AMRAD van work day

Frank Gentges fgentges at
Sun Aug 29 18:12:36 CDT 2004


We had a beautiful day to work on the AMRAD  van. It got a little hot 
but some good work got finished.  Paul Rinalso is providing some ICOM 
radio gear for HF, 2M and 440. 

Paul mapped out the interior.  We can use his drawings to plan out 
changes for our future use.

We finished remounting the ladder which was loose and seemed dangerous 
when we obtained the van.  Now it is sturdy and it feels safe to climb 
up to the roof.

The hinge on the rear access door for the air conditioner was replaced.  
The hinge was rusting as it was not well plated originally.  Andre' 
provided a replacement stainless steel piano hinge .  I cut it down from 
its 6 foot length. and it mounted in the same holes as the old hinge.  A 
tip of the AMRAD hat to Andre' and his now hinge less piano.

We also replaced the drivers side door handle.  Without it we had to 
roll down the window to get a grip on the door and get it closed.

We did not get any expertise on the exhaust system noise so I will take 
the van to an exhaust shop for repairs.  It is a bit more than I can 
repair on my own.

Some thinking.....

Most modern ham gear including the one provided by Paul run directly on 
12 volts.  The use of 120 vac for this gear seems superfluous and direct 
12 volt connection makes good sense.

Desktop computers run on 120vac.  The power drain is not that great and 
the computers can be run off of a 12v to 120v inverter.  Monitors are 
similar.  Laptop/Notebook computers are a mixed bag but the amount of 
120v power is not that great for them so inverters can handle those also.

The RV air conditioner installed in the van is a 13500 BTU unit but 
built in 1986.  It requires 16 amps of 120vac power  It has a separate 
condenser and evaporator unit with snap on coupling for the 
refrigerant.  I suspect the refrigerant has leaked down and will have to 
be recharged.  We may need to replace this with a more modern window 
unit adapted to the van if we want air conditioning.

If we disregard the air conditioning, we could power the van for 
indefinite periods with a small 12 volt portable generator that is 
configured to act as a battery charger.  Presently, the van has 5 deep 
cycle marine batteries in parallel.  The generator needs to keep us from 
drawing down the batteries during long term use but would not have to 
run continuously.  Anybody know what kind of options are out there for 
such a generator?

A small 120vac portable generator can be used to power the air 
conditioner and other comfort needs in a supporting camp site we would 
deploy with the van.

At this point the 7kw generator may be too much to install in the van.  
If we do not use it, we can cut down the generator compartment in the 
van to make more room available inside the van.  This compartment is huge.

We discovered that the passenger side seat can be turned 180 degrees to 
face rearward.  We can build a drop down desk so this could become a 
third operating position.

We are investigating use of Direcway satellite Internet connection.  I 
think we have most of the details worked out and have a used unit 
donated to us..

We are looking at a concept of making a satellite Internet connection 
when we deploy and then providing a LAN with a lot of it being 
wireless.  We need to think about what we could do with this in a 
disaster.  Health and Welfare email would seem to be quite possible.  
Details still need to be worked out.  Paul is thinking of using 2.4 GHz 
amateur frequencies for some of the connections that would include the 
public safety people.

Its getting a bit long but a lot is happening in act and thought.

Frank K0BRA

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