Ham Radio go box.

Gunfighter14e2

Rusty Nail
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Any one building or have a go box that they use?
Do to the last FTX we did as a group, we have seen a need to remove all vehicle mounted radios, amp's tuners,computers, keys,sound cards ect an keep them in go boxes. Mine is in primer now, will be painted in the AM tomorrow. I should have everything installed, wired an tested late Tuesday. Some may remember how much gear I had in the truck an designing the box to hold an be able to use everything efficiently was interesting. Built it all out of on hand scrap so cost was a none issue. When not in use the box an all required gear will be in a F/cage. It will set an be used on the truck tail gate. Have a tarp that will hook to the topper an provide protection an well as shade. We have decided that only HT's will be used in vehicles, with one always in a cage as well. It's a brave new world coming, train up,... or get caught up,... The choice is yours
 

W54/XM-388

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Interesting.
I was planning on when we get time to put Antenna mounts in my truck and car and mounts to hook up primary radios for use when driving so I can listen and practice. & then disconnecting the radios when not in use. (FT857-D and IC-7100)

Are you talking about only using HTs in the vehicles when there is a chance of the balloon going up because anything hooked up may be EMPed out of existence, or is there a day to day practical reason?

My other plan is to have a backpack / bike cart carry setup so if I have to do the 50+ mile back home, I can check in with folks 50 to 100 miles or more away and see what is going on in the various end destinations (Most likely going to try starting with the FT-817ND and CHA EMCOMM II and LDG Z-817 and Palm Radio PPK key and MFJ-1899T unless I have to lighten the load just have to live with the VX8DR.
 

Sixfivesavage

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It's a shame I have absolutely no idea what you guys are even talking about. its like a complete different language. I admit, I'm woefully unprepared in this department.
 

P-Squared

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I've been thinking about getting together some type of comm gear, but I was thinking of it mounted in my tent trailer. Maybe I need to rethink this. My question tonight is, what bands should I be looking at? Right now, I need to get a license, but if it really hit the fan, for what ever stupid reason, I wouldn't be worrying about if the FCC would find me. Heck, that might be the blessing I was looking for.

Any suggestions are appreciated.
 

Gunfighter14e2

Rusty Nail
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Are you talking about only using HTs in the vehicles when there is a chance of the balloon going up because anything hooked up may be EMPed out of existence, or is there a day to day practical reason?
Both, as we now see everyday normal warnings not be given, do to two different reason's, hence the backup HT in the truck/cares cage. Most of us are within simplex an we have devised a plan for those who are not.

We built an tested hand cranked generators to see if we could do it for one an second to see how much power was required for digital an SSTV. We had over estimated one an under estimated the other, however we had room to spare in the generators as well, as muscle to power. We did study the power usage in depth an decided to make sure all computer battery's be topped off as soon as the radios were shut down.
Next step is redo the H/C generators output so we can charge all computers with same, thinking a simple DC voltage booster will fill that gap. Gay Bay here I come again,..laughing.
 

Gunfighter14e2

Rusty Nail
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I've been thinking about getting together some type of comm gear, but I was thinking of it mounted in my tent trailer. Maybe I need to rethink this. My question tonight is, what bands should I be looking at? Right now, I need to get a license, but if it really hit the fan, for what ever stupid reason, I wouldn't be worrying about if the FCC would find me. Heck, that might be the blessing I was looking for.

Any suggestions are appreciated.
Keeping the radios an related gear in your camper is a none issue, just make sure it's caged to protect them.
For HF bands look in an around the 40 & 80 freqs . Ground wave around 80 is about 75-90 miles depending, Around 40 being good for a 100-125mile radius when in NVIS mode. For short anywhere from -2 meters, to 440+ + with the ability to lock out those who are not within your group, unless they are upper uncle technical, or civi similar. If you doing shoot an scoot stuff make sure you can be up or down in less than 2-3 minutes for or after transmission.
SS or FS/TV is great but at times takes a little more power to send a clear as a bell image if your using that as comms.

