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Author Topic: How elaborate is your portable QRP setup?  (Read 17836 times)

Posts: 204

« on: May 20, 2014, 06:45:36 PM »

So... My first QRP setup was with the HB1B.  I had batteries, external tuner, several options for antennas, the radio, etc.  I really enjoyed my intro to QRP, so I bought the KX3 (and I've since built the SW-20+ and building the NorCal40A).  I liked that the KX3 was setup with a tuner and a key attached.  I still brought an external battery (to operate at 10 watts) and several antenna options.  I set up Buddipoles, Buddisticks, dipoles, and random wires.  I realized I was carrying WAY too much stuff to try and set up a versatile station for all various conditions!

So... I've downsized.  I'm now just taking the KX-3.  I'm using the attached key, and the internal batteries.  I've dialed the power down to 3 watts, and I'm throwing a wire in a tree and using a 16' counterpoise.  It sets up quick, and I had no trouble finding stations to talk to. 

What are others setting up in the field? and how long does it take you to setup?

Scott N6PG

Posts: 159

« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2014, 08:25:12 PM »

I built a 40A. I was able to mount a Lipo inside, can't remember if it's a 2400mAh or 3600 - either way it'll run the radio for a week or two. That was a fun kit.

I have an X1M that I take camping. The gear is a work in progress. I built a really nice tuner that ended up being too big and heavy to backpack practically. I end up taking my old mfj-971, (I guess I just like having a halfway decent tuner in the field).

I have been using sealed lead for power, but am working on a small lithium with a 27W solar that folds down to about 8x11. I'm tired of lugging 8AHr sealed lead around. My antenna gear is on a 8" diameter kite spool ring; one wire at 203', with a 66' counterpoise, (I can use the counterpoise as an EFHW if I want). Wally World sells a set of two curly Q ground stakes - I carry one to screw in for earth ground, er, at least that's what I tell myself.

Setup takes about 30 minutes once I figure out where everything is going to go. I roll up my longwire (20 gauge, teflon coated), on the spool first, with about 100' of 80# kevlar fishing backer permanently attached to the end. Then the counterpoise. First I unspool the counterpoise and spread it close by. Then I attach a 4 ounce lead cannonball weight to the end of the fishing line and toss it straight up over a branch. (longwire only needs about 20' - 25' height, although I shoot for 30'.) Then I just start walking through the trees, tossing my weight. The kite spools are shaped kind of like an automotive rim with one side at less of an angle; I just lay in flat under the first branch and find a couple rocks to lay in the center - unspools on it's own while I pull. Sometimes I think it takes longer to roll everything up than install, never timed it. If I'm in an actual campground, my fellow campers might give me an odd look, but you really have to look to see the wire - they usually glance at the counterpoise if at all. I've set up over the top of empty camps and had people come and go after a night and never notice.

A one quart ziplock baggy holds my paddle and mic, notebook, and assorted jumpers.
I always carry a small kite and extra fishing line with a small homebrew spark gap arrester - One of these days I'll use it, but don't normally set up without cover.

I've thought about building a case that hold everything, but right now I use microfiber towels to wrap everything individually - I'm always using those towel when camping and it allows for a little flexibility with packs. I usually bring my big 65L pack and keep a small day pack stashed in it. It's easier for me to load a bunch of small stuff around my camp gear that to worry where I'll load on a big case of radio stuff.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2014, 08:35:04 PM by KV7W » Logged

Posts: 2100

« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2014, 03:02:23 AM »

Elaborate? not here. I do most my portable ops in Maine so no problem with trees, dead falls or other antenna supports. My set up covers coastal island sail camping, canoe/kayak, and back packing. Rig is either a 20 or 40 meter MFJ Cub, sometimes both with HiPermite filter. Antenna is a dipole pvc center insulator with 2 sets of radiator wires 20/40 m which can be set up in several configurations, feed line is 25 ft. rg-8x. PS is 450 A/H auto jump start battery good for 2-3 days op time, I have small solar panel for extended periods. Cubs need no protective cases, just thrown in my ALICE pack, antenna wires,key,note book, pencils, filter in 1/2 gal zip lock bag. Feed line about a 1 ft. dia. coil fits between ALICE pack and it's metal frame and PS hangs from bottom of metal frame via clips. Set up time averages about 10 minutes and no tuner/balun to mess with. Best part about the whole deal is that I can dry out the Cubs in the sun or near the campfire if they decide to get wet or go for a swim so I can keep operating, I can do the same in a salt water environment but have to flush with fresh water fist.

