Battery Box

I’ve been struggling with the Go-Box concept for a while now. I’m trying to balance what I *might* do with what I’m *going* to do. And what I’m *going* to do probably 99% of the time when I’m out and about with HF is operate from my Jeep. That means that I will either be operating off of the electrical system on the Jeep (I have that all cabled up with PowerPoles and everything!) or I’ll be at the tail end of the Jeep with a battery.

Oh the battery. It’s a heavy brick of energy, isn’t it? Weighs more than my rig. And when I put together an Go-Box for the rig, I wavered on what to do with the battery. It’s far more likely that any remote ops or emergency operation will be done on a battery or with generator or available power. So I got modular. I have a box for the radio, tuner, SWR meter, and cables and a box for the battery.

For simplicity’s sake, I grabbed a SLA battery that runs at the right specs for my rig on low-ish power. Then I put it into an ammo case. I had it lying around and it’s a good rough and tumble solution. Then I decided to do something more than just wire it up to PowerPoles.

Ham radio is a hobby made of scope creep.

Why just PowerPoles? Why not include a USB adapter? And if you’re going to have a battery, you’ll want to know how much juice it has in it, right? So how about a volt meter? And you can’t have that volt meter just draining your battery, you’re gonna need a switch. And you’re gonna want to put a fuse on that thing regardless of the fact that the rig already has fuse in-line on the power cable.

See? Scope. Creep.

I ended up going to Powerwerx and ordering two faceplates, a volt meter, a USB power adapter that handles conversions, a PowerPole outlet with two sets of poles, and a pretty switch. I tossed a fuse inline from the battery itself for a little extra insurance. What I ended up with was pretty slick.

The inside of the battery box, wires and all.
The inside of the battery box, wires and all.
The panel of the box powered on to show the pretty lights.
The panel of the box powered on to show the pretty lights.

I’ll note that the battery isn’t a great fit for the ammo box, but I had a chunk of foam that I used for the roll bar of my Jeep and I stuffed it in there to keep things from sliding around. It’s a pretty good use of a scrap.

The project ran over budget when I started putting pretty lights on it, but I think that it’s going to more than do the job for power on the go and that will ultimately pay for itself. (If I say that enough, I might believe it, but I doubt I will convince others of that fact).

As a final touch, I recommend putting lots of stickers on the box to make it unique. I plan to finish it off with a stencil of my callsign on the side. But I have to get out my wife’s craft cutter to make the stencils and… I’ve already exhausted my time budget for this month.