Jan. 9th, 2002, By Steve KB1DIG & Kim KB1GTR
Time for Plan B!  This is a spin-off of the Go Kit project.  Intended for portable long-term usage and also good for Field Day Events.  Something requiring a little more power output than the HTs.  A diamond in the rough.  This "Box" is going to be under constant refinements this year with your suggestions and comments.

Please understand, this page is not intended as an official blueprint on how to build something like this.  This is another byproduct of the KB1DIG hi-tech low budget department.  Offered here as a starting point.  Projects like this one are never completely perfected.  That would just take all the sport out of it.

What started this whole thing.  I had most of my equipment all pulled apart after we did the small 2-meter Net demo for the children at the local Sunday School.  Nothing ever goes back together the same.  Don't you hate that?  So, as you can see, I decided to repackage some of it for emergency or portable use.  This was the perfect excuse, and something that I was always trying to remember to get around to doing.

If you build a "Box" like this remember that refinement is the mother of invention.  After going back and forth on how to assemble and position the equipment, I decided to just put it together and see.  Tried realizing that, discovering what works out best and being resourceful is the fun part of any Homebrew Ham project.

This "Box" is something like the one Kim and I were using when we went to help out at Ground Zero.  The original design belonged to Jeff Schneller, N2HPO, SATERN ARLO.  This 2-Meter Kenwood is rated at 5/15/&50 Watts.  Should be plenty of power.  Still room for several improvements.  I need to look around for a 2m/440 dual-band radio and a cross-needle SWR meter for this portable station.  This will be a better setup and was what Jeff's had inside his.  Something to keep an eye out for at the next Hamfest, or perhaps when we go to the Dayton Hamvention in the Spring.  Will try to find a good deal on some used equipment.

Still, this project came out good for just having fun!  I build it and Kim gets to play with... We will use it weekly when checking into the local NH-ARES Net.  It's good to perform test like this.  Should be done with both Simplex and Duplex operation modes.  This is something we will also plan to use at Field Day events.  If we ever get to go to one...

The 12 volt power connection is as simple a possible.  Terminal ends are heavy-duty.  The switch is rated at 25 amps.  Everything inside the box is protected with in-line fuses on the both the positive and negative sides.  Smoke pertection....

Keep in mind that you need to be able to set this up and take it down super quick.  A pocketknife and  few quick cuts work just as well if you ever need to make a new power cord.

The attachment of the antenna is grounded.  Also, a separate ground wire was added and connected to the radio mounting bracket.

This little gadget is something picked up from eBay.  The one stop shop for all kinds of fun Ham items.  It was hanging around the shack and looking for a good home.  It was originally intended for  RV's or Camper Trailers.  This should hold up a little better to rugh handling.  LED's are extra durable.  Unlike the SWR Meter used in this project, or other similar analog devices ever tend to be.  Nothing is indestructible.

Tucked in the back is an 8 Ohm speaker from Radio Shack.  Decided to go with the 8 Watt powered version.  This was another unused item kicking around the shack.  It packs a loud punch and with reasonably clear sound.   A separate switch can not be added for power disconnect to conceive battery life.  This type speaker will not run without the internal powered amp.  That's bad.  Probably overkill anyhow.  Worth a shot.  Something else to replace...  MFJ makes a slick little speaker called the ClearTone(TM).  Another thing to consider is a in-line headphone jack.  I always come up with this stuff after...

Built a little junction box to make all the inside connections easier.  Still need to do a little more cover up work.  Will probably hot glue over all of the exposed terminal parts when the project is more finalized.  Hot glue can be removed from metal parts with a little effort, if it ever becomes necessary.  Hot stuff!  I always end up with a gob on me...

The LCD clock runs on a signal AA battery.  Picked this up at the local auto parts store.  This thing runs forever...almost.  Will probably need to replace the battery in 2005.

Cigarette plug outlet is intended to power a scanner or some other low power device.  Need to remember this.  Will have to mark this information with a little sticker and locate it to the right of the outlet.  Remember to set stuff up so that everyone will know how it should be used properly.  This will avoid an unnecessary overhaul or meltdown.  Smoke prevention....

Tied the 2-meter rig and the SWR meter together with some of those new-fangled Velcro wire wrap straps.  This keeps the SWR meter removable for use in the field.

The box is originally one for storing paper files in folders.  The hinged cover is totally removable.  This is a good feature and can be removed to conserve desk top workspace.  Perform my special stress test before selectioning items like this.  At 6 foot and 220 lbs, I stood on the top of the box.  Passed the test with no problem.

