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Author Topic: "Carry-on" QRP Kit  (Read 4518 times)
K5LXP
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« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2006, 07:19:46 AM »

Skip the ATAS-25.  It's a compromise of compromises (and the buddipole is big $ for what you get).  I also endorse the T1, and the Palm Key paddles for travel/portable operation.  My antenna of choice is a couple 25' of pieces of tan-colored teflon 26ga stranded wire.  Spread them out/up wherever you can.  The T1 will tune and latch, and you're on the air.  The T1 has an optional feature that allows direct interfacing to the 817.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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KC9IMT
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Posts: 48




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« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2006, 08:13:52 AM »

I just wanted to break in here and say thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone for all the suggestions!  If others have ideas or recommendations, I'd really appreciate them, especially about antennas...

I guess I'm also still wondering what the "compromises" of the ATAS-25 antenna are.  All the reviews I've read are pretty good.  What are the downsides of it that you all have seen?
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K5LXP
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« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2006, 08:48:50 PM »

Do the reviews compare the antenna to anything else? If all you have is an ATAS-25, then anything you hear on it is "FB". "I worked upper Slobovia on 5W!  Awesome antenna!"  Thing is, you don't know what you're *not* hearing, or that just about any other metallic object could've done just as good, if not better. The ATAS-25 by design is a pretty inefficient antenna. Now, put a less than ideal counterpoise under it (which is going to be the usual counterpoise you'll use while operating portable), then run QRP on top of that. You'll have enough stacked against you operating QRP portable as it is, then to add an NVIS low efficiency vertical on top of it is the 'compromise of compromises'. An end fed half wave tossed into a tree will be many times more efficient, much less expensive and easy to pack and deploy. Even just a random doublet stretched out will likely beat any heavily loaded shortened vertical (ATAS-25, MP-1, PAC-12, et al). The T1 can tune a pretty wide range and be pretty efficient at it, so wire antennas are my choice when heading to the field. Save the expensive radiating dummy loads for the ones that read reviews instead of antenna books.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13163




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« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2006, 01:27:53 PM »

My portable antenna kit is 25' of RG-174 coax with a center
insulator on one end, and sets of dipole wires for all bands
of interest.  To operate I decide which bands I want to
use, attach the appropriate wires to the coax, and string
it up in a convenient tree, on the roof, or whatever is
handy.  The whole antenna kit fits in a 5" x 3" x 2" belt
pouch with room to spare for the mic, key, cables, rope, etc.
And I leave the tuner home.

Versatile, efficient, and the total cost was $10 or so.

This may not be the best for use from a motel, but if you
are planning to take a tuner along anyway you can use the
wires in other configurations - long wire, loop, etc.  (I've
even used the low band dipoles to make a balanced feedline
when I could get the 20m dipole up higher than my coax
would reach.)  Improvisation is the name of the game.

The drug stores sell convenient dispenser packages of string
for tying up antenna wires, complete with a built-in cutter.
They call it "dental floss".
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K3GM
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« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2006, 05:49:03 AM »

I carry an Icom IC-703 in a yellow Pelican 1550 along with a set of paddles, wire antenna, and a small AGM type ATV battery.  It's totally sealed, small and light enough to carry yet power the radio for hours.  I also bring along a DK9/Kanga collapsable mast in its own carry tube.
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KC9IMT
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Posts: 48




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« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2006, 10:26:32 PM »

Thanks again for all the replies everyone...  One final question, then I think I'm ready to go to the store... ;-)

Has anyone who has traveled with an 817 had problems with TSA with the rig and an antenna, specifically a vertical like the ATAS-25, passing through security?  I always have a copy of my license on me...  I've just read mixed reviews about this topic, so I figured I'd ask myself to see what answers I'd get.

Thanks again all!  73 de W9BKO,
--
-Chris
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W2RDD
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Posts: 191




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« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2006, 02:44:31 AM »

I can only address international flights out of JFK. I was always asked to open the case containing my radio gear after passing x-ray control. They passed the wand thing over it quickly with no problem. No control when I entered the host country.

My Pelican case has the SG-2020, MFJ-971, and no-counterpoise antenna in place for another trip.

Happy travelling.
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W2RDD
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Posts: 191




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« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2006, 03:29:04 AM »

Mean't to add my MP-1 antenna is in a short tube in a non-carry-on suitcase. The small 110/220 Astron PS, and old USN key in the same suitcase. The key could fit in the Pelican case.

I believe you are travelling all carry-on so you have other requirements.
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KC9IMT
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Posts: 48




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« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2006, 09:54:42 AM »

Yeah, that's right...  My goal here is all carry-on.

--
-Chris
W9BKO
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W2RDD
Member

Posts: 191




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« Reply #24 on: July 22, 2006, 01:01:15 PM »

Don't want to run the subject on, but check with your airline-of-choice. Some are getting Very Tough and Enforcing overhead storage regulations. You have probably experienced passengers trying to shove nearly full-size suitcases into the overhead compartment. My airline sent me an e-mail special. Advised that overhead storage is now restricted to the size of my Pelican case, which is fairly small, and a laptop computer...no more.

Of course, you can still crush your coat or jacket up there.

Do yourself a favor and check it out before you turn up at the counter.

73
CL
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K7VO
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Posts: 1010




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« Reply #25 on: July 26, 2006, 11:30:39 PM »

The FT-817ND is a great choice for what you want to do.  I wouldn't want a CW-only rig.  Sometimes it's nice to check in on a local repeater on 2m or 70cm.  Sometimes it's nice to catch a 6m band opening. Sometimes SSB can work just fine at 5W on a wide open band.  17m and 15m when open are especially good for that.  I like CW to be just one of my options, not my only option.

I will join in the chorus recommending the Palm products, either their paddles or, if you like a straight key, their PPK is really, really nice.  For an antenna tuner the Elecraft T1 is the best out there for size and weight.  If you prefer a manual tuner then I'd spend the extra to go with a Mizuho KX-S9 Sky Coupler.  It is smaller and much more solidly built than the MFJ 971 and will tune things the MFJ will have problems with.  The KX-S9 also covers 6m and the MFJ does not.  Yes, the price (aorund $179) will take your breath away but these things are built like little tanks.  The Mizuho tuners can be purchased new from Waters & Stanton in the U.K. at http://www.wsplc.com  I've ordered from them, given a credit card number, and had my product just a few days later.

Assuming you are thinking hotel room portable for at least some of the time I'd carry two antennas:  a length of wire thrown out a high floor hotel room window with a tuner will work better than an ATAS-25.  Some hotels, though, have windows that don't open and very little space to run wire.  If you'll be traveling internationally and using a CEPT reciprocal license remember that some European hotel rooms in major cities are truly tiny despite being expensive and well rated.  One hotel with a wonderful location in Paris immediately comes to mind Smiley  Anyway, for those situations an ATAS-25 isn't a bad choice at all.  There are times you really do need to compromise.  At least the ATAS-25 is sure to get you into local repeaters better than the little whip provided with the FT-817.

Good luck, whatever you choose.  QRP/portable can be a blast.

72/73,
Caity
K7VO
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