The FCC will be the least of your worry, but you have to know how to operate the gear an need to learn everything you can prior to. The best way is get the ticket, work the gear, learn to trouble shoot/repair an make what you need from other peoples junk. Think about what you will say an not say on the air, or how to send a meaningful message to those you know an have vetted, by using different methods while on the air.

Getting the ticket is easy, for if I can do it anyone can,... trust me. Make sure you at least get the general, that will allow you into all the HF bands. The Extra is a little more difficult, but will teach you tons more. I was lucky power generation an board level electronics thereof was my long suite until retirement, Ham Extra took me much deeper. Once the light bulbs start turning for me, they come faster an faster all the time now.
 

Gunfighter14e2

Rusty Nail
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Well box is done, gear is installed. Will complete the wiring tomorrow, but still have to remove some wiring an coax from the truck yet, that will be done AM tomorrow. We have another FTX coming this weekend so interested to see how this base station in a box is going to work out. Lots of stuff in that box. Interested to see if I got the heat an power cal's correct.
 

Gunfighter14e2

Rusty Nail
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For this one none, as this box has the 500 amp in it. The other box with just a 480SAT an sound card for the computer will have the hand crank with voltage booster for computer charging. The H/C gen is 14.9 max but the computer requires 19.4 the H/C's will do both at the same time. Thinking of changing it to foot peddle as we have many who can't keep up very long with the hand crank if we are sending SS or FS/TV which requires up to 50 radio watts out an the computer at near max at the same time.

The H/C's are home built.
 

Gunfighter14e2

Rusty Nail
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Always something ive thought about. How much does it cost to get into this entry level? Nothing fancy.
Just basic entry level for technician license, for a handheld HT (which = handy talky) can be as little as 25-30 bucks for a Baofeng, to the upper end of 500 + bucks for a high end HT with all the trinkets (That most never use) For hardwired into a ride the average is 350 still in the box.

If you move into the General license that can be as little as 250 to get on the air to as much as you want to spend, depending the level you seek.
The Extra can be the same as the general to unlimited. I'm in it to the tune of 20K plus, but that includes Home station an rides both. I know a few guys that have 250K + but they are handicapped an radio is their whole life these days.

If you can tinker an understand a few basic things you can build your own gear or buy broken an repair, even if you have to ask others for repair direction. Everyone in radio asks for direction or has issue understanding something along the way,.... everyone.

The reason I got into it was my back door to the Cell an other worlds went away upon retirement an I wanted a way to gather info if it all went south, Ham radio was it for me. It's very rewarding to me to buy something broken, that they almost pay you to take, an repair it for almost nothing.

Local clubs will help you with most everything you need to get started an many do skeg testing on site. Most all Ham-Fests (radio show an tell/sales) do testing as well. This is a good site to look at if your thinking about getting a license.
 

Gunfighter14e2

Rusty Nail
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Well box is done, did quick test on the gear, fired up 20 meters an talk to W1AW being run buy a Husband & his Wife. Going to test a few different bands tomorrow an kick the amp to max to see if any smoke gets released. if all OK then we'll switch to digital then SSTV to make sure all is will. Happy so far, but like anything else, always trying to improve, simplify an make it lighter.
 

Sean the Nailer

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Regarding your 'power generation' and the hand-cranks etc; are you looking at 'foot crank' being along the line of a set of bicycle pedals or are you going all-out and making a 'treadmill' type thing that generates by the belt spinning the motor as opposed to the opposite?

I'm going to assume that you've some sort of moving/flowing water turbine generator going or in-the-works too?
 

Gunfighter14e2

Rusty Nail
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Regarding your 'power generation' and the hand-cranks etc; are you looking at 'foot crank' being along the line of a set of bicycle pedals or are you going all-out and making a 'treadmill' type thing that generates by the belt spinning the motor as opposed to the opposite?

