Thursday, July 19, 2012

Radio Box Project Overview

Radio Box Project

I've spent quite a bit of time looking at different "Go-Boxes" created by various operators. Some of these boxes were very elaborate and required some special tools and skills. Although my radio box project does require some wielding, it is relatively easy to find someone who can wield or find a shop that will do it.

So why build a radio box? There is a lot of talk about EMPs from various scenarios and EMI from solar flares and CMEs. These are only two reasons that factored into my building a radio box, I wanted to have a nice rugged box that I could pick up and head out to the field and not have to worry about putting something on top of the case or sitting it on the ground (muddy, wet or dry). Being rugged was important but so was being light, a hard combination of things to find in a case.

Then really late one night while looking at other people's projects I remembered about the food boxes used in the military. They are called Mermite boxes / cases in the US. They are idea for conversion to radio boxes, as they are well made from aluminum there is about a 1/2 inch rubberized foam between the outside and inside cans, providing an insulated layer and the top is also insulated with a 1/2 layer of rubber foam between the two layers.

The internal canisters are removable, there is a rubber gasket that sits inside the top inside sealing the sides and top this acts as a water seal, however does noting to stop RF. I plan to replace the rubber gasket with an RF gasket which will fill the gap between the outer edge of the lid and case sides. By doing this the Faraday cage is completed. 

Replacing the internal canisters will be a rack with a rubber coating, on the rack will be a radio bracket, that will be counter sunk to match up with a perforated aluminum panel that will contain intake / exhaust fans, power gauges, switch, AC & DC power hook ups, coax connection, temperature sensor read out and two handles to enable easy pull out of the internal rack.

I've taken internal measurements but at the moment they are at my workbench, so I'll get them posted up here soon. The can I have was purchased on Ebay for ~ $70 with shipping, buying local would be idea, but may not be possible as these cans are not the easiest thing to find. I've been in contact with a surplus store in Michigan that does have good steady supply of the boxes selling for about the same price. I'll post their contact information on the blog soon.

I am hoping by the next meeting that the internal rack will be done and the panel mounted with everything. Not sure if it will be operational as I still need to get an AC power supply to mount in the rack and get a 1 foot piece of coax, to run from the back of the radio to the coax connection on the panel. 

As progress is made I will post updates to this blog.

Any suggestions? Please let me know!


Paul - KK4BRD

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