I’ve attached couple pictures of V1.0 of my field clip board. I’ve been searching for the perfect clipboard to use in the field. The main requirements of the design include: lightweight, low cost and the flexibility to allow a comfortable operating position while securely holding a radio.
What I came up with is a based on an inexpensive fiber board clip board:
I chose to set it up somewhat unconventionally and designed it to use the clipboard “upside down”. Setting it up this way provided ample space at the top to mount the radio while still providing room to attach a metal pad mounting point for paddles.
The radio is held securely in place with craft 3mm elastic bands. The bands were made with metal “toggles” so I can easily add more holes to the clipboard to accommodate varying rigs.
The metal pad is just a stick-on metal plate purchased from Amazon. I plan to add a leg strap in the future and will do so once I’m sure no other major modifications need to me made.
I’m pretty happy with the way the clipboard came out and would appreciate any comments or suggestions!
This is brilliant, Rich! I love both how affordable this board is and how easy it is to build. Having the clip at the bottom of the board is a fantastic way to secure your logging notebook as well.
Many thanks to Paul (W0RW) who shares the following guest post:
Operating in St. Elmo Ghost Town, Colorado
by Paul (W0RW)
I have operated in St Elmo (Ghost Town) several times with my PRC319 Pedestrian Mobile. St. Elmo is at 11,000 feet in a deep canyon so it was hard to make contacts.
My PRC319 runs 50 Watts and I use a 10 foot whip so I had some success to the East on CW. I use a Whiterook MK-33 for a hand held single lever paddle.
Right after my last visit, July 2015, members of St. Elmo and Chalk Creek Canyon Historical group cleaned out the outhouse behind the Home Comfort Hotel in St. Elmo, they found a potentially explosive surprise. On the floor of the outhouse, they found what they believed to be dynamite. Later in the day the bomb squad found blasting caps rather than dynamite.
[Per the Historical Society] there were only 6 Blasting Caps found at St Elmo’s. They called Ft. Carson US Army EOD and they blew them up right there in the center of town.
While the electric blasting caps are usually shorted and would not be effected by a QRP radio, my 50W radio was at a dangerously high level to be transmitting near a box of blasting caps.
It would be a smart idea to avoid operating in any old mining areas where unexploded dynamite might exist.
Battery Anker Astro Pro2 20000mAh Multi-Voltage (5V 12V 16V 19V)
Portable Charger External Battery Power Bank
Avoid look alike batteries and the next generation model from Anker. The newer Anker
battery is only capable of delivering 1.5A from the 12V supply. Two look alike batteries
I tried did not have the auto-off feature that the Anker does.
ACC2 and I/Q Jacks 2 x 2.5mm Stereo Jack Panel Mount (PH-666J-B)
Phone, Key, and ACC1 3 x 3.5mm Stereo Jack Panel Mount (High Quality) (PH-504KB)
Mic Jack 1 x 3.5mm 4 Conductor Jack Panel Mount (PH-70-088B)
12V IN and CHG IN 2 x 2.1mm DC Power Panel Mount Jack (PH-2112)
12V OUT 1 x 2.5mm DC Power Panel Mount Jack (PH-2512)
You also need plugs and wire for interconnects. I bought some 2.5mm (CES-11-5502)
and 3.5mm (PH-44-468 for stereo, PH-44-470 for 4-conductor) audio cables with right
angle plugs and just cut them to use for the signal lines going to the KX3. I did the same
thing for the 2.5mm (PH-TC250) and 2.1mm (PH-TC210) power cables. A couple of
caveats are in order. The Phone, Key, and ACC1 interconnects require low profile
right angle connectors. The cables I listed above won’t work. Vetco part number VUPN10338 will work. The power cables I’ve listed above use 24 gauge wire. This
is a little light, but the runs are small so I think it is OK. You can use higher gauge
cables if you can find a source.
USB OUT USB 2.0 Right Angle Extension Cable (RR-AAR04P-20G)
L Brackets 8 x Bracket Rt Ang Mount 4-40 Steel (612K-ND)
These L brackets are used to mount the KX3 to the panel and the panel to the case.
For mounting the KX3, I use a little piece of stick on felt on the bracket to protect the
KX3’s cabinet from damage. Replace the KX3’s screws with #4-40 Thread Size, 1/4”
Length Steel Pan Head Machine Screw, Black Oxide Finish (see below). For the panel
mounting, use #6-32 Thread Size, 3/16” Length self tapping sheet metal screw. You
may need to cut the tip off in order to not puncture the outside of the case.
RG316 BNC Male Angle to BNC Female SM Bulkhead Coaxial RF Pigtail Cable (6”)
This is not the original interconnect I used for connecting the KX3’s antenna output to
the panel. However, I think it is a better option for new designs. The caveat is that you
will need to verify the hole in the panel matches the bulkhead connector on this cable.
There will be a little loop in the cable when you are done, but that is fine.
This is optional if you want a built-in sound card interface for a waterfall display using iSDR. Make sure to eliminate the holes in the upper left corner of the panel if you are not installing. You will also need 2.5mm x 10mm screws to mount this to the bottom of the panel (see below).
In my opinion, the KX3’s noise reduction is totally ineffective for SSB communications. This external noise reducing DSP is one solution, albeit an expensive one, to that problem. It is only for SSB, not CW or digital modes. It is also available from GAP Antenna Products.
Scott: you have done a beautiful job here and have spared no expense to make a wonderfully-engineered and rugged go-box. No doubt, you’re ready to take your KX3 to the field and enjoy world-class performance on a moment’s notice.
Though I’ve never used them personally, I’ve noticed others who have taken advantage of the Front Panel Express engraving service–certainly makes for a polished and professional front panel.
Again, many thanks for not only sharing your photos, but also your bill of materials which will make it much easier for others to draw inspiration from your design!
Speaking of designs, when I looked up Scott on QRZ.com, I noticed that he also sports a QSL card (above) designed by my good friend, Jeff Murray (K1NSS). Obviously, Scott is a man with good taste!