Inspired by P’s radio rack and some of the existing “Manpack” forum threads on ARFCOM and the like, I built a rack for my 857d. Construction material was 1/2″ copper pipe and the base was an old plastic cutting board. It was spec’d for the radio, a tuner and battery. My first time brazing, the box came out a little skew. It’s one of those things you don’t notice unless you built it – but it was there staring me in the eye everytime. The battery was bungee’d in and blocked access to the connectors in the back. In addition, I hadn’t figured on the height of the radio mount, just the height of the radio and tuner and so the tuner wouldn’t fit. The Mod1 pack took up the entirety of my 25l ruck, and wouldn’t fit in my frame pack.
At a monthly get together, I had asked P about his rack and how it was working out. I was thinking about rebuilding my rack with better access to the rear panel. I’m commonly switching between headphones and speakers on the radio, and when running digital to my computer there’s some rigging to be done. I’ve been idly sketching plans and thinking about a better method for making a square rig, and last weekend executed. In the final design I kept the space for the tuner – it does cost size and weight – but now I can run a random wire antenna if need be.
To keep things reasonably square my intent was was to braze the bottom/top and then the T’s that would connect the two sections. I also brazed the back vertical section. The stubs are used at the connector (90* -> Cross T -> Vertical T) heavy sections at the front handles.
Dry Fit before final solder
Final step was the base fit. I intended to use another cutting board, but Home Depot was closer and J had mentioned using a sheet of 8×10 lexan. I drilled the holes for the radio mount, and then sized/drilled/cut/filed slots for the battery. Finally, I riveted the sheet to the frame and mounted the radio and battery.
The tuner will be fixed to the radio using self-adhesive velcro squares. The battery ties into the lexan plate using strips of one-wrap (velcro cable-ties) I’ll work up some sort of a kydex mount for the microphone clip.
In the day pack
In the frame pack
Mod 1 top, Mod 2 bottom