KX2 Portable Case
Antennas , Design , Operating , Radios / August 6, 2016

For storage and travel, I put my KX2 and all essential accessories into a B&W case.  The Elecraft Lowe padded case fits nicely as well.  Inside the Lowe case is the KX2 radio, paddle, earbuds, and microphone.  The other trail essentials in the rest of the plastic case are the paracord guys, guy rings, stakes, notebook / log, PackTenna Mini 9:1 UNUN and wire antenna, 10′ RG316 or RG174 coax with BNC connectors, 13′ counterpoise wire, PowerPole to 2.1mm DC power cable, and extra paracord and S-clips. I like using the hard plastic box to store everything at home or toss it into the car for a trip.  When on the trail, I ditch the plastic box and put accessories into a zippered case.  Then I throw the Lowe soft case with the radio and the accessory case in the backpack along with a 32-1/2′ PackTenna telescoping fiberglass mast.  The mast collapses down to only 26″ so it’s easy to strap to the side of the pack. Watch the video Get a PackTenna

12 v Battery Box with Charger & Battery Booster
Radios / April 8, 2016

I wanted to build a fully integrated, portable, 12 V battery box for portable operations like Field Day.  When I found these Ridgid cases at Home Depot, I thought they were a convenient size, well built, looked great and were a reasonable price.  I also noticed there are clips on the sides that allows you to stack the boxes and lock them in place.  It occurred to me that I could build up a set of modular radio cases and easily stack them up and snap them together.  One case for the radio, one for power, another for accessories or whatever.  A lot of Go Kits include radios, accessories and batteries all in one case, like a 19″ rack case.  While these look great when they are set up, the big problem is weight and bulk.  They are very heavy and hard to move around.  I prefer to have smaller cases that are easy to carry and also provide of some degree of modularity.  If you want a different radio, for example, you can still use the same battery box.       Having one box with the battery system on the bottom and the radio in a second box…

IC-7100 & PackTenna Dry Run
Radios / March 26, 2016

This weekend is the CQ WPX contest, a great opportunity to try out the IC-7100 + PackTenna portable station.  I like to throw the radio, battery case and antenna in the back of the SUV.  Then drive to the park or where ever I plan to operate, flip open the back hatch and set up to operate from the tailgate.  This pic shows the PackTenna mounted to a photo tripod. The station is an IC-7100 and LDG tuner mounted in a Ridgid tool case. The PackTenna in this test is a 29′ vertical wire with the PackTenna 9:1 UNUN at the base fed with 25′ of RG-58 coax.  There is no counterpoise.  The red bag is weight to keep the antenna upright. This perspective view is shot looking up the antenna.  The picture is deceptive because the black mounting tube is only about 20″ long.  The rest of the antenna mast, the gray part, is 32′ tall.  You can see the wire radiating element and the UNUN on the right side. The whole portable station is in three cases.  Left to right is the black Ridgid radio case, the orange battery box and the black nylon bag is the antenna system…

IC-7100 Portable Station
Radios / March 25, 2016

I wanted a good performing, do-all radio for portable operating from the car, camp site and field day.  I choose the IC-7100 because it has a good reputation for performance, lots of features, and a form factor that would work perfectly for my application.  The most common use would be to throw the radio in the back of the SUV along with a battery box and portable antenna like the PackTenna.  Head to a local park and operate off the tailgate of the SUV.  Over the years I have learned that if you want a quick and easy setup, you should have all your gear wired up and mounted in some sort of case.  I have built several portable HF stations over the years.  I have used Pelican cases, 19″ rack mount “effects cases” and other containers and when I saw these Ridgid cases at Home Depot, I thought, wow ! that would make a great radio box !  So I set out to build a new portable station and the results are shown here. The case is a RIDGID Model # 222571 22 in. Pro Organizer, Black.  These are only $29 at Home Depot. A 2.5″ hole is drilled…