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Old 04-03-2018, 11:35 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 33
Ham Radio Bus

Hoping to get my Skoolie conversion going soon. I have plans to set up a bus as a mobile Ham Radio station. Its for a local club of ours that is dedicated to introducing the hobby to the younger generations.

We hope to use the bus to travel around the local area and set up at schools, boy scout events, and hamfests, etc. When setup, we will be able to show kids what ham radio is all about.

it will also be able to be used as a communication setup for public service events, as well as emergencies.

I figure a 72 passenger sized bus is about the perfect size, and anticipate leaving a few seats in the front, and making the rest 'work station' type benches, and a small kitchen and toilet area to bring it into an RV class.

I am not sure how quick my project will get moving, as I am still working on the financial part of it. I have started a fundraiser to help assist with it.

https://www.gofundme.com/yarn-bus

I would appreciate any help i can get, be it a small donation, or at least sharing the link around.

One thing I still have yet to decide, is what chassis, manufacturer, etc I would prefer. I am partial the the Freightliner shown as an example on the gofundme link. Would prefer to have the Cat 3126 engine, and MD3060 transmission, but fear those may be out of my budget. Also I need to consider air vs hydraulic brakes. I dont mind either, I just have to get a grasp on NY licensing requirements for air brakes in an RV.

I am pretty sure I want to go with a front engine bus, be it flat nose or conventional. (I think conventional is preferred, as it makes it a bit more accessible to those that have trouble with stairs, etc). The reasoning behind the front engine, is I envision having a set of stairs for the rear exit, so people can come in the front, and out the back if we are giving a large tour. Granted I suppose a side exit would work for that too, and may lend to a better layout (allowing the small kitchen/bath area behind the side exit and not having to 'tour' through it)

One feature I do hope to find, is a wheelchair lift, so that we can accommodate people that may not be able to climb the stairs. This can also help in loading gear as needed.

Something else I do have in my plans (this is where some Skoolie expertise can really shine), I want to make a tower that at least folds down and lays flat onto the roof. Its possible it may be a telescoping setup too. If I find the right one, it may not need to fold over, but just the same, I will need some ideas on how to properly support it at the back of the frame, as well as how I might hide some outriggers that can be extended for support.

Other things I plan to consider, are stationary air conditioning (maybe some low level heat?). Roof raising?(hoping to avoid the need for this) new flooring - thinking maybe just cleaning up the stock floor and laying a nice laminate on it? and what I am going to do for paint on the exterior.

I am open to any suggestions anyone has for me. I know what I want for function in the end, I just felt it prudent to ask the Skoolie experts for ideas too, as I dont want to miss something.

Thanks for any ideas!

Mike
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Old 04-04-2018, 12:03 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mangus580 View Post
Hoping to get my Skoolie conversion going soon. I have plans to set up a bus as a mobile Ham Radio station. Its for a local club of ours that is dedicated to introducing the hobby to the younger generations.

We hope to use the bus to travel around the local area and set up at schools, boy scout events, and hamfests, etc. When setup, we will be able to show kids what ham radio is all about.

it will also be able to be used as a communication setup for public service events, as well as emergencies.

I figure a 72 passenger sized bus is about the perfect size, and anticipate leaving a few seats in the front, and making the rest 'work station' type benches, and a small kitchen and toilet area to bring it into an RV class.

I am not sure how quick my project will get moving, as I am still working on the financial part of it. I have started a fundraiser to help assist with it.

https://www.gofundme.com/yarn-bus

I would appreciate any help i can get, be it a small donation, or at least sharing the link around.

One thing I still have yet to decide, is what chassis, manufacturer, etc I would prefer. I am partial the the Freightliner shown as an example on the gofundme link. Would prefer to have the Cat 3128 engine, and MD3060 transmission, but fear those may be out of my budget. Also I need to consider air vs hydraulic brakes. I dont mind either, I just have to get a grasp on NY licensing requirements for air brakes in an RV.

I am pretty sure I want to go with a front engine bus, be it flat nose or conventional. (I think conventional is preferred, as it makes it a bit more accessible to those that have trouble with stairs, etc). The reasoning behind the front engine, is I envision having a set of stairs for the rear exit, so people can come in the front, and out the back if we are giving a large tour. Granted I suppose a side exit would work for that too, and may lend to a better layout (allowing the small kitchen/bath area behind the side exit and not having to 'tour' through it)

One feature I do hope to find, is a wheelchair lift, so that we can accommodate people that may not be able to climb the stairs. This can also help in loading gear as needed.

Something else I do have in my plans (this is where some Skoolie expertise can really shine), I want to make a tower that at least folds down and lays flat onto the roof. Its possible it may be a telescoping setup too. If I find the right one, it may not need to fold over, but just the same, I will need some ideas on how to properly support it at the back of the frame, as well as how I might hide some outriggers that can be extended for support.

Other things I plan to consider, are stationary air conditioning (maybe some low level heat?). Roof raising?(hoping to avoid the need for this) new flooring - thinking maybe just cleaning up the stock floor and laying a nice laminate on it? and what I am going to do for paint on the exterior.

I am open to any suggestions anyone has for me. I know what I want for function in the end, I just felt it prudent to ask the Skoolie experts for ideas too, as I dont want to miss something.

Thanks for any ideas!

