Read You At S9+10 With A Hint Of Bubbles

I’ve been playing around at building a portable amateur base station that I can take to an emergency event and set up to run off of mains or batteries.

As usual, I tend to get a bit carried away, so I ended up with the following components:

It will all be mounted in a TuffBox 6 Space Rack Case (unfortunately, the site uses Flash, so you will have to click “Rack Cases” to get the right page) that I’m going to reinforce with some slotted angle stock from Home Depot because it seemed just a bit too flimsy for the battery (which weighs just over 24 pounds).

My task for this long weekend is to physically mount all the components into the case (which is complicated by the need to cut and assemble an internal frame using angle and flat slotted stock). Last night I did an electrical and radio function check, though, which is what led me to a “fun” RF discovery.

I brought all the stuff inside from the garage so I could work in air-conditioned comfort and I set it all up on the kitchen counter. After putting Power Pole connectors on several wires, I started connecting selected components to verify their function before hooking up the radio. After verifying that the DC Watt meter worked and that the power supply and PWRGate were working properly I connected the radio as well as the SWR meter and an antenna (I’m pretty paranoid about always having an antenna connected when applying power to a radio so that if there is an accidental key-up I don’t burn out the finals; one of these days I’m going to break down and buy a dummy load, though).

After verifying that the radio was getting power and that it could receive (based on using an HT from across the room grin ), I decided to try out the SWR meter, which meant keying up and transmitting. I set the power to low (5 watts) and hit the key and immediately heard a “BING” sound from nearby. I immediately let go of the switch, thinking that I’d blown something, which is when I realized that the sound had changed to a whirring noise and that it was coming from the automatic soap dispenser over by the kitchen sink. Apparently, even 5 watts of RF from across the room is enough to overload its sensor and activate the pump. This particular dispenser goes “BING” whenever it’s activated. Satisfied that I hadn’t blown anything in the radio, I played around with the meter a bit more and eventually hit the Tarrant County RACES repeater, although I wasted a bit more liquid soap in the process. smirk

Comments are closed.