In this video, I get a chance to talk a little philosophy while driving to a local park. I then set up my Mountain Topper and SOTABEAMS dipole and work 11 stations… 8 of which were 5,000+ miles away! This will show you that a tiny, battery-powered radio can produce excellent results and allow you to have a ton of fun.
The 3000mAh TalentCell lithium-ion battery provides a 12v DC jack that can be used to power QRP radios in the field (or shack). It comes with a charger and a cable that can be used by most QRP radios. AND IT’S ONLY $25!
Note: There is a general lack of truth about the true voltage of these three-cell battery packs. And the performance varies, based on the quality of the Li-ion cells used to build the pack. The Li-ion internal battery I purchased from Elecraft for my KX2 has 3 Li-ion cells, just like the battery shown in the video. It has a TENERGY-brand sticker and the label says, “Li-ion 10.8V 2600mAh”. These batteries all have an initial voltage that is close to 12v but they quickly (minutes) settle down to 11v. These cells are typically the Li-ion 18650 cells that are 3.7v each. So, it’s a stretch to market them as a three-cell 12v battery pack! But, it’s still good enough for my trail-friendly QRP radios. The 8AA NMH battery pack I’ve been using for my MTR-5B has lower voltage than this $25 Li-ion battery, was a PITA to charge, and weighs 60%+ more. So, this Li-ion battery pack isn’t perfect but I still think it’s a good solution for anyone who wants to power a trail-friendly QRP rig. – Cliff
This weekend I worked some SSB QRP on the hill at Bobcat Ridge. I don’t do a lot of voice-mode QRP since it’s less efficient than CW or one of the Digital modes. Still, I did make several 2,000 mile contacts while running only 5 watts from my Elecraft KX2. The antenna was a SOTABEAMS dipole. All contacts were made on the 20m band.
What you DON’T see in this video are the many, many times I answered someone’s CQ only to have them not hear me at all. This is just how it is when working QRP voice-mode – especially in a contest when the station calling CQ has other stations overlapping their calling frequency. The QRM from other operators makes it harder to pick out a weak signal.
My son (Chris W4CBB) and I took our motorcycles to New Mexico and Colorado. It was an epic, father/son motorcycle adventure!
I took my KX2 with me in order to attempt a SOTA activation on Pikes Peak. Unfortunately, we had to abort due to weather. But, it’s just as well because my brain wasn’t working right in the thin atmosphere. I was sloppy and couldn’t think clearly. I’ve never been at that altitude before! Very interesting.
I worked Gary (W0MNA) but other signals were weak. The weak signals, coupled with my weak brain, and the sketchy weather made for a failed outing. We packed it up after Chris saw a lightning bolt.
What a fantastic vacation we had! I wish I had a better video for you but maybe this will be helpful to someone who anticipates activating Pikes Peak someday.
On Sunday, May 6th, 2018 I rode my bicycle to a construction site with a good location for working portable. I set up my SOTABEAMS dipole and used my YouKits HB1B Mk III to make some contacts. The New England QSO Party event was being held that weekend and I worked 6 stations in a fairly short time.
It seemed like the sidetone of my HB1B devolved into lots of clicks and very little tone after a while. Not sure why but it was annoying. A great day for ham radio!
I made a couple of FT8 contacts from here in St. John. I captured them for a video and then realized I probably needed to make a video about how to get started with FT8!
So, this video shows you how simple it is to configure and use the WSJT-X software to do FT8. I follow that up with some screen captures of contacts with Greece and France from my temporary vacation QTH here on the island.
Outdoors at a public park, I used a KX3 set to 1/10th of a watt… 100 milliwatts… to work a station in Finland. They were loud to me so I had a feeling I’d be able to get through. Now, this is a SuperStation in Finland with great antennas. My signal was ultra-weak but the QSO is in the logbook!
I took my KX2 this morning when I went out to ride my bicycle. I found a good place to put up my dipole where I could be in the shade. After working 2 Japanese stations, I used my phone to record video of me working a third station so you can share in the joy of portable QRP.
Why not take your radio with you when you go out for a walk, a hike, bike riding, etc. You never know what will happen!
If I only had 30 minutes to teach and demonstrate the PSK31 digital mode, this video is what I’d say and show. PSK31 is an excellent mode for QRP and you can work a lot of DX with it. If you haven’t tried it, you should! – Cliff