What does a ham need when working portable?
After quite some portable ham radio activities I have put together a set of things I always take with me. The stuff I take fits nicely into one small but sturdy and padded backpack (except for the masts).
I thought it might be a good thing to share my experiences in case somebody out there is entering the realm of /P for the first time.
There are some differences in the stuff I take with me, depending on the amount of walking I expect to do and whether I will use my car as temporary shack or whether I will be outside somewhere.
Portable set 1 - all-round
The stuff I always take with me when weight is not a real issue (i.e. when I am not walking for hours).
|Antenna||HyEndFed matchbox with several half wave wires for different bands|
|Antenna support||Spieth or Spiderbeam fibreglass mast with 3-4 extensions|
Guy ring, 3 guy lines of abt 20m each, 3 pegs and a rubber hammer
|Power||LiFePo 8700mAh battery (2x)|
|Microphone||Heil Elite Pro headset|
|Logging||Laptop (pen and paper as backup)|
Coax (approx. 6m)
I take this set with me when I am on my mountain bike or when I am walking only for a short distance (from a car park into a nature park for example).
|Set 1 (all-round): one backpack and several fibreglass tubes - transportable by bike|
Portable set 2 - QRP / minimal
When going on foot for a longer trip, weight is an issue. In those cases I skip and change quite a few of the items in my allround set. I take a lighter radio with lighter batteries and I skip the fibreglass mast. The only downside to this is that you end up with less range (lower power and less effective antenna).
The minimal set boils down to:
|Antenna||AlexLoop Walkham (small magnetic loop 7-30Mhz)|
HyEndFed matchbox with several half wave wires for different bands
|Antenna support||Walking stick and some rope for the Alexloop|
One ball and a lot of fish line for the HyEndFed (using a tree)
|Power||Lipo 2200mAh battery (2x)|
|Microphone||Yaesu stock mic (I am not a CW practitioner)|
|Logging||Pen and paper|
|Misc||Coax for the HyEndFed (AlexLoop has coax attached)|
Note that I either take a magnetic loop or the HyEndFed wires with me. The magnetic loop is the best option if I will end up in places where I cannot easily put up an endfed wire (e.g. higher up in the mountains or protected places where I might run into trouble if I use a tree). I do expect the endfeds to perform better - so if I can, I take those.
|Set 2 (minimal): acceptable weight for a hiking trip in the mountains|
Portable set 3 - car
The all-round set is all I need really, so there is not much more to take with me. However, when I know I can get to where I want to go by car all the way I sometimes choose to take a different antenna with me. At this moment this can either be my homebrew Cobweb antenna or my refurbished 10m yagi. They both require a more sturdy mast - so I take my homebrew alu mast.
I might even decide to put up two antennas (the HyEndFed on a fibreglass mast being one of them). In that case I also take my antenna switch and some extra coax with me.
|Set 3 (car): room for other (heavier) antennas|