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             The HF Portable Group.

Some features on this website are available to members of the HFpack e-group only. HFpack is an international resource for portable High Frequency communications. HFpack provides an exchange for information about transceivers, antennas, systems, packs, and the methods used by HF portable enthusiasts using ionospheric propagation for long distance radio signals.
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Recently, a number of new commercial portable radio carrying pack systems have become available. Several members of HFpack are currently field testing several of the new commercial nylon carrying packs with a variety of transceivers. Visit this page again later for a full report.
The following photos are of different kinds of 
systems mostly developed or used by HFpackers.
You must be a member of the HFpack Group to access the photos:
Click Here for:
Portable Enclosures and Pack Systems
 Click Here for:
Backpacks and Shoulder Packs
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Some FT-817 Pack Systems
Click Here for:
FT-817 Docking Pack Unit

Some Comments and Comparisons:
Manpacks -vs- Personpacks -vs- Docking Packs
Certainly, for amateur Pedestrian Mobile, and travelling Portable rigs, the heavy weight issue can be a major factor in practical use of standard ~10 kilogram (~22lb) mil-type manpacks. The other mitigating factor is the method of frequency selection for mil-type and commercialmanpacks is not optimal for "tuning around" or 
listening for stations in the normalham way. The big advantage of the manpack is ready-to-go rock-solid all weather performance and durability.
The use of an FT-817 as the core module in a homebrew personpack probably combines theconvenience and performance values for those
who are willing to put the effort into making a modularized soft bag package. A small antenna tuner, lightweight Lithium-Ion (or LiMetal or NiMH) battery pack, and 20W linear amplifier can provide a versatile HF SSB portable package. The problem of antenna and mounting for personpack Pedestrian Mobile operation has been solved by the unique MP-1 mount for FT-817 which attaches directly to the 
side of the FT-817 case---providing a stout 3/8-24 thread mount. Some form of the personpack is the most popular current choice for hfpackers. It is usually assembled from various off-the-shelf items. 
Docking Packs
The cost and weight of a professional-looking homebrew aluminum or plastic enclosure FT-817 "Docking Pack" with antenna mount, 
4.8Ah NiMH battery pack, 20W amp, and auto-tuner is similar to that of a ready-to-go commercialVertex VX-1200 manpack. For amateur radio use, the practical versatility and frequency coverage agility of the FT-817 Docking Pack surpasses that
of the VX-1200. The capability to remove the FT-817 itself from the battery/power/tuner module housing,
and use it stand-alone, makes the Docking Pack system a very attractive unit for general amateur operation. The durability of the Docking Pack is somewhat less than a mil-type manpack, but better than a soft case
For the most part, the need for a waterproof enclosure in the field has been solved by utilizing various vinyl and poly bags which are available for kayaking. The capacity for good on-the-air transmit performance of all of the available hfpack systems is similar. It is up to the hfpacker to determine which system suits their purpose and cost requirements.
--Bonnie KQ6XA
Vertex VX-1200 manpack. (access by members-only)