Taking Care of Business – a Remote Radio Shack Necessity

Okay folks, while this may be a bit of sensitive subject, I ask you – who wants to contest or chase DX from a Radio Room that is several hundred feet away from the nearest bathroom. On a nice day that round trip takes much more than a quick “comfort break” typically would, and in inclement weather you can add a few minutes to put on your winter gear & boots, take them off at the house end, and then repeat on the return trip back to the shack.

It would seem easy to just run piping to the shack, wouldn’t it?

Well in may case there is a small brook in the way, and the plumber said I would need to dig very deep, then add a lift pump to be able to connect to our private septic system. I didn’t even ask for formal quote when I found the excavation and the lift pump EACH exceeded by shack toilet budget.

The plumber suggest a separate holding tank as an option, which again would be a serious investment.

With directional boring there is fresh water, natural gas, electricity, and a conduit for the internet ethernet fiber with a set of phone lines. Apparently it is hard to directionally bore a sewage line that could be used all year.

So I did some investigating with people I knew were living in difficult places, some which I suspected they couldn’t use a water based conventional system, or couldn’t get a holding tank pumped.

Several folks who ONLY used their non-water-based toilets suggested various composting designs.

What I learned is you have to have a steady usage pattern or the composting part doesn’t work, and some composting toilet designs don’t do well in cold weather. Some require a different solution for different waste as well.

The solution I settled on was a combustion toilet. Years ago I was at a camp that had propane fueled combustion toilets, and surveying the available products I found some LP gas (I have natural gas though), some Diesel fuel powered, and some all electric combustion toilets.

I chose the Incinolet Carefree 115v electric model after comparing my likely use levels against the various models.

Basically you drop a waxed paper liner into the “bowl”, take care of your bodily needs.
Then you “flush” the toilet which basically drops the liner into the combustion chamber, and push the “flush button” which starts the catalytic heater cycle.

Here is the installed toilet:

Radio Room Electric Toilet

A fact about animal poo, like cow pats,  that we tend to forget about is that once they are dried they burn.  In many parts of the work droppings are collected, shaped and dried to make fuel.  When they burn they burn clean enough that people use them in their cook stoves.

Remembering that it becomes a easier intellectual reach to the idea that quickly dried and then burnt, our waste will burn with minimal odor, and it burns away to a fine ash that bluntly reminds me of cremated remains.

Once the combustion tray has a 1/2 of ash, it is pulled from the front of the unit and emptied into the trash.

My best guess based on limited use is the tray may need to be emptied once or twice during a season, based on three people doing long contests every weekend.

Since I split my available time between several hobbies, and almost never have had two additional operators, I think I will have a long period of time before I need to empty the ashes.

A couple details – here is the liner holder with a pack of liners:

Liner Holder


If you were using the toilet as your only toilet you could save a bit of money by fabricating your own liners, but they are cheap enough that I don’t intend to take away from Radio Time by doing arts & crafts.

The “flusher” is a pedal on the right side as you face the toilet and the “fire” button is the black rubber covered one of the back panel:


Side Foot Flush and Combustion Button


I fitted grab bars both sides, as an ulterior motive was I wanted a toilet in the workshop building my father could use when he visits.  Despite being in his 80’s he likes to do the lawn and “putter about.”  So the WC needed to be close to ADA standards.

You can read & watch much more about this solution at: https://incinolet.com 

So far I have not picked up much RFI from the device, but I will be doing more testing down the road.

Thank you hanging in reading what must seem like an odd ham radio posting, but creature comforts for you radio shack matter!




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