Radio To Go

The Yaesu FTM-400XDR I have mounted in the Jeep for mobile ops is only a dual band 2M/70m radio, and I wanted to expand my comms capabilities to HF.   After passing my General Exam I started shopping around for a HF rig.  Since I was already familiar with Yaesu quality, menus and configs I decide on the FT-857d –  another small portable rig that I could take on our trips.

I started researching carry cases, packs, and rails.  There are several options out there, but none that quite suited my needs/wants so it was going to be up to me to customize something.  I wanted it as light as it could be, but with the versatility to use at home as a base unit, but also packable for trips or even hiking. I have seen several builds and designs so had an idea of what I wanted.

What I started with was a DIY Radio Transceiver Antenna Tuner Carrier Backpack Holder from Ebay.  Here how it arrived and put together in its stock form.


The stock measurements are 19 3/4 L x 12 5/8 W (Sorry forgot to measure the height, but its was about 6.5)


Here is the Yaesu FT-857D and LDG Z-100 Auto tuner in the rack with a 12v 10Ah Battery.  Pretty large for what I want/need.


Since this DIY kit is like a big Erector set, I started moving pieces around to make the entire unit a little smaller.


I decided to use the mounting plates as the battery enclosure and have one hinge open for easy access to the battery and cable/wiring connections.


Planning to use this flexible neck for the head unit.


It will have feet on the end to allow the unit to free stand up off the ground.


Here are the final cut pieces and assembly.  Final dimensions are 16 L x 5 H x 6 3/4 W




Total weight is about 20 lbs (9kg).


Now it’s time to head to the field to do a shake down with this setup.

For a portable HF antenna, I am using the Buddipole Deluxe Kit, a hf/vhf portable dipole antenna system which is designed to be modular, versatile, and efficient.