I looked for a number of different cases that I could carry around all my materials to operate portable and after a few trips to the hardware store, I settled on a mobile tool box from Stanley. The 3-in-1 mobile work center was not the sturdiest tool box I could find but it did have wheels. extended handle and a separate compartment for the battery.
I was able to configure the 3-in-1 to contain just about everything I would need to operate for a weekend.
When I started working with the tool box, my first concern was a safe place to put the battery where it could be secure and not move around. Since it is the heaviest component of the setup, it had to be on the bottom.
I choose to create a set of X-spacers (out of wood) that would both keep the battery stable as well as ensure that there was sufficient clearance over the battery to protect the cables. It did waste some space, but since I’ll still have access to the compartment, I can use the space if I needed.
Though it is a bit hard to see, I also 3D printed a shim that keeps the battery wedged in there tight.
On top of the battery layer, I created a shelf that held the circuit mentioned in last week’s post as well as the radio itself. The shelf was also fashioned out of wood. The most difficult portion of this part of the build was figuring out how to wire that voltage/current meter, since it came with no instructions and the wire colors were a bit non-standard. I figured it out after watching a youtube video and a bit of trial and error. Overall, the installation came out about as well as I could have hoped.
The shelf can be quickly removed, so I have access to the battery, when it needs to be charged – since I was too cheap to address that issue yet.
In order to mount the radio securely, I 3D printed some brackets (shown in the photograph above, as well as the model on the left). Although these were made out of PLA plastic, they seemed to be sufficient for the job. One of the nice things about PLA is that it is relatively easy to warm up the nuts and then sink them into the plastic, so the nuts are held in place when you bolt them down.
The top section of the tool box contains the antenna analyzer, radio head, headphones, computer and all the other materials required to operate. I definitely need to work on getting that equipment organized, since right now I just threw it all in the box.
I should get a chance to operate this weekend and give the setup a real endurance test.
My next post should be about that operating experience and the computer I used (assuming I get a chance to operate digital modes and the conditions are right to compete in a contest).