VHF UHF Radio Go BagBy Jose B Rivera - N2LRB
May 8, 2013 - After my initial test using a Pelican 1440 case as a VHF/UHF Radio Go Box, I began looking for an alternate way to transport my radio equipment. The Pelican case is strong and sturdy, but its small wheels and New York City sidewalks caused too much vibration, jostling to my radio equipment. I began to think that anything with wheels out of the question. The only alternative left (other than taking a NYC Taxi) was to carry my equipment, either on my back (backpack) or on my side (strong bag or container).
Lucky for me, I happened across a Husky Tool Bag while shopping for a Jig-Saw at Home Depot. The small Husky tool bag came inside a larger tool bag and were on sale together for only $20.00! After an initial eye measure, I concluded that the Yaesu FTM-350/AR body, Remote Head, Battery and speaker would fit inside the sturdy tool bag. I decided to go for it and create a VHH/UHF Radio Bag out of the tool bag.
Because of the limited space inside the Husky Tool Bag, my building options were limited. I tried creating a two wooden level frame on which to attach equipment but the bag would not have been able to close with that configuration. So I got attached the radio body to the one and only wooden platform and laid the battery next to it. I then added a rectangular piece of foam on top of the radio body and laid the radio remote head and speaker on top of it. Job Done! The bag closed fully. There was even room in the bag for the DC wire. There was no room in the bag for my Diamond SX-400 SWR/Power Meter. Previous test with my MFJ Mag Mount antenna proved it generated a low SWR in most situations. Still it would have been nice to have it.
After connecting all the wires I took my new radio go bag out for a test on the steps of my apartment building. It worked fine. The only downside is its presentation. (see photos below). It is very operational, but not the type of set up you would want to use to show off or promote amateur radio. It is an excellent setup for Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Service
Manhattan MS Walk 2013
I was able to further test this setup during the April 28, 2013 Manhattan MS Walk. I provided communications for A.R.E.C.S. Instead of carry the go bag by its handle (it does not yet have shoulder straps), I put the bag inside one of my back packs. This made carry the 20lbs bag easier. After physically checking in with Net Control at the South Street Sea Port, I walk an estimated mile and a half to my assigned destination. The equipment worked very well. It was easy to use. All I had to do was connect the Power Pole from the battery to the radio and connect the mag mount antenna to the radio and I was on the air.
Putting the equipment away was just as easy, only in revers of putting it together. I walked back to net control after my site was closed. Unfortunately, my back pack was beginning to tear due to the weight and length of time walking it to and from Net Control. (3miles totally and about an hours time). Next time I will have to use my big and very strong back pack. I like this configuration. The back pack distributes the weight of the radio equipment and leaves my hands free to carry the mag mount antenna. Also, no one needs to get weird or paranoid about see black and red wire coming out of a back pack(after the Boston bombing). I will try to improve on this small bag and back pack concept as it serves me well. Though sometimes I do wish I had a car, so as to create a ready to go and good/smart looking radio go box.