Could this operate on a motorcycle?

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Could this operate on a motorcycle?

rgconner
Hello all, I just passed my Tech license and I am looking for a mobile station to mount on my motorcycle (BMW F700GS)

I spoke with my Uncle Chuck Wood, WD6APP in San Diego, and he praised the KX3 as radio, said buy one for the house, but thought it was not suitable for a motorcycle.

His advice gives me pause as to if this is a suitable use for the radio, but wanted to get the opinion of someone who has maybe mounted this unit on a motorcycle and has personal experience.

I plan to mount it inside a Ram Mount Large Box, which is water resistant, and then on to the handlebars, which are on anti-vibration mounts. It still vibrates, but not as much as a straight connection.

I would have about 1/2 inch on all sides to put some anti vibration standoffs, to isolate it some more.

Also, how forgiving is the unit of voltage? The CANBUS on the BMW does a great job of regulating the voltage, but there is still going to be some variation. Thinking of using an external battery, charge the battery off the bike if needed, just to stabilize the power supply.

In case you were wondering what I would do with it... most of the road captains are HAMs too, so we are using FRS at the moment, but want to move to 6m/2m operations for co-ordinating rider leader/wingman/tailgunners actions during riders. We have up to 4 groups of 15 per ride, covering 150 to 300+ miles per ride.
All day operation is a requirement, not a lot of chatter, maybe 15:1 rx/tx ratio at max.

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Re: Could this operate on a motorcycle?

Phil Kane-2
On 5/4/2014 9:20 AM, rgconner wrote:

> In case you were wondering what I would do with it... most of the road
> captains are HAMs too, so we are using FRS at the moment, but want to move
> to 6m/2m operations for co-ordinating rider leader/wingman/tailgunners
> actions during riders.

My own opinion - use a VHF 6m/2m mobile made for such an environment.
If the distances involved are small, a  5 watt "hand held" on a
belt/chest mount will do.  A lot cheaper than the KX3 - and save the KX3
for home /portable use.  No need to bash a $1500+ radio on a bike!
My own opinion.
-- --
73 de K2ASP - Phil Kane
Elecraft K2/100   s/n 5402

From a Clearing in the Silicon Forest
Beaverton (Washington County) Oregon
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Re: Could this operate on a motorcycle?

Mike Morrow-3
In reply to this post by rgconner
> ...I just passed my Tech license and I am looking for a mobile
> station to mount on my motorcycle (BMW F700GS)
>
> I spoke with my Uncle Chuck Wood, WD6APP in San Diego, and he praised the
> KX3 as radio, said buy one for the house, but thought it was not suitable
> for a motorcycle.
>
> ...most of the road captains are HAMs too, so we are using FRS at the
> moment, but want to move to 6m/2m operations for co-ordinating...

Your uncle is one thousand percent on the money.

The KX3 is primarily an MF/HF rig, and a sophisticated high performance one
at that.  It is gross overkill for an application that is most appropriate
using VHF/UHF handie-talkies.  Buy a bushel-basket full of cheap Chinese
Baofeng UV-5R HTs or something similar instead.  Although they are very far
from being perfect ham HTs, they will perfectly serve your application much
much *better* than a KX3 or other M/HF rig, and be disposable as well. :-)
See: http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/10349 and
 http://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-UV-5R-136-174-400-480-Dual-Band/dp/B007H4VT7A

OTOH, if you wish to operate portable HF in various modes on your trips,
perhaps after the day's riding is done, the KX3 is an excellent choice to
carry in addition to the VHF/UHF HT.

Mike / KK5F
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Re: Could this operate on a motorcycle?

Elecraft mailing list
In reply to this post by Phil Kane-2
I would full agree

I briefly considered a putting a KX3 in my Jeep, but then figured it would probably
be distracting and not get used that much (because of being distracting)

I used to ride years ago and would not want the added distraction on a motorcycle.





________________________________
 From: Phil Kane <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Sunday, May 4, 2014 12:38 PM
Subject: Re: [Elecraft] Could this operate on a motorcycle?
 

On 5/4/2014 9:20 AM, rgconner wrote:

> In case you were wondering what I would do with it... most of the road
> captains are HAMs too, so we are using FRS at the moment, but want to move
> to 6m/2m operations for co-ordinating rider leader/wingman/tailgunners
> actions during riders.

