HF/Digital Station in a Box!

Started by RichardSinFWTX, February 19, 2014, 11:00:49 am

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The radio, tuner and speakers will all be mounted on sliding shelves.  The bottom rack where the power is doesn't slide; but is removable.

I still want to put an Anderson PowerPole plug between the power supply and the AC plug so I can run off battery or the truck power.  I've also got two 10 Ah SLA batteries.

The FT-857D draws 22 amps on transmit and .5 amps on receive (I think).


More progress on the digital workstation in a box.

I did a function check of the power supply with the radio.  Tomorrow I'll put in the Z-11 antenna tuner and speakers



I'm coming up on 90% complete! 

The two gray spots are where the paint and primer came off while I was beating on it with a hammer.  I bought a stamping kit from Harbor Freight over the weekend and stamped "HF" and "VHF" on the top and bottom antenna jacks respectively.  I connected the SignaLink to the radio and ran the cables for programming the radio as well as using FL-Digi.  The programming software worked great; but I haven't tested FL-Digi yet.  I just installed the most recent version last night.

I've only got a couple things left to do before declaring EndEx on this project.  I've got to install the top guide rails inside the case.  I also want to put in a set of power-pole connectors so I can run off battery power when AC isn't available.  Once that's done I'll touch up the paint job.

I was wondering about putting in some snap-on RF chokes.  I was thinking about putting them on the patch cables coming from the antenna jacks going to the tuner and to the radio (VHF); also one on each of the cables coming off the SignaLink.  Anyone got any thoughts on this?  I've never used RF chokes before so I'm kinda unsure about their placement.


That looks sweet.  You do nice work.

Regarding the chokes, they sure couldn't hurt.  They always go at one end.  Either close to what you think will radiate noise into the box so it has no antenna to radiate with, or if there's no way to keep the box quiet, put them close to what you are worried about receiving the noise so the receive antenna length is as short as possible.  Or overkill it and put 'em at both ends. 



That's beginning to look OFFICIAL!  

Thanks for posting.

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


Thanks guys!  It's definitely been an adventure.  One other thing I want to do before touching up the paint is to take either some strip styrene or possibly some balsa wood and frame the speakers and maybe the power supply just to clean up the edges. 

I've already field tested the radio itself and it passed with flying colors.  I even put the case through a weather test on my way back from my BOL when I got caught in a brief thundershower.

The chokes aren't all that much so I'm thinking about going for overkill on those and put one on each end.  As Bob said, "...they sure couldn't hurt..."

Has anyone got any experience with FL-Digi? 


I use FLDigi frequently. It is pretty easy to use. I haven't even read the documentation. The only issue is that some features related to macros and sending are not intuitive, but again, it's an RTFM problem.. It's a good program for the price ;)



Yeah, it's hard to argue with "free".  :)

I'm hoping to get to play with it some this weekend after getting the Honey-Do's done.

Jim Boswell

Hello, Some good ideas here and some good suggestions also.  I think I would set the box up for an external battery or power supply.  That box is going to be heavy enough with just the radios and computer. Another deal about an external battery, you can change the battery at a later date  depending on what conditions you are looking at. Good work, 73'S  KA5SIW


Yeah, Jim I want to have options when it comes to power.  If I'm set up somewhere that still has electricity I'll run off the power supply.  If I'm out in the sticks or it's some sort of grid down situation I want to be able to run off battery power either from a separate battery pack or even from a pigtail connected to my truck battery.

Right now I've only got two 10Ah SLAs connected in parallel; but I want to work my way up to about 100 Ah.  I've also got a 35W solar panel and charge controller to keep the batteries topped off.

With Field Day coming up I want to look at building some sort of table that I can clamp onto the bed of my truck so I can operate from there.  It has to be able to hold up 54 lbs though.  That's how much my station-in-a-box weighs fully loaded.  I've already got a folding camp chair and one of those EZ-Up canopies so I'd side I'm pretty close to being battle-ready.

We'll see!