Mike
Awesome project...good luck...I wish I could help...speaking of ham radio...what ever become of ham tv? Back in the 80s I knew a operater with a little video set-up...mostly radio though

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Old 04-04-2018, 06:51 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdawgsfanasty View Post
Awesome project...good luck...I wish I could help...speaking of ham radio...what ever become of ham tv? Back in the 80s I knew a operater with a little video set-up...mostly radio though
It's still there... plus many other modes that were in their infancy in the '80s. I used packet radio some during the Atlanta Olympics, took a sabatical for 10-15 years and was astonished in the amount of progress digital radio modes have made since then.

Here's a link describing amateur tv operation....

SSTV --- INTRO TO SLOW SCAN ON HAM RADIO! QUICK START GUIDE!

73's, Bill N4TJS
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Old 04-04-2018, 07:11 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by TrailLifeBill View Post
It's still there... plus many other modes that were in their infancy in the '80s. I used packet radio some during the Atlanta Olympics, took a sabatical for 10-15 years and was astonished in the amount of progress digital radio modes have made since then.

Here's a link describing amateur tv operation....

SSTV --- INTRO TO SLOW SCAN ON HAM RADIO! QUICK START GUIDE!

73's, Bill N4TJS
Thx for the link...I've heard the rules changed for code too...I'm tone deaf and have never been able to do code

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Old 04-04-2018, 07:16 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by TrailLifeBill View Post
It's still there... plus many other modes that were in their infancy in the '80s. I used packet radio some during the Atlanta Olympics, took a sabatical for 10-15 years and was astonished in the amount of progress digital radio modes have made since then.

Here's a link describing amateur tv operation....

SSTV --- INTRO TO SLOW SCAN ON HAM RADIO! QUICK START GUIDE!

73's, Bill N4TJS
I'm glad SSTV is still alive

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Old 04-06-2018, 08:47 PM   #6
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I'm doing something similar, but scaled waaaay back. I'm on every now-and-then on 20 meters

KF5NZM

M
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Old 04-07-2018, 07:17 AM   #7
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I used to be into HAM and SSTV.. fun stuff.. unfortunteyl I let my license expire and havent been back into it.. would love to have a shack in a bus though! go up in the mountains ands work the 10 or 20! i was mainly into 2 meter stuff for voice.. compurters kind of took over for me. as I had gotten into HAM mid-late 80s but then went the direction of building computers and electronics.. and then more software..

what a great idea!! looking forward to watching this build!!
-Christopher
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Old 04-07-2018, 08:23 AM   #8
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Posts: 167
If you want to promote HAM radio help get rid of the ridiculous backwards licensing and test.
People do not want to waste their time memorizing completely worthless information just to use out dated communication. People clam the test is "weeding" people out, the reality their is no one on these channels. If you spend enough time you might find a couple of old men talking about their bird feeder or Trump.

You can buy a HAM radio for $40. now days. Get one use it.

An old school bus is not going to make people want to waste 50hr studying worthless info for a license.
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Old 04-07-2018, 08:47 AM   #9
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Brunswick, GA
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
I used to be into HAM and SSTV.. fun stuff.. unfortunteyl I let my license expire and havent been back into it.. would love to have a shack in a bus though! go up in the mountains ands work the 10 or 20! i was mainly into 2 meter stuff for voice.. compurters kind of took over for me. as I had gotten into HAM mid-late 80s but then went the direction of building computers and electronics.. and then more software..
Much the same story here - but was astonished in the advances in digital modes such as PSK31 when I snuck back in. Before, I primarily worked 2 and 10M voice, but now I spend more time working QRP digital on 40-20M. My next equipment update will be toward SDR - that certainly will make mobile operation easier and will better merge the ham and computer hobbies. Christopher, find a field day and check it out! DXing in the desert or in the mountains from a bus is one of my motivators while working on my build!!
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Old 04-07-2018, 11:30 AM   #10
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 11,370
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by ACamper View Post
If you want to promote HAM radio help get rid of the ridiculous backwards licensing and test.
People do not want to waste their time memorizing completely worthless information just to use out dated communication. People clam the test is "weeding" people out, the reality their is no one on these channels. If you spend enough time you might find a couple of old men talking about their bird feeder or Trump.

You can buy a HAM radio for $40. now days. Get one use it.

An old school bus is not going to make people want to waste 50hr studying worthless info for a license.
part of the reason for tests and such is that while you may find on a nice clear day that there are just a cpouple old men popping on a repeater now and then.. But ever hear of 'Nets?' specifically the weather-net in most areas is a HUGE reason people;s lives are saved from tornados.. when the tornado flew over my house last week (I was out of town).. the HAM operators were the only ones in the area that accurately depicted where it ended up going from live reports directly back to NWS personnel montoring it.. in those situations you dont want every kid with a squack box out there trying to blast in.. there are etiquettes to be followed when on HAM and when on a monitored net for sure.. HAM while it is fun for many its not child;s play when emergencies happen..

HAM's in particular the old-schoolers.. ones with tube type rigs are possibly the only form of communications that may be functional if something horrific occured like an EMP or an all out power grid attack..

going through that "useless" testing to know how electronics work and how to properly handle yourself on the airwaves is necessary to prevent chaos.. being able to help repair radios, set up towers, antennas, etc may be necessary.. knowing the proper cable type to drop for a 10 meter antenna, maybe the correct antenna type and length surely is going to be vital in situations where time may be of essence.. hook up a battery backwards and you ruin a whole set-up people are depending on..

HAM field days, while often bring a lot of fun, smiles, and gathering of friends.. or also drills of how to operate in as much an off-grid capacity as you can.. to simulate and test how well your setup could function if it was actually called to action for more than just "talking about trump".

im not here to start a debate on HAM.. but am hear to say it goes far beyond what apparently you have known it to be..
-Christopher
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