Monday, March 25, 2013

HFPack update

Right, this has been sitting in the drafts folder too long. So here it is;

I picked up an ALICE frame a couple of years ago with a large field pack. I got it specifically to build up a HFPack to run 40/20/17/15 meters. Its been a long time coming, but I've made a bit of progress in the last month.

Over the last year I picked up a few MOLLE style pouches. I got these because the are the right size and shape to hold the pair of 7 Amp Hour SLA batteries and the FT857. I wasn't happy with strapping the MOLLE pouches on to the ALICE frame directly. They didn't sit right and moved around too much.

I had done a little homework before I got to this point. I had read up as much as I could on ALICE equipment and lots on MOLLE equipment. There are quite a few backpacks that have the rear face of the pack with the MOLLE attachment area. I wanted to replicate that on my ALICE frame to make it easy to attach the MOLLE pouches. Eventually I found a photo of a sleeve that had the MOLLE attachment area on it. It lead me to a site that had them for sale for less than 100USD. However they did not ship them outside the USA.

So I purchased 10 meters of 1 inch webbing/strap. We had a three day long weekend of 35c, 36c, 38c. I sat in the HAM shack and proceeded to stitch up an adapter. The example I found had a solid canvas backing with the strapping on the back. I couldn't find anything suitable so decided to just use more 1 inch wide strap instead. After 10 hours of stitching, sweating, unpicking, stitching, sweating, swearing and lots of coffee I got to this point, with the loop around the frame and horizontal straps;

Note this isn't the finished webbing, but this is how it attaches to the ALICE frame;

Laying up the pouches everything looked good and I added the vertical straps. At least another 10 hours it looks like this;

I have use two of each of two style of pouches;
- Firstly the pouch that carries the FT857; T.A.S. 3374 Large Pouch
- Secondly pouch that carries the 7AHr gelcell; T.A.S. 036F Full sized Universal Pouch

A shot from the left side of the pack, note the fibreglass poles that need to be adapted for an antenna;

There is more to come. Probably lots more. I've only started tinkering with the power supply harness and coax feed.

73, Kim VK5FJ