First some background
In Bundaberg our WICEN group serves the community by assisting the Emergency Service organisations activated during times of natural disaster.
Our 12-volt-powered radios work when electricity and telephones fail and our operators must be able to respond quickly by carrying everything they need to set up portable stations wherever they are required.
An emergency Station includes the Radio equipment, the antennas and a portable office so that they can pass radio traffic and keep track of it all.
We had received some funding for the radios but the budget didn't stretch to the enclosures to carry the new equipment so we began to look for cheap options.
With recent experience of flooding in Bundaberg we knew that something robust was required if the operator and equipment were to be safely delivered by floodboat or helicopter.
The aim was for a single operator to carry everything they needed so the first step was to lay out the radio and ancillary items, and to measure and rearrange until we found an efficient design.
The end result was three timber (pine) cases with outside dimension 740x370x210mm.
Apart from the radio equipment the box includes a 40M roll of coax;, leads for battery connection, hammer, earth wire and earth stake, magnetic base for VHF/UHF antenna, clock, Hi-viz jackets for the operator, clipboard and plastic boxes containing message pad and office supplies and of course spare fuses
Total weight when the box is loaded in this configuration is 22kg, and well within the lifting limits for the active WICEN members
Here are a couple of images of the project.
Please feel free to contact me if there is anything else you would like to know.
19mm pine boards. Lid height 70mm. Bottom 140mm.
All holes predrilled before screwing as raw pine is quite soft.
Lids are removable.
A weatherseal strip under each lid, and pull-down clasps ensure a tight, weatherproof fit
Several coats of marine varnish help to seal and weatherproof the cases.
Extra long carry handle for easy handling.
The Radio, Antenna Tuner & Power supply are all firmly fixed to the removable shelf by small aluminium "L" brackets.
The shelf is 12mm Pine sheet strong enough to hold the radio equipment & can be taken out and used where required.
Everything the operator needs to prepare & send messages ensuring a good paper trail during activations.
Things we thought about during the build
· Rounded off the corners so no sharp edges to catch the operator as they walked
· Fitted a long hardwood dowel handle secured into the case with threaded metal rod & nyloc nuts
· The lid detaches so it can be used for other purposes, like a tray or for holding paperwork in the office environment that the operator creates around them
· All bolts are recessed into the timber so that there are no sharp protrusions to catch on the equipment or the operator
· We used Cabot's Marine Clear: 2 coats to the inside and 4 spray coats to the outside
Keeping the weight down
· Small aluminium 'L' brackets hold equipment on the shelf to reduce the amount of metal around the radio equipment.
· The removable shelf has finger-holes in diagonal corners to lift it out - again reducing the weight by not introducing a lifting handle.