I was asked by Lost Patrol about a list of items to get in order for him to be squared away with his commo setup. Specifically he was asking about CB gear, small alternate-power setups, and Anderson PowerPoles. An emphasis was placed on local sources when available, enabling the purchase of items with anonymous cash.
Mobile CB and Antenna
My recommendations were either a Cobra 148 or Uniden/President series with sideband (SSB). For an antenna get either a K40 or Wilson 1000. You can find these at just about any truck stop on the I-80 corridor.
I use GoalZero. They are lightweight, excellent quality, and pretty much plug and play. For low power/QRP use such as with a CB, Yasesu FT-817, or SGC SG-2020 go with a Sherpa 50 or 100, and a Nomad or Boulder panel to solar charge it. Many outdoor/sporting goods stores in Wyoming carry GoalZero products. Another good product is the Windcamp P-Box from Ham Source. It’s a 21AH LiPo battery that weighs in at 5 lbs.
For the Yaesu FT-817, get the Windcamp WLB-817, also available from Ham Source.
For a fixed/transportable setup, get an Optima BlueTop or YellowTop AGM battery. Autozone and other auto parts dealers sell them. Standard car/deep cycle battery charging systems will work on these. Most people on a budget find the solar panels and controllers from Harbor Freight to be adequate for an initial setup. You can always upgrade later.
Anderson PowerPoles are the standard power connector for amateur radio applications involving ARES and RACES. There is always a parts dealer at your local hamfest who is selling them, or you can get them from either Ham Source or Quicksilver Radio.
Wire, Cable, Connectors, and Other Fooferaw
Both Ham Source and Quicksilver Radio are excellent sources for these items if you need to mail order. I have done business with both of these gentleman and they have my recommendation. Locally, your hardware and ag supply stores, as well as Radio Shack on occasion will have a lot of what you might be looking for.
GoalZero – http://www.goalzero.com/
Ham Source – http://www.hamsource.com/
Harbor Freight – http://www.harborfreight.com/
Quicksilver Radio – http://www.qsradio.com/