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Author Topic: QRP Portable "Bag-of-tricks"  (Read 3034 times)
VE6SZR
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Posts: 15




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« on: April 22, 2010, 09:07:41 AM »

I'd be interested to know what other mobile QRPers are carrying in their (travel) "bag-of-tricks". For example, in addition to the rig, tuner and wire antennas that I may travel with, I also carry a 4:1 balun and wire leads with alligator clips to potentially tune up other metallic objects (such as window blinds) for use as antennas.

So that's the idea.... what do YOU carry along to improve your experience?

Tino, VE6SZR
« Last Edit: April 22, 2010, 09:53:41 AM by Valentino Sarro » Logged
VE3WMB
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Posts: 289




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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2010, 07:47:11 AM »

I always carry a small Altoids gum tin (smaller than the mint tins) containing a spare set of earbud headphones, a couple of small wire nuts, a few spare fuses and some fishing snap swivels. That along with a Leatherman Squirt E4 (has wire cutters, stripper and pliers built in) and some electrical tape is my emergency repair kit.

Michael VE3WMB

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AD6KA
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Posts: 2238




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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2010, 06:03:42 PM »

A very small, cheap DVM. Any Chi Com import for under $5 to check battery(ies) voltage,
jumpers & cables for continuity,etc.

One of those inexpensive multi-purpose fold up mini tool kits from Frye's Electronics. You know, pliers, small hex driver with 10 screwdriver/hex heads, a side cutters, etc. I refuse to take good quality tools into the field. Though I will make exceptions for a knife and a firearm. (Where allowed obviously).

A “Minilog” & TWO pens for logging. (Murphy LOVES pens!) You can get the logbook from ham shops or ARRL for USD $5. Ya know, now that I think of it, a pencil and 25 cent sharpener would do....

I have a quite small Pelican case for my Bencher BY-1.  I just can’t use those small cheesy "plastic & pot metal" sets of iambic paddles. And you can't wrap of $125 paddles in a small towel and throw it in your day bag, though I've seen it done.

Insect repellant.  Anything that’s %100 DEET. Guess that depends on climate & destination!
I love the Sierra Nevadas, though the local park can be fun too. Except for the 8 year old with his middle finger up his nose past the third knuckle bugging you "Whatcha' doin, mister?".

I sometimes take my Elecraft W1 SWR/wattmeter. It’s far more accurate than the “SWR Idiot Lights” on the old style metal case LDG Z-11 ATU. The W1 runs for months on a 9v battery.
(Sorry, guess that counts as radio kit, minus 3 demerits for me)

BTW: I LOVED the Altoids & Earbuds tip, very clever! I'm throwing away my Walkman style headphones! Balun & alligator clips for loading metal objects is a good one too. I once tried to load up the flag pole at the park using RG58 and duct tape, with 3 or four 10' ground radials but it didn't work. Yet. I still have to figure this one out. May try the balun.
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W3JJH
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2010, 07:12:58 PM »

A butane powered soldering iron is often useful.
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AD6KA
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Posts: 2238




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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2010, 07:45:32 AM »

A butane powered soldering iron is often useful.
Hi John:
I've often wondered about those for antenna repairs and last minute changes.
(Once you arrive you realize that you have taller trees, more height & room than you
planned for and wish "Why didn't I bring an XXXX antenna instead??")

I've tried that "solder Match" product....ugh...just don't go there unless you're
soldering togther 24 AWG solid wire, it's dreadful.

Anyway, which one do you use and recommend?
I've seen several and in different price ranges.
Frankly, some of the cheap ones (from Harbor Frieght) only seem suitable
for heating a crack pipe.
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W3JJH
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« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2010, 11:07:47 AM »

I've been using (and am pleased with) a Weller PSI-100.  HRO sells 'em for 69.95.
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VE3WMB
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Posts: 289




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« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2010, 08:05:31 AM »

I'll second AD6KA on the Pelican Case idea.

I use Pelican Cases for most of the rigs that I
cart around.  The Pelican 1120 is a good size for the Elecraft KX1 and the 1200 fits the K1 or FT-817.
For bigger rigs like the IC-7000, IC703/706, TS-50, FT-897 etc the Pelican 1450 works nicely but it
is a bit bulky.

Some people argue that these cases are too expensive, but IMHO they are a lot cheaper than replacing a rig. I dropped my Elecraft K1 in the driveway on the way out to the car a few months back (ouch!) but
there was not one bit of damage done to the rig in the Pelican case.

I have also found that smaller cheaper QRP rigs like the Small Wonder Labs SW40+ will fit into a plastic food container quite nicely and still be small enough to fit into a backpack ... this also keeps the rig dry in the event that you get caught out in the rain while hiking.

Michael VE3WMB

I have a quite small Pelican case for my Bencher BY-1.  I just can’t use those small cheesy "plastic & pot metal" sets of iambic paddles. And you can't wrap of $125 paddles in a small towel and throw it in your day bag, though I've seen it done.
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