Author Topic: Radio Go Box  (Read 8906 times)

Offline DonC

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Radio Go Box
« on: August 14, 2016, 02:33:35 PM »
Yesterday was our annual Shreveport HamFest! (A success to be sure). But not the reason for my post. During the HamFest, they added a "Go-Box" competition. I didn't enter this year, (my box isn't quite there). But I got a lot of ideas!

My Go-Box is in a 4.5'L x 2.5'W x 8"D Pelican Case (with wheels).
It will have HF, VHF/UHF, Laptop, and D-Star.
My kit can be powered by Solar, vehicle, and commercial.
I have 3 antennas for my kit which can all be deployed and used with little effort.
I have a little extra power for a light or two and to charge a mobile device or two.
The solar panel can be detached from the case and deployed to get maximum sunlight.
I did my best to include all modes of operation in my kit so I wasn't limited in a SHTF situation.

It seems rather large, but surprisingly, isn't very heavy at all considering. Fairly easy to set on my tailgate and operate in about 15 minutes or less!

One thing I did learn from the competition and has since been added to my kit, is a small tool kit for making adjustments and repairs on the go. I have some solder, a 12v soldering pen, screwdrivers, wire cutters, Allen wrenches, and some extra wire and coax. Since my case is larger in size, I can accommodate a little extra gear. Since it is on casters, I don't have to sacrifice my back!

Once I get an HF rig to put in there, I'll take pictures and post it! (The only thing I'm missing is the HF rig).

I'd love to see some different ideas to your "Go-Boxes!" Feel free to post replies and pics. This may help others as well. The main goal of a Go-Box is to be able to GOTA with little effort. I'd like to throw in the "little" price blurb as well as I cannot afford much either." Most of the items I have, I got for free, cheap, even made myself! None of it was all at once! This has been over 8 months in the making.

With all the flooding here in Louisiana as of late, I thought it wise to get a move on on my "Go-Box!"
« Last Edit: August 14, 2016, 02:45:47 PM by DonC »

Offline Carl

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Re: Radio Go Box
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2016, 02:51:53 PM »
 :popcorn:  Sounds like you are ready for trouble....

Offline Sailor

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Re: Radio Go Box
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2016, 07:42:29 AM »
Once I get this 3d printer kit built I will be printing a frame that will hold a tiny dual band, lipo, charge controller, antenna, mic etc.  All ready to run and charge off solar panels if needed.  Small enough to slide into a .30 mm ammo can or pack. 

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Radio Go Box
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2016, 10:00:26 AM »
I've seen go-boxes that operate as-is.  Maybe you remove a lid, but all the radios, and gear are mounted into the operational position.
I've also seen really nice carry cases, that require the gear to be removed and setup on a desk or table.

I'm slightly inclined towards a nice packing/carry system as I can mix and match components a bit easier with team members.  Maybe my kit is not needed, but someone needs my SWR meter.

On the other hand, if you operate your home station out of a rack mounted case, and simply close the lid and go - that's pretty slick.

Offline Carl

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Re: Radio Go Box
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2016, 11:23:22 AM »
I've seen go-boxes that operate as-is.  Maybe you remove a lid, but all the radios, and gear are mounted into the operational position.
I've also seen really nice carry cases, that require the gear to be removed and setup on a desk or table.

I'm slightly inclined towards a nice packing/carry system as I can mix and match components a bit easier with team members.  Maybe my kit is not needed, but someone needs my SWR meter.

On the other hand, if you operate your home station out of a rack mounted case, and simply close the lid and go - that's pretty slick.

A shelf type of arrangement that fits into a case ,yet allows access to all sides for cables and error locating as NOTHING IS FOOL-FROOF and often little things must be plugged in or re-attached
and todays solid state radios need air circulation for cooling . Plus often a radio must be re-configured for different antennas or missions as with digital interconnection.Much like my main RADIO as it is on a shelf and that is on a table to allow access to the many wires of wireless.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Radio Go Box
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2016, 09:10:21 PM »
After oogling carefully constructed pop-the-lid-and-operate go-boxes on various forums and IRL for several years, I've given up on ever getting my act that organized.  My radio go-kit is a rotating cast of radios and batteries and backpacks and solar power systems and antennas and bags and packs ...

Well, at least it's modular and easily customized for the next adventure or disaster at hand.

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: Radio Go Box
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2016, 10:18:20 PM »
...todays solid state radios need air circulation for cooling .

There is a ham locally who made a waterproof 2 meter go box.  He drilled into the heat sink of a yaesu 2900 and ran an oil line back and forth through it.  A small pump circulated the oil through that sink and a larger heat sink outside the box.  But the neatest thing was that he had a bluetooth heaphone/mic interface so he could use transceiver without opening the box.  He was working on a remote for handling controls.  At that time he only had it set to the local repeater. Really innovative idea.

Offline Carl

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Re: Radio Go Box
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2016, 03:41:46 AM »
There is a ham locally who made a waterproof 2 meter go box.  He drilled into the heat sink of a yaesu 2900 and ran an oil line back and forth through it.  A small pump circulated the oil through that sink and a larger heat sink outside the box.  But the neatest thing was that he had a bluetooth heaphone/mic interface so he could use transceiver without opening the box.  He was working on a remote for handling controls.  At that time he only had it set to the local repeater. Really innovative idea.

