Watch Justin McAllister’s presentation on simple antennas suitable for a zombie apocalypse and two things will happen: you’ll be reminded that everything antennas do is amazing, and their reputation for being a black magic art will fade dramatically. Justin really knows his stuff; there is no dangle-a-wire-and-hope-for-the-best in his examples. He demonstrates that it’s possible to communicate over remarkable distances with nothing more than an off-the-shelf radio, battery pack, and an antenna of simple design.
Popular Mechanics has a detailed how-to on diy ruggedization of common portable electronics such as laptops, cameras, and cellphones. There is video of a laptop surviving an eight foot fall due to the tennis balls, pipe insulation, and weather stripping they’ve added. Its not just shock resistant, they’ve used a two-part compound marketed for making custom molded earplugs to make the laptop water resistant.
Popular Mechanics contributor [Anthony Veducci] wanted a virtually indestructible video player that he could use anywhere. Not finding a commercial solution, he decided to build his own. He already had a large waterproof case and another for the iPod Touch. The 8″ display came from an iPod accessory. Unfortunately it was developed before Apple implemented their stupid accessory locking, so he had to use an Apple approved video cable through several adapters to get it to work. The speakers were also salvaged parts. The case was assembled using a jigsaw and a whole lot of epoxy. The speaker openings are covered with latex from a pair of gloves and everything is sealed with silicone. We’re usually trying to escape technology when we head outside, but we’ll be looking back at this the next time we need to ruggedize something.