PART THREE - EXPEDITION GEAR
Ever since I saw one of these canopies on a US Army DoKa in
Germany I knew I had to have one. They are cab height for improved aerodynamics,
solid construction that can take a lot of abuse, water tight to keep
everything dry inside, vents for air circulation, ties downs for stuff on
top and just very unique looking. Only problem is they were a very
limited production and when they came up for sale in Germany they are damn
expensive. I got my canopy for a little less than the market price
because all the locks were broken along with the oil filled shocks that
hold the doors up.
These canopies are usually
olive drab in color. Not really the best choice for a shiny red
TriStar. So I will have to get it stripped and painted to match the
color of the truck. I will put some black highlights on the canopy
to match the two tone paint of the TriStar. Basically I will keep
the rubber seals black, the rear window black and paint the trim / tie
downs on the top black.
I want to make this truck look
similar to a rally support truck as you would see in the Paris-Dakar rally.
So, the idea at this point is to advertise the company that I run, Fast
Forward Automotive. The running rabbit would be the same dark metallic
silver as the factory SYNCRO
and 4WD logos and would not be an over powering color. The
company name, location and phone number will be black or slight off-black
to match the paint on the TriStar. Below is what I have accomplished
using my limited Corel Photo Paint skills!
Next step is to take the
canopy aluminium shop and get a bracket system made up for the antennas
along with a spare tire bracket on the roof of the canopy. Then it
is off to the auto body shop to get the paint and sign work done.
||Canopy being worked
on at the auto body shop
Note: canopy turned out well didn't it!?
Because to take a lot of trips to the back country, good
communications is essential. There are a lot of different frequencies used
when we travel and I am an amateur radio operator - VE7PBS.
Most logging roads in British Columbia are radio
controlled, most commercial vehicles also have a VHF-HI radio system
(135-174MHz). At the beginning of each road there is a road name and
the frequency used on the road. For example the 2700 Road uses
152.99MHz. Each kilometer on the road is marked with a sign 2701,
2702, 2703 etc. You are supposed to call each kilometer you are at
so that other traffic know you are coming. There are two common frequencies
used for truck to truck communications on the highway; 154.10MHz and
158.94MHz. These are good to get the conditions of the roads ahead,
find out where the police are and listen in to general bull between truck
drivers. There is also a lot of 2m amateur radio activity in BC as
There isn't much commercial or amateur activity on the UHF
(400MHz) band in BC, but it is a good frequency to have because it is what
is used for FRS communications which is getting more and more popular each
year. When travelling in groups, most people will have FRS or CB.
This is where things get a little more interesting.
The problems with VHF and UHF communications is that it is basically line
of sight. If the person you want to communicate with isn't between
you and the horizon you can't talk to them. Amateur radio repeaters
will eliminate this problem to a degree, but sometimes we go to places
where we can't 'hit' any repeaters. This is where the HF or short wave
frequencies between 1.6MHz and 54MHz come into play. HF can be used
to call internationally on some frequencies or at least several hundred
kilometers on most frequencies. So if you need some emergency or
need to let the wife know how you are doing you can get a hold of
someone! The upper region of the HF band is where you will find CB
radio (27MHz) - lots of people have these radios so again it is good to
have when travelling in groups.
I an using a 100W Alinco
DX70-TH HF/6m radio in my TriStar along with an Icom W2A VHF/UHF hand
held radio. The DX70-TX has two antenna outputs.
One for 30KHz to 30MHz and the other for 50MHz to 54MHz. I will be
installing a pair of AS/1729
military antennas that I purchased from Murphy's
Surplus (excellent customer service) on the front section of my NATO canopy. These
3.3m long antennas were originally used on the VW Iltis, MB Unimog and
many other NATO vehicles and were used for communications in the 30MHz to
76MHz frequencies. The 1st antenna will be set to the 6m amateur
radio band (50-54MHz) via it's built in tuner. The 2nd antenna tuned
with an SGC 239 antenna tuner and can operate between 7.0MHz to 30MHz bands which is
almost all of the amateur radio HF bands and the CB band. The
antennas will be too tall for driving on the highway as the combined
height of the antenna and vehicle will be in excess of 5m tall. To remedy
this, there is a spring at the bottom of the AS/1729 antenna and it can be
folded over horizontally for use on the highway. My Syncro Westfalia Joker
has an Icom
706MKII-G installed in it, which is basically the two above radios combined into one. With the above set-ups, if it
communicates of radio waves, I can talk to it!
AUXILIARY HEATED FUEL TANK
We travel a lot to the more remote places where we are
hours away from a fuelling station. With TDI power we also have increased fuel economy
~10L/100km but sometimes this is not enough.
We will be fabricating an auxiliary 72L tank that will fit on the
underside of the vehicle between the two frame rails on the passenger
side. We will also
have a coolant operated heat exchanger inside the fuel tank as well so that we
can run vegetable oil in the summer and Diesel fuel in the winter when it
is below -35C and not have fuel that will gel up on us. With this
additional tank we are hoping to get about 18 to 20h of operation on a
single fill up (of both tanks) or about 1200km on the highway.
we are prototyping this.