Go-Kit - Hamnet KZN
What’s In Your “Go-Kit?”
Portions of this article appeared in ARRL Field Forum,
© 1997-2003 Virginia RACES, Inc.
Nonprofit reproduction is permitted with source attribution,
Ed Harris, KE4SKY, Virginia RACES State Training Officer
M any amateurs carry an HT as part of their daily
routine. Those who do so, should always include
basic accessories such as an extra NiCd pack,
external power cord, some sort of gain antenna,
comfort and safety items “just in case.” All it takes
is your battery to “die” when you need to access
the auto patch to report a traffic accident, get lost
or break down on the road in an unfamiliar place
to fully appreciate the value of being “prepared.”
A minimum “ Go- kit” should sustain a day of
continuous operation and be easily supplemented for
overnight trips. The bare essentials are a 2-meter or
dual-band HT, some sort of “ gain” antenna, auxiliary
power source, writing materials, comfort and safety
items. You can do a lot with a minimum kit, if you
plan carefully. There is risk of not having something
you may need if you go too light, but obvious “ bells
and whistles” should stay home. My “every day” kit,
including a dual-band HT, weighs 5 pounds and is
4”x6”x10,” fits in a waist pack and contains:
The best “ Go-kit” for you won’t fit anyone’s canned
list. Assemble one which fits your routine, experience
and local conditions. Commuters using mass transit
should keep at least bare essentials handy. A larger kit
is practical if you are usually near your car. The trunk
is the best place to store emergency gear because it is
dry, accessible either at home or away and relatively
secure. I have three kits which supplement each other.
My “ every day” kit fits in a briefcase and accompanies
an HT.
A “ backup” shoulder bag in the car provides basic tools
and first aid supplies, some cash, a spare HT, 25w
brick amp, coax, antenna, gel cell battery and
accessories for 24 hours operation. I also carry a fire
extinguisher, first aid kit, blanket, two MREs and a
gallon of water in the car. Two “ evacuation bags” at
home have three days supply of food, water and
medications, a boxed non-spillable AGM deep cycle
battery, battery charger, tool kit, rain gear, clothing,
safety and shelter items.
In rural areas, fire making supplies, pocket knife, map
and compass should be in your kit. In the suburbs,
keep a local street atlas, change for a pay phone and
some emergency cash or credit card. A compact,
sturdy flashlight, extra batteries, first aid kit, extra HT
battery pack and spare eyeglasses are useful
everywhere. If you take require prescription
medications, carry a 3-day supply. On the road also
carry enough cash for a tank of gas, hot meal and a
Dual-band HT in padded belt case.
Copy of current FCC Operating License.
“ Tiger tail” ( counterpoise enhances Tx and Rx of a
typical “rubber duck” by 3 db).
Extra high-capacity (1000 mah) NiCd, or backup
AA battery case for HT.
DC adapter & cigarette plug cord for HT
Two extra 2A fuses, for HT cord
Earphone and speaker mike
Spartan pattern Swiss Army pocket knife
Leatherman multi-purpose tool
CMG Infinity Ultra LED task light and 2 spare AAs
P encil and pocket note pad
Emergency gas/phone/meal money ($20 bill, $6
quarters + five dimes in 35mm film can).
SO-239 to male-BNC adapter to fit HT to mobile
antenna coax and female BNC to SO-239 to fit HT
gain antenna to jumper.
8 ft. RG8-X jumper w/BHC male and female
connectors to raise and extend HT antenna.
Spare eye glasses of current prescription.
Band aids, baby wipes and sunscreen
P ocket sewing kit, matches
Small pocket compass
Operating reference card for HT
RACES phone and frequency card
Repeater auto patch and control code card
The ”Backup Bag” carries “ 24-hour” items in a sturdy
shoulder bag or lumbar pack with carrying strap. Mine
has external pockets marked as to contents. The large
main compartment carries a 7ah gel cell battery and
20w brick amp while other items are packed around
and between them. It stays in the car until needed. I am
trying to reduce it from its 12"x8"x6" size and 18 lbs.
weight. Suggested contents are:
Neck-lanyard pocket with spare car keys,
emergency cash, credit card, long-distance calling
card and RACES ID.
