So you are putting together a go-kit with a go-kit battery. I never learned to spell very well so maybe you can help me. How do you spell the word F-I-R-E? It can happen to you with the very powerful Lithium-Ion battery technologies available today.
Here is the next question of the day: Do you really want a fire on your next field day? Worse, a fire that nobody can put out but only at-best hold at bay? The obvious answer is a resounding “No” that is impossible to miss. So the next question is: Do you want to take steps to minimize a fire on your next amateur radio field day? Let us assume that your answer is yes. Please read on to some things that you may not have thought about.
Recently I have been preparing to serve as a volunteer with the Chelsea Amateur Radio Club in officiating at the 55th annual Manchester Canoe Race. At this event, it will be necessary to set up a station quickly and dependably but also to break down quickly and dependably. In doing my go-kit refinements I have learned some tricks which I will pass along at this time.
Lithium-Ion batteries are extremely valuable to the amateur radio operator for their massive capacities packed within a relatively small frame and weight. But if in your go-kit something loose floating around inside the go-bag finds its way to the terminals of your battery…you have got some troubles that you do not even want to think about.
Have you considered a go-battery bag for your battery(s)? This is a bag dedicated to one battery with very little (if anything) loose floating around within the bag. Such a bag is shown at left. This particular bag was found on Amazon by searching for something that had the approximate dimensions of the subject battery. I recommend using search words something like “equipment travel carry.” Look for bags that are water-resistant and designed to hold electronic instruments.
In the illustration shown at the left, the battery has been placed inside the carry bag and it can be seen that there is virtually no room to spare. You will not be tempted to store much else in the bag. At least not much else of substance. This bag has some Velcro straps to help hold it in place although in this case it is probably not needed.
The bag’s cover may then be closed and we have a nice carry solution for the battery. It may now be placed in a larger go-kit bag. But more importantly, the battery is very much electrically isolated from the many other electrically conductive things that are certain to be floating around in the large go-kit bag.
Isn’t it nice to be fairly certain that a fire is not in your future come some future amateur radio field day! Won’t you rest easier when you see reports of fires that others have had who were not as careful as you knowing that you will not be named among those foolish amateurs?
And when it is time to deploy your go-kit battery in the field, it is also necessary to do so in such a way that other conductive things, such as a wrist watch band, will not find their ways to bridging the gap between the battery supply pins.
There could be things that you never anticipated falling on your exposed battery. How about perhaps on one particular field day when a violent storm blows through and a metallic tent pole falls across your battery terminals. Maybe another amateur accidentally drops a screwdriver which falls on your battery. The list goes on and on.
But never forget the look of professionalism. As amateur radio operators, we want the general public to take us seriously and not see us as a bunch of hobbyists out for a day of fun and goofing around.
But let us also consider that then you look professional, professional practices will naturally follow and just maybe…if the dice rolls your way…just maybe you will not see a fire that you could have avoided.