I just want to let you know that Elecraft has a limited number of the ES80 cases on sale at half price. They have a slightly crooked logo but I doubt it will be noticeable when the case is stuffed full of gear.
The cases are half price at $35 plus shipping. I ordered mine on Sunday. It shipped on Monday and USPS Priority mail had it in my hands on Wednesday.
You can order it here ES80 K3 Carrying Case. I have no idea how may they have in stock so if you want one you may want to jump on it quickly.
I am still experimenting with how I want to load it out and it is a tight fit for my IC-705 but still I am okay with the way the radio fits the case. As for the slightly crooked logo, I keep staring at it and sometimes i can see it is crooked and sometimes I don’t see it. But when I use a soft padded case like this I stuff it so full that the logo area gets distorted by little bumps and bulges so no one will ever notice. And in case you are wondering I don’t care that it says Elecraft but there is really an Icom inside.
My goal is to come up with a gobag setup that allows me to have a small backpack as a foundation then swap in the radio bag (modular part) that I want to use in the field for whatever outing I am on. I also desire to have each component radio bag fully contained with all I need to use the radio. I like the idea of having in one hand a complete shack setup.
This means that each radio bag has the necessary antennas, cables, batteries, coax, and connectors necessary for operating QRP in the field. It shouldn’t matter if that is on a mountaintop, a park, or in my backyard; I should be able to just grab the radio bag and go. As Thomas has pointed out numerous times, moving items from one bag to another everytime you go out is a good recipe for leaving something at home. And that can mean the difference between a successful POTA or SOTA activation. Even if you just want to play a little casual radio it can be very frustrating to get to your remote location and find out that you have the wrong coax connector for the antenna that you brought with you.
Of course that means some redundancy in equipment as each of my radios that I have for field use have different capabilities and features. This is the ideal setup for me but I also have the backpack which contains added “luxuries” that can be used with any of the radios. It is also setup in such a way that I can drop any of my radio bags into the backpack so that I only have the one bag to deal with.
To fully understand my gobag choices you have to consider the radios I use.
Xiegu X6100 – this is my primary field radio at the moment and is the bag setup that is most complete. And it will be the model that I base the other setups off of. It has an internal battery and pretty good antenna tuner built in. It is 5W on the internal battery and 10W when using an external battery. This is also the only radio that uses a BNC connector and most of my antennas and coax are geared for this radio.
Xiegu G90 – the Xiegu is a 20W radio with no internal battery. So, it requires a different setup from the X6100. It does have an excellent built-in antenna tuner.
Yaesu FT-891 – this radio is a 100W radio and a larger form factor than the X600 though it and the G90 are very similar in size and weight. It doesn’t have an internal battery or tuner. It will require a larger external battery and resonant antennas unless I want to carry an analyzer with me each time.
I am the first to admit that my gobag setup is changing and improving as I learn more and get more field experience with it.
In Part 2 of this blog series I will address my gobag setup for the X6100 as that will be the bag and radio combo that I will have with me most of the time. I will have lots of pictures of the setup along why I made the choice to include each item. In later blog posts I will cover the other radios along with the main backpack setup as well as the special needs components such as chargers that need to go with you on business trips or vacation but are not normally needed in the field; you can’t just ignore the “home based” part of your gobag kits.
If you have any questions or suggestion concerning gobags please leave me a comment.