I’m really enjoying portable operation with the combination of camping more and the NPOTA event . My portable radio is a Kenwood TS-480SAT. I know that it’s not the lightest portable radio but I really like it a lot and I’m usually never that far from my truck.
My entire portable station, less the battery, fits into an MTM Sportsmen’s Plus Utility Dry Boxes (SPUD box.) Mine is the SPUD 7.
The box contains the following items:
A small assortment of pens, pencils, and a Sharpie along with a slip-joint pliers and at least one double female barrel connector.
The top tray contains some paracord for guying, some old screwdrivers that double as stakes, some tape for the joints on the Spiderbeam pole, a jumper with powerpoles, an MFJ-108B as I use a paper log when I’m portable, and a homebrew panel meter with powerpole connectors that plugs into the RIGrunner to allow me to monitor the battery voltage. The panel meter is from eBay. They come in various configurations and cost around $5.00 shipped. I mounted it in a little project box and added a pigtail with powerpoles.
Inside the lower portion of the box is the main equipment:
Comprising the TS-480SAT, a Dentron JR Monitor antenna tuner, a pair of Kenwood HS-5 headphones, a West Mountain Radio RIGrunner 4005, and an MFJ-259B.
And finally the EARCHI wire antenna, some coax jumpers, a battery cable with powerpoles, the Kenwood power cord with powerpoles, and an assortment of various coax cable lengths.
All of this fits in the SPUD box just fine although it does weigh 28 pounds. It’s definitely not playing in the same league as a KX2\KX3 station but as I said I’m typically not very far from my truck and when I am I have a heavy duty folding wagon to haul the SPUD box, a battery, a small folding table, a bag chair, my Alpha antenna, and the Spiderbeam pole if I’m going to use it. On occasion I’ve walked a few miles pulling this load and it works well as long as the trail is relatively smooth.
I originally purchased the SPUD box with the intent of building an EMCOMM box along the lines of this:
There’s an entire thread of various go boxes here. Most of these boxes are really well done but the more I thought about it the easier it was just to set the station in the box. I don’t mind pulling the stuff out of the box and wiring it up. It doesn’t take all that long. The emcomm boxes certainly have the advantage of simply attaching an antenna and power plus most have both an HF and VHF\UHF radio. To some extent these are probably serving a different need than my simple portable station.
Power for my portable station is provided by a trolling motor battery. Not the lightest power source but it provides plenty of capacity to run a portable radio at 100W for a fair amount of operating time. Eventually I’ll add a portable solar panel and charge controller to my portable station. For now what I have is working well. Over the past year the vast majority of my contacts have been from my portable station. As Andrew, VK1AD says, “Get out of the Radio Shack and Live Life.”