Mobile radio choice for portable use

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio' started by KD9MLU, Jun 7, 2021.

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  1. KD9MLU

    KD9MLU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is the FT-991 a good choice for portable operation? I want to take it to my local park and do HF work. I live in a restricted apartment and want to have a go-bag setup for radio work. I wanted an FT-891 but you know the issue with those!!
    Jim
     
  2. KG7WGX

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    As long as you aren't trying to carry it on your back, any of the HF radios designed for mobile use will work fine for portable ops on a picnic table, or out of the back of a SUV with the hatch up.

    "Energy budget" is the problem with running portable. If you want to transmit at 100 watts, even a fairly large battery may only last an hour or so. However, if you spend most of your time listening and only send 25% of the time, the same battery could last an afternoon.

    Look at battery capacity figures (amp-hrs) and divide that number by the amp draw of your transceiver to get a rough idea of operating time. Then, buy a battery which will supply that without a damaging deep discharge.

    A 25 ft fiberglass mast and a wire antenna will outperform anything you mount on a bumper, so I wouldn't look at mobile antennas if you aren't going to be operating while driving.

    Other alternatives are portable vertical antennas like Wolf River or SuperAntenna, and loop antennas. These can be used in situations where you just don't have room to set up a wire antenna.
     
  3. W5ESE

    W5ESE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, this.

    A common problem using "mobile" radios for "portable" operation is that they don't use latching relays for band switching. This means that a continuous flow of current is required just to keep the radio on the band it's set to; not just for transmitting or receiving. If you're hugely serious about portable operation, and not so concerned about having a 100w mobile radio, you could look at something like the Elecraft KX2 or KX3, which do use latching relays.

    Most portable ops (think POTA-type "picnic table portable" operation) scale the battery up and use mobile radios anyway, because the price of the radios is attractive, and they aren't carrying the battery very far. And the radios are a good fit for operating mobile, to boot.

    For SOTA type operation, in which you may have an extended hike (and climb) to the operating point, the KX2 or KX3 or MTR ("Mountain Topper") radios sold through LNR Precision may be a better fit.
     
  4. KD9MLU

    KD9MLU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks KG7WGX and W5ESE for the good information. Your advice is helpful as I am deciding how I want to use a mobile radio. I am interested in a POTA type of use, not hiking or backpacking. I will also set up and take down at my apartment - no place to puta permanent antenna and no room inside to set up a "shack." Your replies are appreciated.
    Jim
     

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