Author Topic: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)  (Read 31024 times)

Offline SCWolverine

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VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« on: November 27, 2013, 06:03:01 AM »
I read in the most recent QST where some fellows helped out during the Colorado Floods.  They operated from within their cars parked in the local FD parking lot for 4 days passing traffic and such.  Ok, so they went home each evening, but they still spent the majority of 4 days straight In Their Cars...

Now I'm not sure if they didn't have any gear they could deploy inside the FD or what, but I'm certain I don't want to sit in a RAV4 all rainy day long with one of my gassy buddies talking on the radio


I was taken back to another story in QST right after the Joplin MO Tornado breakout.  I believe it was the Section Mgr or some ARRL brass that stated they were overwhelmed with Hams volunteering to assist in the recovery.  The hang-up was, most had plenty of gear to make mondo contacts, but it was either in place in their Shack or Permanently mounted in Their cars.  The volunteers were unable to utilize the gear from another vehicle or location....Hence the EMCOMM Box, but more locally focused...the VHF Go-Box.

have a little more work to do, but wanted to share:


The Plano Ammo Can from Academy Sports $12


A little 1/2" ply-wood for a shelf, rubber feet and a few Tee-nuts


add a little Krylon to protect and preserve...(and flip the shelf over)


Down in the bottom is more 1/2" ply-wood with a 12v 7Ah Battery, 12v Trickle Charger, and 12v 15a MFJ PS


Trickle Charger not shown.


so the lamp needs to be replaced, cool points lost there I know

Anderson Power-Poles all around, even on charger ,to K.I.S.S.
Remove the 2 screws from the radio/mount brackets and place it in the Mobile Mount you have in your car, or on your desk...have the box pre-packed for future use.
This way you're not stuck with Chuck in the RAV4, but inside in the day room with the coffee pot...
The radio shelf can be completely removed and used on a table top or in a passenger seat...as long as you have a power cord long enough to reach a 12v power source.


I like the box because you can remove the Lid to save space in your operating area.
It's also plenty big to tote everything together.   
I need another N9TAX roll-up J-Pole and I'm gonna try to factor in the $16 Tram mag antenna too...
more pics to come.

most Dual-Band rigs would work as well...I just had this one sitting around looking for a purpose

SCW











Offline doublehelix

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2013, 12:41:51 PM »
Simple, effective and not too expensive.

Kudos.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2013, 04:33:35 PM »
That plywood mounting platform is a clever idea.  Thanks for showing.

Offline Greekman

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2013, 05:50:58 AM »
I cannt comprehand this:
why do you need the 12v 15a MFJ PS?

Offline doublehelix

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2013, 09:29:36 AM »
I cannt comprehand this:
why do you need the 12v 15a MFJ PS?

In case you have an opportunity to plug into shore power or a generator.

Offline Greekman

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2013, 10:12:34 AM »
I am SO clever...... (facepalm icon)


Offline SCWolverine

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2013, 09:36:14 PM »
the 12v on-board battery is there for a just in case, no other choice kinda thing.  The 12v PS or a random car battery would be my first choices for power

 ;)

Offline SCWolverine

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2013, 03:20:37 PM »

Anderson Power-Poles all around, even on charger ,to K.I.S.S.



Long extension cord to operate from an alternate 12v Power Source (car battery)



Added feet to the battery/ps shelf as well to prevent surface marring



Remove the 2 screws from the radio/mount brackets and place it in the Mobile Mount you have in your car, or on your desk...have the box pre-packed for future use.




Offline Roswell

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2013, 06:07:17 PM »
Awesome project SCWolverine!

Is there room to add a small solar battery charger  somewhere? on the top shelf, under the top or just loose? 
http://www.harborfreight.com/15-watt-solar-battery-charger-68692.html

Offline SCWolverine

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2013, 05:43:16 AM »
I've got one of those in the box, up in the barn....the box is longer than the lid...I'll un-box this time and check for sure

Offline Texas Sawduster

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2013, 10:46:50 AM »
Nice and simple.
I purchased one of those myself for a GoComm box.
Have not put it together as of yet.
Your build gives me an Idea on how to mount the radio as the box is not deep enough to mount it with the back towards the bottom. Antenna coax connection gets in the way.

Thanks again.

Offline SCWolverine

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2013, 05:28:56 AM »
It seems we may focus too much on keeping the rig in the box as we operate.

I know I had that sole concern when I first built my HF/VHF box a few years back (trying to follow everyone else's design on ar15.com).  My 95 y/o Elmer kept insisting that I make it removable to prevent overheating.  I thought he was just overreacting, but sure enough, I stepped back and re-considered, it did make sense to allow as much as around the unit as possible.  Not only that....

How many of us will actually be operating while lugging this stuff around running through the woods  (or whatever WROL scenario you pick).

Step outside of the box and consider all of your options.  I lost count how many times I re-did my big box before I was happy.  And I'm glad I did; I use it as a bench-top portable shack exclusively!





Find some more inspiration here:
http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_22/648273_The_EMCOMM_Box.html

Offline Greekman

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2013, 11:14:56 AM »
Quote
It seems we may focus too much on keeping the rig in the box as we operate.

that always buggered me. Where all those heat produced would go?

Offline Special K

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2013, 01:00:53 PM »
SCW,
What is the large double-decker/dual-radio unit housed in, a pelican case?

