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Pictures Of Your Shack/Mobile Setup - Here you can post pictures of your shack, mobile, or portable setup for everyone to be envious of. Don't forget to rate the threads of good setups. Equipment installation questions belong here: Radio Equipment Installation

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Old 03-18-2013, 1:06 AM
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Default My "DIY" PEMS

I'm sure many here have seen the "Portable Emergency Monitoring Station" that ScannerMaster has to offer, and quite frankly, they make it look beautiful...but for the starving college student that I am, the price wasn't something within my reach. However, I wanted to capture the spirit of what they were doing with what I had lying around, and decided to build something myself.

I forewarn any with an artistic eye that I am by NO MEANS a perfectionist. On top of that, I'm legally blind, so sight in general for me is an issue, so if you see minor imperfections here and there, they'll probably be addressed in the future, but I just didn't catch them at the time I took the photos.

I have three scanners
- BC92XLT: Used for monitoring the railroads, weather, and anything that can be still heard with it
- BC246T: Used for monitoring the local 800Mhz public safety system, as well as other VHF/UHF public safety and local utilities
- BCD396XT: Used for monitoring the same as above, but with the addition of the new 700Mhz systems going up here in the next couple of years or so

The main idea is portability - I want to be able to take this with me wherever I go. Having one scanner is usually all I need, but sometimes I like having all of them on hand. Usually when I take them, I just throw them into a bag with whatever batteries I have lying around. This way - everything is together and easy to grab. Also, this is easier to find and operate during a power outage (another reason why I like the idea of PEMS).

Besides the scanners themselves, all I really did here was gutted an old briefcase meant to carry a laptop; drilled holes in three places to place some BNC couplers to join the coax and antennas together; and added some Pelican 1401 foam (which, I didn't realize that the foam would not only be different colors, but also different cuts, even though I ordered the same thing twice).





As you can see, there is storage for the stock antennas, plus a Watson 881 Super Gainer, and an extra set of batteries for each scanner (they already have them installed, so there are 14 total here, but the foam is pick and pluck, so I can just add room for more later). Also, there are some cuts here and there on both the main foam and the panels covering the wires - those are there to allow the case to close without crushing the foam.



Each scanner is pre-wired, so it's just a matter of adding the antenna, and powering up! It's a pretty slick setup.



Now you'll probably notice the foam panels on the upper half are sticking out - I'm not 100% set on how the cables are placed behind them, and I need to make some more cuts, so they probably won't be glued down until I fix a few cosmetic issues.

My plan is to add some laminated lists of what's on what channel and bank, and attach them to the panels by way of some adhesive Velcro, and probably add some small flexible LED lights to illuminate the case. I'm also looking at the idea of some small plastic caps to cover the BNC connectors when they're not being used.

So there ya go - a fun weekend project that didn't really cost an arm and a leg. I may make some changes here soon, so I'll add photos if I do.

Thanks for checking out my DIY PEMS!
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Old 03-18-2013, 1:19 AM
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Wowwww great job looks awesome!!!
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Old 03-18-2013, 2:05 AM
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Default My "DIY" PEMS

Cool. Nice work.


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Old 03-18-2013, 4:05 AM
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Did something similar with a Pelican 1400 case, holding an Icom IC-R3ss, Uniden BC346XT and and old PRO-43. batteries and a 6 volt cig adapter for the Uniden and Icom. Laminated list for the Icom. Uniden used for monitoring WARS EDACS fire in Greater Vancouver. Yours looks great!
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Old 03-18-2013, 9:48 AM
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Good job, it looks cool!
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Old 03-18-2013, 3:50 PM
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thats a damn nifty idea, I like it very much
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Old 03-18-2013, 4:09 PM
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Neat idea looks great!
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Old 03-18-2013, 5:57 PM
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Very nicely done. Looks very professional.

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Old 03-18-2013, 8:35 PM
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Good job, and thanks for the example.
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Old 03-18-2013, 9:06 PM
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Props for doing it yourself and adding your own touch to it rather than buying it for who knows how much off of Scannermaster. It's just that much more fun doing it yourself!

The antennas on top was a creative touch, and the Pelican foam makes it very neat and reduces the clutter.

You know, if you have an iPad or tablet or something (preferably with 3G or LTE access) and even a phone with it (mobile hotspot, anyone?) I am sure you could cut out a spot for it on the top. That would be great for radars and various maps and what not. If you really wanted to rearrange it you could even put the scanners on the top part (on top of where the BNC wires run up) and put the tablet and phone or whatever on the bottom. Up to you, just a suggestion. Also - as for the lights, I can't help you much with that. Probably a battery powered LED strip of some sort would be your best bet. That reminds me, you could probably do a cutout for a flashlight, if you have one!

Last edited by rjk_165; 03-18-2013 at 9:09 PM..
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Old 03-18-2013, 9:29 PM
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This is an amazing idea! Do you know the exact model of the case? If not, can you add the dimensions of it? I would love to do somthing similar and that looks like a good sized case. It would be great for me because I could use it for ARES and have monitoring equipment and stuff all in the one case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjk_165 View Post

You know, if you have an iPad or tablet or something (preferably with 3G or LTE access) and even a phone with it (mobile hotspot, anyone?) I am sure you could cut out a spot for it on the top. That would be great for radars and various maps and what not. If you really wanted to rearrange it you could even put the scanners on the top part (on top of where the BNC wires run up) and put the tablet and phone or whatever on the bottom. Up to you, just a suggestion.
The only problem with this that I can see is when the case is closed, the ipad and scanners will come in contact with eachother and potentially scratch or scuff and what not.
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Last edited by KD2DLL; 03-18-2013 at 9:32 PM..
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Old 03-18-2013, 9:32 PM
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I like it.
You did a very good job, being legally blind it's perfect. I don't see any imperfections, and the others probably don't either. Even you're spelling/ grammar is correct.