I'm going to assume that you've some sort of moving/flowing water turbine generator going or in-the-works too?
We have many ways of generating, but one needs something that's light & portable, will produce 120-150 watts with only muscle being the prime mover an the ability to retap, or adding a voltage setup for powering/charging battery's greater the 12-14 nom. Most laptop computers require 16-20Vdc an some years ago a company made a DC to DC adapter that stepped up the 12Vdc supply to 15-17 & 20Vdc depending where you tapped it for you plug.
I prefer hand crank as most TX is going to be at 1-10 watts max an even if the radio is in RX all day you can crank for an hour w/o someone falling over. The larger generators are for if when your doing SSTV an mother is being what she can be. Even in digital w/5 watts out given everything that has to work to send your looking at 100 watts of usage to move the 5 watts out. an if you have to crank up the amp an have to run max duty cycle for SSTV your looking at 130 watts for the radio, 700watts for the amp, if a tuner is required just to touch up the antenna thats another 10-20 watts, then add the computer there's another 25 watts sending the photo now the sound card at 5-6 so once you add it all up your at 981 watts of draw granted it's not there long maybe 15-30seconds depending emission mode. Also remember you can't recharge a battery as fast as you depleted it so it's best to do large loads with something other than muscle. The average person can do 20-50 watts of work for an extended time but get much above that an you start weeding out the herd rather quickly. Having many people pulling on the same end of the rope sounds good as long as you can monitor single output as slackers abound.
 
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Gunfighter14e2

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Remember the heavy draw is on the NCS (net control station) an this box is for a complete NCS go station. Once I get it 100% tested I'll do some photos of it fully operational, at a upcoming FTX we are planning now. Might be able to do a short video on somethings so you can see/hear the chatter of the event, but that is contingent on a few things.
 

uffduh

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I’m picturing the front end taken off an Incredible Hulk big wheel!

In all seriousness, Sean beat me to the topic, but I was going to point out the success the ‘bicycles’ that were used on America’s Cup cats to power hydraulics as they found it a more efficient way of powering grinders. Don’t discount wind generation used by the sailing community if you’re somewhere suitable.
 

Gunfighter14e2

Rusty Nail
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We are looking at many things an are trying to chain up Murphy the best we can so if/once it gets real we should have a good head start on many things in our A/O. The FTX's we run allows many different things/tactics to be tested/proved prior to. Many things we have looked at looked good on paper but were a no go once other factors were thrown in. Some things we had doubts about prior to, worked will with just a little tweaking. One of the biggest issues we face right now is fueled, genset noise. Have used whats called Hush Cloth in the past (marine applications) but can't seem to find any these days ( probably do to the lead content)so may have to revert to used carpet an go that route. If it was easy there would be no challenge, but my forehard is leaving marks on the wall these day,..LOL
 
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Sean the Nailer

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Not for nothing, but 35+ years ago I used to have a small 'generator' that ran on the back wheel of my 12 speed bicycle when I rode it. It powered both a 'headlight' up front and a red 'tail-light'. Both were incandescent bulbs. I can just imagine what one would be able to do with LED's etc and a device such as that. In many different fashions. But those little generators are no-where to be found.
 
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uffduh

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Yep, had them too. And baseball cards fitted against the spokes. Most badass SpiderMan banana seat and ape hangers equipped bicycle around! Gotta go, Mom's flashing the front porch lights, must be time for bed!

 
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Gunfighter14e2

Rusty Nail
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Well just checked the RF pattern with the camper hatch up an tail gate down, in a word it now sucks! So it looks like I will have to install some sort of ground plain over the tarp that will cover the rear of the truck while playing radio. I sure as shit don't want to have to use copper mesh, so T&E here I come again. It's always something when you make changes, Prior to on 20 meters I could part the truck any direction w/o major issue. Now it's a straight line from the mid L/S side mount to the R/F corner. Don't think the other bands will be effected that much as they don't depend on the truck body for a ground plain. The side mount used to be the strongest which I used 20 meters on mostly. The truck was facing W1AW yesterday and I never thought anything about it, but this am I went to check in to a National net an found the issue.
 

missed

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My Yaesu FT8800 is in a small pelican case. Power supply, battery charger, 2 10ah lion batteries, rolled up wire, para cord, and a couple pieces of coax. Totally waterproof when closed. It works pretty good. I have wanted to get a small fold up solar panel for it also.
 
