Carson Eads' Ultimate Chasemobile

Rear view of Carson's van showing his two meter "Egg Beater" 144 MHz orthogonal one wavelength loops, a horizontal loop for the 6 meter band both on a mast mounted on the left side of the rear bumper, an HF whip antenna on the right side of the bumper and an assortment of colinear VHF and UHF vertical antennas mounted on the roof.  The VHF/UHF verticals are used for communication on the 144 to 148 MHz Ham band, scanning radio receivers for monitoring public service and NOAA Weather Radio stations, and Amateur and commercial TV stations for reception of weather radar. 
In addition to the aforementioned antennas, this side view also shows a 432 MHz "Egg Beater" antenna (i.e., orthogonal one wavelength loops).  The little loops are near the front of the roof and are located just to the right of the water tower in the photo.  This antenna is used primarily for amateur and commercial TV reception.  The two loops are horizontally polarized and fed 90 degrees out of phase to produce circular polarization.  When mounted 1/4 wave above a conductive surface (i.e., ground plane) they can be used for satellite communication, with their broad main lobe oriented toward the zenith.   However, Carson mounted his antenna more than 1/4 wave above the vehicle's roof to lower the angle of radiation  in order to receive signals originating closer to the horizon.
 A view inside Carson's van.
Tim Marshall photographing a thunderstorm.
The thunderstorm Tim was photographing.  We were located about 30 miles northwest of Abilene, Texas.
Left to right - Carson Eads, Tim Marshall and Jerry Ratliff.
DSS dish mounted at the rear of Carson's chasemobile.  This dish is used primarily to receive The Weather Channel (TWC) via satellite.  TWC provides time lapse satellite and radar images during commercial breaks.  They also provide warning and forecast information. 

TWC information comes in handy when storms develop outside the forecast area or to monitor the progress of large scale storm systems prior to storm formation.  Having this capability reduces the reliance on obtaining satellite images from the internet via cell phones, thereby reducing expenses.

Al Moller and Mike Foster discuss chase strategy (note the clear blue skies) while Carson aligns his VHF/UHF log periodic (LP) antenna.

The LP was installed on a trailer that was part of Carson's chase setup during the early '90s.  It was used for long haul communications on 144.200 MHz USB and to receive amateur and commercial TV stations. 

A rotator was mounted at the base of the mast in the bed of the trailer so the antenna's direction could be controlled remotely from inside the vehicle.

This setup was effective, but unwieldy and it reduced fuel efficiency.  Hence the change to the orthogonal loops on his current chase vehicle.

Lightning and storm video is available through Storm Stock

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Last revised: March 14, 2003