And here I thought I was cool making grilled cheese sandwiches on my FT 2900,,,the FT 2900 is several of my favorite VHF radios...also does a good job heating pop-tarts.

Offline DonC

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Re: Radio Go Box
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2016, 03:48:40 AM »
Once I get this 3d printer kit built I will be printing a frame that will hold a tiny dual band, lipo, charge controller, antenna, mic etc.  All ready to run and charge off solar panels if needed.  Small enough to slide into a .30 mm ammo can or pack.

I've seen several 3d printed items used for HAM! (Insulators, dipole heads, even ladder line all made from 3d printer). However, I've also seen boxes created from a 3d printer. Unless you have an industrial printer, it's going to be tough to make a box large enough based on what you described. The smallest dual band radios are still larger than the largest box you can print on a personal 3d printer. Whereas, you can purchase a small ammo online for under $5. But if you can, great and good luck. I'd be curious to see.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2016, 03:55:05 AM by DonC »

Offline Carl

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Re: Radio Go Box
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2016, 04:05:54 AM »
I've seen several 3d printed items used for HAM! (Insulators, dipole heads, even ladder line all made from 3d printer). However, I've also seen boxes created from a 3d printer. Unless you have an industrial printer, it's going to be tough to make a box large enough based on what you described. The smallest dual band radios are still larger than the largest box you can print on a personal 3d printer. Whereas, you can purchase a small ammo online for under $5. But if you can, great and good luck. I'd be curious to see.

I just use a 'plastic' cutting board ...like for in the kitchen, cut to fit the box and then I bolt the radio equipment to that for transport security and I can use it IN or OUT of the box and work on it as needed.

Offline DonC

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Re: Radio Go Box
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2016, 04:09:23 AM »
As I have done as well! I did the have to cut it as it was already the perfect size cutting board. But none the less, that did make it a lot easier. There is room for the radio, mic, a small antenna, external speaker, and a battery box inside the ammo can. Worked out great and is the radio I use day to day on my balcony!

Offline Carl

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Re: Radio Go Box
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2016, 04:20:50 AM »
As I have done as well! I did the have to cut it as it was already the perfect size cutting board. But none the less, that did make it a lot easier. There is room for the radio, mic, a small antenna, external speaker, and a battery box inside the ammo can. Worked out great and is the radio I use day to day on my balcony!

You bring up a very important part of a 'ready radio'...it must not be stored till needed,but should see regular use and maintenance to keep both radio function and operator familiar with it's use.

Offline Sailor

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Re: Radio Go Box
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2016, 08:38:59 AM »
I've seen several 3d printed items used for HAM! (Insulators, dipole heads, even ladder line all made from 3d printer). However, I've also seen boxes created from a 3d printer. Unless you have an industrial printer, it's going to be tough to make a box large enough based on what you described. The smallest dual band radios are still larger than the largest box you can print on a personal 3d printer. Whereas, you can purchase a small ammo online for under $5. But if you can, great and good luck. I'd be curious to see.

What my plan is to print is just the framing that supports the radio, battery, small charge controller and meter.  That frame to protect the VFO and that can slide into and existing small ammo can or pack.   Anderson PP outputs, and solar input.  My 3d printer build area is 12x12x13. 

Offline Sailor

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Re: Radio Go Box
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2016, 08:52:14 AM »
Got this idea from this commercial version for GMRS.  I would print something simpler in ABS or Nylon.   https://youtu.be/SSYAvof13zE

Offline SCWolverine

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Re: Radio Go Box
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2016, 11:18:54 AM »

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Radio Go Box
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2016, 07:35:38 PM »
Plenty of Ideas here: http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_22/648273_The_EMCOMM_Box.html

Thanks for the list of links, SCW.  I dig this lightweight backpack idea from the list the most:
http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_22/650215_An_end_to_the_EMCOMM_Box_debate____my_hamsexy_897d_backpack_setup_.html
Fits into the lightweight, modular, flexible ideas.

Offline Greekman

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Re: Radio Go Box
« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2016, 05:09:39 AM »
for what they are worth, here are two recent "evolved" designs/builds.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJQ2EEW0bwA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSYAvof13zE

Offline SCWolverine

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Re: Radio Go Box
« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2016, 07:03:19 AM »
Here's what George has been up to recently

http://www.kj6vu.com/?p=873

http://www.kj6vu.com/?p=958

Offline Carl

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Re: Radio Go Box
« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2016, 09:40:37 AM »
My portable uses a power supply and inverter to extension cord for power and keeps the radio powered at 13.8 volts till the battery reaches 10.6 volts under load so I have more power options and more stable output ,Heavy battery stays in the vehicle so I don't have to lug it around unless needed.

Portable power



Portable VHF , Handle makes for easy carry.



Portable HF


Offline Greekman

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Re: Radio Go Box
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2016, 06:08:07 AM »
you know guys, I you want to have a compact kit/box with excellent ventilation, you just have to turn things upside down:



An aluminum suitcase used upside down (the lid becomes the tray)
Build here: https://rfnews.gr/?p=2883

Offline idelphic

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Re: Radio Go Box
« Reply #20 on: August 23, 2016, 07:58:30 AM »