My TS480sat became rather redundant after a couple of years of faithful service, largely as a result of frustration with its tendency to drift when used with digital modes.
But the Kenwood is a good rig, and not one to dispose of lightly. It has remarkably good audio both out to the world and from the internal speaker, which in itself makes it a keeper.
|The basic layout for my box design. The transverse arrangement allows for both good cooling throughput and easy accessory connections.|
The problem with the TS480 is that Kenwood seem to have conceived of it mainly as a car-mobile transceiver, so it's a bit cumbersome, to say the least, to use it as a standalone field-portable unit. If you want to connect digital interfaces, then things become even worse, because the radio body will be so far back that it can't be attached to the carrier.
|There are no base screw holes in the supplied TS480 carrier, so I drilled four on each corner (see text for important comment about this!)|
So, because I operate from windswept beaches where airborne sand is a real problem, I decided to build a box for the darned thing! I used lightweight, exterior grade plywood of 1/4 inch thickness for the sides, with 21mm x 21mm timber to secure the panels and add some stiffness.
The carrier has no base screw holes as standard, so using some standard oil and a sharp metal bit on a slow speed hand drill, I cut four holes. This is perfect, but there is a problem that becomes apparent later - the screws make the side panels bow out slightly when screwed into the wood, so they no longer properly line-up with the 480's screw holes! It would thus be better to make the holes at the base of that 'U' section to the right of the image, and either side of that panel mounting, on the left.
To allow for efficient air throughput to cool the 480, and to permit easy connection of other equipment, I placed the body of the radio lengthwise, with hinged doors to both sides, closed simply by magnetic door fixings, which have an ample 4Kg strength.
Do remember to drill a small pilot hole for all your screws, because if you don't, softwood timber will show a strong tendency to split.
|Use flush hinges to make small doors for air circulation and accessory connection. I put the magnetic latch on the top of the box because it's easier to fit and adjust that way; you can put it inside, for a neater finish.|
The power cables of the 480 are quite long and stiff, and tangle into a mess. So I just tied them up into a bundle, removed the banana plugs and soldered the wire to panel-mount terminals bolted onto the plywood side. I added a third terminal to permit earthing of the rig. Now the rig is entirely enclosed, with only the need for two shorter, more manageable cables to the battery. Remember to use heavy-duty cable of about 25-30A rating for that.
|Banana panel terminals attach to the 480's power cable, allowing the cumbersome wires to stay inside the box.|
I reused the 480's carry handle by screwing it into the box, which works well. If I had longer ones, I would have preferred to us bolts, for peace of mind. A lick of exterior varnish is finally applied, to keep it all neat and tidy.
|Nearly finished! The rear, showing the power and earth connection terminals. Rememeber to fit runners to prevent the connectors being damaged!|
|All done! You could also fix an SO239 panel connector for the antennas, for added convenience.|