Luggable 6300

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My field day partners all do POTA and SOTA and I am kind of getting the bug.

Also for both Field Day and soon our WWV celebration I am going to be lugging around some gear.  So I figured it was time to build a "luggable".

The gear I wanted to include was:

Flex 6300
RM Italy Amp
MFJ-993 Tuner
MFJ battery booster
WiFi router

So I purchased a Gator 6U standard rack case, two 2U server shelves and panels for the back.

Below is the front of the beast:



The 6300 and tuner are strapped to the top 2U server rack.  

The RM amp and battery booster are on the bottom 2U server rack.

The WiFi router is immediately being the battery booster.

I have a power monitor in the upper right.

This setup gives me a pretty solid 225 watts on CW if I use the amp.

I decided I wanted a nice back so I bought panels and punched holes for 259 connectors and a keyed power connector:



All power wiring inside is 10ga.  The power feed lines to the connector are 4ga.

Definitely not a portable.  A luggable is a good term.   It fits nicely in the back of the car and can be "lugged" to a table for portable ops.

If nothing else it was a fun project to build and I think I'll get a little use out of it.
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Mark - WS7M

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Posted 2 months ago

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John KB4DU

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Mark;

I had a battery backup for the ICOM before I started using the FLEX.  I've been debating trying to run the FLEX on battery backup, but that means also running a computer (or maybe Ipad but that means a wireless access point also) on the battery as well. What kind of battery capacity/life do you get with this arrangement?

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Mark - WS7M

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John,

I'm sorry but I have not tested that yet.

I will try to post some numbers here when I can. 

I do use two 100 AH sealed batteries and I would suspect I should get 12+ hours of op time out of it but I have not done the calcs yet.

I'll keep you posted.
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Neal - K3NC, Elmer

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What a fantastic project! Congrats and I hope I hear you on the air soon!

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Winston VK7WH

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Well done Mark. A nice setup. One question regarding the MFJ Battery Booster, if I may.

I run 100 percent remote from a Solar charged 800AH 12 volt supply, and I’m considering using a MFJ Battery Booster to maintain a healthy 13.8 Volt supply to my 6700. I understand that the booster is bypassed during receive, in order to eliminate RFI from the booster switching process. How well does this work in practice?

I do realise that my question may be a little premature and if so, could you perhaps update the thread at an appropriate time.

Many thanks and GL with your project

Winston VK7WH
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Mark - WS7M

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Winston,

I cannot comment yet as I have only done initial testing.  I will say during my initial tests hooked up to a 80-40 end fed wire that I could discern no difference in RFI with the booster enabled/disabled. 

The pan looked identical but I only checked 40m and 80m.

A friend of mine has an identical booster and will be camping and doing remote with his battery setup and booster.  I'm sure he will let me know of any issues.

I will report back what I find/hear.

Mark
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Winston VK7WH

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Many thanks Mark, much appreciated.

Winston
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Ken - NM9P

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Nice setup!
But “luggable” is right. Does that case have handles on the side to permit two-person crews? I wouldn’t want to lug it all by myself!
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Mark - WS7M

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Yes, a handle on each side.

Actually I can lift it pretty easily.  It is heavy but less than say a bag of salt for a water softener.
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Ken - NM9P

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Very neat! Would make an excellent field day setup, but you need a mic. Ha. Do you plan to use a laptop or an iPad? The included WiFi router would make anything possible.... maybe even FT8/4.

Your amp will add about 3.5-4.5 dB Transmit gain, depending upon how much drive you can get from the battery barefoot. But will add a lot of current drain. Might not even need it. But nice to have available for the hard contacts.

Now show us your gig bag/box for the rest of the equipment... Keyer paddles, antennas, computer, etc. would be nice to see that as well.
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Mark - WS7M

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That's the idea Ken.

The amp would be off most of the time.  Maybe on during difficult periods or to reach a desired contact.   Or on for shorter op periods.

I get that 100w to 225w by the numbers is not much more than adding a marginal directional antenna.  But experience does show me that the 2x power increase can mitigate some QSB which is the real goal.

Since the amp is solid state it is ON or OFF in a second.

The rest of the "gig" bag will mainly be my backpack with laptop in it.  I have a USB headset with a Mic for the rare SSB contact.
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Ken - NM9P

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Agreed, 3-4 dB isn’t much, but when at the margin it can make the difference between a tough contact and no contact at all, especially on CW and Digital modes.
Good luck.
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Dave - W6OVP

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Check QRZ to see a similar setup by WB7QMR.
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Mark - WS7M

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Thanks!   His is definitely bigger than mine!  
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Lee, N2LC

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He was also watching Danica Patrick.   Hehe.
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K8MEJ

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I have a 6400 and pine for the pre-M model form factors. I considered buying a 6500 but was talked into a 6400 by Michael. I love the radio, but hate the size, especially since it's half empty. So, I use my IC-7300 for portable ops. I love your project with the 6300!
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Mark - WS7M

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I have a 6600 and while I feel it is a better radio I didn't want to put it in this box.  I think when I want to use the 6600 it will have to come along separate and plug in.

I agree with you.  I wish the form factors of the new radios were all 1U/2U/3U etc.   I get that for the M series they wanted the Maestro to fit on the front but it has ruined the rack mounting for the rest of us!
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John KB4DU

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Yes it has. And the justification is to only have one form factor to help with expense. But the 6700 still has the short case, so it seems it could be used for the non M models.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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I think the larger case with multiple boards allows easier and less expensive construction, testing, cooling, and repairs, as well as incorporating the control head.