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Gunfighter14e2

Rusty Nail
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My Yaesu FT8800 is in a small pelican case. Power supply, battery charger, 2 10ah lion batteries, rolled up wire, para cord, and a couple pieces of coax. Totally waterproof when closed. It works pretty good. I have wanted to get a small fold up solar panel for it also.
Nice set up for a pack, I've you thought about using ladder line?
 

TN_Flash

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Any one building or have a go box that they use?
Do to the last FTX we did as a group, we have seen a need to remove all vehicle mounted radios, amp's tuners,computers, keys,sound cards ect an keep them in go boxes. Mine is in primer now, will be painted in the AM tomorrow. I should have everything installed, wired an tested late Tuesday. Some may remember how much gear I had in the truck an designing the box to hold an be able to use everything efficiently was interesting. Built it all out of on hand scrap so cost was a none issue. When not in use the box an all required gear will be in a F/cage. It will set an be used on the truck tail gate. Have a tarp that will hook to the topper an provide protection an well as shade. We have decided that only HT's will be used in vehicles, with one always in a cage as well. It's a brave new world coming, train up,... or get caught up,... The choice is yours

This is a Commander box powered by Dakota batteries. Radio is a Yeasu 857D. Everything is in a fat 50 ammo can. Unhook antennas, put on the lid and ready to move. I have another case with a tuner, a multiband wire antenna and a 2 meter and 440 ground plane antenna. TOC in a box. I have a throw weight, some 550 cord to hoist the antennas off the ground. Coax for both antennas. This is made by hardened power systems in Franklin Tennessee.
 

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aslrookie

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I just started paying attention to UHF/VHF comms a couple days ago. My background comes from mil days but obviously don’t have access to the equipment anymore.

If an EMP hit, you would basically need your own repeater system to have comms amongst those on the same freq, right? So in other words, only those with repeaters would be able to talk to others and having just a radio would be SOL?

How does the imported PRC clones compare? I’ve seen some straight up military setups with PRC 117s (clones) in vehicles with PRC 152’s and PTT setups
 

W54/XM-388

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This is a Commander box powered by Dakota batteries. Radio is a Yeasu 857D. Everything is in a fat 50 ammo can. Unhook antennas, put on the lid and ready to move. I have another case with a tuner, a multiband wire antenna and a 2 meter and 440 ground plane antenna. TOC in a box. I have a throw weight, some 550 cord to hoist the antennas off the ground. Coax for both antennas. This is made by hardened power systems in Franklin Tennessee.
One question that I wanted to see if you or @Gunfighter14e2 could weigh in on regarding that setup:

It looks like they have it all built into a metal Fat 50 ammo can and it looks to be setup so the inside components are isolated from the side of the can by the plastic spacers.

If you were to sand the top lip of the Fat 50 can till it's nice bright bare metal around say the top edge and a bit down the outside edges, then remove the rubber seal gasket from the lid, sand the lid down a bit and then solder on a wire contact mesh strip into the lid.

Would that pretty much take care of making it a decent EMP cage to survive assuming the can is kept off the ground on something not grounded?
 

W54/XM-388

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If an EMP hit, you would basically need your own repeater system to have comms amongst those on the same freq, right? So in other words, only those with repeaters would be able to talk to others and having just a radio would be SOL?
Your own VHF/UHF stuff can get you a fair distance locally depending on the antennas, without any need for repeaters.

