Amateur (Ham) Radio "Go-Box"

The best way to describe a go-box is a complete amateur radio station in a box. There are many examples where this has been achieved, but usually the biggest issue is the power source and the associated weight. In other words, batteries are not light.

The easiest solution to this issue is to have the batteries, if used, external to the actual go-box itself. One method which is appealing is to use a battery box. In particular, a battery box intended for marine use (with small electril trolling motors).

My "Go-Box"

Here are pictures of the Amateur (ham) Radio "go-box" I built to be able to have a complete station in a box. Well almost. An external DC power source may be used, and for this I have a marine battery box containing an Optima "Red-Top" battery. (This is not shown.) I also do not have any antennae in the go-box as yet. For mobile use, I simply carry along some magnetic mounted antennae.

The go-box is built to fit into an orange Pelican 1440NF case. I chose orange because I wanted it to stand out, and be visible. (I stenciled my call sign on the case so it was easier to identify. I chose a Pelican case because of their reputation for being just about indestructable; as well as water resistant/proof.

This particular case was used because it was the smallest one which would hold all the equipment I wanted to include. In addition, one of my design goals was to be able to operate in a vehicle, so having everything in a vertical orientation works well. It is a simple matter to remove the insert and place it on a table for a more conventional horizontal orientation.

One note on the hardware. Because I had a ready supply, I used (almost exclusively) stanless steel hardware. While this offers added protection against moisture, it probably isn't really necessary.

The go-box contains:

It is rather simple, but it gets the job done.

Here is the complete case, ready to go:
Here is the go-box, open for business:
Here are the microphone and extension cord, clock, clipboard, pen, and manual stowed for travel:

The cover in the top is clear acrylic, attached with a "piano" hinge. This hinge is attached to 1.25 inch long (1/4 inch) standoffs. The wing-nuts used to keep the cover in place are also visible.

Here are the AC and DC power connectors. The AC power cord pulls out of the case and may be plugged into a convenient outlet or extension cord. The DC connector is a 75 A Anderson PowerPole connector.
I made up an extension cord to be able to connect the go-box to any convenient battery for a power source. I also have a shorter cord to connect the go-box to the battery box.
Here is a top-view of the insert, showing the FT-897D on the left and the Alinco power supply and RIGrunner on the right.

The piece of wood mounted between the radio and the power supply is necessary to prevent the insert from moving around in the case.

Here is a bottom-view of the insert, showing the LDG tuner on the left and the MFJ speaker on the right. In the center is an aluminum angle bracket holding the HF/6m and 2m/70cm antenna connectors.

There is even some room to mount more stuff behind the speaker.

The notches on the ends of the side supports are needed to allow then to not interfere with the wheels of the Pelican case.

The sides of the insert are tapered because of the shape of the Pelican case.

Here is the view of the back of the insert, showing the back of the Alinco power supply on the left (with the RIGrunner below it) and the FT-897D on the right.

The 2m/70cm antenna connection (the right of the two) goes directly to the angle bracket on the front of the insert. The HF/6m antenna connection (the left of the two) goes to the antenna tuner and then to the angle bracket on the front of the insert.

There are a couple of improvements I may make in the future: