Emergency Ham Radio Portable Go-Kit
Once upon a time, in a department store not so far away, were some lonely Stanley Mobile Work Centers who dreamed of becoming more than just a rolling toolbox when they grew up. Fortunately for one of them, one day a ham radio operator strolled down the aisle and said “this little guy would make a fantastic portable emergency ham radio go-kit!” That ham radio operator bought the Mobile Work Center and took it home to be modified. This is its story…
Seriously however, this rolling toolbox (Stanley Model #01880H) was chosen because of cost and several physical factors. The low cost was a bonus, about $20 at multiple locations including Home Depot and Wal-Mart. I’ve seen this unit offered on eBay for more than twice the price, plus shipping.
Physical factors include being a one-piece molded heavy duty vinyl, not two separate pieces latched together like some of the other toolboxes were. This means the bottom is not as likely to fall off when you pick it up. The attached wheels were heavy duty and the axle was a one piece solid steel rod that ran from wheel to wheel. In other words, the wheels were not simply attached to each side, and thus it would hold up better over the life of the project.
Access to the bottom half was via a sliding front door, very convenient to be able to drop in some batteries and other items as we’ll later describe and show photos of, and close when access wasn’t desired. The heavy vinyl construction was easy to drill with my cordless drill, or cut using a heavy box cutter, when installing items in the side that required holes.
The top half can serve as a toolbox including a parts lid or have room to install a radio and other items. I chose to use it as a toolbox with parts lid for storage, and place my radio(s) outside the unit on a folding table for actual operations. Because the handle to lift the unit, or roll the unit was integral to the lid, and thus only connected via the rear hinge and two front clips, I used a metal carbineer clip to act as a safety clip just in case the clips decided to fail and pop the lid when least convenient.
Okay, now on to the project!
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