Two sets of spare fuses (2A, 10A, 20A) for HT
cords, FM mobile, HF or brick amp.
Comfort, safety and basic first aid items:
sunglasses, matches, tissues, toothbrush, sun block,
sewing kit, insect repellent, tweezers, band-aids,
adhesive tape, gauze pads, wound cleaning wipes,
latex gloves, CP R mask, etc.
Second, “ backup / loaner” 2-meter HT.
(Accessories interchange with dual-bander)
Spare large capacity NiCd or AA-battery pack, ear
phone and speaker-mike for second HT
Operating manuals for both HT’ s.
**HT Duty Cycle Limits and Brick Amps
Fused DC adapter cords with Molex connectors for
brick amplifier and HTs.
10 ft. AWG10 gage extension cord, with battery
clips, in-line fuses and Molex connectors to power
brick amp and/or HT from a car battery.
Today’ s compact HTs are rated for only 20% duty cycle at
5w output, or 30 seconds transmit to 2 minutes of standby.
Their final power transistors may fail prematurely if
subjected to frequent full power transmissions of several
minutes. When I first got my license, I burned up three sets
of finals during the warranty period of an HTX 202. The
Kenwood TH22 I replaced it with later fared no better.
Compact, rugged, 25-40w 2 meter or dual-band
brick amplifier. - See comments below**.
Gain antenna for HT: (telescoping half-wave Larsen
2m or dual-band Comet CH-722SA ( 2 wave VHF,
collinear UHF), plus tiger tail, throw weight and
cord to pull up into a tree.
HT NiCd and 12V gel cell AC chargers.
One 15ah or two 7ah, 12V gel cel1s to power brick
amp on 10-25w @ 25% duty cycle 24 hrs.
16 spare AA Alkalines for HT and flashlight(s).
RG8-X jumpers, various lengths to total 50 ft., with
soldered P L-259s, and double-female barrel
connectors to connect all.
Adapters: BNC-male+BNC female to SO-239;
BNC-male+BNC female to P L-259; NMO to SO239 adapters plus others, such as SMA and N if
your group uses them.
Cable ties, electrical tape, pliers, diagonal cutters
and multi-bit screwdriver.
Compass and local area USGS 7.5 minute topo map
Two sharpened pencils, pencil sharpener, gum
eraser, note pad, waterproof permanent marker.
ARRL ARES Field Resource Manual
Compact, rugged, flashlight (Pelican Stealthlite),
with extra bulb and extra AA alkalines (above).
Kenwood’ s service center admonished me that I was
exceeding the recommended duty cycle for their HT and
should buy a mobile, which I did. I also sought full-sized,
rugged HTs with adequate heat sink, built to public safety
standards for RACES use and pass that advice along. Unless
you know that your handheld is, limit your use of full power
to short transmissions.
A small brick amplifier is also recommended to provide
better range and signal clarity from your HT. Good
operating practice and maximum endurance on battery power
demand that you limit RF output to the minimum needed to
maintain reliable communication, but the emphasis is still on
“ reliable.” An ideal portable amp for EmCom should weigh
no more than 1.5 lb., provide 10-15w output when driven by
the HT on a low, (battery conserve) power setting and 2545w when driven by the HT at full power from its regular
NiCd battery pack. The amp should not require no more
than 8A current at maximum output, enabling it to operate
safely from a Series 1545, .093 pin Molex connector and
fused cigarette lighter plug. No preamp is wanted, because
preamps FM just increase intermod. It is more important to
buy a rugged, quality amplifier with an ample heat sink than
to seek the smallest “ box.”
Disaster Bags-- are duffels of family survival gear
stored above flood level in your house to shelter in
place which can also be grabbed quickly and thrown
into the car with the backup bag in the car trunk, if
needed. Many hams overlook these, but in a real
disaster, they will be are your most important item.
