How to Build your Emergency Radio Kit updated 1/29/2010

This guide is to give you ideas and solutions to Building up a nice containerized deployable radio kit as seen on Video Demo "green" kit NOTE: West Marine distribution panel used in the green kit is no longer available , check Overtons 74287 for replacement

Click here for DETAILED instructions  pictures and Video Demo of the kit you see in the "black" pelican case below. Email me if you have questions KH7O


1450blank.jpg (29356 bytes)Black anodized aluminum 3mm panel with holes for the pelican 1450PF  panel frame. Starting with this is a lot faster, neater and easier to develop your own design.


2010tnc.JPG (59912 bytes) Black anodized 3mm aluminum panel with hole for fuses, internal and external source, DC loads, AC source and multiple use 80 mm fan cut outs. TNC options


CIMG2221.JPG (5439248 bytes) This is what it would look like with readily available switches and fuse holders from Radio Shack.  Radio can be mounted to the top of the panel or remoted inside the case with just the control head on the top and additional holes you would need to drill for the antenna and microphone if radio is mounted below deck.


CIMG0205.JPG (299208 bytes)



Power is the first requirement of operating in emergencies or under field conditions. Many have overlooked the need or availability of power in adverse conditions. Will you have commercial power or generator  power available or are you limited to battery power?  Plan this out first, no power no communications simple as that.

Antenna and Coax Get the highest gain and most practical for transportation and setup. Generally a short Diamond X50 dual band antenna is nice, home made J pole for 2 meters or if going point to point a short  2 foot UHF yagi has fantastic gain. In any case the careful selection of the antenna and coax combination is more important then the radio in the kit.   DO NOT try to build a kit with the antenna and coax in the same case, that is not practical because the first time you take it out or get it dirty it will be mixed in with your clean radio kit that should be indoor operation and dust free. The coax loss / distance should be calculated, if you have a long run you must use low loss LMR or other cable or you will loose all your signal before it even gets to the antenna.  Use a Coax calculator or read the manufacturer specifications.

Radio  Select a radio that will fit the case from where the panel frame hold the panel to the inside of the top lid. You may have to get a couple of  L brackets from the local hardware store to mount to the panel. 

ic208.jpg (19453 bytes)  ICOM IC208 or any other mobile that will fit in the case. You may need to use L brackets found at all hardware stores to mount the radio to the rack panel or take a thick piece of aluminum flat stock and bend it to form a new lower mounting bracket if needed. Holes were drilled into the rack panel under the radio heat sink.



Rack Panel from DIGIKEY.  make a template using the Panel frame below and cut this panel using a "good" jig saw . Then rough cut the square hole for the West Marine metering panel where desired, drill the other holes for switch / fuses not on the West Marine panel. Also the rim will need holes drilled to mount to the panel frame.  Drill all holes before mounting anything to the panel.  This panel was one of the better ones I liked compared to others purchased. 


1450pf.jpg (26738 bytes)       

Pelican 1450 Panel frame kit, mount to inside the 1450 case with hardware provided, then mount the Aluminum panel  to this frame after mounting radio and all other parts related to this project. The panel frame kit comes with O ring seal.


1450.jpg (56260 bytes) Pelican 1450 case,  be careful in choosing a radio for this case, the lid clearance to the panel is 1.75 inches, most radio mounts are a little bigger. I had to use corner brackets found at a local hardware store to adapt to the radio but it was no problem, may have to drill a couple of holes in the bracket for whatever radio you are using.  I could have bought special brackets but wanted to keep the price down at the same time. 

  Samlex SEC 1223 power supply mounted underneath panel approx under where the radio is mounted.  Used small L brackets commonly found at all hardware stores to make the right angle mount between power supply and rack panel. Take an old desktop computer or monitor AC cord  and cut off the plug side, use the pig tail to plug into the back of the supply and wire it through a separate switch and fuse mounted to the panel, use heat shrink to protect all electrical from being exposed,   just remember when wiring Electrical cords that "black" is hot and "white" is neutral and "green " is ground..