My own opinion - use a VHF 6m/2m mobile made for such an environment.
If the distances involved are small, a  5 watt "hand held" on a
belt/chest mount will do.  A lot cheaper than the KX3 - and save the KX3
for home /portable use.  No need to bash a $1500+ radio on a bike!
My own opinion.
-- --
73 de K2ASP - Phil Kane
Elecraft K2/100   s/n 5402

From a Clearing in the Silicon Forest
Beaverton (Washington County) Oregon

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Re: Could this operate on a motorcycle?

Matt Zilmer-3
In reply to this post by rgconner
You might get a few ideas by looking here:
http://www.elecraft.com/manual/Rev-B1-1.6-KX3-Mobile-Owners.pdf

There are ideas for mounts, power options, antennas, etc.  The guide
is really for four-wheel vehicles, but some of the concepts may apply
to your BMW two-wheel installation.

On the KX3's manual page
(http://www.elecraft.com/K2_Manual_Download_Page.htm#KX3), you'll also
find a reference to http://www.k0bg.com/ .  I believe the web site
also contains a number of articles on mobile installation and
operation, but might be less specific to the KX3.

73,
matt W6NIA

On Sun, 4 May 2014 09:20:45 -0700 (PDT), you wrote:

>Hello all, I just passed my Tech license and I am looking for a mobile
>station to mount on my motorcycle (BMW F700GS)
>
>I spoke with my Uncle Chuck Wood, WD6APP in San Diego, and he praised the
>KX3 as radio, said buy one for the house, but thought it was not suitable
>for a motorcycle.
>
>His advice gives me pause as to if this is a suitable use for the radio, but
>wanted to get the opinion of someone who has maybe mounted this unit on a
>motorcycle and has personal experience.
>
>I plan to mount it inside a Ram Mount Large Box, which is water resistant,
>and then on to the handlebars, which are on anti-vibration mounts. It still
>vibrates, but not as much as a straight connection.
>
>I would have about 1/2 inch on all sides to put some anti vibration
>standoffs, to isolate it some more.
>
>Also, how forgiving is the unit of voltage? The CANBUS on the BMW does a
>great job of regulating the voltage, but there is still going to be some
>variation. Thinking of using an external battery, charge the battery off the
>bike if needed, just to stabilize the power supply.
>
>In case you were wondering what I would do with it... most of the road
>captains are HAMs too, so we are using FRS at the moment, but want to move
>to 6m/2m operations for co-ordinating rider leader/wingman/tailgunners
>actions during riders. We have up to 4 groups of 15 per ride, covering 150
>to 300+ miles per ride.
>All day operation is a requirement, not a lot of chatter, maybe 15:1 rx/tx
>ratio at max.
Matt Zilmer, W6NIA
--
"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will
spend the first four sharpening the axe." -A. Lincoln
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Re: Could this operate on a motorcycle?

David Patino

I would shy away from putting a KX3 on a motorcycle for several reasons:

Heat from direct sunlight
Heat from higher ambient temperature on the road
Possible exposure to water / moisture
Vibration (Even on a 6 cylinder Goldwing this can be an issue)
Attempting to operate the relatively small buttons with gloves on
Attention required to operate the (KX3 or any HF rig) would be better spent not getting squished by cagers
 
I would apply the same to almost any HF rig, though if one had a remote faceplate allowing you to secure the main unit in a trunk to protect from elements / vibration / direct sunlight, it could be possible, though probably still not recommended.
 
However I have used 2m/440 on my bikes quite successfully. These typically require much less attention to operate, no ATU, no minute tuning to get a signal. I usually just us my Kenwood F6a HT on a RAM mount interfaced with a helmet headset from RiderComm.
My father uses his Kenwood 710 with a Kennedy system to interface it to the stock comms system on his Goldwing.
 
I also have a Yaesu FTM-10R (discontinued now), which was designed for 'motorsports'. I just haven't actually put it on a bike yet. It's remote head wire is what I consider 'backwards'. You disconnect it from the main unit and have a 10'+ wire still attached to the head. Makes it a bit impractical since you can't easily remove the head unit from your bike. I assume they did this as the head unit is waterproof, and having a connector up there would defeat that.
 
As many have mentioned, if this is just shorter range communications, I'd go for one of the baofeng radios and a helmet headset (with remote PTT). Depending on the bike you could consider a nicer unit like the kenwood 710 which would also give you APRS capability.
 
-Dave
N9PBJ
2003 Vulcan Voyager
 
-----Original Message-----
From: "Matt Zilmer" <[hidden email]>
Sent: Sunday, May 4, 2014 12:24pm
To: "rgconner" <[hidden email]>
Cc: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [Elecraft] Could this operate on a motorcycle?



