Going Lightweight / Extremely Portable. Suggestions?

Discussion in 'QRP Corner' started by KK4NSF, Nov 11, 2016.

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  1. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    A few weeks ago I made the decision to go totally ultra-lightweight with my portable HF QRP.... and last week-end I sold my Icom 703 and it's accompanying clunky power supply, AH-703 antenna and everything else. It all worked just fine, and I made a LOT of QSO's with it, but it was still too.... um.....something for my tastes. Maybe it has just gotten too easy. SO... instead of the IC-703, I'm switching over to my MFJ-9200 with as light/ small antenna and power supply that I can come up with, ( as long as the antenna radiates well).

    Assuming there will be no trees or buildings to hang my antenna on, here's the best plan I've come up with so far:
    MFJ 9200 (since I already own one)
    16' Crappie Pole End-fed Antenna, w counterpoise.... or maybe a dipole
    Tiny straight key
    Some sort of base / support for the pole (guy wires, maybe?)
    Some sort of very small tuner ...so I can work multiple bands with one antenna (I'll probably build this one)
    Some sort of very light, portable, rechargeable power supply. ( probably LiION)

    As you can see, some of the gear is still undetermined. Since some of you guys are old pros at ultra portable operation, what suggestions do you have for the still-undecided gear? Specifically, what ideas do you have for standing up the crappie pole? Do I even want a Crappie Pole? What very small / light balun or tuner do you recommend? and what sort of power supply?

    I'm thinking about using one of those plastic fishing pole holders that screw into the ground for the pole.... and maybe a LiION battery pack, but I'm still not sure about what sort of charger to use. Any ideas or suggestions will certainly be appreciated..... even the semi-crazy ones. One of my buddies recommended a small balloon and a little can of Party Balloon Helium.... and/or a Parafoil Kite when it's windy.

    So... how light have you managed to get an all-up really workable system?
    KD2RON likes this.
  2. KF5FEI

    KF5FEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    We built a lightweight guy ring for a hiking pole or camera monopod (both have 1/4-20 studs on top) to attach a Buddistick to, but you could also strap a crappie pole to it. 3 or 4 lightweight tent pegs and 3 or 4 10' pieces of paracord and you're good to go. You could also make a guy ring for the crappie pole, but it might be more difficult to attach without damaging the pole. They also make some lightweight plastic sand screws for setting up an umbrella at the beach, but they don't work in hard or rocky soil.
    KK4NSF likes this.
  3. W6OGC

    W6OGC Ham Member QRZ Page

    K9CPO, KC3RN and KK4NSF like this.
  4. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    I like the idea of the sand screw. Maybe a guy ring for the crappie pole made out of thin plywood? or maybe one made of wire, epoxied onto the pole?
  5. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

  6. KF5FEI

    KF5FEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think this is the tuner a friend built -- worked well. He connected it to one of those European PSK radios, threw a piece of wire up in a tree, and started making contacts. The Tayloe SWR indicator is great -- I prefer it to a meter when using a manual tuner.

    As far as the guy ring, I'd use some 3/16 aluminum, and make a shoulder for it to rest on, on the top of the first section of the pole, out of several wraps of fiberglass cloth / resin.
  7. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    thanks for the above replies. After some research this morning, I've decided on two possible portable masts.

    1- a 10m squid pole, using guy ropes. A pic of the guy ring I'm thinking about using is below. It doesn't require any sort of modification to the pole. (30ft high, but a bit heavy)
    2- a 16" crappie pole set onto "screw in the ground" fishing pole holder. (shorter, but considerably lighter)

    Either one would be used with a End-Fed Wire antenna w a counterpoise, and a small tuner. If you recall, I did a complete set of tests on end-fed wire lengths a year of so ago, and posted the results here:


    I think I'll test both masts and decide which is best for my uses. So.... that's the antenna portion figured out. Now it's on to the battery.

    Attached Files:

  8. K6GB

    K6GB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Li ion packs and chargers are cheap cheap cheap. I think I paid $20 for a 6800 maH and charger for my MFJ-9200.
    K8AI likes this.
  9. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    My regular vendor for such things (Adafruit) has a number of parts / pieces to choose from, but nothing in 12v. What brand/type are you using?
  10. K6GB

    K6GB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Generic Chinese pack I bought on Amazon it has a switch an indicator led and a coax connector that matched the radio, I think it also had a suitable cable, put it all in a case from Harbor Freight, Thirty dollar tripod from Best Buy and a home brew base load vertical.

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