Montana Southbears



"The Treasure State"

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Montana Comm Unit Leader
Jim Edlin, WT5C


The Montana communications unit (W7SBC) is a converted Ford ambulance with a 460 cubic inch engine. It has a 200-amp alternator that charges the two vehicle batteries as well as four deep cycle batteries in the back. All of the batteries can be switched together to run the radios.

We have a Yaesu 857D for HF and two Yaesu VHF/UHF (FT-7800and a dual band FT-8800). We also have a Tarheel 1200 screwdriver antenna for the HFand Larson whips for the VHF/UHF, and a Motorola Mocom 70 FM rig on the Red Cross frequency of 47.42. Finally there is a CB as well and weather radio, HTís, cell phone, and the usual compliment of FRS hand-helds.

All of the radios are 12 volt and can be run from our battery pack. We also have onboard a small, very quiet generator to charge the batteries when we are stopped as well as a diesel generator that we pull in a trailer behind the van. Antennas are a 90-foot B&W doublet and dipoles for 80, 40, and 20 meters. Here in Montana, we understand the value of NVIS antennas and depend on them communicate our state office from anywhere in the state. They are ideal for jumping over mountains.

Two laptop computers are used with GPS, Microsoft Office Professional, and Microsoft Streets and Trips as well as a portable printer and scanner. A converter is used to give us 120 AC for the computers while we are on the road.



Updated 6-4-08