Mountain Amateur Radio Club
Portable Emergency & Club Station
No "Mouse" of a Station
Photos courtesey of Mike Anderson (WV7T)
The station has been dubbed the nickname of "Mickey" because of its mouse-like "ears" - which are actually wheels - on the top handle enabling the station to lay on its back and be easily rolled into a vehicle for transport.
Sixteen months in the making, our Portable Emergency & Club Station (PECS) was funded by generous donations from numerous MARC members and by emergency communication grants from Teller County. Less than $5 of Club funds were used to build the station.
Mickey's design was developed by our MARC Club Station committee, consisting of Wes Wilson (KØHBZ), Jeff Smith (KBØYCI), Ed Bretag (NØZPX), Ken Lutz (KCØDMY), and a non-ham friend of Wes' named Richard Sloan of Florissant. Richard, with 30-plus years experience as foreman of a sheet metal fabrication company, served as our design engineer and fabricator. His personal commitment and voluntary contribution of time, experience, skills, and know-how were absolutely essential in making our station a reality. We owe Richard a tremendous debt of gratitude for his tireless work, imagination, creativity and generosity!
Our station features an Icom IC-2710H dual-band, dual-VFO VHF/UHF radio capable of cross band repeater operation; an Icom IC-207H dual-band, single VFO VHF/UHF radio with a packet port; a Yaesu FT-847 HF/VHF/UHF multi-mode transceiver; a Yaesu FC-20 automatic antenna tuner; a Kantronics Kam-98 multi-mode TNC for digital operations; a Cherokee CB radio; a Bearcat BCT-7 scanner; and a 42-amp Pyramid power supply. Photo courtesey of Dean Buckhouse (KBØVVA).
The station has nine external antenna ports for quick and easy connection to a variety of antenna systems, an on-board dual-band antenna and scanner antenna, and six speakers built into the cabinet with headphone jacks for all radios. Three completely-contained drawers house mics, keys, cables & accessories; radio manuals, log books, maps & writing supplies; and a laptop computer. Photo courtesey of Dean Buckhouse (KBØVVA).
The two radio shelves, a built-in writing desk, and the three storage compartments are all on high-quality roller gliders, so they can be rolled in and out of the cabinet.
One of the great challenges was to build the station so it would be portable, and yet have the benefit of being completely pre-wired so that it can be quickly set up and made operational. The sliding shelves made the wiring of the station particularly challenging. Endless hours were put in by Dean Haskins (KAØPII), Sid White (K4ARM), Jeff Smith (KBØYCI) and Wes (KØHBZ) to do a neat and clean job of the intricate wiring required within the tight confines of the cabinet.
Another feature, especially important for emergency communications, involves a 120-VAC-actuated relay in the base of the unit. This 30-amp DPDT relay automatically switches the power input source from the AC-driven power supply to two 12-VDC power posts on the side of the cabinet. If AC power fails, or is unavailable, the station can be instantly powered by connecting common automotive jumper cables from a 12-volt battery or connecting to a nearby vehicle.
The unit, which rests on two pneumatic tires, can be easily rolled like a two-wheel cart wherever it is needed using the custom-built handles attached to the cabinet. The flexible pneumatic tires protect the equipment from shock as it is being rolled over rough asphalt or cement parking lots or terrain. Two removable locking panels, one on the front and the other on the back, assure security when the unit is not in use.
Professional reflective copper graphics, which say "Mountain Amateur Radio Club - NXØG - Portable Emergency & Club Station" on the hunter green front and side panels of the unit provide our Club valuable public relations visibility for county officials; representatives of law enforcement, fire and medical services; visitors and dignitaries to the Teller County Sheriff's Office. The beautiful signage was provided by Jeanne Evans-Christianson of Flash Graphics Sign Company in Woodland Park.
"Mickey" remains a "work-in-progress" with some minor details still being worked out, expanded and improved - but with the station now essentially complete and operational, we are just beginning to realize the tremendous potential which this station has for all aspects of our Club and activities.
While it may have come as a dissapointment to some of the members to learn that "Mickey" was actually our new Club Station and not the nation's favorite mouse, members should be glad to hear that there are a lot of benefits that come with the station. "Mickey" will be present at the majority of the hamfests that the club has a table at; "Mickey" provides a vital link in our communications in Teller County during emergencies; members will be able to use "Mickey" during various public demonstrations. Plans are also in the works to allow members to check "Mickey" out for various periods of time in order to take the station home and use it.
Photo courtesey of Dean Buckhouse (KBØVVA)
If you have not yet seen "Mickey" you are certainly in for a treat. Be sure to watch for "Mickey's" various public appearances in the future.