Contact with Radio Enthusiasts in Bicol

It is always exciting to establish contact with fellow radio enthusiast especially if those contacts are from your home province. In a recent trip to Bicol, I was able to get in touch with a number of amateur radio enthusiasts in Camarines Norte, from the group CANORA (Dx4CN, 144.720 MHz, Camarines Norte Radio Amateurs, Inc.). Not only that I was given a warm-welcome-on-the-air, I was also given access to their repeater, which pretty much covers the whole of Bicol region!

I was also able to get in touch with the Kabalikat group in Camarines Norte.

IMG_7645
A landmark in Daet, popular among radio enthusiasts

To view all posts related to my amateur radio adventures, head directly to Amateur Radio.  To watch the video on how I installed a two-way radio on my EcoSport, head directly to Installing a Two-Way Radio (Advanced).

Related links:
EcoSport 200-km Range Mobile Setup
DIY Motorized Antenna Mount
Installing a Two-Way Radio (Basic)
Testing the Range of my Two-Way Radio 
Stock Antenna Modification

To view all EcoSport tutorial videos, click here.
To subscribe and receive posts about our beloved EcoSport, click here.

ECOSPORT DIY SERIES
Isa na namang kaalaman sa ating minamahal na EcoSport
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

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200-km Range Two-Way Radio in an EcoSport

In October 2018, I’ve performed a series of tests to determine if it is possible to get in touch with fellow amateur radio enthusiasts 200 km away, using only the equipment I installed in our EcoSport. Though the signal was very weak and almost unreadable, I was able to establish contact with stations in Baguio, while the vehicle is in a favorable location—cruising along the NAIA X elevated highway in Pasay! The straight-line distance covered, which is the radio’s effective range, is approximately 210 km. Baguio’s elevation of 1540 m coupled with good propagation, and my station’s vicinity to a body of water (Manila Bay) have likely contributed to the extended range of the radio.

 

210 km manila baguio 2

To watch the video on how I installed a two-way radio on my EcoSport, head directly to Installing a Two-Way Radio (Advanced).

Related links:
DIY Motorized Antenna Mount
Installing a Two-Way Radio (Basic)
Testing the Range of my Two-Way Radio 
Stock Antenna Modification

To view all EcoSport tutorial videos, click here.
To subscribe and receive posts about our beloved EcoSport, click here.

ECOSPORT DIY SERIES
Isa na namang kaalaman sa ating minamahal na EcoSport
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

DIY Motorized Antenna Mount

I have recently finished building (DIY) and installing a motorized antenna mount for two-way radio, using a geared stepper motor with a stepper motor driver (I have made a detailed post about stepper controllers in my other blog). This motorized mount allows me to raise and lower my antenna with the touch of a button. The mount’s motor is waterproof and has enough torque to carry heavier loads such as 5/8 wave antennas. It can also be modified to become an antenna rotator, or add another motor to build a two-axis satellite tracker, perhaps for a future project.

Motorized Mount 2

To watch the video of the motorized antenna mount, head directly to DIY Motorized Antenna Mount.

Related links:
Installing a Two-Way Radio (Basic)
Installing a Two-Way Radio (Advanced) 

To view all EcoSport tutorial videos, click here.
To subscribe and receive posts about our beloved EcoSport, click here.

ECOSPORT DIY SERIES
Isa na namang kaalaman sa ating minamahal na EcoSport
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Installing a Two-Way Radio (Advanced)

Six months after passing the amateur radio technician class exam (Class C), I have now finished setting up the two way radio in my EcoSport. I have made a number of improvements from my first version such as an increased range (with better SWR) and seamless integration with the vehicle.

Two-Way Radio Inside an EcoSport

I have been using this setup for more than 4 months now, and made consistent and reliable contacts with stations within a 30-km radius. The farthest contact made with this setup in this configuration is 210 km (simplex).

To watch the video on how I installed a two-way radio on my EcoSport, head directly to Installing a Two-Way Radio (Advanced).

Related links:
DIY Motorized Antenna Mount
Installing a Two-Way Radio (Basic)
Testing the Range of my Two-Way Radio 
Stock Antenna Modification

To view all EcoSport tutorial videos, click here.
To subscribe and receive posts about our beloved EcoSport, click here.

ECOSPORT DIY SERIES
Isa na namang kaalaman sa ating minamahal na EcoSport
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Stock Antenna Modification (Two-Way Radio)

Since I do not often use the AM/FM radio, I’ve decided to modify the stock antenna and replace it with an antenna that is tuned to amateur radio frequencies. This antenna shall allow me to use a hand-held transceiver (HT) for scanning and occasionally, for transmitting signals in the amateur band.

Recent tests showed that this antenna is capable of extending the range of my Motorola CP-1660 to about 30 km range, even with obstacles (I was in our garage in Bacoor Cavite, yet I can still use my HT to contact stations in QC, 30 km away, with just 5W!) .

AM/FM reception was not totally lost, as the stock antenna was relocated to the front left pillar of the vehicle.

stock antenna relocated

In the video, I have drilled through the stock antenna mount, and hand-tapped a thread to make it compatible with several of my antennas. Proper coaxial cables and connectors were also made to bring the signal to the HT, located at the left side of the driver.

To watch the video on how I replaced EcoSport’s stock antenna with an antenna for two-way radios, head directly to Stock Antenna Modification (Two-Way Radio).

Related link:
Testing the Range of my Two-Way Base Radio (75W)
Installing a Two-Way Radio (Basic)
Installing a Two-Way Radio (Advanced)

To view all EcoSport tutorial videos, click here.
To subscribe and receive posts about our beloved EcoSport, click here.

ECOSPORT DIY SERIES
Isa na namang kaalaman sa ating minamahal na EcoSport
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Testing the Range of my Two-Way Radio

Any place with high elevation offers ideal conditions to test the range of a radio gear. I was in Tagaytay last week testing out the two-way radio equipment I have installed in my EcoSport. With multiple successful contacts from Tagaytay to other radio stations in Quezon City, I was able to determine that my current radio setup has an effective range of at least 70 km.

Tagaytay to QC Radio
Tagaytay to Quezon City, Distance: 70 km

The two farthest-ever distances reached by my radio setup is (1) about 135 km, when I accidentally received a “CQ” (a call) from a station in Calapan, Mindoro, while driving along Roxas Blvd., in Manila and (2) about 210 km QSO with local stations in Baguio, while driving along NAIA X elevated highway in Pasay.

Manila-Calapan
Manila to Calapan, Distance: 135 km
210 km manila baguio 2
Manila to Baguio, Distance: 210 km

The equipment I used for these tests are as follows:

Yaesu 2900R VHF 75-watt base radio
Diamond SG7000 dual band mobile antenna (1/4-wave VHF, 6/8-wave UHF)
Diamond K33 antenna mount
Diamond SX200 SWR meter
4 meters of RG8 cable

 

 

To watch the full-length video on how I installed a two-way radio in an EcoSport, head directly to Installing a Two-Way Radio (Advanced) and Installing a Two-Way Radio (Basic).

To view all posts related to my amateur radio adventures, head directly to Amateur Radio.  To view the reviews of other EcoSport-related accessories, click here.

Related link: Stock Antenna Modification

To view all EcoSport tutorial videos, click here.
To subscribe and receive posts about beloved EcoSport, click here.

ECOSPORT DIY SERIES
Isa na namang kaalaman sa ating minamahal na EcoSport
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)