Cutting Board Portable

Instead of the “Year in Review” recap that is typical this time of year, how about something different…….

My Top 5 Blogs of 2011

#1  ICCA Board works to kill off CPAg Certification

#2  Combines, Grain Bins, Grain Trucks and Bush Hogs

#3  Harvested Nitrogen Plot Today

#4  Corn Harvest Begins for Some

#5  My New Bag Phone

My Top 5 Categories Viewed in 2011

#1  Cutting Board Portable 

#2  Soil Testing

#3  Field Scouting

#4  Ham Radio

#5  Guns

2011 was a record year for

Almost 27,000 unique visitors who made 77,000 visits this year with 835,000 page hits while they visited.  December, November, September and May were the biggest months for visitors and page content viewed.

Thanks for visiting!  Thanks for commenting!  Thanks for telling your friends about us!

We are going to try and ramp it up a notch for 2012…….stay tuned!


What does your humble farmer, agronomist and blogger do during these downpours and rainy days when the other work is caught up or he is just tired of watching it rain? Well he works on some of the Ham Radio projects he has laying around cluttering up the floor of his office, that’s what!

This last weekend I was running my CAP radios for a practice communications exercise as well as monitoring areal photo recon missions of the flooding at this end of the state. So between radio contacts I gathered up a couple of projects that had been laying here in the floor and got them finished up.

First was the construction of some J-pole antennas for 2 meters and 70 centimeters(440). I need to rebuild my communications array on the top of my tower and the new antennas are needed to replace a broken one and one that needs to be retired. So instead of buying a commercial one for hundreds of dollars, I got out the old pipe cutters and went to work.

Here are a few of the antennas. I ended up making two for 70 cementers and three for 2 meters. The ones that don’t go on the tower will go in my emergency go kit for ARES/RACES. I hope to be able to repair the one I take down that is a dual band 440/2mtr but I suspect it is pretty much done for on 440.

I also took the time to complete another cutting board portable setup for my 2mtr/440 Kenwood. You can read all bout my Cutting Board Portable setup for HF here.

As usual I start with a lexan/plastic  cutting board and an aluminium tool box/brief case.  The cutting board comes from “a large discount retailer” and the case I got at Menards.

I mounted the radio and two speakers for each side of the radio.  Then I added a grounding strap to the radio.  The last bit was to mount the display head to the desk mount and then place it with the cutting board.

The radio will now fit on my desk with my other radios and can be broken down in a matter of seconds and put in the briefcase for safe transport to any location where it might be needed.  This is great for camping and portable operations as well as RACES/ARES activities.

Well anyway, there is a day in the life of a farmer/ham radio operator.

And its raining again……..

I have had time to update my Cutting Board Portable radio setup.  If you followed this over at the other blog, you will know what I am talking about, if not then go here to catch up on what I was doing. 

In order to make the CBP more easily transported and to protect it, I purchased one of those aluminum briefcase type tool boxes from Menard’s to put it in.

The first problem was that the board was a bit  long, so I had to trim an inch and a quarter off one end. 

This made everything fit in the box very nicely.  It is a good fit, it doesn’t move around at all.  I used the supplied foam to hold everything in place when you close up the tool box and carry it by the handle.  Next step is to secure the additional cables and accessories in the top part of the box.

To be continued……..

I got the Cutting Board Portable up and running last week. Have not had time to post pictures or make a report this week.
Pictured at right is the setup, at a campsite at Rend Lake. It works good, reduces time for set up and take down and does offer the portability that I was looking for. I am still in need of a way to transport it though.
That being said, it is now about time to move into phase two and see what we can do with some digital modes using this setup.
As per usual with my setups, I am in a constant state of update as I see things that I want to improve, so stay tuned.

Well got my parts in…………….and it was time to do some work to bring this thing to a close and begin to get ready to test it out.

But after W9FX gave us a class on emergency power with generators and battery backups and inverters, I decided I needed to protect my investment a little better. So this began the hunt to make sure that every thing had a fuse, or two along the way. This is something I have not been very good at up until now.