Each family member needs their own evac bag with
personal medications, warm hat, rain gear, sturdy
shoes, a change of warm clothes, socks and underwear,
12-volt, 8w flourescent or auto backup light bulb
with 10 ft. long, soldered clip leads for attachment
to battery. Adequate light is important for
operating efficiency and morale. A strong, battery
light is safer and more reliable than gas lanterns.
P ropane soldering iron, fuel, and Solder-It Kit.
Leather work glove shells, wool finger-less liners,
wool knit hat, hard hat, wind/rain suit, wool
sweater, insulated safety boots, safety glasses,
reflective vest, extra dry socks and a change of
Tarp, shelter half or poncho
Wool blanket or insulated poncho liner
Two each, message pads, pencils
Grease pencil
2 sheet protectors, 12 push pins.
Vinyl electrical tape for rain wraps, 1 roll
Cable ties, large and small, 1 dozen each
Rubber bands, medium and large, six ea.
Adjustable open-end wrench, 6"x 0-5/8"
Folding hex key set
Lineman’ s pliers w /crimper /side cutters
Needle-nose pliers
Channel locks or Vise-Grip pliers
3-ring binder with phone and frequency lists,
repeater control codes, County disaster plan,
RACES /SKYWARN /NTS scripts and manuals,
topo maps and manual for mobile rig, in weather
resistant portfolio.
Mobile-type, dual-band SWR/power meter
P ocket VOM or multi-meter w/ test leads
Connectors / adaptors including no-solder type
BNC and UHF for emergency repairs
Dual-band or 2m antenna, at least 3db gain, with 50
feet of coax, RG8 or better on reel. Examples: radial
kit and mast clamp for your such as from
www.hamstick.com; compact dual-band base
antenna such as Diamond X-50 or a small yagi such
as Cushcraft 124WB.
First Aid Kit container.
Mess kit, utensils 3 days bottled water and
nonperishable food (which can be eaten cold*).
P ersonal hygiene and sanitation supplies. Good
choices are pre-packaged baby wipes, waterless
antibacterial hand cleaner and paper towels.
flashlight and sleeping bag or heavy wool blanket in a
soft backpack. Store in sturdy, waterproof containers,
with handles, such as metal trash cans, with a 3 day
supply of nonperishable food, water and sanitation
supplies, so the family can take when told to evacuate.
Establish a refuge or safe meeting place within
walking distance of your home, work or school at a
friend or neighbors if family members can’t get home,
or must leave for their personal safety. Arrange with
an out-of-state friend or relative to accept collect calls.
Family members should meet at the refuge or call the
out-of-state contact when they reach another place of
safety. Sew tags in children’s clothing with your
address and telephone number. Label home telephones
with YOUR address to ensure that visitors calling from
your home can tell emergency services where they are.
Install a flashing porch light so that the responders can
find you. All family members must know the
emergency contact phone and address! RACES
mutual aid and rapid assessment
teams must be self-sufficient to
operate independently of local
resources strained to their limits.
The following is a thought
starter for your disaster
Military mast kit; or 3 ft. roof tripod, landscaping
spikes for anchoring, guy ropes and four 5 ft. TV
mast sections.
AC charger for HT NiCds or small gel cells
Two sealed gell or AGM BCI Group U1 (33ah)
deep cycle batteries or one Group 24 (80ah) or
Group 27 (96 ah), automatic, low amperage charger
and UL-listed AC extension cord. ( Schumacher
Electric Corp Model SE-1-12S, from
www.batterychargers.com ).
1 gallon of water per person/day is needed for drinking
and washing. Good emergency foods are canned soup
or stew, beans, tuna, juices, fruits, veggies which can be
eaten cold, or warmed without preparation; also peanut
butter, cheese spread or jam in plastic jars, lots of hard
candy, instant coffee, tea, dried fruit, crackers. Avoid
processed meats such as Spam which are loaded with
salt or fat and hard to digest. Sterno, heat tabs or MRE
heaters are best for warming. Use up and replace
emergency food and water stocks every six months.
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