Another idea is a plain old plastic toolbox.  If you decide to go for this type, remember it needs to be somewhat deep inside.

Remember to avoid drilling several holes in the bottom of your box.  This will help a little to keep the weather out.  You can even seal a few holes with RTV while you assemble.  Place a washer behind a #8 machine bolts for added strength.  Nylon hardware can also be used.  Steel is hard to break.  It's up to you...

Bench test everything hooked together before it is assembled into the box.  Check it on an amps meter.  Take a few readings at idle power and at full transmit.  Our setup readings: about 0.4 Amps or less, about 0.5 with sound coming from the speaker, and about 8.5 amps at 50 Watts.  This info is good to remember.  Write it down on a small sticker, include the date tested, and place the sticker on the inside of the cover.  Re-test and redo if an equipment mod is performed.  You will find this information very useful if you need to do some troubleshooting later.  Smoke detection....

Replace the case screws on the transceiver with finger knob type screws.  This will make it easier to put in or pull out.  I found a few rolling around on the bottom of the junk parts box.  You can also find stuff like this in the stranger nuts-n-bolts section of the local hardware store.

This is a list of additional items that we will add.   Still in the process of rounding up.  Some other ideas...

Something to hold paperwork and radio manual inside the cover.  Remember to save a little room for this.  Can also attach something to the outside for this purpose.  Inside the cover is probably better.

Copies of:
Local ARES phone and frequency reference card
ARRL Communications Procedures
ITU Phonetic Alphabet
Amateur Message Forms

Pencils and small pad of paper.
Extra eraser.

Something to identify this as emergency radio equipment.  Perhaps ARES logos.

Something to identify this as yours.  Always label all your stuff with at least your Callsign!

ARRL Emergency Communications is recommending the 30A Anderson PowerPole as the standard connector.  I will need to look into this more and come up with a few adaptor connections.

Some of the inline fuses are a little hard to get at.  Still need to look around or maybe custom design a little fuse box.  Will eventually swap this out, in place of the junction box I built.  Perhaps something with plugin type fuses to keep the size small.  This will help avoid a major disassembly in the field, if a fuse pops.  Seen one someplace.  Better Smoke protection....

Something quick, efficient, and simple.  Works slick.  On the way out the door, go over to the oven and grab a large cookie sheet.  Remember to also bring along a mag-mount antenna of some type.  We prefer a 5/8-wave for the 2-Meter.  Good gain.  When you reach your destination, position the two on top of something and near an outside window.  Try to get it at least as high as the window sill.  The SWR match was only 1.1:1 when we last did this.  Lock and load!  Also, keep the power on the low side.  15 Watts or so.  Safety first, personal and for others.
And... Remember that 12V cigarette lighter socket mounted on the Comm-Box?
The LED: Ultra Low Power Amateur Radio Station Lighting Ideas


Here's some great new info and images from Jeff Schneller, N2HPO, SATERN-ARLO.
As shown at the 2003 Ham Radio University!
ARRL New York City-Long Island Section Convention:

The Orange Box :
Bill Downes, N2KHP (left),
and Jeff Schneller, N2HPO
Setup used at TSA NYC 
HQ for 5 weeks after 9/11
New ideas with switching
power supply added
Carlos Varon, K2LCV
 Here is the "Orange Box" manufacturers web site:
SPUD7 cost $22.95.  You can order directly from the factory or if you have any questions, call at: 1-800-543-0548.
"Free" shipping & handling (in The USA) with a total order of $30.00 or more!
Will accept  Master Card  & Visa.   Fax #: 937-890-1747

The Job Box :
The "Job Box" is made by Knaack Manufacturing:
The box we used is the 4824.  48" long, 24" wide, 24+ inches high mounted on 4" casters.

