Andrew Cornwall
Home Page


by Andrew Cornwall
Nova Scotia, Canada

I made this case to hold my Yaesu FT-817ND QRP transciever, Elecraft T1 antenna tuner, and SignaLink USB digital computer interface. The objectives of the project were to:
  1. have an integrated, portable rig that was ready for voice (and CW) and digital contacts

  2. be small enough to fit in a knapsack, day bag, and airplane carry-on bag - all with room to spare for a battery, microphone, headphones, and wire antenna

  3. protect the FT-817ND and accessories

  4. keep the components connected so the radio is ready for action

  5. secure the rig's power cord and data cable by keeping them permanently in place

The pictures at the end of this artcle show the design and construction details.

The case is mostly constructed of fir plywood: nominally 1/4" plywood for the sides and top of the cover and for reinforcing the base, and nominally 3/8" plywood for the base platform. Actual 3/4" pine board comprises the front and back of the cover. All of the joints are glued and most are also screwed. The component fittings are mounted to the base with 3/16" (No. 12) bolts and nuts. Holding the FT-817 in place laterally are three small angle brackets; one on each side near the front, and one at the rear. Holding the FT-817 to the base are Velcro straps encompassing the radio.

The Elecraft T1 and SignaLink are held onto the base with complementary strips of Industrial Strength Velcro on the base and the bottoms of the T1 and SignaLink respectively.

The FT-817's rear antenna connector is used for HF exclusively. The HF antenna and tuner related wiring (black and with yellow stipe) is RG-174, 50 ohm coax cable. A length of RG-174 cable wound (11 turns) on a toroidal ring (visible in pictures) serves as a common mode HF RF choke. VHF/UHF antennas connect to the transceiver's front antenna connector.

The finished approximate dimensions of the case are:

* Base board
14" wide by 12" long by 3/8" thick except 9/16" thick where there is perimeter bracing underneath for stiffness

* Cover
Outside: 14" wide by 10.5" long by 2.25" high
Inside: 13.5" wide by 9" long (add up to 3/8" for back cut-in recess and 1/4). There is grove at the back where the base slips in, which is about 1/4" deep and 7/16" wide"

* Fully Equipped Total Weight 6.1 lbs

Click on Image for Larger Picture


1. The cable going from the FT-817's data port to the SignaLink was home made from a PS2 plug end of an IBM keyboard cable and the RJ45 plug end of an Ethernet cable.

2. As shown below, but not in other pictures, a wire connects the ground terminal of the T1 antenna tuner and the chassis ground of the FT-817. This improvement was advised by a member of the Yahoo, Yaesu FT-817 Discussion Group. Centering the rear angle bracket holding the FT-817 would have made the wire connection to the chassis ground bolt less crowded.

3. A member of the Yahoo, Yaesu FT-817 Discussion Group suggested I put a cheat sheet for the FT-817 on the inside of the cover. Done. The T1 tuner already has a kind of cheat sheet on the unit.