Going beyond a local area, That would be the reason to get your General and practice / have HF radios so you can communicate directly without needing repeaters.
(Once the fields stabilize for long range transmission again).

I'm guessing you may have to have spare antenna kits to put up as the EMP could fry any delicate antennas that are sitting out in the open.

Also it may be nature sending an EMP your way, one of the local guys lost a radio one day when there was an atmospheric discharge a fair while after a thunderstorm had moved past and fried the radio he was using.
 
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Gunfighter14e2

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This is a Commander box powered by Dakota batteries. Radio is a Yeasu 857D. Everything is in a fat 50 ammo can. Unhook antennas, put on the lid and ready to move. I have another case with a tuner, a multiband wire antenna and a 2 meter and 440 ground plane antenna. TOC in a box. I have a throw weight, some 550 cord to hoist the antennas off the ground. Coax for both antennas. This is made by hardened power systems in Franklin Tennessee.
Nice set up, do you digital capacity as well? I got away from the throw weights an went to a sling shot an spinning reel. I carry a NVIS antenna for local HF an a 17' collapsible for 20 meter reaching. For 2 & 440 we use pryme's on the HT's but I put up a 2/440 at 25 foot for local LOS stuff.

(I have not posted my set up as I bought a new to me lathe an have been in the process of a complete cleaning an repainting. It has not been used in over 60-70 years an has just sat. It's basically new as the hand scraping is still on all the ways. There is no wear, to be found anywhere on it but the old lube is hard an all the felts are hard.)
 
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Gunfighter14e2

Rusty Nail
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One question that I wanted to see if you or @Gunfighter14e2 could weigh in on regarding that setup:

It looks like they have it all built into a metal Fat 50 ammo can and it looks to be setup so the inside components are isolated from the side of the can by the plastic spacers.

If you were to sand the top lip of the Fat 50 can till it's nice bright bare metal around say the top edge and a bit down the outside edges, then remove the rubber seal gasket from the lid, sand the lid down a bit and then solder on a wire contact mesh strip into the lid.

Would that pretty much take care of making it a decent EMP cage to survive assuming the can is kept off the ground on something not grounded?
The gasket could stay, but w/o the can sealed, all the way around I see a wave form getting in.
 

Gunfighter14e2

Rusty Nail
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If an EMP hit, you would basically need your own repeater system to have comms amongst those on the same freq, right? So in other words, only those with repeaters would be able to talk to others and having just a radio would be SOL?
You do not "Need" a repeater, as VHF an UHF are LOS(line of sight) + about 10-15% depending. for simplex (radio to radio) you do not need a repeater at all. For areas that are blocked by mother nature a repeater up high can cover a large area. The club I use to be in, has what is called a High altitude repeater that has a 275 mile foot print. I have tripped an talked on that repeater from 274 air miles away with only 5 watts. A repeater is great if "You" control it.

I have not played with any PRC clones, an to tell you the truth would not want one if everything went to shit for a few different reasons. HF digital an your own codes, or simple SS/FS TV would be more secure.
 

aslrookie

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What would you recommend for a comms setup that would be compatible with PTT systems for helmet mounted ear pro?
 

TN_Flash

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One question that I wanted to see if you or @Gunfighter14e2 could weigh in on regarding that setup:

It looks like they have it all built into a metal Fat 50 ammo can and it looks to be setup so the inside components are isolated from the side of the can by the plastic spacers.

If you were to sand the top lip of the Fat 50 can till it's nice bright bare metal around say the top edge and a bit down the outside edges, then remove the rubber seal gasket from the lid, sand the lid down a bit and then solder on a wire contact mesh strip into the lid.

Would that pretty much take care of making it a decent EMP cage to survive assuming the can is kept off the ground on something not grounded?
Yes,,you're correct. There's also a metallic gasket that makes a much nicer and cleaner seal.
 