So I remembered a web page I had visited a long time ago that had a lot of good info on Anderson Powerpoles and I looked it up again. There is was at the home page of KB1DIG and KB1GTR and I found the projects I was looking for to being my quest to be better prepared to go it “off the grid”.

In particular was a project where they had used a battery and a fuse block to provide emergency power. I wanted to do something similar for the Cutting Board Portable, so I went in search of parts. And I found my parts I was looking for at and placed and order and waited. When the parts cam in, I spent my rain delayed weekend at the bench.

I started off with a four place fuse block from WiringProducts as shown above.

I had already made a couple of similar type applications using a cigarette plug and two fuse holders I picked up at Rural King. I used some of the tricks I saw on DIG’s website to make them up. I cant tell you how much I love the Powepoles. I have put them on everything in the shack and now am using them on the farm.

The beginning of the project. I had to shop around three different stores to find the 10-12 gauge female disconnects. Everyone was sold out. Must be a run on them for some reason around here.

The beginning of the project was to set up the output side of the fuse block. I had to make sure that I followed the ARES “standard” for how the Powerpoles hooked up and at the same time how they came off the fuse block.

Then used a bit of shrink wrap to keep things from going sparky and attached the plastic connector holders.

The completed output side of the fuse block.
Side view of the ground and positive input to the fuse block. I used the same 10-12 gauge female disconnect procedure on the input side.
The completed assembly. It is now ready to be mounted to the cutting board. My 857D, Tuner and meter will now plug into this, and will be fuse protected, again in some cases, from the power sourse.
Up next is connecting this to the battery project or the generator. Stay tuned for more info……

Well here is Part 2 of my “Go Kit” radio project, or Operation: Cutting Board Portable. (Came up with that name today, and like the last song you hear on the radio, it stuck in my head!).

Anyway……….When we were last at the work bench, we had finished attaching the radio mounting bracket. Next we mounted the radio and then position the Z11-Pro and marked it.

Then I had to make a decision: Did I want to screw the tuner to the board, in which case if I were to want to use it else where I would have to take it apart to get if off the cutting board, or did I want to mount it in a way that it could be moved if necessary? Answer: Velcro. Yep, had a ton of this stuff left over from mounting my patches and insignia on my flight suit for CAP. So we started on the bottom of the tuner with the fuzzy side of the Velcro.

Using the mounting lines I had drawn in with a pencil, I affixed the “fingers” of the Velcro to the cutting board. But before I did that, I did a test with a scrap piece of Velcro to make sure it would stick to the cutting board. It did!!

Not to dull up your reading, I did the same procedure with the Signalink on top of the 857D.
All this leaves is the grounding, putting Anderson Powerpoles on all the power leads, and mounting up the LDG 857D Meter. Then it will be time to test this out.
Look for more exciting reports in Part 3, Operation: Cutting Board Portable!!!!


I have started on many occasions to build one of these ARES type go boxes for my radio in the event that I would ever get called out for EmComms. Two or three times I have build something that I really didn’t like because it took up so much room and really didn’t suit my thoughts of what would be needed.

So I had an idea for a new “go” kit. This one starts off with a 12 x 18 lexan cutting board and progresses from there. I finally got all the parts that my mind thought I needed to make this work. So here are the results of last nights “step 1”, mounting the radio bracket.
When I get done, I will have the Yeasu 857D, LDG Z-11Pro, LDG 857 Meter, Tigertronics Signalink and a clock with temperature mounted on it. Or something like that.
Phase I Anyway here are some shots that are most likely not QST worthy! I marked and drilled the cutting board for the bolts, counter sunk the back for the heads and then mounted the bracket. I marked the bolts once mounted, disassembled and cut the bolts so they would not stick out past the nuts when mounted (that shot not shown).
Phase II tonight……..Mounting the LDG Z-11 and the grounding strip.

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