DC Power :
We were originally told we were going to set up in a gym, but no guarantee for power, just use static displays.  I do not always listen good and wanted more than a piece of cardboard with photos, so the computers with slide shows.  Power being a question since I only can run the computers on their own batteries for a few hours, I brought a "4D" marine deep cycle battery and an inverter.  Knowing I had that base covered, we set up at an outlet so we would not need it.  If I hadn't had the batt and inverter, you know there would not have been an outlet.
Marine R/V - 30 Months - 1314 CCA
Contact your local dealer for prices in your area. 
The #1 replacement brand  in marine/rv deep cycle 
and cranking power available today.  These batteries 
have a unique new chemistry that makes them ideal 
for the  demands of seasonal use and added charging.
Weight: 119 pounds 
Length: 21 inches 
Width: 8.25 inches 
Height: 10.38 inches 
Cranking Amps: 1645 
Cold Cranking Amps: 1314 
Voltage: 12 
Reserve minutes is the number of minutes the battery will supply power with a 25 amp continous draw

I have an 1800 watt inverter to use with it.  The inverter is nice, but power hungry.  If you do the math (ohms law) 1800 watts at 120 volts = 15 amps.  15 amps at 120 volts is 150 amps at 12 volts.   The note books would have been a minor load so we would have had plenty of run time.

Inside Antennas :
Did you note the KB1DIG halo?  I kept the KB1DIG sticker on it and had that visible, it was on a 1" diameter 10' long piece of PVC pipe in a tripod mount like we had at DHQ.

The other antenna was a Cushcraft AR270, on a 1" x10' piece of EMT conduit in a tri-pod mount.  This was the same setup we used at DHQ, but with a longer mast.  Note the tennis balls on the radials, I told people that they were used to bounce the signal, or to give it direction.


Tennis Ball History:
Steve’s note:  I remember that.  Just for others to know, this was a great idea for eye protection.  In the original antenna setup the radials were somewhat at eyelevel.  This combined with being located on a busy sidewalk outside TSA HQ in lower Manhattan.  It all became necessary when the net control station was relocated to deep inside the basement of the building. The outside area was roped off, but still good safety precautions.

Of course, creative decorating ones antenna has never occurred to me ;-)  KB1DIG’s Stealth Halo (a small joke)

Have a suggestion?

Building the
(HVOB) go-kit

By Paul, N0VLR

Download in MSWORD

Download in PDF format

John AB9HH: Just thought I'd send a pic of my personal E comm box.  Since have added a external speaker, rig runner and other odds and ends.
It is not a shipping case, but just keeps everything safely together during outings.  Bottom plate hinges up and locks to bring things to operating level. A POP rivet gun was my friend!  Just saw your site and will incorporate some ideas.  73, john AB9HH Sheboygan Co WI ARES

John AB9HH
: Please feel free to list.  Please mention that since these pics, a power pole center was "popped" on to the inside cover, a EZ psk glued above that, and a radio shack speaker velcroed into the right side of the cover.  I can send a new pic when I use it on Mothers day,  camping. I tried adding an NMO mount to the top of the case, but that failed.  Ground plane was garbage.   I carry a baking sheet instead, with a mag mount.   FYI, I used a 3M type of velcro, much heavier duty, and silicone sealer here and there.  Will send new pics after Mom's day.  73 john ab9hh

John AB9HH: Go kit today.
Revisions included a Radio shack speaker glued in the corner, CI-V level to usb converter (not by ICOM, from eBay for a fraction of the price. Works great), a pico memory keyer in a home brew box, EZ psk adapter plugged into the back mike jack. No other connections needed for the 706.  Besides being a local go kit, my wife and I use this for camping and activating lighthouses during QSO parties.  We can plug in 2 head sets in the front and rear and set to VOX. Works great for our "Team". Tried a NMO 2m/440 ant mount on the top of the lid, but it failed miserably. Use a "Arrow" style dual band j pole instead. This is not a shipping case, just
use it for storage and putting in the truck or camper.   If anybody comes up with revisions, please let me know. Thanks, john ab9hh
Loyd K4LCH: another idea
on the power input use a 50 amp bridge rectifier that way if you do accidently reverse power connections your equipment will see the proper polarity.
Loyd Headrick K4LCH

Gareth GW4KJW: Hi Steve and Kim,

Having been inspired by and interested in Em-Comms boxes, ever since finding your website,  I thought you might like a glance at what was my own first effort.

