Portable HF QRP - what's in your go bag?

Discussion in 'QRP Corner' started by VK3YE, Jan 3, 2021.

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  1. VK3YE

    VK3YE Ham Member QRZ Page

    This question comes up so often so I thought I'd do a video on it.

    What do you take when you go HF portable QRP?

    Some delight in preparing for every eventuality, taking the lot.

    I go more the other way, taking only as much as needed to reliably get contacts.

    The video is typical for a couple of hours by the beach on a summer's day.

    It might be miserable weather where you are but you can at least dream about
    future activity and what you'd take. Pictures and videos of portable stations
    welcome below!
    MW7OFS, KE8OKM, K1CWB and 1 other person like this.
  2. KC7JNJ

    KC7JNJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a AMP3 817 bag. It has 817 radio, battery, mic compressor, coax, connectors, par qrp triband antenna, coax, paper log book, pen , small tuner, key and apple ear buds. and mic. And I use a 28ft jackite pole as my walking stick.

    Attached Files:

    G0CIQ, W4ZNG and VK3YE like this.
  3. KE8OKM

    KE8OKM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I’m using this,

    I have either my FT60R in a small Pelican case or my FT818/Bioenno 4.5Ah within a Carhart soft “lunch box” for extra protection within the backpack. The smaller opening can be flipped up to allow FT818 to be operated while being shielded from the elements. This backpack has served me well on 80+ SOTA activations. Plenty of room for Radio gear and hiking essentials.
  4. ZL4NVW

    ZL4NVW Ham Member QRZ Page

    FT818 minus built-in battery pack
    MH31 Mic.
    80m EFHW,
    6m telescopic SOTA pole + 3 x guys + 4x pegs
    4-slot 18650 battery holder w/ FT818 connector.
    8x18650 batteries.
    1B4 notebook + pen

    and optionally for non-QRP operation:
    MX-P50M amp
    PTT radio-amp connector cable
    PL259-PL259 patch cable

    All fits in a 240x240x100 padded fabric lunchbag (except the sota-pole)
    W4ZNG and VK3YE like this.
  5. W4ZNG

    W4ZNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Great thread, Peter. There's a similar thread over at https://forums.qrz.com/index.php?threads/portable-operators-5w-100w-what-gear-are-you-using.720524/ but they go up to 100w (barbarians! and yeah, I'm one of them). It's much more interesting to get the weight down with QRP. Here's part of what I posted there, with a bit more detail.

    FT-817nd, SOTAbeams in-line speech compressor, Bioenno 4.5 AH LiFePO batt, LDG Z-817 tuner, . Enough coax and power cables to tie it all together.

    Antennas... Much of the time I'll take an LNR 10-20-40 trail-friendly antenna. Sometimes I'll use a mini-W3EDP (1/4 size of the Zepp variant -- https://coyoteswamp.blogspot.com/2019/08/metering-out-mini-w3edp.html). 17' counterpoise/ground wire to hook onto the tuner for luck. Trees are so abundant here (NW Florida) that I've yet to need a support pole. I'm thinking about an MFJ-1899T for beach operations though. Some braided twine for antenna-raising goes in there too.

    For digital modes, the radio can plug in with a little Linux laptop running fldigi and a SignaLink box. Sometimes I want to go lighter, the 817 works nicely with an iPhone and audio interface box, with a cheap bluetooth keyboard. If I want to go *really* light (or more likely, left a cable at home), I hold the mic to the phone and audio-link things. It takes a lot of fiddling, but it works.

    With the iPhone rig & LNR antenna, the weight is just under 5 lbs, which is 1/3rd the weight of a similar setup with the FT-857d. The laptop and SignaLink add about another 4 lbs. That's light enough for a daypack, especially if it has a foam framesheet. It also works well in with my 50 liter backpack for weekend trips.

    Rite-in-Rain notebook & pen for logging. They go in their own sandwich bag. In fact, everything has its own sandwich, quart-sized, or gallon-sized bag. Kind of a pain when things get windy but worth it when the rain starts.

    Other misc. gear... water bottle or sometimes a 2 liter water bladder. Food for the day. First aid kit and space blanket. (Those last two are super-light, a couple of ounces each, and go with me anytime in the woods.) Trowel, TP, & hand sanitizer. Usually a very light biking shell jacket, even if the weather doesn't seem to warrant it.

    If I'm going for a long weekend, there's usually a 27 watt solar panel and controller in the mix. The weight really begins to stack up there though, and solar's a topic for another thread.

    That sounds like a lot, but really it's not. Most of the time it stays corralled in the daypack so that it's grab-and-go for an afternoon walk. It also makes a nice backup system when going QRO car camping.
    VK3YE likes this.
  6. N3EG

    N3EG Ham Member QRZ Page

    KX2, 1899T, and lunch. The lunch is in a bag; the radio is handheld.
    KU3X likes this.
  7. KU3X

    KU3X Ham Member QRZ Page

    The antenna is a 40 meter half wave end fed and it fits in my shirt pocket along with the Unun.
    The only thing missing are my snacks.

    Attached Files:

  8. WD4ELG

    WD4ELG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Barry, how do you orient the EFHW on 40 for best results? Is it mostly NVIS?
  9. KU3X

    KU3X Ham Member QRZ Page

    NVIS....At times I take along a 26 foot mast, attach the feed point to the mast and the slope it down to a tree, tie off around 15 feet.
    If the band is in passable shap I can work almost anybody I can hear.

    My focus is using a resonant antenna, no tuner needed.

  10. WD4ELG

    WD4ELG Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's what I was wondering about.

    I have used EFHW on 40, and the experience for me is quite varied.

    Here at this QTH, I oriented it vertically...all 64 feet. It shows poor reception on DX WSPR compared to the dipole at 50 feet and the 1/4 wave vertical.

    When I was experimenting/learning back in 2010, I expected the EFHW in this configuration to act like a half wave dipole turned on its side, which is what it is...but I have since learned that the signal is heavily absorbed because one end is so close to the ground (2 feet off the ground). What I really need is the bottom end needs to be 1/4 wave above the earth....which means the top is 3/4 wave above the earth....which is 96 feet at the top...can't quite get that high.

    At my last QTH I had it oriented as inverted L with the vertical end connected to coax at 6 feet above the ground. I was able to hear and work some significant DX from East US to Africa and Indian Ocean. So back then ignorance was bliss because "it worked" but probably only because the coax was the right length. :(

    I "accidentally" confirmed this when I put the 20 meter EFHW in a vertical configuration and raised the top end up to 60 feet with the bottom at 28 feet. With 100 watts one afternoon I worked DS5USH on CW on 20. The install sure looked funny with the coax draped down, but it was a first-call QSO on a quiet band. In the last 20 years, I have only heard HL once or twice from here at either QTH in North Carolina on any band.

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