Lino VK3EI Go-Boxes & Portable Antenna
Some of you will know that I am very interested in mobile operations and I have spent a lot of time building and refining equipment packaging for portable use.
Figure 1 – Remote Control Go-Box
One of the things that has come in very handy is the adoption of the American “Go-Box” that is very popular with the amateur community in the USA emergency services.
I have made a number of versions of Go-Boxes for different radios and for different applications. The Go-Box can be configured in almost any suitable container; I have used plastic storage boxes, aluminium equipment cases and, more recently, plastic equipment carrying cases (available from various sources but I got mine from Bunnings).
My latest configuration (shown in figure 1) is a portable remote control system for my Kenwood TS-2000 (which sits at my home QTH).
The box contains a Kenwood RC-2000 remote control head (see Figure 2), a speaker, a Wi-Fi router (the little white box at middle left), a Remoterig interface (Figure 3) and a power subsystem consisting of a smart battery charger and two 12V/12Ah SLA batteries. As the system only draws about 200mA when in operation, a full charge will allow continuous use for approximately 60 hours before a charge is required.
The RC-2000 allows full control of all functions of the TS-2000. With this setup, the TS-2000 can be connected to a good antenna at the home QTH, and even linear power amplifier can be used and controlled remotely via the Remoterig RRC-1258 MkII interface.
Figure 2 – Remote Control Head for the TS-2000
The RRC-1258 consists of two boxes, one at the home QTH and connected to the radio under control and the second unit in the Go-Box that interfaces to the RC-2000 control head. The unit in the Go-Box needs to interface to the Internet so that it can connect to the remote radio (via the other RRC-1258).
Figure 3 – Remoterig RRC-1258 MkII interface unit.
In my unit, I have installed a Wi-Fi router box that allows me to use my mobile phone as the connection to the Internet. The phone is placed into Wi-Fi hotspot mode and the Wi-Fi router connects to this and thus to the Internet.
This allows me to remotely control my home radio from anywhere that I can get mobile coverage – even from the back of my car, without the need to set up an antenna.
I also use some of my other radios from various Go-Box configurations, some similar that the remote control box and others just as carrying cases with all of the bits necessary to operate in portable mode. For example, another Go-Box is configured for use with a remote antenna tuner (Icom AH-4) and a squid pole vertical antenna for operation on 40m through to 10m.
Figure 4 – Buddipole Deluxe package
I recently purchased a Buddipole antenna system (available from TTS Systems) that I use for portable operation when I have a little more time to set up.
The Buddipole Deluxe system (Figure 4) allows for a range of different antenna configurations from the basic kit and even more configurations if you purchase some of the optional accessories. Rather than go into the detail of this here, I suggest that you visit the Buddipole website.
The system is very well designed and extremely easy to set up and put away. I have had some great QSO success with this antenna with contacts into Europe and the USA on 20m and many local contacts on 40m.