Portable Operation

I was getting more and more active in my son’s Boy Scout troop and was attending lots of camping trips and summer camps.  I had a HW-9 and some home-brew QRP rigs, but wanted a good radio with sideband so the guys could listen in and understand what was being said.  The K2 with sideband option was a possibility but it wasn’t really meant to be a SSB rig.  About then Elecraft announced the KX3.  After delaying a few months, I eventually placed an order and got serial number 1418.

I have a “radio backpack” that goes to a lot of Boy Scout events.  It contains: KX3, battery, foldable solar panel, charge controller, coax, dipoles for 20 & 40 meters, light rope, collapsing composite pole for a center support, logbook, mic, straight key, paddle, headphones, short ground stake and a few other things needed to get on the air, along with snacks, water bottles, etc.

This was taken at a campsite in Virginia someplace; I forget exactly where…

While getting ready for Philmont in 2014, we took a number of weekend backpacking trips to shake-down our gear.  One morning while everyone else was asleep I got up, found a high spot, tossed up a dipole and got on the air.  This was along the Appalachian trail in northern NJ, about a mile east of Raccoon Ridge, or “large pile of rocks” if you want to use Google Maps.  That’s the Delaware River below us, the trees in the distance are in Pennsylvania:

QRP 20 meter SSB is quite doable with a decent antenna.  The dipole was nothing amazing, but being so high above surrounding terrain made DX quite easy with 5 watts.

BTW, the cover and end-plates are from Side KX.  When I contacted them about getting a set for an upcoming Boy Scout trip, the owner Scott said he is an Eagle Scout (Once an Eagle, ALWAYS an Eagle) and would send my order right out.  Got and installed his product in time for the trip.

This was during a trip to a campground in Greenbelt Maryland.  Note that we’re in the CW part of the band.  I found most young people (“youts”) like watching the CW decode and will quickly enough learn enough code to copy it.