Thu 9 May 2013
I had heard a story of a long time ago where a police department somewhere in the United States needed ham radio operator help for some emergency. I believe it was a RACES group. The police needed to coordinate their efforts with the ham radio volunteers. Within a very short time a ham radio operator showed up at the police station with a radio in a box solution. He was told where to set up and the station was operational in a very short time. I was most impressed with that story. This type of radio in a carry container is also called “go kits”. I decided to make my own go box.
Here are my requirements:
- Must be easily carried from vehicle to operation site.
- Must be useable inside a vehicle while moving.
- As many components as possible must be contained within the box.
I deal with 19 inch rack equipment all the time and I simply love that solution. I went to my local Guitar Center and found a very nice rack box encased in canvas with Velcro fasteners. Each side of the wood box is 7 inches of rack ears. The case comes with a zippered pouch, carry handle and shoulder strap. It is made by Ace Products, Kaces III product.
I purchased a 19 inch rack plate on which I mounted the following components:
- Kenwood TMD-710 dual band radio (2M and 440)
- Green Light Labs GPS710 (To supply GPS capability to the radio)
- Qty 2 MFJ 281 speakers. I actually purchased 4 of these speakers and mounted the extra 2 on to a board that attaches to the driver seat head rest when the go box is used in a car.
- RIGunner 4008 (Used to distribute power)
- Watts Up battery Watt meter (Used for battery management)
- RigLite, warm white version. Used to supply illumination.
- The RIGunner has a lot of power connectors and you might not agree with my selection. But, I envision that a single DC power source will be provided either from a AC 12 volt power supply, car battery or generator. Those devices simply do not offer power distribution. This RiGunner offers a very large 12 volt break out for other operators to use.
- I found that the rack plate could not screw in immediately unless I filed all 4 plate screw holes. I decided to slip the plate upward until the plate holes matched the rack ears. This turned out to be an advantage. The radio control head is mounted to the plate using a single nut and wing nut. Using a single bolt allow the head mounting plate to be easily removed. I can also swing the head left and right a bit if needed by reaching under the plate and loosening that wing nut.
- I carry extra head to radio I/O cables in the case pouch so the radio can be used in a car and the microphone can be used further away.
The image above shows the front of the go box
The above image shows the rear view of the go box. Note the small black box mounted behind the radio control head. This box is the GPS unit.
The above image was taken before I purchased the RigLite. Below you can see the aluminum bar over the radio hiding the LED components that light up the radio.
The above image shows the where the microphone clip is located and where the RigLight is mounted and how much illumination it provides. It does not overwhelm the area with light.
Dimensions and weight:
- Height with document pouch full: 12 inches.
- Width: 21 inches.
- Depth: 16 inches.
- Weight: 22 lbs.