Posts: 5482


« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2014, 06:32:45 AM »

My QRP pack radio is an ATS3, Elecraft T1 tuner, earbuds, Palm Mini Paddle and antenna wire.  Power is a 9V battery for ~2W out.  It all fits in a small zippered travel case and weighs in at 12 ounces.  Carried separately if needed is a crappie pole antenna support.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM

Posts: 1

« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2014, 08:38:04 AM »

Mine is easy to carry I have a small Laptop neoprene bag, in it I have my 817, couple of vertical antennas with counterpoise, I usually carry a small plastic ammo box with a 9ah battery in it to operate.

Posts: 126

« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2014, 06:33:24 PM »

I don't do the outdoor, portable thing. But, indoor portable, yes. That means my FT-817, MFJ mini tuner, small power supply, straight key, light-weight earphones, coax jumpers in a Pelican case that meets overhead baggage regs. A Buddistick antenna is kept at the other portable QTH. My HW-8, which I use most days, is a bit large for that sort of transport. I keep the FT-817, essentially, for travel.

Posts: 279

« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2014, 07:17:26 PM »

KX3 here also, with a Junker key. If I want to go fast, I just use my AlexLoop,  otherwise I set up a dipole on "my" tree in the park, which takes about 15-20 minutes.
For power, I use the built-in eneloops or an external LiPoFe battery, which gives me the coveted 10W. All in all a simple setup that can be up and running in less than 10 minutes.

Except for the antenna, it all fits in a sort of Pelican case, if I want to. But I do carry it in a bigger bag.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 07:28:02 PM by K7RNO » Logged

NAQCC #6870, SKCC #11131

Posts: 499

« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2014, 09:49:07 AM »

You can't much more simple than this:

Super simple but super efficient for what it is.


Posts: 1561

« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2014, 07:10:16 PM »

I run the gamut for qrp from a monobander for SSB with mic, battery, cable and antenna to a
FI817, T1, Lion battery, and multiband antenna (usually par 40/20/10).

However I can and have added an amp and power for that as well.  When VHF I usually use
a 3 element on 6 and for 2 at least 4 elements or more.  to that add a pole, more cable, guy
ropes, stakes and what not.

In the end it really depends on the mission (trip) and what I'd like to try factoring in where I'm
going (site planning) and available time.  Generally one size is a poor fit.


Posts: 123

« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2014, 12:13:22 AM »

I work portable on my deck using an Icom 703 and W8AMZ G5RV Jr antenna. Sure it's a home station but I have the same fun making contacts as if I went to a top of a hill. The advantage is I get the experience of portable operation for when I do get the opportunity to work real portable. My plan for Field Day is to setup at the end of my drive way and demonstrate Amateur Radio to people who go by. 

Posts: 194

« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2014, 07:18:08 AM »

An IC-703 and a Par End Fed with whatever size SLA is suitable for transporting wherever you go is nice. I can be picnic table portable in about 3 minutes from when I park the car. The painter poles are cheap and can be bungee corded to a sign post, picnic table, tree (saves throwing rope and maybe having the antenna ensnared Vs throwing a wire in the branches). Find a fiberglass one.

Posts: 212

« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2014, 10:45:06 AM »

K2, gel cell battery, external tuner, end fed antenna, telescoping mast,  and box to carry it all in. It's sweet and simple and it works well. The most important thing is the antenna and the more wire, the better it gets out. I avoid the dummy load on a stick portable verticals.
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