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Japan Castles On The Air (JACOTA)

Go Pouch for JACOTA Operations

Greg Cook, JO3SLK

The State of Emergency in Japan has limited my ability to travel and visit castles to operate ham radio, so this month I am writing about a Go Pouch. A compact pouch makes it easier when visiting castles with a lot of steps, a high mountain location or other circumstances that make packing in radio gear somewhat cumbersome.

The Go Pouch

Whether it is for Emcomm operation, or just hiking and camping, a compact “Go Pouch” should be part of every ham’s inventory. There are many kinds of “Go” containers…bags, cases, and backpacks, but I wanted something more compact and something especially for VHF/UHF handheld equipment. A “by chance” discovery at Daiki, my local DIY store, provided the solution.

Inside Daiki, a separate company that seemed to be an “overstock” merchandise buyer and seller had several displays setup selling all kinds of goods…including some nice pouches. They seemed like they were designed for my specific needs in carying my handheld radios and accessories. I bought several, in various colors, but orange is the one that I like the best.

Packed and zipped up, it is light, compact, and easy to carry. You can use the built-in handle or just store it away in a backpack.

This shows just how compact the pouch really is. It is amazing how much gear it will hold.

Pockets for everything

The pouch bottom pocket is big enough the hold a Nexis 7 inch tablet…with lots of Icom software installed to use with the ID-51.

Fully opening up the pouch shows the main section with 3 pockets that hold my ID-51 in the center and a spare battery on each side. The pockets are the perfect size. At the top is a flap with a hook, convenient for hagning the pouch from a tree or tripod, and a small pocker to hold cards and a copy of my mobile license.

Below the main section is another zippered net pocket that holds cables, notepad, pen, connectors, a tablet and other things you use often.

Behind the main section, where the radio and batteries are stored, is another zippered pocket. I use it to hold my speaker mic, charger and whip antenna.

Four colors

I bought pouches in orange, light green, dark blue and grey. I use different ones for different radios.

You might be able to find similar pouches at “overstock” merchandise, military surplus or travel gear stores, maybe even online stores.

Set up and ready to go!

I would normally have the antenna mounted on a mast on the compact tripod, but I can still operate through nearby repeaters just like it is on the ID-51.

VHF and UHF operation at castles

I like to take the Go Pouch as a very portable station when I initially visit castles. It enables me to check for line-of-sight propagation…for possible 6 meter contacts, and for repeaters, both FM and D-STAR. Operating from castles is not limited to just HF and you can meet a lot of nice local hams on the air that you might not be able to contact using HF.

Future JACOTA castle articles

As of June 20 2021, several prefectures here in Japan were still under a State of Emergency (SoE) which includes limits on traveling. The SoE was lifted but a quasi-emergency state is still in effect. We all hope that the COVID-19 situation will improve a lot soon, and so the SoE can be totally lifted. When that happens, and depending on the real life circumstances in Hyogo, Osaka and Kyoto prefectures, I will be able to decide if I can look for the next castle to visit and operate from. I am really looking forward to it, and to take you along.

Until then, 73, take care, and be safe.

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