2018 BRANSON TRIP

In November we are planning a drive from New England to Branson, MO, for a long weekend.

Since it is vacation we are planning on driving the 1330 mile trip. One long day plus a “short” day. The hope is that most of the work symbols currently on the map will be gone by then (this map is live). This should bring the drive time down a little.

 

For a LIVE APRS.fi MAP with OUR CURRENT LOCATION – Click here

This time there will be more time to plan all mobile installations. The MB GLK350 is a compact SUV, so space is at a premium. You can also see the MOBILE SHACK webpage The planned equipment will be:

Radios and electronics under the baggage compartment floor:

Back Row:
  • Left: CS800D DMR/Analog dual band
  • Middle: Alinco 1200 data radio for APRS
  • Right: SharkRF OpenSpot for DMR
  • Far Right: 15 minute timer after Alternator stops.
Front Row:
  • Left: WX3in1 APRS TNC
  • Middle: Moxa Mobile Ethernet Switch (see the text below). Currently not used due tp VHF RFI.
  • Right: Pewave MAX BR1 LTE Router Dual Sim (service) Capable.
  • Far Right: Power Distribution

Research Items:

  • Dashcam – Cam on order from Amazon.
  • MOXA Switch RFI problem – may be disconnected.

Power Supply:

  • 15 minute auto timer to turn off auxiliary system 15 minutes after alternator stops. I may swap this out for a 30-45 minute timer. 15 minutes is just a little shy for my taste.
  • Anderson Powerpole distribution center.
  • Distribution box in the trunk and between front seats.
  • 12V voltage stabilizer for household items requiring stable 12v and not the variable up to 15+V I see from the APRS reports.

Internet:

  • The Router is a Pepwave MAX BR1 Industrial-Grade dual sim 4G LTE/3G Router with external antenna. The WAN connector will be used for the AT&T WHPI box. This router is capable of “docking” with a WiFi internet when not on the move. Thus, when at home, work or hotel, internet is supplied via WiFi while when on the move from 4G/LTE cell. The router remains continuously powered to maintain a stable internet. The docket mode also allows for remote control of some of the onboard radio systems like APRS and DMR HotSpot.
  • A Moxa EDS305 commercial grade mobile (12-48Vdc) Moxa Switch is used to add more to add more LAN ports. I love this box; super forgiving on voltage, so a simple wire connection to PowerPole and car voltage. PROBLEM: The Moxa generates RF noise on VHF frequencies to the tune of full scale on the receiver on some frequencies. It appears to be completely unusable? New CAT7 shielded ethernet cables are on order.
  • Many RV’ers use their AT&T WHPI modem which provides 250G of monthly data as compared to our cell-plan of 40G in the motorhomes. We may bring ours from the house to be able to stream Netflix for my wife while in the car. The Pepwave will allow for auto switch-over of the available internet services to allow seamless coverage between network coverage areas. Low priority.

Antenna:

Always the controversial topic. Porky-pine or not? The key here is to remove “in transit” antennas when we arrive at the destination.

  • NMO Larsen 2/70 will be used with a Connect Systems (CSI) CS800D dual band DMR/Analog mobile.
    • Alternative will be Comet 2x4SR with optional spring. This has been a good wide-band antenna on my previous vehicle. 
  • NMO 4G/LTE stubby antenna on a mag mount will provide data connection.
  • NMO CB Amtenna. We find that CB is still the preferred travel/traffic information system when the road backs up.
  • NMO 18″ Austin 500 dual band antenna with a duplexer for vhf APRS via RF and gain antenna for the UHF DMR Openspot.
  • 4 Mag-mounts – cant justify drilling into the MB.

APRS:

  • As an APRS fanatic, we will beacon our drive. Although I love RF based APRS, the base APRS functions (beacon and I-Gate) will be provided by a WX3in1 with Beta firmware (thank you Microsat for tailoring a Beta Firmware) which allows for smart beacon via APRS-IS.
  • APRS RF will be available, but not primary.
  • You can follow our progress on N1ATP-1 Unfortunately, Google is now charging APRS.FI for maps so I can’t embed it into this page.
  • An experiment this time will be to mix RF and IS on N1ATP-1.
  • Just changed configuration:
    • Removed a Alinco DR-135 with Argent TNC used for APRS
    • Added an older Alinco D1200 data radio to the WX3in1 TNC. This combination should now work as:
      • APRS Beacon w Smart Beaconing
      • Position via RF and -IS
      • Works as a digipeater and i-Gate
    • Goal here is a combination of all APRS functions
    • The dual function appears to work well in preliminary testing.

MOBILE – VOICE:

A dual band DMR/Analog CSI CS800D is the primary radio. They key is what it will monitor??

  • When suburban, 146.52 and 446.0
  • When urban, we may be on a local DMR repeater??
DMR MOBILE HOTSPOT:

We will monitor 312525 (one of my repeater TGs) unless in a active QSO on other TGs.

MOBILE CB:

The trusty old CB is still the information source for traffic problems on the highway. A NMO mount VHF looking CB antenna will supplement a basic 40ch CB. On previous trips, the CB has warned of upcoming problems before any GPS mapping program.

PORTABLES:  

  • TRAVEL EQUIPMENT:
    • 2 Hytera PD-362 mini DMR radios.
  • BRANSON EQUIPMENT:
    • Icom ID-92 for local ham use in Branson.
    • DMR TRAVEL HOTSPOT: Used with Hytera PD-362
    • We’ll have a few portable radios for use while in Branson on my (FCC Licensed) biz band or licensed GMRS freq’s.