TN_Flash

Resistor
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Nice set up, do you digital capacity as well? I got away from the throw weights an went to a sling shot an spinning reel. I carry a NVIS antenna for local HF an a 17' collapsible for 20 meter reaching. For 2 & 440 we use pryme's on the HT's but I put up a 2/440 at 25 foot for local LOS stuff.

(I have not posted my set up as I bought a new to me lathe an have been in the process of a complete cleaning an repainting. It has not been used in over 60-70 years an has just sat. It's basically new as the hand scraping is still on all the ways. There is no wear, to be found anywhere on it but the old lube is hard an all the felts are hard.)
I do have digital but I'm very green with digital. At home I have it hooked up to 200' of wire about 25' off of the ground. Talks to Europe in the mornings with ease.
 

Gunfighter14e2

Rusty Nail
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What would you recommend for a comms setup that would be compatible with PTT systems for helmet mounted ear pro?
There are many choices for PPT. The plugs need to be corrcet for your radio/s but most are off the shelf items. I run a Yaesu VX6R that works well but in the group we have all kinds Baofeng's Icoms & Kenwoods being used. Each radio has it's weak/strong points. You just need to go with what fits your needs. I like the VX6R as it can give me many things the others can't.

If this is for SHTF "DO NOT" buy one that is a tattle tale (aka GPS/reporting an most especially if it has APRS)unless you know how to shut it up.
Word of caution on PPT system for SHTF, do not get the small keying, button type, an never use VOX to TX.
 

Gunfighter14e2

Rusty Nail
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I do have digital but I'm very green with digital. At home I have it hooked up to 200' of wire about 25' off of the ground. Talks to Europe in the mornings with ease.
Digital is easy to use once you have the sound card an computer set up. I use the Fldigi program an a SignaLink an it works great, The interesting thing is you can use it as a RF 24/7/365 answering machine as well. With digital you can cut most ears out very quickly, plus if you think out of the box you can cut out even the most experienced as well.
I've a few antennas up as well. For 2-440 a Jpole at 35 foot, 20-10 a Hex Beam on a rotater at 42' $0 is a fullwave ctr fed Dipole 60 is the same an for 80 & 160 I have a fullwave ++ 80 meter loop that is polarized different than most. The QTH has a Kenwood TS 2000 feeding an Ameritron AL80B then to an Amertron ATR 20 tunner. All of the antennas are resonate to it's own band so the tuner is in bypass most of the time. I do NCS duty on many nets but trying to get out of most of it now, as I have to much other stuff on my plate now.
 
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Gunfighter14e2

Rusty Nail
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Yes, assuming both antennas are at about 5-6 foot AGL. However That can quickly change either way base on antenna height, or close in obstruction or reflection items. That is one of the reasons NVIS is such a good investment tool to have in the box. Man portable (depending gig) is somewhat harder, do to short antenna losses on pack radios. However NVIS does not require the near the power to TX like some other antennas. We have done many a FTX in deep canyons an using 1-5 watts digital or CW over rode other signals that were TX'ing 50-100 watts phone at distance, on std field throw up antennas.
 

Sean the Nailer

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So, dumbassed question here, but if I were to have an 'enclosed area' inside my shop that was a 'chain-link-fence' floor-to-cieling-and-the-cieling too.... that wouldn't work because the holes are 'too big', right? To be a "Faraday Cage" type of thing?

(Just think of the 'cage' in the garage on Chicago P.D. where the real work takes place. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa)
 

W54/XM-388

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So, dumbassed question here, but if I were to have an 'enclosed area' inside my shop that was a 'chain-link-fence' floor-to-cieling-and-the-cieling too.... that wouldn't work because the holes are 'too big', right? To be a "Faraday Cage" type of thing?

(Just think of the 'cage' in the garage on Chicago P.D. where the real work takes place. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa)
I'm thinking you could make it work if for example you picked an area and then insulated it from ground and any other contact points, then built your big room cage covered in metal hardware cloth with very fine holes completely surrounding it along with a double door system, and then insulated the inner floor so nothing touched the actual cage and were sure to keep anything from touching the sides of the cage.