Starting out with one of the largest plastic toolboxes I could find and slightly modifying the lid, so that it could be completely removed, rather than just opened on its hinge.  I decided after some trial and error on mounting the radios to be used in a side-by-side configuration.
A Kenwood TR751E 2M all-mode transceiver and an Ascom 4M FM transceiver were fixed into the case. together with two small speakers.
A snap-block power-connector was installed on the LH side of the box and aerial sockets on the RH side, keeping the waterproof integrity at the bottom/rear of the case - you could still stand it in up to 2" of water, without having to think about any getting in.
To cope with the heat generated by two 25W+ tcvrs, a small computer-type 12V fan was installed between them and plastic ducting (fabricated from black plastic card and ready-meal containers)  made to ensure the best possible air-flow - those radios run cooler in there than they did in my shack.  :-)
Not shown in the photographs was a drop-down clock which hinged into position from the 'top' of the box when opened as shown and a TNC for packet use, which clips to the 751.
This old box which was in use for over two years, has been decommisioned now. The radios, sockets etc. removed,  the unwanted holes in the box filled and it's now the home of two 17.5Ah gel-cells together with charger module and a 20Ah mains PSU.
A different toolbox which will eventually house the above two radios and a dual-band VHF/UHF FM tcvr - giving the option of cross-band repeater operation - is half-way through building.

Justin KB3JUV: Hello, I was checking out your ideas and pictures for portable communication boxes and I had a few more.

I built one just a few months ago but mine is just a little different.  I bought a box that is as large as one person can comfortably hold instead of a smaller box.  This way I can put portable antennas, coax, and whatever else needs to go inside one box.  It also doubles as a nice seat!

Also, think about putting a TNC inside.  It can be very handy for Winlink or for APRS.  I stuffed a small KPC-3 inside.

A neat portable power source is the FreeCharge Weza ( which is a DC foot generator.  It has a sealed battery inside to store the charge and when you run low, just step on it to generate more power!  It's a much better idea to have one of those around instead of a 5KW for just a small Comm Box.

I did a presentation on my box as well as deployed it on a couple of exercises. 

You can find the presentation here:

Some more pictures of the box are here:

Justin Kates
Amateur: KB3JUV Military: AAT3OT
U.S. Army Military Affiliate Radio System
NETCOM/9th Army Signal Command
Delaware MARS Training Officer
Delaware ARES Section Emergency Coordinator
Delaware SKYWARN
Bob W8RWR:  Steve, I Have In The SMALL RED BOX 2-METERS.   In The LONG BOX 2-METER & 70cm & Maybe I Mite Put 6-METERS In. 

UPDATE: Hi Steve, This Is Bob, W8RWR
It Has A 2-METER / 70cm Radio, SWR Meter, And 2 Speakers In It. Thay Are MOUNTED In It.
I've been reading the comments and have a couple of suggestions. 

First finding replacement fuses cost me a great deal one time since then I've been partial to automotive circuit breakers.  They are cheap 5-7$ at auto st parts stoores and come with mounting flanges to screw to case (firewall).  The break point is 150% of the rating so 10A breaker will break at 15 amps.  They can be purchased from 1 to 50 amps.  In Canada they are avalible at Canadian Tire or Wal Mart.

When the short is removed they will reset in 2-3 minutes without any buttons to push...about the same time as finding and installing a fuse.  They can be mounting in virtually any position. These are Automotive circuit breakers so they will only handle 12V  do not use on 120VAC.  They will self destruct....smoke :)

My latest box,  is planned around;  FT897 for hf++,  a dedicated 2m mobile, and a packet station (1200 baud) using a KPC3 and an ICOM IC2AT with Ramsey 8W. amp.  There will be a hf tuner (possibly a mfj949e) and a small mfj switcher pwr sup.  with external 12vdc inputs avalible to the box.  If you like I'll keep you posted.  When I get something I am happy with for longer than a couple of weeks (hi) I will make a set of recomendations to the Provincial Emergency Program for British Columbia.  I presently serve as a regional amateur radio representative for one of the five provincial regions. 

Take care, John

Saw your box, neat.

A very good  12 Volt Buss and fuseholder is made by Blue Sea Systems  available from West Marine stores.


This is a battery we recommend for RACES use in Virginia
Yuasa NP65-12 weighs about 50 pounds, has retractable handles.
Widely used by the telecomm companies for UPS banks at remote repeater sites. 
We got several tons from the phone company.

Charles E. Harris, KE4SKY
Emergency Response Planning Coordinator, 
Virginia RACES State Training Officer
Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services
Division of Solid Waste Collection and Recycling
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 466
Fairfax, VA 22035-0060
Telephone (703) 324-5224, Fax (703) 324-3949

I looked over the information on "The Box" and found it to be very interesting.  It  would be a nice project for CNHARC members.  I will think about building my own "Box".  One thought I have about your design is the possible lack of ventilation when running your rig on 50 watts for extended periods of time in hot weather with the SWR mounted on top.  That black box
might get quite hot.  One or two small 12-volt muffin fans inside the box, controlled by a switch would pull fresh air through the case.  When running on high power, the added power requirements for one or two fans wouldn't make much difference in the total load.

