Starting my HF Go Bag

Started by raybiker73, November 01, 2012, 09:29:35 pm

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raybiker73

My "hurricane testing" left me realizing how woefully inadequate my emergency radio situation was, so I took the plunge and bought a used FT-817 and a bunch of goodies:



Time to start assembling my Go Bag (after I have fun playing with the new toys for a while first, of course  ;D ).

White Tiger

Wow, cool rig...what are the "goodies" attached to the radio?
If you're looking for me, you're probably looking in the wrong place.

raybiker73

It came with the extra rechargeable battery pack, a Miracle Whip antenna, a Collins CW filter, optional DTMF mic, packet and rig control cables, the stock carrying case and an LDG Z11 tuner. The stuff was even in its original boxes. I don't think this rig has had a lot of use, everything is like new, and I got it all for less than the MSRP of the radio. It's not the ND version, just the plain-vanilla 817, but I'm not so concerned about a different colored backlight or the 60 meter channels that I never use anyway. So far, so good - it works well and I think I can really build a good Go Bag system around it.

cockpitbob

Let us know what you think of the Miracle Whip.  They look too little to perform up to their high price.

RadioRay

Hey Ray-

That rig is VERY easy to do the "MARS mod" - open frequency mod -  so that you can operate on 60 meters or basically on any frequency where it can hear.  It also seriously extends your VHF/UHF range, if I remember correctly.  In an emergency, this can be vital. Beside HF allocations, the ability - if necessary - of operating on GMRS/FRS/MURS and etc. could prove to be very handy.



>Ray
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

underhill

November 03, 2012, 02:00:43 pm #5 Last Edit: November 03, 2012, 04:43:51 pm by underhill
Nice, I have one myself.  Haven't made the mars/wideband mod (yet). 

One item I've found useful is a small tuner, I picked up an Elecraft T1, couple patches of velcro on the radio keep it in place when in use.  Smaller than the  Z11 in your photo, but the z11 is pretty good itself, and capable of higher power than the T1.  mine is QRP capable only.

Allan

raybiker73

I've been thinking the same thing. I like the Z11 tuner that came with it, and it will probably get a lot of use here at home, but for a pack radio I want to conserve power as much as I can. I've been looking for an excuse to build one of the ZM-2 tuners from Emtech, so I'll probably get that kit sometime in the relatively near future.

My biggest question is what to do for the bag itself. I don't want anything bulky, and I don't want a "manpack" that looks like something you'd see on one of those green plastic toy soldiers. I'll have to do some shopping around or maybe homebrew something for it.

KC9TNH

November 03, 2012, 07:13:11 pm #7 Last Edit: November 04, 2012, 07:52:33 am by KC9TNH
Congrats on the acquisition - NICE package.
Am a big fan of my FT-817nd. (If the 'nd' version it will already do 60m.) Check out the massive yahoo group on this radio who can help with pros/cons of "widebanding" this radio. But this rig is HUGELY supported, and some little tweaks you can do that REALLY cut down the battery consumption even more.

Give this a visit:  http://www.ka7oei.com/ft817_mods.html

I have the 817nd. I have a T1 tuner (it will handle 20w, not just QRP, but don't get greedy, 20w amigo). That tuner would find a match on a coathanger. It only uses it's own 9V battery. I love it.

One thing about mod'ing a radio that could be a consideration. A receiver section, done properly, has walls around it for a reason. It helps the radio hear better within its stated design parameters. Now, up in the VHF world little pushes to either side of the envelope don't have much effect. But don't think because you opened up some internal software parameters in an 817 that it becomes a magic box. This applies to all rigs.

So caveat emptor out of the way, there are some good mods that increase the utility of this already great little radio. Again, the yahoo group and its links are good sources.

BTW, if you like CW at all you are REALLY going to appreciate that Collins old-school style filter. My friend the quality of a filter like that is gi-normously better than the digital attempts of today, which often do more attentuation of the whole signal than anything else. Best thing I ever did to my 817 - you are blessed.

And at the bottom line, if you don't muck with this little gem at all, it is still an outstanding multi-purpose rig.
Period.
8)

gil

It is rumored that Yaesu has a successor in the pipeline... Anyone heard anything about it?

Gil.

