My daughter’s first portable outing with her early 10th birthday gift and we devised a challenge: Moss Rock Preserve in Hoover, Alabama. This is a unique place to operate from. You cannot run a wire. You can’t molest the trees or bushes. You can’t put a stake into the ground. You have to tread lightly.
So, we took out MARS – the Mobile Amateur Radio Station. MARS is built from a jogging stroller for twins. The advantages of a jogging stroller are 10-inch inflatable tires capable of all-terrain baby strolling. In our case, the babies were a Yaesu FT-897D and a 35ah Chrome SLA AGM battery.
A shelf was made out of 3/4 inch plywood for the FT-897D. The front was affixed using copper straps around the front bar of the stroller. The back of the shelf was cut to length but allowed to free float. When the stroller is at full size, it is supported by the back of the stroller. When you fold up the stroller, however, the back of the shelf drops into the seat and allows the stroller to fold around the radio. The battery is buckled into the back seat like a child.
The antenna is a Wolf River coil TIA (Take it Along) package. The tripod is able to be buckled in between the seats after you unfold the stroller. The cable is 25 ft of LMR 400. Nice and stiff, rolls up and attaches to thehandlebarr on the back of the stroller.
The wires go back and forth between the seats. We also carry a TV tray like little table for the laptop (which rests on the floorboard of the bottom seat during transport) and two mesh chairs. We also have enough carry room for lunch!
Less than 5 minutes from car to portable…. less than 10 minutes setup time. Break down is about 10 minutes and, when we are gone, the site we used is pristine and looks untouched.