12v Battery Box for field ops

Portable battery box for QRP operations or drive up SOTA peaks. πŸ™‚

Inspired by a recent article published by Chris VK1CT, I used a $16 plastic ammo box as the container for a 13 volt 8Ah LifePO4 or a 12 volt 9Ah SLA. Both battery types are ideal power supplies for popular QRP amateur radio rigs like the FT817ND.

You may wish to use a smaller capacity battery. There is ample space to accommodate a range of battery dimensions.

12 volt 9Ah SLA with fuse protection
Anderson PowerPole block, Rocker Switch and a 30 volt digital meter
Rear PowerPole pair for connection to a 20 watt solar panel or for powering another external device
Rocker Switch and Anderson PowerPole pair

The rear single PowerPole pair is for connection to a 20 watt, 1.2 ampere solar panel. The solar panel 18 volt supply is regulated to 14.2 volts by an inline LM317T circuit and connects to the battery via the displayed PowerPole and rocker switch.

Inline 1 amp LM317T DC regulator set to 14.2 volts

The $16.00 plastic box is from Supercheap Auto. πŸ™‚

Related posts: SOTABeams 12v 4-way PowerPole and a 4S 8Ah LiFePO4 battery

Last update: 25 June 2019

6 thoughts on “12v Battery Box for field ops

  1. Do you find the digital meter RF noisy?
    I have found some that are extremely noisy, and I put a momentary switch in line to eliminate it, but still provide functionality.


    John M.

    • Hi John, no QRM from the version I purchased. I have previously used a version which incorporates a 5v USB socket. Behind the USB socket is a Buck step down swtched-mode DC conveter which emits a broad spectrum of RF noise on 2m 146 MHz. This 30v meter appears to be ok. The momentary push button switch is a good idea!
      73, Andrew VK1AD

  2. Nice box Andrew! Good move with the LiFePO4 batteries. I am replaced by lead acid batteries in my version of this type of box. I just used it on Field Day here in the States. I operated all day and the battery is still fully charged thanks to the solar panels.

    • Thanks Rick for the feedback. I enjoy constructing practical solutions for use in the AR hobby. In addition to the pictured SLA, I have two 8.4 Ah 4S LiFePO4 which are lightweight, have excellent capacity and are ideal for portable work.
      73 Andrew VK1AD

  3. did you use o-rings or anything to seal the penetrations in the box? Any heat build up or do you run it with the lid open? looks nice.

    • Hi Matthew, other than the fittings which have seals, I have not taken any precautions to seal the box. Whilst the lid has an o-ring the Anderson PowerPole connectors are not sealed therefore the box is naturally vented. I don’t anticipate spending too much time in direct sunlight so temperature shouldn’t be a concern. When I activate a SOTA peak I always aim for early mornings or look for suitable shade. If direct sunlight is unavoidable I will limit the activation to 15 or 20 minutes. The climate in and around VK1 is fairly stable. We don’t experience Hurricanes or Tornados and very few floods so I don’t anticipate any problems with the box not being sealed around the Anderson connectors.
      73 Andrew VK1AD

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