Category Archives: Portable Ops

Communications using a radio taken into the great outdoors.

Using the Mountain Topper QRP Radio

I got the last Mountain Topper QRP radio of 2015 from LNR Precision (according to Ryan).

I’ve been having a ball with this gem for the past 10 days.  In this video, I tell you about the radio and then show you how to use nearly every feature.  It’s a long video that I made for those who may be interested in this jewel-like little rig… which should be EVERYONE!

Portable with Tim & Doug

I went on a road trip with my friends Tim Kreth (AD4CJ) and Doug Miller (W4DML) last weekend to work portable from a beautiful scenic overlook.  We drove about 70 miles, full of anticipation, only to find that the scenic overlook had been closed due to a hunting event!

We needed to make lemonade out of lemons.

Running out of time, we decided to head toward home and stop along the interstate at the first exit that looked promising.  We found a field that was on an elevated exit of the interstate.  It was getting late in the afternoon and we only had a short time to set up, make some contacts, tear down, and begin the drive back home.

I had planned to shoot some video footage for the blog but I only worked a few stations before having to tear down.  I spent a lot of time trying to scare up some DX on 15m with no success.  I did work Cuba on 15m and a couple of other stations on 20m.  Tim concentrated on working 20m and had a lot of fun contacting stations participating in the Skywarn Appreciation Day event.  Doug used the time to deploy and trim up a homebrew fan dipole that he’d built.

You can see my setup in the photo, below.  You’ll see Tim’s setup in the distance.

Is there any better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than going somewhere with friends to play ham radio?

PortableByTim

Portable with the OHR 100A – 1st Contact

In this video, I show you one of my favorite places to work portable on Sunday mornings.  (It’s a business park a couple of miles from my house and nobody’s working there on Sunday mornings.)

I made a few contacts (one shown in the video) before I rode my bike home to watch football.

I finish the video by making an argument for the Elecraft KX1 vs. the OHR 100A. To me, an internal keyer is a necessity in a CW-only QRP radio.  That option pushes the OHR 100A up to $220.  For $80 more, the Elecraft KX1 is a more capable, modern radio with a digital display – and it has upgrade options that aren’t available for the OHR 100A… like two additional bands (4 bands, total) and an internal antenna tuner.

Deploy-Anywhere Vertical Antenna

This is my go-to vertical antenna that I can deploy anywhere with no support structure needed. (No trees or mast required)

Use it to work 20m, 17m, 15m, 12m, and 10m… and probably 6m (although I’m not a 6m guy).

Where to get the items I show in the video…

The radiating element is an MFJ-1979 stainless steel whip.
MFJ-1979 Whip

The small tripod is a Super Antenna TM1 Low Profile Tripod Portable Antenna Mount that you can find here:
TM1 Low Profile Tripod (click and scroll down)

The High Sierra “Jaws Clamp” can be found here:
High Sierra Jaws Clamp

QRP bike ride…

One of my favorite things to do in ham radio is to take a QRP rig with me on a bike ride. I’ve got several places where I go on my bicycle and set up a station.

This evening, I rode to one of my favorite spots and worked K2H (VA) and N4LB (TX) before packing it back up and heading home.

I used my Elecraft KX3 with a Sotabeams 20m/40m linked dipole antenna.

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My bike with a portable camp chair and my radio gear stuffed into a pannier.

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Here’s what it looked like after setup.  The antenna was hoisted up into a tree and tied off to the handlebars of my bike.  The KX3 has a Begali Adventure attached… what a fun combo!