- 1986 Ford Econoline 350
- 217,000 miles
- Was in full-time use through mid-March, 2002
- Has large studded tires, and a set of regular tires
- Needs new battery unless driven frequently
- Generator for on-board 110, 4kW total
- Secondary battery for some things, don't know what yet
- Pneumatic mast
- 27 foot tower from frame, will reach 30 feet with stuff on top
- Cable and coil included
- Massive roof-rack with catwalk
- Rear storage space around mast and compressor
- Significant gear space
- Two 19" racks along the driver's side, a desk, and drawers
KOIN is selling this van for $500. It'll be bought by my KOIN contact, photographer Dean Barron, and sold to the PTP group. NigelBallard has agreed to buy the van itself, and quite a few others have pledged $50 which will be used for all the refit work. (original plan was to get 10 people with $50 each, then Nigel offered to buy it outright).
Pictures from the various work days are posted at http://www.omegacs.net/gallery/ptp/ Anyone else with pictures should contact me for a login so they can add their pics.
There are any number of bizarre things we as a group can think of using such a van for:
- Internet access for meetings with no Internet access
- Park out front, find the nearest node, and relay into the meeting space
- Event webcasting, either audio, video, or both
- Site surveys
- Really long-shot testing, say from Mt. Hood
- Driving around in a really cool looking van with piles of gear
In order to make the van usable for our needs, a fair about of refitting must be done. Some stuff is required, some stuff is necessary for it to be of any use, and some is just plain blue-sky.
Required: Repaint the van to remove the KOIN logo
Required: Remove/convert the studded tires
Required: Install new main battery
Required: Clean up all the remaining cut cables and cruft from years as a TV truck
Necessary: Build some kind of antenna mount to at minimum manually position a directional antenna
Necessary: Find a way to either put the AP on top of the tower or use existing (if any) riser cable
Blue-sky: Install a pan/tilt-style aimer for the directional antenna
Blue-sky: Install a low-powered computer to link the AP, internal network, and 100Mbps umbilical, and "be" the van
Blue-sky: Paint OurLogo and other stuff on the side of the van
ErikWalthinsen is spearheading the project, which is ironic since he doesn't drive...
NigelBallard has offered to buy the van in its entirety.
JeffZurcher can help out on the mechanical end (I am a qualified truck/heavy equipment mechanic), I have the tools and I should be able to come up with a battery if needed. I also have access to a machine shop should the need arise!
DonPark I have some knowledge of engines from working on my VWAP. Id like to help evaluate the status of the engine. I can also help document and test the on-board AC electrical systems. Getting in there with pine-sol and a vacuum cleaner I can help with, too.
AaronJohnson I like to have used car purchases checked out by a mechanic. I think it might cost $100. Does anyone else think its worth it to have a baseline on what repairs may be required and condition the truck is in? Also, can we get all service/repair records for the vehicle from the seller. I'd like to help but need to know when and where.
Guy Hammer - I was a mechanic for eight years before I got into computers and networking. I'd be happy to check the truck out for you guys, help with any needed repairs and work on the refit.
LonnieWormley - I have the tools to paint the van. I'll supply the paint for the job also. Shane Y. Gibson has a space where the work can be done.
The van was originally conceived as a replacement for KOIN's Unit 20, which in 1984 was an aging vehicle, KOIN's first to have a mast on it. They had to decide between buying a pre-made van from a company in California, based on the GMC Suburban, or building their own. Due to cost and the fact that both KATU and KGW crews had numerous complaints about the Suburban-based vehicle, KOIN decided to build their own to vehicle, to their own specifications. Their previous experience in building their own Unit 10 told them they could do it, and end up with another vehicle that stood out at the top end of their fleet. Unit 10 was called the "Supervan".
The van was purchased bare from Landmark Ford, and all work was done by local shops or by KOIN's engineers. Total initial cost, not including KOIN labor, was about $31,000 (not including most A/V gear), or about $5,000 less than the pre-built Suburban conversion. The result was a vehicle that much more closely matched KOIN crew's requirements.
