K0GKJ – Just Another Ham
The New QTH – A Floating Shack

Suitcase Station Packed for Action!

The new “shack” is a monster Pelican (1550). You could drive a tank over this baby, and it’d just ask for more…

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Two key building blocks – the trusty old Icom 706MkIIG and my new LDG Z-11Pro2 tuner. In QRP mode, both of these draw practically no juice, but I want a meter just to monitor current usage…

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My first foray into the world of Anderson Power Poles for DC distribution. I even got the deluxe ratchet crimper from West Mountain Radio – what a tool…

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Courtesy of the swap tables at Hamcation, picked up a 7AH (that’s 7,000 mAH, kids) sealed lead acid battery (tested like new) for fifteen bucks. Need to find another one of these as I have room for it in the case…

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Notice the two elastic bands whose ends are hot-glued into the case’s lid for logbook, atlas, radio cheat sheet, etc….

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With a few of the right tools, I took over the kitchen counter and

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loaded up the case with nylon web straps, some elastic straps and radio and speaker brackets with a generous few dollops from the hot glue gun, not wanting to fix things down too permanently until I see how this “pack job” works out, this rig’s ripe for ratification…

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So clockwise from front left:

  • radio and auto-tuner,
  • cables ‘n fuses,
  • battery charger and Power Cube for DC distribution atop the charger,
  • battery (strapped in place, but easily removable – can be charged in place, or if near 110VAC, charger will keep it floatin’ while operatin’),
  • external speaker for the radio,
  • hand mic and,
  • WWII “knee key” folded up above? This key unfolds and clamps onto my right thigh for a little CW action.
  • I’m still trying to figure out how to pack the ‘bug’ while keeping it safe… we’ll see… I’ve really taken to the ole Vibroplex Original !

There’s still plenty of room for my Rigblaster (for digital modes like PSK),

The new portable vertical (extends from six feet to thirty-three feet – a nice quarter wave at 40 meters – on top of a heavy duty three foot tripod):

antenna 001

but I felt I needed some radials.

After some research, I decided on elevated (sorta) radials – not exactly half wavelength off the ground (more like half a meter up), but likely to perform better with fewer up versus down. And if I get lazy and just lay ‘em on the ground, I can do a comparison test (anecdotally only, of course – a real study takes too much time away from being on the air).

Enter radial (speaker) wire…

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and my radial wire dispenser…

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Thought I’d label them before I got too confused…cooking club boat radio portable ops 006 

Good thing… now which one was this again? Oh yeah, the 34 foot 40 meter radial that will also serve 15 meters as a 3rd harmonic…

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3/4” PVC “spikes” sharpened at the bottom and drilled near the top to receive the outboard end of each radial. Drive these babies into the ground, slanted away from the tripod, fanning out around and keeps the wires taught…

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Notice the fancy figure-8 (“stopper”) knot keeping each radial’s end where it oughta be… I used insulated wire – less chance of detuning with age and moisture. Won’t matter if I lay ‘em on the ground, of course.

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All twelve radials, wrapped around their travelin’ stakes

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and the full set huggin’ the tripod… 3 bungied bundles – one for each band…

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In addition to the three foot tripod for this stick, I also have a five footer from which I’ll hang my copper tube slim-jim for a little VHF gain (if I’m in the mood).

Can’t wait to deploy my new portable suitcase station and sticks !

73 dit dit

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