You might get a few ideas by looking here:
http://www.elecraft.com/manual/Rev-B1-1.6-KX3-Mobile-Owners.pdf

There are ideas for mounts, power options, antennas, etc.  The guide
is really for four-wheel vehicles, but some of the concepts may apply
to your BMW two-wheel installation.

On the KX3's manual page
(http://www.elecraft.com/K2_Manual_Download_Page.htm#KX3), you'll also
find a reference to http://www.k0bg.com/ .  I believe the web site
also contains a number of articles on mobile installation and
operation, but might be less specific to the KX3.

73,
matt W6NIA

On Sun, 4 May 2014 09:20:45 -0700 (PDT), you wrote:

>Hello all, I just passed my Tech license and I am looking for a mobile
>station to mount on my motorcycle (BMW F700GS)
>
>I spoke with my Uncle Chuck Wood, WD6APP in San Diego, and he praised the
>KX3 as radio, said buy one for the house, but thought it was not suitable
>for a motorcycle.
>
>His advice gives me pause as to if this is a suitable use for the radio, but
>wanted to get the opinion of someone who has maybe mounted this unit on a
>motorcycle and has personal experience.
>
>I plan to mount it inside a Ram Mount Large Box, which is water resistant,
>and then on to the handlebars, which are on anti-vibration mounts. It still
>vibrates, but not as much as a straight connection.
>
>I would have about 1/2 inch on all sides to put some anti vibration
>standoffs, to isolate it some more.
>
>Also, how forgiving is the unit of voltage? The CANBUS on the BMW does a
>great job of regulating the voltage, but there is still going to be some
>variation. Thinking of using an external battery, charge the battery off the
>bike if needed, just to stabilize the power supply.
>
>In case you were wondering what I would do with it... most of the road
>captains are HAMs too, so we are using FRS at the moment, but want to move
>to 6m/2m operations for co-ordinating rider leader/wingman/tailgunners
>actions during riders. We have up to 4 groups of 15 per ride, covering 150
>to 300+ miles per ride.
>All day operation is a requirement, not a lot of chatter, maybe 15:1 rx/tx
>ratio at max.
Matt Zilmer, W6NIA
--
"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will
spend the first four sharpening the axe." -A. Lincoln
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Re: Could this operate on a motorcycle?

rgconner
I don't know why it would be any more distracting than any other radio. The buttons appear bigger and easier to hit than the Beofeng you recommend. Which I have, and find I got what I paid for. Not being able to adjust mic gain means most helmet headsets and throat mic's are useless.

I am not using it rag chew. I am using it communicate with the 2 to 6 other ride leaders to coordinate and keep the ride together. The general rule is that we do not discuss anything not related to the immediate ride. This is to keep the riders safe by ensuring we don't miss turns and alert to dangers, like road hazards,  auto's trying to overtake improperly, and god forbid: someone going down or having a mechanical failure.
Anyway, I asked for radio advice, I have the riding covered, thanks.

General usage would be on a single channel all day long, unless we got separated, then we would have designated open repeaters to tune to during the ride.

Programming these right next to each other means using the up/down rocker on the handset to change memory slots, or pulling over and retuning.

Chuck sent me an email, after remembering that the Kenwood you mentioned is the same approx size, shape and orientation as the KX3.
And a bit cheaper, although again, you get what you pay for.

I will just have to budget money for the K3 or the KX3 for X-mas or something.
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Re: Could this operate on a motorcycle?

rgconner
In reply to this post by Phil Kane-2
5w is not enough if we get out of line of site.

On a recent ride we could not open the designated repeater ~30miles away, K6IS, with 5w units, an FT-60 and/or the Beofengs. We all run either a Diamond or Comet antenna, so it was not just ducktails or screw on antenna.

The FT-10 did so easily, at I think 10w. Min power could not open it.

All right in the same spot, all moving around trying to get an open, but only the FT could, and could from everywhere.

5w on 70cm works great 95% of the time, until we get canyons or lose line of site.
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Re: Could this operate on a motorcycle?

rgconner
In reply to this post by Matt Zilmer-3
Thanks for your reply, Matt.

I have looked at all those resources, they are very good.

My plan for an off-the-shelf solution would be:

http://www.rammount.com/Products/AQUABOX/LargeAQUABOX/tabid/4887/Default.aspx

and then mount on the handlebar in the center. The space around the box that is not take up by the radio could be filled with some small standoffs to reduce vibration but not kill circulation.

