Sorry, not impressed. A lot of Skoolies are more practical for traveling and living, and almost as electronically capable. Even though I see a little bit of my own mad scientist in this guy, we are not twins separated at birth.
First, the trailer/living unit.
- You can't use the living or working space while driving, the trailer has to be deployed.
- It takes set-up time - if you notice, it is a high-low design. You have to slide the top section up ("Roof Raise!") before you can swing out the kitchen and bathroom modules at the rear. With a Skoolie or RV, you just walk back into the living area, even while someone else is driving.
- Some of our skoolie kitchens are better prepared to cook gourmet meals than his swing-out kitchenette.
- I'm guessing that the trailer upper section walls aren't that thick to allow the slide up, hence poor insulation.
- All his special materials for extreme heat and cold will likely not be repairable at the local truck shop after any untoward event.
- I think his best-case estimate of 2000 highway miles on 170 gallons of diesel isn't going to hold up when he opens the throttle on that heavy wind-catcher.
Next, the comms and electronics, which appear to be the "Gee-Whiz" factor.
- He threw every technology from short wave to satellite into the unit. It looks like he just checked every box on a shopping list, instead of having a real plan.
- He is connecting all the terrestrial comms to what appear to be military-inspired "one size fits none" broadband antenna designs, which work equally poorly at all frequencies. These are necessary for the military, who must be able to operate anywhere, any time without tech support on the line. Hams, business and Public Safety would instead use antennas optimized for the frequencies they use.
- The comms antennas are down low on the cowl, blocked by the vehicle in most directions
- The direction finder radome is too small to have doppler-effect dipoles spaced apart enough to work most efficiently at VHF. Either this is a UHF/microwave unit, or a military unit which uses uber-computer processing power to make up for more subtle doppler information. The article mentions using it to find locator beacons. I expect it is a single-purpose unit designed for a particular beacon type.
- All his comms appear on a "glass cockpit" control wall. They appear to be set up to be managed by a single operator. (California Highway Patrol several years ago was looking at a touch-screen system to manage 4 single-band radios in the trunk, I don't know if they deployed that system or not.) If the vehicle will be loaned out for research, you usually would have a couple of operators working different "nets." They would need "elbow room."
I will give him that FLIR (Forward-Looking Infra-Red) cameras are cool. So are inflatable masts, but they are not that rare. See if a local TV station is scrapping a news van. You can buy small scout drones for a couple hundred bucks. You can buy personal satellite beacons that pair with smart phones for text from anywhere for another couple hundred bucks. You can (as he did) buy a satellite phone handset if you feel you need it, and can get a car kit to use it as a console. You can get satellite internet with an automatic dish for a thousand or two. You can perform shortwave ALE (Automatic Link Establishment) with a standard PC-controllable radio and some computer software, without needing a NATO radio.
Come on, Skoolies, we can (and do) do better than that for much, much less!
Edit: Skoolie Jerry Campbell posted a video of his campsite taken from his drone at Nomadicista.
You can see the more efficient short-wave antennas on the roof of his Crown.