I Iike how you placed them and cut the foam. Are the scanners rigid?
Nice install!!
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KD2DLL View Post
This is an amazing idea! Do you know the exact model of the case? If not, can you add the dimensions of it? I would love to do somthing similar and that looks like a good sized case. It would be great for me because I could use it for ARES and have monitoring equipment and stuff all in the one case.



The only problem with this that I can see is when the case is closed, the ipad and scanners will come in contact with eachother and potentially scratch or scuff and what not.
That is true. Perhaps a guard could be placed in between the two when the case is closed? Not sure. However, I'd assume that either the tablet and what not would be anchored into the foam so it wouldn't fall out when shut, and/or the scanners would be deep in enough so that the buttons don't stick up over the foam.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:09 PM
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Default My "DIY" PEMS

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjk_165 View Post
That is true. Perhaps a guard could be placed in between the two when the case is closed? Not sure. However, I'd assume that either the tablet and what not would be anchored into the foam so it wouldn't fall out when shut, and/or the scanners would be deep in enough so that the buttons don't stick up over the foam.
Yeah that's true. Maybe even something as simple as a little piece of thin foam to insert over the iPad could work as well.

I'm looking at making something similar, but maybe not with the antenna hookups. If I buy a pelican case, I would want to keep it waterproof. Maybe make some little metal connectors or something to Velcro antennas to the top of the case. Mine will hold 2 scanners, 2-3 ham HTs, spare batteries and probably a couple chargers
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:09 PM
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Very neat idea and well done!
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Old 03-19-2013, 1:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjk_165 View Post
You know, if you have an iPad or tablet or something (preferably with 3G or LTE access) and even a phone with it (mobile hotspot, anyone?) I am sure you could cut out a spot for it on the top. That would be great for radars and various maps and what not.
About the tablet idea - it wouldn't work where the foam panels are because the case isn't that deep on that side (I think it's an inch or less, actually); I have the coax looped in some areas because I used 3' segments just in case I needed some extra slack, but if I modified it and just had the 396XT and the 246T, I could easily fit my Nexus 7 tablet on the right side (where the 92XLT is) and still have room for the stock antenna and extra AA batteries. If I had the room to do it where the coax is, I'm not sure what it would take to mount a tablet in there...probably something a little more permanent than I would like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KD2DLL View Post
This is an amazing idea! Do you know the exact model of the case? If not, can you add the dimensions of it? I would love to do somthing similar and that looks like a good sized case. It would be great for me because I could use it for ARES and have monitoring equipment and stuff all in the one case.
This is it - and I don't have the exact internal dimensions, but they should be pretty close to what's listed.
CompuCase Aluminum Attache/Computer Case - eBags.com

Also, I pretty much stripped everything out, including the fabric, because I needed as much room as I could get to work the foam in. The Pelican 1401 foam was the closest fit foam I could find that matched the dimensions. I did have to chop it in half and cut about an inch or so on each side, but not too many modifications other than that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScannaMan9 View Post
I like it.
You did a very good job, being legally blind it's perfect. I don't see any imperfections, and the others probably don't either. Even you're spelling/ grammar is correct.

I Iike how you placed them and cut the foam. Are the scanners rigid?
Nice install!!
Thanks for the compliments! The scanners are nice and snug in their little compartments, but there's still enough give in the foam to reach along the sides and hit the function button or control the volume. Also, the coax has enough slack to not get pinched when the case closes, so it moves when you need it to, and doesn't when you don't!

Quote:
Originally Posted by KD2DLL View Post
I'm looking at making something similar, but maybe not with the antenna hookups. If I buy a pelican case, I would want to keep it waterproof. Maybe make some little metal connectors or something to Velcro antennas to the top of the case. Mine will hold 2 scanners, 2-3 ham HTs, spare batteries and probably a couple chargers
That's something to keep in mind - this thing is by no means waterproof (or resistant), so if you're planning on taking it camping or out in the elements, a Pelican case is the better way to go. Now that I think about it, I could probably fashion a rubber gasket around the case to give it some protection.

Maybe I should give it a retractable awning?

Thanks for the compliments, everyone!
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Last edited by PMJ2kx; 03-19-2013 at 1:13 AM..
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Old 03-19-2013, 5:47 PM
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Great work man! Very clean!
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Old 03-20-2013, 5:50 AM
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That is a brilliant idea, executed magnificently!

I take my hat off to you Sir!!

Gathering dust (and the odd daddy long legs spider) in the junk room is a very similar briefcase which has sadly been neglected for far too long.

What a great way to bring it back to life!

The pre-cut foam is readily available and I have some BNC chassis mount connectors in the parts bin.

Your effort is very professional looking, and I wish I had a similar setup to take with me on a recent road trip, rather than just piling a bunch of radios into a plastic crate along with the other accessories.
The only difference I may try is to use to RG-174 coax, which is much smaller and easier to conceal.

I may also try to integrate an iPad into the lid....but using the aftermarket sleeve/case that it is currently installed into.
This also doubles as a stand to use the iPad on a desk if so desired and the cover folds over the screen nicely to prevent scratches.

Again, well done, and you have demonstrated that vision impairment has not prevented you from creating something from your idea!
I just hope you do not mind the copycats from jumping aboard!!

Regards, Commscanaus.

Last edited by commscanaus; 03-20-2013 at 5:53 AM..
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:57 AM
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For a "starving college student" you did very well! Great job!

Mike
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Old 03-20-2013, 2:58 PM
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I think I know why he's starving

But seriously, looks great!
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