Southern New Jersey Section EmComm

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2/02/2020 1:10 am  #1

Truly Portable EmComm Stations

Hey, All.

I've noticed a recurring theme when it comes to man-portable radio stations. Just about every ham seems to start with the station and build out from there. The following picture is a good example:

While it looks pretty cool, it leaves little room for water, food, or even an extra pair of socks. I'm almost willing to bet that there's a vehicle parked somewhere not far away.

I believe in a slightly different approach: I started with my backpack and added ham gear. The pack already has 5 days of food; a sleeping/bivvy bag ; a tarp shelter; 1-2 gallons of potable water with filters; 2 days of extra clothing; IFAK; tritium lensatic compass; etc... You get the idea. Adding the radio station was easier than you might think. I went with an all band UHF/VHF/HF option, but a dual band mobile would fit the bill just as good for most situations.

First I got a surplus radio pouch like this (under $10 just about anywhere):

Then I built an aluminum frame for my radio that fit inside the pouch. The pouch hangs and buckles into my backpack. Pretty simple.
The radio is powered by two 10Ah LiFePO4 batteries, that are recharged by a Bioenno 28W solar panel and charge controller. The batteries are 4lb each, so I cut my water supply to 1 gallon and carry the second bladder empty to fill as needed. A couple HTs; some coax; accessories pouch; a parts box and I'm good to go. For antennas I use an Ed Fong DBJ-2 for UHF/VHF and for HF NVIS an OCARES ANA-1 chalkine antenna. Both will fit in the palm of your hand and work exceptionally well.

I took this approach for a simple reason: I can grab all my gear at one time and load/unload it into or out of a vehicle in one trip. This can be a great time saver if your EOC or Served Agency needs a station set up somewhere and the only transportation is by a county or agency vehicle, (or any vehicle other than your own). The same goes for shadowing someone in the command structure.

Granted, this idea is definitely not for everybody, but it's a nice option to have. It's not necessarily about humping this thing on foot: It's about ease of transport.when time is tight and the location is remote.

There is info on the frame in the Portable Operation Section.

What do you think? Comments and opinions are always welcomed.



2/05/2020 1:13 am  #2

Re: Truly Portable EmComm Stations

what was your transceiver?


2/05/2020 7:24 pm  #3

Re: Truly Portable EmComm Stations

Hey, Steve.

The frame was originally built for a Yaesu FT817, with its Z817 tuner, a 6Ah LiFePO4 battery, Wolphilink Digital Interface, and Western Electric R62 mini key.
But by turning one of the aluminum angles around, the frame would also fit my FT857 (alone, no room for a tuner or battery).

There are pictures of both radios in the frame posted in the EmComm Gear section. Look in... How-To Builds: Aluminum Radio Backpack Frame.

Let me know if you have any other questions.


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