Main radio of course is housed on the left, it’s partially hidden under my currently over-populated breadboard.
All 3 monitors are linked to the same PC, using a pair of video cards. This is a very flexible system with so much screen real estate.
Main system power is provided by the pair of power supplies next to the radio – these are homebrew units using surplus switched mode PSU boards. Check my previous posts for more details.
The mainpowersupply system. These two supplies are cross connected, giving a total DC amperage of 30A at 13.8v. There is also a link to a large 220Ah lead-acid battery bank (orange cable), to keep me on the air during power outages. This cable is getting upgraded to something more beefy shortly. The white cable is currently supplying power to my onlineradiation monitor.
The main high-currentDC outputs are the Speakon connectors next to the meters. The top one is powering the radio directly, the bottom is linked through to my 12v distribution box for lower current loads, such as the oscilloscope, audio amplifiers, tools, etc.
Attached to the side of the desk is the radiation monitor itself.
Under the radio is the core NAS of the network. It’s an array of 9 4TB disks, in RAID6, giving a total capacity after parity of 28TB. This provides storage & services to every other machine in the shack, the Raspberry Pi on top of the disk array is doing general network housekeeping & monitoring, also generating the graphs for the Radiation Monitor page. A Cisco 48-portswitch is partially out of frame on the right, providing 100MB Ethernet to the devices that don’t require gigabit.
Following on from my recent power supply build, I’ve added on a couple of improvements:
I’ve added on my standard SpeakOn type 30A connector, a bank of push terminals for quick connecting test leads, and a 15A FSD ammeter.
Due to the limited space inside the supply, I’ve had to improvise some insulation on the mains-side heatsink to prevent a nasty accident. The heatsinks are tied to the supply’s HVDC bus negative, so they are energized at -145v DC relative to mains earth. This fact has given me a nasty surprise! The insulation is several layers of Kapton tape, with a couple of layers of Duct Tape. This along with trirated wire to the SpeakOn & the panel meter should ensure safety.
The Ammeter itself was sourced from eBay, for £2. It seems pretty accurate so far!
The shunt is built into the rear of these meters, in an ultrasonically welded part of the case, so I can’t examine it. Hopefully it is indeed rated to 15A!
The only things left to make this supply complete are a mains power switch, and a fan speed control, as the fan I have used is a little noisy at full speed. It will be good to get the speed based from the internal temperature, so the fan only runs at full speed when the supply is under load.
There are times when I am frequently away from home base, usually either on the canal system or at a festival. During these times it’s very handy to be able to just grab a bag, without having to be concerned about sorting everything out.
This post will only detail the portable shack bag. The power supply kit that goes along with it with be detailed in another post.
The bag I use is an VHS Camcorder bag from the early 80’s. It’s very well built, & copes easily with the weight of all the radio gear.
Total weight for this system is 13.4lbs (6kg).
Above is the bag packed. Obligatory International Ameteur Radio Symbol patch front & centre. Being an old camera bag, this easily slings over the shoulder, with it’s padded strap.
Here is all the current equipment laid out. All the equipment to enable me to set up a station anywhere.
In the following photos I will go into the details.
First off, my main radio. This is the same Wouxun KG-UV950P mobile rig I have posted about previously. I have heatshrunk the power cable to keep it together & attached my standard power connector to the end. More on these later on.
In the bag I also carry three Baofeng UV-5R handhelds. Extremely useful for short range site communications, along with their charger bases. The charging base on the right has been slightly modified to support charging of my main LED torch as well, which uses similar Li-Ion based packs as the Baofengs.
As the charger bases for the Baofeng HTs take a supply of 10v DC, I have constructed a 12v adaptor system for them. (Which utter prat of an engineer at Baofeng picked 10v?)
Also included is a small Alinco ELH-2320 35W 2m linear amplifier. This was given to me from the local HackSpace in Manchester. (They don’t have any ham members, besides myself). Also here is my small SWR & Power meter, SDR kit & a pair of syringes. These are filled respectively with Copaslip copper loaded grease, (very good for stopping fasteners exposed to the weather from seizing up), and dielectric silicone grease. (I use this stuff for filling connectors that are exposed to the weather – keeps the water out).
I always keep essential tools in the bag, here is the small selection of screwdrivers which fit pretty much any screw fastener around, my heavy-duty cable shears (these buggers can cut through starter cable in one go!) and my trusty Gerber Diesel multitool.
Main antenna magmount & a spare Raspberry Pi.
Finally, the antennas for the HTs, main dual-band antenna (Nagoya SP-45) for the magmount, a small selection of spare plugs, sockets & adaptors. Also here is a roll of self-amalgamating tape, very handy for waterproofing wiring connections (especially when used in conjunction with the silicone grease), & a roll of solder wick.
Now, the main power connectors of choice for my equipment are Neutrik SpeakOn type connectors:
These connectors have many advantages:
They are positive locking connectors. No more loose connections.
They have a high continuous current rating of 30A RMS.
Relatively weather resistant.
Also, they have two pairs of pins – and as some of my bigger non-radio related equipment is 24v, this allows me to use a single set of plugs for everything. Without having to worry about plugging a 12v device into a 24v socket, and letting out the magic blue genie.
Once everything is packed up, here’s the bag:
Everything has a neat little pocket for easy access. Some closeups below.
I will post more about my portable power system later on, as this bit of my kit is being revamped at the moment.