I have found used Motorola and GE speakers at hamfests.  These commercial speakers are very rugged, quite cheap, not very expensive ($3 to $5), and really pack a wallop.

Thanks for the information.

Mike, N1VE

Hi Mike,

Thanks for checking the Webpage.  Kim and I have a lot of fun doing this togeather.

All good points!

Summer heat is a problem.  I have added (1) small 12-volt muffin fan salvaged from a computer CPU setup.  Runs on almost nothing for power.  This was from an earlier suggestion made by Bill VO1BIL.  It is mounted to the cooling fins on the rig with tie wraps.  On the 2m Kenwood rig used, air is now able to flow through the fins in the casting.  The "Box" still builds up some heat inside at 50w, but not as bad.  Perhaps I should consider locating a 2nd fan somehow to move air through and out, as you suggest.  Circulation...  I am also trying to avoid cutting holes into the side of the package in an effort to keep the wet weather out.  Will need to do some more tinkering.  Perhaps build a different package by moving the equipment to a slightly larger box. One of the work arounds I have tried in the past is to separate the SWR meter from the box and out onto the top.  This does help but is somewhat awkward with the coax connections.  Best if kept as one complete package.  Another is to optimize the antenna setup and operate a reduced power output.  Please let me know of the placement configuration you come up with.

Never tried out a Motorola and GE speaker before.  Thanks.

The big thing is it's good others are thinking about projects such as this.  Time well spent!

Mike, is it okay with you if I post your info?

73@be good!
Steve KB1DIG  ;-)

I understand your need to maintain the integrety of your "The Box" case.  Perhaps a metal or plastic deflector on the outside of the box could shield the inside from rain, but allow heated air to exit.  Something like a tiny dryer vent cap.

Yes,  you may post my response(s).

73 Mike, N1VE

Good job of "The Box".

Our group has a similar package, only with a self-contained battery, charger, and power supply.  I have worked on medical electronic equipment for close to 30 years.  Many devices have gel-cell batteries in them.  Once in a great while I will see a "swelled" battery, and perhaps twice I have seen gels which have leaked. These problems happen so seldom I would not worry about it.  However, this subject will be a topic for debate or "an old wives' tale" for years to come.

Separate battery, charger and AC power "boxes" would be OK, but its a bit of extra luggage.  A switching type power supply (light & small) would be nice in the box.  I am not a big fan of switchers, but weight and size considerations make me take a closer look at them.

Getting a dual band radio for "The Box" is a good idea.  For most locations that should work good.  Considering Net Control or other high traffic demands, you may want to consider having separate radios for 2 meters & 440.  With separates 2 operators could be working, without the desense of 2 radios on the same band. Also consider operations on 220.

I like the regular short Ringo antennas.  I have set them up on a window sill and hung 'em up with string.  The higher gain, much longer antennas may do a better job but they are a bigger headache to set up.  Also the regular little Ringo has a wide bandwidth. 
I can carry a fully assembled & tuned Ringo in the back seat of the car.  I really don't care for fooling around with a fancy antenna in lousy winter weather conditions.  Give me the good old Ringo.

Consider a dual band Ringo.  If you are using a dual band radio then great.  Even if you use two separate radios, use the one antenna (with it's one mount and one feedline into where-ever) and a duplexer to feed each radio.

Everybody can offer opinions on how to do things.  Some ideas are better than others.  Also what works well in the flat-lands may not work well in the hills.

Dave, WB1COB
CT ARES DEC Hospitals
CQ Radio Club Webpage:

Hi Kim and Steve,

Loved your BOX page!  It sure has inspired a lot of folks to make up their own -- with lots of great ideas coming through.

My comment is about the large number of folks who want to put the battery inside the box.  DON'T DO IT!  It will result in a very heavy box, and a lot of maintenance headaches.  Batteries last only a few years and need to be replaced.  When charging, they may vent fumes that can damage your radio and wiring.  Keep the power source separate.  Sometimes you may be using an AC supply, so why lug a battery into a setup location unnecessarily?

Make up a second, dedicated battery box.  Use Anderson PowerPole connectors to bring power through the front panel instead of making holes in the side of the box.

73, John, AC6VV

Hi, Good to talk to you today. 