RadioRay

November 03, 2012, 07:27:32 pm #9 Last Edit: November 03, 2012, 07:30:58 pm by RadioRay
When I owned an FT-817 I kept it and accessories inside of a Maxpedition FatBoy.  It fit the radio well and had just enough room for the little LDG autocoupler, wire for antennas and a few other sundry items.   They come in 'fashion' colors to match any post-TEOTWAKI look you may be going for and has that fashionable, not mearly 'trendy' off-the-shoulder-look, because accessories make the outfit.   ;D  Even a survivor should look cool. // ha ha ah ah //



>de RadioRay ..._ ._
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

KC9TNH

Quote from: RadioRay on November 03, 2012, 07:27:32 pm
When I owned an FT-817 I kept it and accessories inside of a Maxpedition FatBoy.  It fit the radio well and had just enough room for the little LDG autocoupler, wire for antennas and a few other sundry items.   They come in 'fashion' colors to match any post-TEOTWAKI look you may be going for and has that fashionable, not mearly 'trendy' off-the-shoulder-look, because accessories make the outfit.   ;D  Even a survivor should look cool. // ha ha ah ah //

>de RadioRay ..._ ._
Ah, sartorially resplendent - with a tacticool edge. I like it.
The little Z11 matcher can strap to the 817 as well (see member Quietus' elk hunting pics). Makes a nice pack.
My tacticool idea of a tailgate party herewith, maybe we've had the same tailor:  ;D

underhill

November 03, 2012, 08:28:33 pm #11 Last Edit: November 03, 2012, 08:34:05 pm by underhill
Quote from: gil on November 03, 2012, 07:20:42 pm
It is rumored that Yaesu has a successor in the pipeline... Anyone heard anything about it?

Gil.


I heard that as well on the 817 yahoo group a short while ago, that the design effort had just started, so might be a year or 2 before released. 

WIth the KX3 out now, and the 817 being out since the  early 2000's, without any major changes, probably getting a run for the money.  Interesting to see what develops, but for now, I own this one, don't have to pay more to play.

My 817 kit fits in a maxpedition fatboy, with exception for the antenna and a 12V gel cell.

There is also a nice booklet available http://www.w4rt.com/FT-817-Accessories/Pack-It-Book.htm
if you have 15 bucks to spare (do a google search to see if you can find cheaper),  the yahoo group has a really extensive faq collected in one place on the radio, for free.  Also the previous references to the ka7oei 817 site is an invaluable source as well.

73
Allan

raybiker73

KC9TNH: I like that tan bag you have. That's pretty much what I'm looking for. For right now, I'm seeing what I can do with my old Domke F2 camera bag. My film cameras have sat languishing for about a decade now since I got out of the business, but maybe I can put the bag to good use. Contents will include:

FT-817 w/mic
Miracle Whip antenna (assuming it works adequately)
small paddles
extra internal battery
folding solar panel w/charge controller
Emtech ZM-2 tuner (ordered the kit this evening)
AA battery holder (just in case)
wire for antenna/counterpoise
Superantenna MP-1 (another used bargain-bin gem I picked up)

KC9TNH

Quote from: gil on November 03, 2012, 07:20:42 pm
It is rumored that Yaesu has a successor in the pipeline... Anyone heard anything about it?

Gil.
RUMINT for about 2 years now. Then there was a lack of production for awhile, Pacific storm damage, made certain Vertex models a bit scarce, and the rumors started. I've talked with a Yaesu guy and - as far as he can say - they have no intent at this time to replace the 817.  (If they did, it would be an opportunity for those who don't follow fashion trends as lots of 817nd's would suddenly be available by those who simply must have "the next big thing.")

Mitch

I love my FT-817ND! That's what my bag is built around. It may not be the best anymore, but it's still a popular radio with a large cult following. Being an older radio just means most of the bugs have been worked out! (Easy to find parts/accessories for too.)

The only thing I wish I could receive with it is the NOAA weather stations. When you are wilderness packing it's important!

Don't forget to use an external battery for solar charging. Alternately you could rig a solar charging scheme for your extra battery pack (outside of the radio). Just never let the power plug on the back of the unit see >16vdc -EVER- Even a small 12v solar panel will put out up to 18v in bright sunlight. A charge controller will not remedy that.

I recommend the newer technology lithium iron phosphate batteries. You can get 3-4 times the number of discharge cycles and they are featherweight compared to all the other useful battery types. The low internal resistance is pretty cool too, but you shouldn't be pulling more than 2.5 amps max so it isn't needful. Having a low internal resistance may decrease the time it takes to charge with a solar panel- I just don't know about that! The downside is the expense (might bit expensive).

I use this battery: http://www.amazon.com/K2-K2B12V10EB-Lithium-Phosphate-Battery/dp/B0056BWK8I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352126938&sr=8-1&keywords=K2+battery After a years use I still get a solid 9AH out of it! I like having the built in battery maintenance device also.

With this charger for at home: http://batterytender.com/battery-tender-junior-12v-at-0-75a.html Just don't leave it trickle charging on that battery, otherwise it works perfect.