But Gunfighter could probably give you a much better idea.
 
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Gunfighter14e2

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Yes the inside needs to be isolated from the cage an the holes in the protection/deflection material have to be small enough that the full wave form can not pass threw w/o hitting the cage protection material. This is one of many place to source material, most everyone is now reverting to 200 mesh 0.002 opening these days, an some are overlaying two layers of the 200 into a 400 mesh pattern for more protecting yet. To me before I'd do two layers I'd just do sheet steel with welded seems an be done with it. Course a lot depends upon how big you need the room vs want. You can stack lots of stuff in a 4x8 or 8X8 (or bigger room).

edit for spelling
 
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Sean the Nailer

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Dammit. Why do I always learn these things, AFTER I've already gone and done something. And then taken it about a dozen steps further. Practically nobody here will understand what I'm talking about, but what I actually AM trying to say, is to learn, research, investigate, peruse, and even explore MORE tangents of a project BEFORE you take on something that is considered 'huge'.

Because once it's done, we're talking Massive machinery/explosives/teams of manpower to tear it all out, and start over again from the beginning.

And that is NOT fun. Plan accordingly. I know what I don't know. And I don't know so much..... that I didn't even know that I didn't know this. (you get how frustrating it is, right?)
 

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Dammit. Why do I always learn these things, AFTER I've already gone and done something. And then taken it about a dozen steps further. Practically nobody here will understand what I'm talking about, but what I actually AM trying to say, is to learn, research, investigate, peruse, and even explore MORE tangents of a project BEFORE you take on something that is considered 'huge'.

Because once it's done, we're talking Massive machinery/explosives/teams of manpower to tear it all out, and start over again from the beginning.

And that is NOT fun. Plan accordingly. I know what I don't know. And I don't know so much..... that I didn't even know that I didn't know this. (you get how frustrating it is, right?)
I'm assuming you mean you already built basically sort of a security room type setup in some area of your shop, of the type usually used to make it hard for someone to do a quick smash & grab of stuff?

In that case, you could probably use the existing frame and then attach standoffs for mounting the finer mesh / plate material and put a big thick insulating mat on the floor before putting the new mesh/plate material down and then putting something over it.

The problem might be the cost of materials to make a very large space a full EMP cage. You may find that having some storage chests for the delicate stuff and remembering to put stuff away when not in use would be more cost effective.

The other issue would be how far away are you from a target rich environment? In the case of a man made EMP, the energy level may be somewhat dependent on the distance and stuff that is unplugged, not cabled up and not powered up may be mostly fine. A natural EMP event may have similar effects.
 
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E. Bryant

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General rule of thumb for RF shielding is that the maximum aperture size should be no larger than 1/20th of the wavelength. So what's the maximum frequency of an EMP burst? Good luck figuring that one out. There are some upper bounds provided by the atmosphere, so figure that it's around 10mm (30GHz), which means that 0.5mm (0.020") openings are probably OK. If you're protecting against higher frequencies than that, you *might* be wasting money that could be spent elsewhere (you also might be smarter than I - we'll figure out who wins this bet sometime in the future).

Layering is very, very good. Let's say that you set up a cage using normal chain-link or chicken wire, and then put your really sensitive stuff in a metal box inside that cage. You've picked up a substantial amount of additional shielding at lower frequencies, which probably where the majority of the energy will be transmitted. And at higher frequencies, there will be a directional aspect to the signal, and layered shielding just might be what saves your ass if there is an imperfection in a cage.

I'm not sure that grounded vs. ungrounded matters for E1. I'd be willing to be taken to school on this point, but it shouldn't be a concern for anything inside the cage. There may be reason to ground the cage before you walk up and touch it, because I suspect there will be a significant electrostatic charge on any large ungrounded surface post-burst. Remember Van der Graaf generators in high school physics? Yeah, like that, but maybe worse.