(More data will be pasted here as soon as I have time write it up from the documents I have)
The replacement vehicle for the van we've purchased, the 3rd Unit 20, cost KOIN over $125,000. I'm not sure whether that includes the A/V gear or not.
There are a large number of sub-projects involved in getting this van into a usable state. We have to decide what we want to do and what the best ways are to do them.
The antenna aimer is one of the things stripped off by KOIN, because it's still worth something. This means that we need to buy or build our own in order to have the ability to actually get link to a node without manually aiming the antenna before putting the tower up.
The top of the tower appears to be about a 6-inch diameter pipe. I'm not sure whether the pipe is hollow or capped, so we should assume for now that it's capped (which would make sense since it's a pneumatic tower). We have roughly the following requirements:
- Rotate most or all of 360 degrees around
- Tilt directional antennae +- 15 to 20 degrees, plus locking mechanism
- Mount point for an omnidirectional antenna
- Have enough sealed space to mount an entire AP and amplifier
I haven't been able to find any satellite-dish aimers that appear to be what we need for the job, which I believe is mostly because satellite dishes only need to be aimed on one axis along the horizon, typically. If anyone can find an appropriate device, please add it here.
The two-way Motosat dish (below) automatically finds the DirectWay consumer satellite service ($70-$90/mo) on the road. The Swe-dish dish (below, right) can be transported anywhere and provides up to 2Mbps ($5,000) using commercial satellites like G-Star. Lyngsat.com lists satellite transponders.
Homebuilt Design 1
(design by ErikWalthinsen)
The base of the aimer has to be a flat plate that sits on top of the tower and has tabs down the side that screw into the tower. It must be removable because we have to put screws in from the bottom of the plate. A raised circular section in the middle has the four screw holes for the motorized turntable. The main aimer assembly plate has a matching hole and fits over the fixed plate leaving a flat surface. A motorized turntable ($32) from All Electronics sits on top, the center rotating plate screwed to the top of the tower, the outer stationary ring screwed to the aimer base plate.
The main body of the rotating assembly has to take into account the motor sticking up from the middle, the box necessary to house the electronics (access point, amplifiers, aimer control), and the tilt mechanism. This is where the most creativity will be necessary.
The tilt assembly would consist of a pivoted mount attached at the far edge of the platform, capable of tilting 10-20 degrees back, and 90 degrees down. The directional antennae would be mounted to to this, probably two antennae side-by-side (2.4GHz and 5.8GHz). The actual tilting is done by a linear actuator (12" for 99DM, about $50) designed for the purpose. The actuator is connected with pivot mounts to both the main platform and the antenna mount (via an offset bracket). You can see a variant on the design in this picture, the actuator is the brownish device with the blob on the back (the motor).
I'll put more up on SatelliteTruckAimerOne.
The van currently is set up almost exclusively to operate 110v gear, either on shore power or on a generator, while shooting stories. Almost none of the gear is designed to run long durations, or on battery. No provisions are made at all for running anything but the generator starter on batteries alone.
(This section fuzzy pending real schematics)
110v power from the generator and shore power are each fed into a breaker panel on the far left. The generator gets a 40 amp break
March 2008 Update
- Sam Churchill paid $500 for it from VeriLAN in April, 2008
- Nigel transfered ownership to Moran Sacket of Verilan in 04.06/04
- odometer reads 27k (probably 227K)
- Verilan put in $1500-$2000, with new tires, battery, electrical work, paint job.
- two new back tires, front in good shape
- comes with two 23db wifi dishes and a yagi
- has two batteries. Generator can charge both
- generator powered from panel but needs to be hooked to the 2nd truck battery (which does not exist).
- generator is 4000 watts and in good shape. Uses blue oil. Key on drivers seat belt.
- two gas tanks. Holds 20 gallons each. Put in fuel cleaner and 5 gallons to start.
- runs and drives well
- parked at Sam Churchill's place, 815 nw Naito (will be moved to Don Park's place)
plan to convert it into public service vehicle with local WiFi
- I cleaned it up, inside and out
- Title. Sam Churchill is transfering the title to his name this April. There are two sets of keys. Sam has one, Don Park the other.