"Portable" operation???

Discussion in 'QRP Corner' started by N3EG, Jul 15, 2021.

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  1. N3EG

    N3EG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I see portable radios in the Swap section advertised with 12" diameter coiled antenna kits, extended handles, Bioennio batteries, vertical antenna tripods, sometimes amplifiers, and Halliburton suitcases. I see photos of operations that look like full Field Day setups posted by portable POTA/SOTA operators. Go kits that make home stations seem haphazard and temporary in comparison. It's hard to find a Xiegu or Elecraft in the Swap section that hasn't been "tricked out" with all sorts of add-ons.

    My question: How is this really "portable" operation? To me, portable means you and a radio that's easy to carry. No external stuff, no suitcases, no ears on the radio case, no excess baggage. Minimalist operation. Grab and go. Wire antenna on an old solder spool or BNC antenna, internal battery, maybe not even an external mic on an Elecraft. I use the same philosophy for photography - micro four thirds camera with a zoom lens and no camera case. For me, I have QRP radios not for the QRP but for the portability.

    Anyone else agree with this?
    G0CIQ likes this.
  2. W1SRR

    W1SRR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It makes no difference to me as this is a non-issue. If the operator wants to carry a boat anchor to a park that is on the operator. If you want to go total QRP and light weight then once again that is on you. Just go out and operate your rig the way you like. Everything is individual preference.
    W2NC, KD2TUD, AE0Q and 14 others like this.
  3. KI5WW

    KI5WW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have no idea why I would care. That’s just me.
    AE0Q, WD4IGX, KA1ZT and 2 others like this.
  4. WG7X

    WG7X Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yet another in the continuing ham radio "Why doesn't everyone do ham radio MY way" drama show?
    KD2TUD, KA0USE, AE0Q and 13 others like this.
  5. KC7JNJ

    KC7JNJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    It is just like overseas travel, roughing it or traveling light have different meanings to different people. For my wife and I if it does not fit in our day packs (that fit as carry ons) it does not go. We travel that way for 6 or 7 weeks. To some folks travel light or a minimalist means a carry on and two suitcases. Same with radio, some people would have a full 20m beam if they could find a way to make it happen.
    N3AWS and KO4ESA like this.
  6. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Portability is in the eye of the beholder. I want a station that fits in my small Camelback hydration pack (battery, antenna, headphones/mic, etc), but I can tote a QRO station to summit if I'm so inclined. During hunting season I hump a treestand and all the gear I need for a day in the woods, the same forests that host the SOTA summits I activate. I go lightweight with the radio gear so I can enjoy the hike. But if someone wants more power or an easier to use station, that's up to them and doesn't impact me at all.

    My current "light and fast" set up is a KX2 with ATU and internal battery, Sony earbuds w/mic, 54' wire, 17' wire, BNC post adapter, and 30' of old fly line with a weight on the end for getting wires up over high tree branches. If trees at my destination are in doubt, I'll toss in my MFJ-1820t whip antenna (modified so I can remove the whip from the coil to pack down smaller). It all fits into this 100oz hydration pack with room to spare for snacks and other sundries:

    ETA: That same kit described above goes on trail runs with me sometimes. I took it out Monday for a 4 mile run in the woods. I stopped about halfway and did a little POTA chasing using the whip antenna. Putzed around on the air for 15-20 minutes, packed it back up, and continued my run.

    G0CIQ, W4ZNG and KO4ESA like this.
  7. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    "Anything further than 500 yards from the car just isn't photogenic". --Edward Weston

    There are different styles of portable operation, and how much gear you feel like taking can depend on how far you have to carry it, and what means of transportation you have available.

    Many times, I've operated "picnic table portable" near my vehicle, using a 25 pound lead-acid battery performing the dual functions of supplying electricity and acting as ballast to keep my antenna tripod from falling over. Other times, I've used AA batteries for power, and thrown an EFHW wire into a tree for an antenna that I can carry in a pocket. It's all good. I like having the ability to travel light, but sometimes I like being able to operate practically forever with a stronger signal. Either type of portable operation can get me far from the noise of the electrical grid, and into beautiful natural areas.
    WD4IGX, W5ESE and KO4ESA like this.
  8. KD1JT

    KD1JT Ham Member QRZ Page

    “Portable operation” is any operation not in one’s home QTH. Rig, antenna, power doesn't’ matter.
    WD4IGX, AB1YW, KG7WGX and 3 others like this.
  9. KC7JNJ

    KC7JNJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    A tree stand on top of a big mountain, you and your antenna at the 100ft mark. That would be fun.
    G0CIQ likes this.
  10. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've considered that. Problem is, I need to be quiet if I'm hunting. Maybe CW would be doable. A Rockmite or QCX Mini, single-ear earbud, and a tiny key should work.

    What's the Q-Code for "hold on, I need to take this shot"? :D

    G0CIQ, KD2TTM, KF9VV and 2 others like this.

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