Should the weather turn, closing up the box and turning off the unit to prevent overheating would be the likely course of action.
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Re: Could this operate on a motorcycle?

Richard-3
In reply to this post by rgconner
It sounds like the problems encountered by the Western States 100
between Tahoe and Auburn, or the century bike runs in the coast range of
California.  Those problems were solved, IIRC, by mobile repeaters and
even a repeater in the sky (on a light plane) orbiting above the
course.  Others can likely relate useful information if that interests you.

Richard Hill
NU6T

On 5/4/2014 1:16 PM, rgconner wrote:

> 5w is not enough if we get out of line of site.
>
> On a recent ride we could not open the designated repeater ~30miles away,
> K6IS, with 5w units, an FT-60 and/or the Beofengs. We all run either a
> Diamond or Comet antenna, so it was not just ducktails or screw on antenna.
>
> The FT-10 did so easily, at I think 10w. Min power could not open it.
>
> All right in the same spot, all moving around trying to get an open, but
> only the FT could, and could from everywhere.
>
> 5w on 70cm works great 95% of the time, until we get canyons or lose line of
> site.
>
>
>
>
> --
> View this message in context: http://elecraft.365791.n2.nabble.com/Could-this-operate-on-a-motorcycle-tp7588505p7588523.html
> Sent from the Elecraft mailing list archive at Nabble.com.
> ______________________________________________________________
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Re: Could this operate on a motorcycle?

rgconner
That is precisely where we ride when we go east. Or the coastal range around Napa/marin counties when we go west.

A repeater drone would be awesome... but unlikely.


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Re: Could this operate on a motorcycle?

Richard-3
OK, but you still may want to map the holes in your HT 5W net, and
consider whether a few mobile repeaters or relays might be able to fill
the holes for safety purposes.  Clubs local to you may have already
addressed your problems and may know how to solve them.  They might even
help out.

Richard Hill
NU6T

On 5/4/2014 1:55 PM, rgconner wrote:
> That is precisely where we ride when we go east. Or the coastal range around
> Napa/marin counties when we go west.
>
> A repeater drone would be awesome... but unlikely.
>
>
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Re: Could this operate on a motorcycle?

rgconner
IF it gets really bad, we will have resort to cell phones...

*shudder*
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Re: Could this operate on a motorcycle?

mcduffie
In reply to this post by rgconner

Many have given their opinion on this, some with actual experience.  Listen to
them.  I'm not currently doing what you are wanting to do, but did for many
years.

Don't go with a handheld.  They don't have enough power.  Opt for a full power
single or dual band VHF/UHF FM radio.  Even then, you'll have times when the
terrain will separate you enough that it won't work.  I used to run a 30W 2m
mobile with good antenna, and would frequently lose the tail end of the group in
rolling hills.  Having a repeater is fine, if there are any around, but this is
going to depend on where in the country you are riding.  The same goes for
paying attention to what's going on around you.  In a group, you already know
you have to pay attention that someone doesn't do something stupid, but when
spread out it isn't much of a problem and all you have to do is worry about the
4-wheelers around you.  I'm saying this for the non-rider's benefit.  You
already know.

If I was still riding, I'd have an IC706 or IC7000 mounted, along with the
dedicated dual bander.  In our area of the country, it is easy to pay attention
to what is going on around you and still play radio conservatively.  

As for rain, we didn't do much riding in the rain.  Sprinkles weren't a problem,
as the windshield took care of that unless stopped.  Covering it with the rain
cover used at night took care of it then.  Downpours usually meant we didn't
ride anyway, but the rain cover could still be used.

We pulled a trailer behind our XS1100 and our Aspencade.  Never once considered
not running mobile, but we didn't have small HF rigs available at that time for
a reasonable amount of $$.  :o)

I'd go with a good VHF installation and keep cell phones as a backup for out of
range conditions.

Gary - AG0N
Founder ARMC Net
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Re: Could this operate on a motorcycle?

rgconner
Sound advice. The Kenwood remote is likely the best option right now... although if Elecraft wanted to use me as a guinea pig for creating a hardened rig... I would pay for the privilege.

Right now we are using "Jennipeaters", because on a ride, one of the Hams, Jennifer, was not leading or tailing, but in the middle of the pack.

She was relaying info back and forth. Leader would call "Left turn at Scott Road." and there would be no "Left turn at Scott Road, copy" from the tail gunner.

She would relay if tail did not respond in 5 seconds, and relay the answer back up to the lead. Reverse when the tail called "Left turn at Scott Road, clear" (meaning tail/sweep made the left turn as the last rider)

"man in the middle" relays are now known as "jennipeaters"
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Re: Could this operate on a motorcycle?

