IC-7100 Portable Station

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 on the top for an air intake fan.

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The Icom IC-7100 radio and LDG tuner are mounted to a piece of 1/4″ marine grade plywood screwed to the bottom of the case.  The wooden platform makes it easy to attach the mobile mounting bracket for the radio.  All the external connections are on the right side of the case.

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Air cooling is important if you want to run the radio with the lid closed.  The air enters the case from the fan in the top of the case.  The air flows down through the slot in the partition and into the radio.  Air exhaust comes out the of the 4 holes drilled on the right side by the external cable connections.  A manual computer fan control pot is mounted to the lid.

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Four air vents exhaust air on the right side of the case.  The cables left to right are:  RJ45 control cable, VHF antenna, HF antenna, tuner control and DC power.

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All cable access ports are on the right side.  The case has little squares formed by the case structure that are perfect as recessed connector wells and four are used for air vents.  Left to right:  RJ45 for control cable, VHF antenna, HF antenna, power poles for input power.  The RJ45 is a bulk head pass through with a 1′ pigtail going to the radio inside the case.

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The CAT5 control cable and RJ45 connectors are all shielded.


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The complete station.  The only cables going to the radio are the control cable, antenna coax and the DC input power cable.  The control head has connections on the back for the microphone and paddle.  There is a built in speaker on the back of the control head.

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The case can be used horizontal or vertical.

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LDG Z-11 Pro II auto tuner mounted to the IC-7100.  The compartment on the left stores the control head and microphone.  The control cable and paddle are stored in the main radio  compartment.

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Heavy duty foam protects the control head.

A second Ridgid case houses a large rechargeable battery.  Power pole connectors are mounted to the cases and a short DC power pigtail connects the two.

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Icom IC-7100 is a great portable or base radio covering HF, 6m, 2m, and UHF.  It supports all modes plus D-STAR.


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