VW Bus Last Limited Edition
The VW Bus i own is a "Limited Last Edition" , allegedly one of the last T3 built in Europe. But that's not quite true - due to the success of these last 2.500 busses, VW decided to do a very last series, another 2.500 built in 1992. And the T3 is still built with some modifications in South Africa. Mine is number 972 of 2500.
Britanny, Summer 98
Britanny, Summer 98 with 10m portable mast
HF equipment used (formerly): ICOM IC-706MkII, SCS PTC-1, HP 100LX, various longwire antennas.
Today I use a normal laptop computer and either the SCS PTC-2pro or MMTTY/RCKRtty with the soundcard.
Icom AH-4 antenna tuner installation
Somewhen I installed a new HF antenna on my VW Bus. It's a mil-style whip antenna, matched with an automatic antenna tuner. Here are some pics.
The ICOM AH-4 antenna tuner sits under the car, in the right front, besides the spare tire. The cables (coax and tune control) run from under the drivers seat (where the 706 sits) through the dashboard to the tuner.
Note the solid ground connection, directly to the chassis. This is critical for good operation of the tuner. The pic was taken before the protective cover was applied.
The AH-4 again, as seen from the front. The coax, control and ground are on the back, the antenna connection is on the front.
The antenna base is mounted on the front bumper. Since this is made out of glass fibre it needs reinforcement. I did this with two stainless steel plates, as shown.
And now with the bumper mounted again.
And this is how it looks in total. Ok, not a very pretty sight, but it works like a charm. While standing the whip can be up to 6m long without any further support. Longer whips will require a suspension which holds the antenna upright.
From the first tests i am very satisfied with this setup. The AH-4 matches the whip even if it's only 2m long, although with decreasing performance. With a 5m antenna i made easy contacts throughout Europe during a contest. DX remains to been tested, no time yet.
Addendum August 1999:
After the last vacation in Aug. 99 to Sweden (see pic) i have some more experiences with the new antenna... and it works really fine. I had regular skeds on 20m to Germany, always with very good signal levels. Contacts throughout europe on 20m and up were easy, some DX to VK, 9V1 and other spots feasible. 40m and 80m are not very effective. I used 7m antenna length, and this is just not enough for lower bands.
Addendum May 2002:
After many more travels with the Bus to Spain, Portugal, France, Jersey, Sicily etc. and several thousand QSOs I can only say that it still works very good. Excellent DX contacts all over the world, contest participation, everything is possible. Well, I didn't win the contest from the mobile rig, but anyway :-)
Addendum Autumn 2006:
What more can I say? The antenna still works fine. Meanwhile I work in Germanys largest ham radio store and have a lot of opportunity to play with other antennas. I found that monoband radiators like the 'Hamstick' type antennas work very fine. Regarding the small length (250cm) of these C-Whip (or hamstick or whatever) these antennas work remarkably well, always better than a multiband antenna (not surprisingly). Judging from reports I received I think that my matched whip (8m long) still performs better on transmit, but that may be subjective and I cannot prove it with hard numbers.