20131203

Radio Box (Part 1)

Over the past few months, I have been mentally designing a "radio go kit". It would contain:
  • Some sort of computer
    • Raspberry Pi, or
    • Barebones VESA mountable computer
  • 1 or more radios
    • At least one capable of 2m TX/RX (APRS specifically)
    • Ideally at least one capable of HF TX/RX 
  • Permanent housing for my TNC-X
  • Housing and permanent hookup of an Si4707 weather band SAME decoder
  • GPS hookup
  • Open-Mesh AP
  • Be a central power distribution point when using my car as a camper
Internal battery was not a requirement, as I wanted power to be as flexible as possible. 

The case for all of this was up in the air for a while (and to some degree still is). The choice was between:
  • An old computer case from a cascaded work computer
    • Pros: Free, Easy to cary
    • Cons: Mounting things inside might be a bit interesting
  • A giant pelican case (if everything else was taken out of it, I might actually be able to fit inside)
    • Pros: Free, Waterproof, Strong
    • Cons: Huge and cumbersome
  • Purchase a portable gator case and rack mount everything.
    • Pros: Easy to mount things inside, Can get with wheels, Strong
    • Cons: Costs money (can't justify if other options are available... see also: college student)
I ended up settling on the computer case.

For a radio, the internal debate was down to:
  • Yaesu FT-817ND
    • Pros: Small (Can fit inside the space a CD-ROM drive would exist inside a computer case)
    • Cons: 5 Watts.
  • Yaesu FT-897D
    • Pros: 100 Watts.
    • Cons: Large, Cost
(Yes, there are more differences, but for my uses, these are the biggest and most notable.) I ended up choosing an FT-817ND for both the cost and size benefits. I would like to mount it where the CD drive would be, but don't exactly know the best way to do so yet. What ever way I choose, I'd like it to be very simple to remove the rig if I want to (i.e. no screws if possible, or thumb screws if absolutely necessary).

External look of the case. Not pretty, but should work.
(Excuse the mess)

Internals of the case so far. Only the TNC-X, serial adapter
 for the GPS, and the USB hub have
been mounted at this point.


Tasks left to do (in no particular order):

  1. Drill holes and mount the Perma-Proto Board
  2. Acquire a VESA mounting bracket for the RPi
    1. And drill holes for it
  3. Decide on a way to mount the FT-817
  4. Find a place to mount the RigRunner and mount it.
  5. Find a place to mount the Open-Mesh AP and mount it.
  6. Add the power supply back into the case?
  7. Run cables for the radio (serial and power)
  8. Decide the best way to talk to the Si4707
  9. Add a panel mounting jumper for the SO-239 connector on the back of rig(?)
  10. Find a good way to provide 5v



As of right now, the connections are planned to be as follows:



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