Offline SCWolverine

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2013, 01:24:44 PM »
SCW,
What is the large double-decker/dual-radio unit housed in, a pelican case?

big Box is the MTM Spud 7
little Box is Plano 1612 (same as above except Green w/ weather-seal)


Offline Texas Sawduster

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2013, 10:35:31 AM »
It seems we may focus too much on keeping the rig in the box as we operate.

I know I had that sole concern when I first built my HF/VHF box a few years back (trying to follow everyone else's design on ar15.com).  My 95 y/o Elmer kept insisting that I make it removable to prevent overheating.  I thought he was just overreacting, but sure enough, I stepped back and re-considered, it did make sense to allow as much as around the unit as possible.  Not only that....

How many of us will actually be operating while lugging this stuff around running through the woods  (or whatever WROL scenario you pick).

Step outside of the box and consider all of your options.  I lost count how many times I re-did my big box before I was happy.  And I'm glad I did; I use it as a bench-top portable shack exclusively!


No argument here.
I like the idea of taking it all out of the box and using it that way.
The box is great for securing it for transportation.

Offline Canadian Prepper

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2013, 09:21:00 PM »
So if I understand correctly, the lid with the radio reverses to store it in the box just above the battery and power supply when in transit. In addition to the box, I suppose that you'd need to carry a reasonably portable antenna, perhaps with a tripod or other means of mounting or hanging it, and then some coax to connect it? What would you recommend.

I noticed that the dual-band slim-jims are an option that might be easy to set up and can be had with approx. 16 feet of coax. I'm not sure if that would fit in the box between the radio and battery, but if it did that would seem like a great combination.

Offline Hootie

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2013, 11:00:36 PM »
 :popcorn:

Offline SCWolverine

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2013, 05:48:26 AM »
Yes, my N9TAX roll-up will fit nicely in the bottom of the box (along with a host of other accessories)
http://www.n9tax.com/Slim%20Jim%20Info.html

Another source for a quality roll-up is Ed Fong:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dual-Band-VHF-UHF-HAM-MURS-GMRS-Commericial-Portable-Emergency-Antenna-/121218972701?pt=US_Radio_Comm_Antennas&hash=item1c3936bc1d

With one of those and a length of Para-cord (550) you can get it up in a tree, suspend from a railing, held above ground, etc... and it'll work fine

Here's mine hanging on the trim of the house on a cup-hook connected to my Wouxun HT-my first "Shack"


I'm also trying to work in a Dual-Band Mag antenna (Tram $16 on Amazon) as well, for a better mobile option.

The actual lid of the box isn't involved with the radio.  I made a shelf to hold the radio, and it flips over when stored.

Offline backwoods_engineer

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2013, 08:58:16 AM »
the 12v on-board battery is there for a just in case, no other choice kinda thing.  The 12v PS or a random car battery would be my first choices for power

 ;)

Yeah, and that 7 AH battery wouldn't last long if you did much transmitting.

One thing to investigate is using the cells from laptop batteries (18500's) as a lighter-weight, higher-capacity battery.  There are some companies that make packs out of these that produce around 15V fully charged, and your Kenwood would be just fine with that. 

But good work, and I need to make one of those, too.

Offline Greekman

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2013, 03:11:33 PM »
even though i have one made by me, i would laike to ahev a link or two on the commercial equivalents you mention

Offline austinrob

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #21 on: December 23, 2013, 11:48:04 AM »
http://www.all-battery.com/148vli-iobbatterypacksandmodules.aspx has several battery packs that are 14.8V, but note the discharge current ratings.  Exceeding these may damage the PCB protecting the batteries and will reduce the rated battery time.  If you were to use several of these and connect them to distribute the load (say you needed a 30A rating, buy 5 of the 6A rated battery packs and run them in parallel) then you shouldn't have any problems.

It's not cost effective per AH, but if you're trying to reduce weight at the sacrifice of cost, it should work.

Offline Greekman

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #22 on: December 24, 2013, 01:34:16 AM »
there is something i do not like there
http://www.all-battery.com/TenergyLi-Ion18650_14.8V13000mAhPCBProtectedRechargeableBatteryPack-31047.aspx
- Made of 20 pcs 2600mAh cylindrical 18650 cells
- 13000mAh

Now...2600x5=13000
But 14.8/4=3.7

But this is the NOMINAL voltage of the 18650 Li-ion cells, maximum at rest is 4.2.
which means 16.8V total....

I would strongly suggest anyone check with his radio manual/mfg specs on input voltage. Mine would not take it.

(more negotiable are the li-po battery packs. With the addition of a Zener diode you get just the right votage)

Offline doublehelix

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #23 on: December 26, 2013, 10:47:43 PM »
I have switched almost entirely to LiPo4 gel cells.
http://www.batteryspace.com/productimages/customize/6852_5.jpg

Expensive, but offer great power/weight ratio as well as lots of recharge cycles.

Requires a special charger and make sure you get the ones with the regulator circuitry in the battery.

I have two 10ah's in my HF pack and the weight is about the same as one lead-acid 7ah gel cell.

FWIW

Offline SCWolverine

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Re: VHF Self Contained Go-Box...a build w/Pics (not yet finished)
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2014, 09:58:32 AM »

To further enhance the utility of the AK-47 box I added a 3/4" flat washer to the lid of the box.  This will allow me a 'spot' to attach the Mag Mount Antenna in the event of needing/wanting to deploy it vs. the Roll-up.  While it will not allow running down the highway with the box on the roof of the car; in a static environment it gives me another choice.  To protect what 'weather proofing' the box provides, I used Epoxy to 'glue' the washer down.  Testing to follow



now I'm having visions of a thru-mount BNC as well (bulkhead type)