OK, we are now officially 15 hours away from FPARC’s July Field Weekend and the excitement is bubbling!
Not wishing to look a prize buffoon by rocking up with lots of stuff and finding it doesn’t work, I thought it prudent to actually see if my portable concept worked in the relative safety of the back garden. So, duly equipped with a pair of shorts and Oakley Half Jackets I gingerly transferred my rig to the patio table and started working out what I was going to take with me.
After considerable wrestling with the drivers for my rig-cat cable, reminiscent of my post Rig Cat Problems #3 and forgetting how to use my Elecraft T1 ATU, we finally got there! The next trick was to get this stuff packed down into a portable package.
Now this is a bit of a cheat as originally I was going to build a manpack based around M0PZT’s Porta-Frame which is a very cool idea.
The however comes in that when I priced up all the copper fittings, tubing, brazing torch, solder and flux I’d need to build one, it came in at about £4 cheaper than the FT-817/857 backpack I found on eBay. Don’t get me wrong I was all geared up to build one but here’s the thing. Expensive electrical items, by their very nature don’t take too kindly to moisture and being the UK, we have plenty of that. Just ask your 52″ LCD TV how it feels about standing out in the Great British weather for half an hour and I think you’ll get the idea. The backpack is fold and go, so when the heavens open, we’ve got some immediate protection. Also, the fact it has a ground sheet layer built into it means you can unfold and work without having to worry overly about the dampness of the ground. Everything folds down very cleverly and buckles tight. The storage pockets for cables and bits are a bonus and the rucksack straps make it instantly portable.
As this my first road trip, like any adventure, it’s worth overpacking! With a few elements of redundancy along for the ride my entire portable setup, minus my field mast, is packed in three small bags – an Aldi bag for life, a Bomber Barrel grip (best damn grip in the world!) and my FT-817/857 backpack.
All I need now is my BBQ contribution and we’re there!