N1AV (x-N1RWY) on the air

Ham radio, hiking, coffee, and other tech talk.

RV Radio – Bulkhead+Powerpole feeds

There is a never ending list of wants and upgrades when it comes to the motor home.  Most of them are comfort items (a fan here, a switch there) or ham radio related.  I figured I might as well start documenting some of the things that I have done and effort to make the contest participation, Radios on the Rim, Field day, Winter field day and general Ham activity while in the motor home more enjoyable.  In the past, when I wanted to operate from the dinette, I’ve always had to reach under all the couch cushions and wooden frame supports for the couch in order to get my to various ports on the radios as well as power from the rig runner which lives in that space with a dedicated feed from the coach batteries to power the HF /VHF /UHF /APRS systems.   Not to mention I needed to access a small inverter for laptops, which also lived in that space.

This year I put a big effort into making that whole arrangement more streamlined.  I have mounted externally Powerpole bulkhead (20 and 15 Amp) as well as USB and 12v cigarette ports for charging various devices (15 amp circuit). Having them externally accessible makes it easy to plug in and go.   At the same time what I’ve done in the past was always looping a length of coax through the window from my external antennas when I was camped for more than a night.  The RV does have the Yaesu ATAS-100 on it which is fine for mobile antenna, however when we are parked for an extended stay it would be nice to be able to deploy the off center fed dipole up in the trees and then pull the coax into the RV at a convenient place.

I would run the coax through the window and it would leave a gap all night long for wind rain bugs etc. to be blowing Into the motor home.  I wanted something better after doing several rim trips and having that exact situation, the window cracked open all night long.  I wanted to be able to connect to an external antenna without having to re-run an entire length of coax underneath the shower (which is real tight and a pain to access) and back behind storage areas to access the coax where the ATAS-100 is brought into the RV.  I ended up drilling a hole in a tucked away corner of the floor that was protected and then putting a six-inch SO-239 female to female bulkhead barrel through the hole. This allowed me to then pass the coax from underneath the RV, easy access after lifting the access door to the grey water dump.  Bend down, screw in the antenna coax into the barrel connector and then from inside, conveniently access the feed from the bulkhead port mounted into the dinette as seen in the photo.

photo of power plugs

This should make my ham activities a lot more enjoyable, with neater cabling without having to take the couch cushions and support boards apart to connect power and coax.  After the last RIM event, I knew I needed a different solution.

All in all was a pretty easy project and I am all looking forward to how it will work in the future.

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