I have been looking at your website.  I just thought that I mention this idea for the paper documents in the box.  Go to any Fedex Store.  Ask them for the plastic pouch that you attach to a Fedex Pak.  Attach this to your lid and you can store documents inside it.

I really like the box.  I think that I am going to do something like it with a IC 207... I'm leaning to buying this for 2 meter/ 70 cm at home and mobile.


Hi Steve, I read you were considering adding a fan to you project.  I just wanted to tell you that I have been using computer CPU cooling fans for years on my radios.  They are very cheap (can be had for $5) and easy to get.  If you go to your local computer store and purchase a Pentium CPU cooler you can remove the fan and use it separately or bolt the whole heat sink to the radio.  I have done both but mostly use just the fan.  In most case you can use those plastic wallboard anchors and put it between the fins of the heat sink and screw the fan to the anchors.  This way you do not damage the radio in anyway.  Nice web site keep up the good work. 

Bill Crann

Jan WH7Y:  Hi Steve, good ideas! I posted your url on our bbs:

Anyway, back to that fuse holder: visit your local auto parts store or k-mart / walmart auto section...or try an auto "audio store."

Tnx again!
73 & God bless,
Jan, wh7y

Steve:  Yes Jan!  It was as you said.  At Pep-Boys.  This is an Automotive Parts Chain.  I think its Nationwide?

Product name: ATO Fuse Block.  Item#: 03500417XP  Made by: Littlefuse, Inc., Des Plaines, IL 60016.
The fuse holder is very compact and holds 5 of the newer type fuses. Rated up to 15 A, 35V.  Side locking design permits two or more to be interconnected.  Has side position terminals.  Mounting holes in the base.  It also has a protective clear plastic cover that snaps over the top.

Hi Steve,

I noticed that there are no provisions for power in your kit.  Would suggest a Power Sonic 33Ah battery available from Battery Warehouse for $69.95.  I know you're trying to keep it cheap, but don't scrimp on power.  I keep one on hand for emergencies.  It will power a FT-100 for about 8 hrs at 50 watts output on 2 meters.

Ronald Zond K3MIY

Comment:  "The latest project looks great. One question that comes to mind---  Is there any air circulation around the radio to keep the finals from getting warm?  73s..." 

Our response:  Perhaps a fan is a good idea.  Never thought of that.  Will take it under advisement.  Could use a small 12v muffin fan in behind the radio.  The back of the rig is somewhat open.  Now comes the question of how to mount... 

Greetings Steve:

I received a link to your web page tonight illustrating your new Emergency Communications Box. Every nice.  I built something similar for OCRACES ( a few years ago which had a Kenwood TM-742 with 2m, 440, 1.2g modules installed and a 2m mobile with a TNC for packet or APRS.  It was all housed in an aluminum large briefcase.

I saw the power binding post on the side and thought I should introduce you to the housings we sell at Powerwerx (I noticed you linked our web site - Thank You).  If you go to the following link:   you will see the plastic housing that can mount in the side of the box.

What is nice is that you can get the 2 or 4 pair size and wire all the reds together and all the blacks together then hook it up to your built in battery.

Then you can have battery power out OR Aux power in and use the other Powerpoles for power out.
Very nice.  Here is the link to the .PDF drawing

I have mounted one of these in the back of my Expedition and a picture is located in our gallery.

Good luck with your project and if I can help you out, just let me know.

73, ken, KM6YH

Hi Steve,

I noticed several references to smoke detection on your page.  That's good.  You will need to conserve all the smoke you can round up.  After all, radios run on smoke.  If it leaks out, they stop working.

Hi Hi


I built a similar box out of the need to have a portable radio station to teach Boy Scouts and other kids about Ham Radio.  Attached is a pic of my "Scout Box".

Here are some details of my scout box..  Box is a repainted ammo can with waterproof seal.  Box contains an ICOM Dual Bander, a CB, a Motorola 16 amp supply, volt meter, solar regulator, 200 watt inverter, a car radio with AM/FM/CD, and a pair of Radio Shack diecast speakers.

