Mobile surveillance camera watching over passengers in a taxicab
A mobile rig (or automobile rig) is a class of communications system that is midway between a base station (building-mounted) and portable (body mounted). Such a device is typically run off a 12 volt vehicular electrical system.
Wireless communities have existed since the days of amateur packet radio (ham radio), in three well-defined categories:
- Fixed: (also known as ``base stations): fixed devices on or in buildings, homes, offices, or other ``fixtures such as a ham shack, post, outpost, or attached to a tree, or other fixture;
- Mobile: Vehicular or ship-based systems, wireless systems in trucks, vans, cars, boats, or motorcycles. A wireless station on a bicycle such as N4RVE's behemoth would also be categorized as Mobile. People who use mobile communications devices are often called mobileers;
- Portable: Handheld or wearable systems. Systems borne by (e.g. worn or carried upon) the human body. An implantable system such as a wireless communicator injected beneath the skin would also fall under the Portable category.
Chronologically, these happened in the order presented: first there were the fixed ham shacks, then the mobileers, and finally the body-borne technologies (portable and wearable, implantables, etc.).
These three categories are well established, and well known in the ham radio (amateur radio) digital wireless communities. Of particular interest are the latter two categories (Mobile and Portable) because they have been made possible by miniaturization of components.
The Mobile category has been explored in detail by KA6WKE in terms of how to deal with the less than optimal antennas and grounding systems of mobile units (within, for example, a 1992 Ford Escort station wagon, being a small car, that presents many such challenges).
Good examples of mobile wireless digital radios include the HF Mobile Rig - FT-100 and various two meter mobile rigs.
Motorola was one of the early makers of mobile rigs. The name motorola derives rom motor (i.e. motor vehicle) and ola (meaning sound, audio). Motorola has made a large number of vehicular two way radios for police, taxi, and similar usages.
A car phone is a telephone "mobile rig" made for use in a vehicle.