Portable Operations

Some suggestions to make portable operations easier.

Here are  a few suggestions for your FD setup that we utilize.

1. Get a folding hand truck. We got one for $29+ but the price has gone up recently. We got the Magna Cart in aluminum. We use it to transport our batteries and other equipment.


2. To keep the battery running on FD and other outings (we have 2X 25 lb batteries) we use the MFJ 4416 battery booster. Not the 4416C shown below which is a newer model. However I would recommend the TGE battery booster as it seems better designed and better built.

It’ll keep the voltage at 12.8 V DC even as the battery drops down to 10 V DC.



3. We retrofitted all our power cables with Anderson Powerpoles. We make 6-foot extension power cords with 12 GA red/black wire with powerpoles on each end. This allows us to lengthen any power connection we need in the field. We also use 8-position powerpole “cube taps” so we can power rigs, tuners, meters, headphone amps, LED lights, etc. easily.

We permanently wire each battery with TWO short cables with powerpoles so that we can connect our PV panel / charge controller to one cord and the rig equipment to the other. This allows us to solar charge even as we operate.


4. We use a Heil headset adapter  which I assume you already have. Actually I just wire one up with an 8-pin Foster plug and a 1/4 inch and 1/8 inch inline phone jacks. Much cheaper than the Heil $24 ones.


5. The Yamaha CM500 headset/mic has become extremely popular with hams across the US for its excellent audio quality and low cost. Many use it preference to the Heil $200+ headsets.  Most hams in Hawaii that we know use the Yamaha nowadays.


Avoid using dynamic mics with Icoms because of its known requirement for a high level mic signal.  That’s why Heil markets a separate model of headset/mic labeled Heilxxx-IC which stands for having an electret mic element as opposed to the normal dynamic element. Be sure to use the small battery box that comes with the Yamaha which supplies the bias voltage for the built-in electret mic.

6. For ease of computer logging, we use a foot-switch. There are many on the market. Years ago I re-wired a dead PC mouse to use as a foot-switch. It worked fine, but didn’t have enough weight to stay put on the floor.


7. Lastly, bring a small 12 V DC to 120 V AC inverter to power up / recharge your PC. Nothing worse than losing your log because your PC suddenly died due to a dead battery.

As always, you can get ham radio opinions on all the equipment mentioned  by checking on http://www.eham.net/reviews/ Have fun!