The box can run off 110v-AC, 12v-DC or off solar panels.  DC inputs are "idiot proofed" by using bridge rectifiers.  There are external heavy duty binding post and internal ones for applying 12v-DC to the box.  The outside posts are protected with a full wave rectifier so shorting them out or reversing the polarity won't hurt the equipment.  The audio from the CB and the Ham rig are fed into the aux in on the car radio so you have CB on one speaker and Ham on the second.  This arrangement allows for 45 watts of audio per chnl and for tone controls.  It's suprising how well you can ID people's radios once you have full range speakers! There is an onboard DC voltmeter to monitor DC power.  The inverter can power small 110v-AC devices when running off 12v-DC or solar.  RF conections is via pigtails.  The lid to the box has two NMO mounts with leads so the antennas can be separated from the radios for RF safety.

I built this in about 5 hours with stuff I had laying around and it has been a big hit with local Hams and with the Scouts.  We used the Scout Box at Merit Badge College late last year and it ran all day flawlessly.

Upcoming projects are a micro generator to run the Scout Box and a second smaller Scout Box using CB,2m,1.25,440 and Aviation HTs mounted in a smaller can with a gell cell and similar power conections as the fullsize Scout Box.

Robert Cruz
Everglades DCAT Search And Rescue

Arnie      KI8BN       Coldwater, Mi.

Arnie:  "Hi Steve, I am in the process of building an emergency kit similar to yours.  Yours has given me a few ideas.  Thank you for that.  One thing that I've seen in the responses from others is, a fan for cooling your rig.  I was planning to use an Alinco DX610 in mine, because it has a built in fan in the rear of it.  I'm hoping it will be enough to do the job, will watch it close.  There seems to be a lot of 610's on E-Bay lately."

Steve:  "Hi Arnie, I am now looking for a small 12 volt fan.  It will be mounted in behind the SWR meter.  Will stand it off the inside wall of the box with a few spacers.  Will try for a 1 inch gap.  This will redirect air down on to the cooling fins of the 2 meter rig.....  Can you hear the fan running in your Alinco DX610?  In Kim's (KB1GTR) car is the Yaesu FT-90R.  This super small size dual-band rig also has a fan in it.  Very noisy cooling fan.  It has a detachable face plate and is mounted remotely on the dash, with the rest of the rig set in the trunk.  I can still hear the fan kicking off and on when sitting inside the car.  So, I think I will try to come up with a very quiet small fan for the "Box".  Perhaps I'll take a look around at the local computer parts stores??"

Arnie:  "Hi Again Steve, I have had my Alinco DX610 on my bench for about three years, and the fan has never made enough noise to really notice.  It don't run all the time, only when I transmit for an extended period, or on high power.  I do have a 12 volt computer fan that I can mount in mine if needed, but like I said, I'm hoping the fan on the rig will be enough.  Your "box" project is quite impressive, and just looking at it made me plan a trip to stores to find a different box than I was planning to use..... I also have an FT90 mounted under the passenger seat of my car.  I have never heard that fan even when sitting in a parking lot without the motor running.  Wish this computer fan was that quiet."

Steve:  "Hi Arnie, .....  Not a big deal.  Perhaps the reason the FT-90R's fan is so loud in Kim's car is because it is mounted to the under side of the package tray and the car has fold down seats in the back.  Interesting though...  Could it be acting like a speaker?  Will think about a relocation."

Have fun with your project!  Good luck! 73s  Steve  KB1DIG  ;-)

Some great ideas you have on your website.  I thought I might suggest one more:

Those 6" green "Ammo" boxes are perfect for mounting a mobile rig into.  I've drilled a couple holes in the sides, mounted the radio right inside the box.  Also there's room inside the box for a small battery, small extension speaker, mic, and 100 feet of power cables to power the rig from a cigar lighter.  Combined with a mag mount or other portable antenna, this makes a simple basic, but heavy duty, semi-portable station, which has higher power and stronger audio than an HT. 

When not in use, the box is watertight and durable enough to bounce around in the trunk for years, and still be ready for immediate use.

It has been handy at several public service events, where I'm within 100 feet of anyone's vehicle, at a table or tailgate, and moving around too much to be carrying a HT or headphones.  Plus, with today's low prices on a basic 2m mobile rig, the whole thing can be assembled for a reasonable amount.

John C, KA9REN

Please send us your ideas and comments.
Send E-mail to: Good luck building!  Kim KB1GTR & Steve KB1DIG


"What's In Your 'Go' Kit?".doc

Emergency Gear

Disaster Supplies Kit

Alpha Disaster Contingencies

EQUIPPED TO SURVIVE - Outdoors Gear, Survival Equipment Review & Survival Information



 Steve's and Kim's First Home Page!

Return to: KB1DIG's 2-Meter Antenna Gallery