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I'm gonna need a bigger bag (portable QRP pic thread?)

Discussion in 'QRP Corner' started by KC3JIN, Jan 30, 2019.

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  1. W7CJD

    W7CJD Ham Member QRZ Page

  2. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah basically. :)

    All digital communication is basically done through your sound card and the software on your computer decodes it.

    The "dataport" on the FT-817 is really nothing but radio audio output and microphone audio input which is at a fixed volume level.

    A data port is just easier to use than the idea of tapping into the radio microphone and external speaker connections on the radio equipment. Yeah, that approach would actually work instead of using the dataport too believe it or not. This is what is done if there's no dataport on the radio equipment.

    All the Easi Digi interface does is handle the audio streams going both ways, provides audio attenuation to prevent overdriving the radio or the sound card, protection against RF getting into the audio stream and provides line isolation for all the electrical connections.

    Some digital interfaces have a chip installed that automatically keys up the transmitter (PTT) whenever audio is detected on the mic input line from the computer. This particular feature would be useful for our FT-817s. However, alternatively PTT can also be achieved through the CAT port through the program software settings.

    Incidentally, VOX PTT is only possible with the FT-817 if you connect directly to the microphone jack. "VOX" doesn't work with any mic audio going through the dataport for some reason. Seems to be some kind of engineering design oversight with the FT-817 but there's other work arounds to achieve PTT control.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
    KA0USE and W7CJD like this.
  3. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Oh yes, if you're making up your own data port cable from the FT-817 to the Easi Digi interface, just find yourself an old computer keyboard for 50 cents at a yard sale or something with the cable and mini din connector already wired together.

    The quality of most cables attached to these computer keyboards is very good and they are often well shielded too.

    So just cut off the cable to the keyboard and repurpose it for the Easi Digi interface.

    These keyboards use the same plug and they fit into the FT-817 data port.

    Typical computer ports...

    th.jpg

    Typical Yaesu data port...

    897_Data_Port.jpg.cf.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
    W7CJD likes this.
  4. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ok Army Connie, :) here's what I have cobbled together for my portable excursions.

    (Click any photo to make it appear larger)

    The Easi Digi interface is installed inside a garage door opener project case.

    I chose this particular type of case enclosure because it's has an ultra rugged outer shell and it's smaller and flatter than those bigger box shaped electronics project cases. So the Easi Digi interface and cables tucks away nicely directly under the FT-817...
    IMAG1130.jpg
    IMAG1132.jpg
    IMAG1133.jpg

    Easi Digi Interface...
    IMAG1129.jpg

    The shielded computer keyboard cable with a molded mini din plug with strain relief which attaches to the FT-817 data port is shown on the right. For added protection against RF getting into the cables, I added a ferrite bead on both Easi Digi cables and installed black shrink tubing over it to hold it in place.

    Audio in and out cables from the Easi Digi interface for the tablet shown on the left. The red audio plug indicates it's the computer microphone connection which helps to avoid confusion. :)

    You will note I made up the cable so it can also be connected to a laptop or desktop computer too. It's also made using a shielded multi wire computer keyboard cable.

    The usb port external sound card for the Windows tablet is shown on the far left. It's about the size of a quarter. There's a small adapter cable attached which converts it from a regular sized usb to a mini usb as used in smartphones and tablets. This external sound card has a regular sized usb plug and it can also work with a laptop or any other computer too. There's no drivers to install for this usb sound card, it's automatically recognized in Windows just like plugging in a memory stick.

    Everything shown here is really cheap. Probably around $25 for everything including the Easi Digi interface kit.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
    W7CJD likes this.
  5. KD8ZM

    KD8ZM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here is my "hamshack on a clipboard" with battery, ATU, voltage regulator, paddle and radio all velcroed to the clipboard for easy removal. I plan to use it with all items attached to the board, which makes portable operation easy and easily carried/moved.
    portable.jpg
     
    KG5WXW, KC8VWM, KC4DYM and 1 other person like this.
  6. KC3JIN

    KC3JIN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not a bag, but SUPER COOL!
     
    KD8ZM likes this.
  7. KD8ZM

    KD8ZM Ham Member QRZ Page

    It can be slipped into a bag if someone really wants a bag! lol
     
  8. K5DH

    K5DH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Kinda late to the party here, but. . .
    I use a large soft-sided camera bag for my simple (CW and SSB only) portable station. The bag is made for larger SLR-type cameras and accessories. It has reconfigurable partitions held in place with Velcro. It fits easily under even the smallest airline seats. There's room for my KX3, a little switching PS with a 12' line cord, big comfy headphones, miniature straight key, Palm Radio mini-paddles, hand mic, 9:1 unun, wire for an end-fed antenna and a counterpoise, LCD clock, ARRL Mini-Logbook and pencil (remember those?), etc. I only operate where there's AC power available, but if I was going to use a small battery pack for field work, there'd be room for it. I think I paid about $30 for the bag at a local camera store. I thought about using a Pelican or similar case, but they weigh more than my bag and they're not easily reconfigurable. Once you cut the foam in a hard case, you're stuck with that arrangement unless you get more foam.
     
    KF9VV and KC3JIN like this.
  9. KM6KJI

    KM6KJI Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't need a bag if I operate my FT-818ND for two hours or less on a hilltop, as everything needed is carried in the radio itself or its vinyl case - the internal battery, the cw paddle, the telescopic whip antenna and the counterpoise wire. I add the small 3Ah battery pack in my pocket when I want extended operation.
    20190330_200242.jpg
    One thing I like about the FT-817/818 is that with the provided strap and thanks to the thin body it is pretty much a wearable radio, which lets my both hands free. A great pedestrian portable.
     
    KA0USE likes this.
  10. KC3JIN

    KC3JIN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey, very cool. What battery and antenna are those? I honestly feel like trimming those parts of my station will make the biggest difference!
     

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