Lynn W. Taylor, WB6UUT
In reply to this post by Mike Morrow-3
In order to state that this is the wrong radio for this application, one
must first determine what "this application" actually is.

If his goal is to work the world directly, without remote stations or
IRLP, then a KX3 is probably a better option than a VHF/UHF handheld.

If the goal is talk around town, then a good HT is a good choice.

73 -- Lynn

On 5/4/2014 10:05 AM, Mike Morrow wrote:
> The KX3 is primarily an MF/HF rig, and a sophisticated high performance one
> at that.  It is gross overkill for an application that is most appropriate
> using VHF/UHF handie-talkies.

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Re: Could this operate on a motorcycle?

rgconner
I have already established multiple times that an HT is not cutting it. I have a Baofeng and a Yaesu Ft-60. Neither is doing what I need it to do.

So what you recommend?
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Re: Could this operate on a motorcycle?

Richards
In reply to this post by rgconner

Now I don't mean to sound critical, but is it somehow different for guys
on bikes than for guys in cars?  We use 5 watt FRS/GMRS radios for our
MINI Cooper driving club, and we can easily have thirty or forty cars on
a tour, and have participated in groups as large as 400.  If cars get
out of range, then we are either too spread out to be a group, or
perhaps the group is too large if the front and rear cars cannot
connect, or we cannot relay info.

I suppose that is where knowing the route in advance plays a helpful
part.  We don't kibitz at every turn;  we pretty much know where we are
going in advance ... well... all except for "Wrong Way Joan" who gets
lost no matter what we do.

Is it so different for bikes you need such a wide signal range?  We do
multi state, multi day tours, so it it is not like we don't go anywhere,
so I am wondering why you need more range than what a 5 watt rig might
provide.

Again...not being critical, genuinely curious about this.  Might learn
something to take back to our club!

------------------  K8JHR --------------------



On 5/4/2014 4:16 PM, rgconner wrote:
 > 5w is not enough if we get out of line of site.
 >

 > 5w on 70cm works great 95% of the time, until we get canyons or lose
line of
 > site.
 >
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Re: Could this operate on a motorcycle?

Phil Genera
Its much easier to get a useful ground plane in a car, in my experience.

That said, i ran a 5w HT for 4,000 miles summer for APRS and found it
worked mostly fine. Going to do it again on my bike next month.

--
Phil
kj6pon


On Sun, May 4, 2014 at 5:51 PM, K8JHR <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Now I don't mean to sound critical, but is it somehow different for guys
> on bikes than for guys in cars?  We use 5 watt FRS/GMRS radios for our MINI
> Cooper driving club, and we can easily have thirty or forty cars on a tour,
> and have participated in groups as large as 400.  If cars get out of range,
> then we are either too spread out to be a group, or perhaps the group is
> too large if the front and rear cars cannot connect, or we cannot relay
> info.
>
> I suppose that is where knowing the route in advance plays a helpful part.
>  We don't kibitz at every turn;  we pretty much know where we are going in
> advance ... well... all except for "Wrong Way Joan" who gets lost no matter
> what we do.
>
> Is it so different for bikes you need such a wide signal range?  We do
> multi state, multi day tours, so it it is not like we don't go anywhere, so
> I am wondering why you need more range than what a 5 watt rig might provide.
>
> Again...not being critical, genuinely curious about this.  Might learn
> something to take back to our club!
>
> ------------------  K8JHR --------------------
>
>
>
>
> On 5/4/2014 4:16 PM, rgconner wrote:
> > 5w is not enough if we get out of line of site.
> >
>
> > 5w on 70cm works great 95% of the time, until we get canyons or lose
> line of
> > site.
> >
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Re: Could this operate on a motorcycle?

rgconner
In reply to this post by Richards
Well, I would say that GPS, maps, turn sheets  etc are much easier to use in a car. This makes everyone knowing the route much more difficult.

Also, a mechanical failure or "fender bender" can be far more serious on a motorcycle than in a car. A "flat" is very dangerous to a rider, but for a car? Meh. Wait for AAA.
Us? Pray you can stop before the tire totally fails.

So we are a little more concerned about people getting out of contact.

Also, I don't know the terrain where you are, or if comms span the entire group from front to back or just car to car.

Scalas and the like do the job for small groups of friends wanting to jabber on the ride while one or two bikes away, but we are looking for reliable Command and Control ability.
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