even been assembled. I bought a new Comet trunk lip mount and put it on the back hatch of the Mazda. I also purchased a N2VZ Turbo Tuner, which mates with the 7000 to automatically tune the antenna.

I’ve had good luck/bad luck with short screwdriver antennas in the past. I ran three different ATAS 120s through the years. Two failed, and I was still using the third when I sold my Mini Cooper and went off the air mobile a year and a half ago. I sold the ATAS, as I didn’t like the way it interfaced with the Icom 7000.

So it was with some trepidation that I hit the tune button on the radio after I got everything together. I could hear the antenna start moving, and in a few seconds it was tuned on 40 meters. I switched the radio to 20m hit the tune button again, and it tuned on 20 meters in a few seconds. I’m happy.

At that point I was running the radio off of an accessory power outlet in the car, which isn’t a good solution. This afternoon I wired it directly to the battery, so I’m 100 percent ready to go. I even found a nice little cubbyhole that the Vibroplex Code Warrior Junior paddle fits into.

Tomorrow morning I have the 80-mile commute to Rockford, so I’ll be testing it on 40 meters. Then Wednesday¬†through Sunday I’m driving to west Nebraska and back — a 2,000-mile round trip — so there will be a lot of mobile cw time while cruising Interstate 80. Listen for me around 7025.

More reports on it next week.

The control head is held next to the gearshift with Velcro. That's the weak link in the installation at this point, I've had good luck with Velcro in some installations, but so far it doesn't seem to sturdy in this one. Note the paddle in the cubbyhole at the top of the picture. I can rest my hand on the gearshift while sendiing. Perfect.