Copper frame manpack
A good while ago I decided I needed a sturdy frame for my HF rig and tuner. I was fed up carrying it all separately then assembling it on-site.
So I decided to use readily available copper plumbing pipe and fittings. Here’s the result.
I measured the rig and tuner, and added a bit because I wanted some extra power sockets on the front.
I drew it all out on paper, checked the sizes then checked again. Then I cut all the pipes to length.
I assembled both sides first, then tied them temporarily in place before soldering with a blowtorch and plumber’s solder.
I used a good brand of flux as well. Good flux will ensure good joints. Don’t forget to use wire wool on the copper at the soldering points too.
Once the sides were done, I added the cross pieces and soldered them.
I wanted a couple of handles so I could pull it out of the rucksack easily. These came from a kitchen cupboard.
A plastic base plate in the middle for the rig above, and the tuner below. I left enough room at the back for a 17aHr SLA battery.
Powerpole connectors allow me to quickly swap from the built in battery to my bank of batteries which last two weeks of meduim QRP use.
All assembled and ready to use. In these photos I have a Radio Shack 10m rig, but I have since moved up to a Yaesu FT-817.
It fits in the canvas backpack perfectly and cinches tight with the compression straps. There’s room in the front pouch for the mic and coax and spare plugs go in the lid compartment.
Here’s the manpack being used at summer camp in 2014.
Lots of interest in ham radio from the younglings. I was using a 20m dipole made from steel cored washing line. We were listening to two Australian stations having a rag chew. The kids took some convincing they were in Australia.
Even the rain didn’t stop me.
That’s it, a copper pipe manpack frame for amateur QRP radio fun.