Discussion in 'On-Air Operations - Q&A' started by N7NIT, Aug 18, 2020.
Ran this same set-up a week ago, antenna propped up against the fiberglass RV body. G-90, 4:1 Un-Un, 31' ant.
I had great results with rag chew QSO's and CW net ck in's on 30-40-80 and Even 160! 160m activity @ 4AM edt.
Yes, we all know you cannot work 160m effectively using only a short 31' antenna and only 20 watts of CW!
But, I did just that and I had fun...
You only need to try to get any results, either good or bad...
KX3, earbuds, KXPD3 paddles all fit in an 1150 Pelican box. EFHW wire antenna cut for CW end of 20 m, 20 ft carbon-fiber mast (in case there are no trees), and 10 Ah lithium battery pack (so the KX3 will run at 10-12 watts.) This is what I use for an afternoon at a park.
If I'm PRP (Portable at a Rental Property -- my new term), I include the PX3, better keys and a 40m/20m antenna, so I can change to 40m for evening. I also bring a couple of different ways to mount the mast to a deck railing. And blue tape to seal the sliding glass door or window where I ran the coax thru.
I have a new MLA, but I haven't tested it much. I might take it along on portable operations, too, as an alternative to rigging a wire antenna if there just isn't any way to rig one, even with a mast.
I read a few "horror stories" about what can happen to a MLA if the wind picks up suddenly and you have it mounted to a tripod. I got a "tripod stabilizer", which is just a triangle of nylon pack cloth that can be clipped to the tripod's legs, around half way down each leg. You can put 20 lbs of rocks on that to lower the center of gravity. Or, if you are at a beach, take a couple of small stuff bags and fill them with sand.
If I take the MLA for a SOTA outing, I will probably use the little SuperAntenna tripod with guylines, as a full-size camera tripod isn't really something I want to pack. To make this work, I got a 3/8-24 to 1/4-20 threaded adapter from McMaster-Carr, so I can use my home-made MLA tripod adapter with the different thread size.
FT891, 22Ah LiFePO4 golf trolley battery, DC meter (unbadged but the same as the PowerWerx item), iPad for logging, 25' RG8X, 35' fibreglass pole, 49:1 transformer, linked lengths of wire to produce a half-wave on 80/40/20 as desired, reusable cable ties for wire fixing, ratchet straps for fixing the pole to a support, two "pound shop" 6'x3' groundsheets, 10'x10' tarpaulin and some tent pegs and some lengths of paracord and fishing line. The battery will allow a whole day's operating at 50W and it will still be good for several hours at 100W. All of that fits in a 55 litre backpack with room for a couple of layers extra clothing. Optional extras are a my Rigexpert analyser (I don't operate from home, so if I want to experiment I have to do it on location), bivvy bag and/or quilt, beer. I usually operate from 2 spots, both of which have got fibreglass army surplus 4' poles which slot together stashed for holding up the far end of the wire at 20' as an inverted-L or for holding the tarp up if needed.
I have two spots I operate from about 30 minutes' walk from home - one on a sea wall with water E/S/W and salt marsh to the N (outstanding location but sometimes very wind/rain-swept and lots of walkers around in good weather) and one in a field (if WX too poor for the sea wall or if it's a time when there will be too many people down there). I often start off in the field in the afternoon and move down to the sea in the evening. I am still estimating the difference in DX signal reports between the two locations, about half a mile apart, both at sea level, using identical antennas, but it is clearly at least 2 S-points in favour of the "salt-water linear".
Depends on my mood... Obviously not all of this at the same time.
Could be any of several rigs, KX2, FT818, or TS480; sometimes Hardrock 50. Built in batteries, maybe 7A 12V SLA, or Group 27 AGM SLA;. Sometimes 20w solar panel and Buddypole charge controller (excellent!).
Antennas including Alexloop, MP1 including my Frankenstein mods for it, MFJ hamsticks for each band, triple magnet magmount. 70ft? wire EFHW thru MFJ 949 tuner, various dipoles. Cushcraft 3el for 6m (terrible), unknown HO loop for 6m (excellent). Other yagis for 2m and up...
I do POTA and WWFF. FT-891, LDG Z11ProII, 20AH LiFePo battery, and my key/paddle of choice. Antennas vary depending on local conditions. Here in CT we can't legally hang wires from trees (or we shouldn't) in state parks. I have ham sticks for mounting on the car with a quad mag mount (work best for 10-30m, less good on 40, and lousy on 80m). Also Wolf River Coil TIA SB1000 for use on the vehicle, or on a tripod on the ground. 12m Spiderpole for supporting all sorts of antennas; dipoles, verticals, random wires, EFHW, whatever strikes my fancy and again, whatever is suitable for the location. Over the winter I want to build a multi-band vertical with a tapped inductor coil. And a better linked dipole, and, and and ....
I carry a complete tool kit, including crimping tools, coax, 18g wire, and connectors of all sorts because I sometime "invent" an antenna in the field. You may have surmised I'm not hiking out to some mountain top somewhere, operating from my tail gate or a park picnic table.
Spend on average a total of 1 month of every year camping with a travel trailer. I mostly camp in state parks that have electricity, some do not. If I need to run on battery power I have a KX3, K1, Kx1, and a number of other QRP rigs available. If there is power at the site my favorite rig for camping is the Kenwood TS 480s. Most portable operation includes an antenna compromise and for that reason, I prefer running higher power. Why operate with two handicaps? Do what you enjoy. My preferred antenna is a 32 ft wire vertical supported by a fiberglass mast secured to the spare tire mount on the camper.
My typical set-up is an Icom 706 MKII powered by a portable jumpstart battery.
The antenna is usually an 88ft. dipole in an in-vee mounted on one of the MFJ-1910 33ft. telecoping poles.
I use an MFJ-901b tuner. Best darn tuner MFJ ever built.
If you can attach it .... the 901b can tune it!
I also carry a Kenwood PS-40 switching power supply just in case I have electricity available.
The whole station fits in an extra large aluminum work case.
Then I just carry the pole and jumpstart.
I use numerous QRP radios, but my Go To radio is my KX2 on internal power.
I keep the portable station simple. I use RG 174 coax and a multi band RESONANT antenna.
Would I suggest this for everybody? NO ! Before one gets into QRP they better do their research. Talk to someone that does QRP so you can get an understanding of what it's all about and what to expect.
When I use to set up with my FT 897D, I'd only run 50 watts. This saved on draining the battery and is only 3 db down from 100 watts.....big deal !
Again I used only resonant antennas so I could carry with me only what's needed. Coax choice was RG 8X.
Only take what you need. But it's always good to keep some extra items in the trunk of you car just in case. Have an extra small battery? How about extra rope, extra coax and maybe an extra antenna or two. Put the extras in a box by itself and let it in the car.
Don't forget snacks !
If plenty of operating time... Tentec 599AT, power supply, paddle, balun, doublet with twin lead and/or 4BTV vertical with 2 x elevated radials per band.
73, -Bob ah7i