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Sadly... no EMP protection here.

Ok, ok, ok. I know. It's hoaky looking. But the cool part is that it works! And quite well to boot. This Radio In A Box or RIAB for short was easy to build out of crud I just had laying around. Yes, the radio was just laying around too. I took it out of my van last summer and it's been in a box ever since. It's an ICom IC-880D. It's a nice radio and perfectly suited for this project.

So, what did I do to make it. Well, unfortunately I had hands in gear before brain and didn't think to take any pictures during the build process to post here. Actually, this project is so simple I can discribe it.

I guess the hardest part of this entire thing was cutting out the white board that goes on top. Getting it to fit just right was a pain. The first cut was intentionally big and then I trimed it down until it was just right - a snug fit. It turned out ok too.

Next, I cut the holes for the speaker, VHF connector and the notches for the fan and cables. Not much to say about. I used double-sided foam tape to attach the head unit to the white board. The IC-880D has a detachable head unit that has magnets on the back. It also has a little metal piece to affix here or there that the head unit can then be attached to. It works great. So, I used the foam-tape to affix the metal plate to the white board and simply let the magnets do the rest. Ba-da-bing.

The speaker is... uhmmm... I know... attached with hot-melt glue. I used some pretty good glue but let's just say I shouldn't leave this in the Arizona sun for long. Otherwise... it should be fine. I used a cruddy computer speaker for my external speaker. It works great for normal environments. I plan to add a mini-jack for headphones though.

Since I plan to use the set up in 5 or 15 watt mode I wasn't too concerned about heat. But never the less, I cut a small square notch (left edge in the photo) in the white board and ducted the radio's fan to the opening. The small notches on the top edge of the photo just give a little breathing room. I'll see how it goes from here. I covered the opening with some scrap black screen. I used the same screen for the speaker. Forgot to mention that.

Now... under the white board exists the wires and batteries. I used military-strength, self-sticking Velcro to keep the batteries in place. They're Velcrod to each other and the bottom of the box. Batteries? Yeah. I used two (but could have fit four) UPS 12 VDC batteries in there. These are expected to work fine for emergencies and should work quite a while if I keep the power down to 5 watts. It's important to know though that since the batteries top off at 12 VDC instead of 13.8 like a car battery I will not be able to get anything close to the rated (55W) out of this set up - even it I wanted to. More on that later.

I also added two switches to the RIAB simply because, uhmm, I like switches. One switch disconnects the batteries from the radio and the other (when used) connects batteries to a charger. The connections for charging aren't shown in the photo... they'll come later after I buy something I didn't have laying around - PowerPole connectors.

More from before... related to the internal batteries.

RIAB was set up to be run from the internal batteries or from an external source. When switched to the external source the internal batteries can also be charged. If you are charging from a 13.8 volt source the radio should be able to put out its rated power - 55 watts

And that's about it. This project took about four hours from start to finish... and looks like it. Baam!

The only thing I have to do now is add and LED or two; because, what's an electronic project without LEDs.


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