Ham Radio – Our portable QRP HF setup

QRP can mean a few different things in Amateur Radio – Sent to another party it can mean reduce power or should I reduce power, but QRP operation, or a QRP radio normally means operating or operates at low power. (Usually 5 watts or less).  Many times on the air you will hear someones call sign followed by “/QRP” or simply “QRP”, meaning “I am operating this station at low power”.

Contacting another station at 5 watts or less can be a bit more challenging than operating at higher power, say 100 to 1500 watts of transmitted power, but it can have some very surprising results – and I personally find everything about intentional QRP operation to be a fascinating part of the hobby.

Over this past year, we have slowly set up a portable HF “QRP” capability, and spent no small part of yesterday afternoon/evening testing it here at the old Pondee – I took photos of the setup and will share a few of them.

First a few shots of our QRP backpack designed for the FT-817 radio that I purchased as part of a pre-production sale from China on eBay.  Payed significantly less for the pre-order, but they are currently around $80 from the same seller. Note: comments are underneath each photo:

QRP backpack - rear view

QRP backpack – rear view

QRP backpack - front view

QRP backpack – front view

QRP backpack - layout opened up - note inside compartments left & right of the radio and auto-tuner

QRP backpack – layout opened up – note inside compartments left & right of the radio and auto-tuner

Soft battery pack to protect external 12v battery is place at bottom of pack

Soft battery pack to protect external 12v battery is place at bottom of pack

We are currently using 3 pound 12v SLA batteries, each equipped with a homebrew Anderson Powerpole adapter

We are currently using 3 pound 12v SLA batteries, each equipped with a homebrew Anderson Powerpole adapter

A view of the left internal compartment, currently holding the microphone, rubber ducky antenna for 2m operation, and a "Nifty Guide" for the radio

A view of the left internal compartment, currently holding the microphone, rubber ducky antenna for 2m operation, and a “Nifty Guide” for the radio

Right inside compartment containing small log book, wire radio stand, and miscellaneous adapters/accouterments

Right inside compartment containing small log book, wire radio stand, and miscellaneous adapters/accouterments

Here, I have removed most of the items from the backpack for our test session, out in the field it would remain in the backpack and be opened out on a 1.5 lb folding table not shown

Here, I have removed most of the items from the backpack for our test session, out in the field it would remain in the backpack and be opened out on a 1.5 lb folding table not shown

Fully packed as shown, the entire backpack weighs quite a bit less than 20 lbs.

Not mentioned above, but shown on the card table for our testing, I added another 3 lb battery (spare), and in the top/left a 35ah battery we will keep in our vehicle.  Also in the middle/right, there is a West Mountain “ClrSpkr” which contains some audio frequency digital signal processing that is *very* effective in reducing noise.  It worked so well, I am wondering if I can sneak it into the XYL’s pack without her noticing? 😀

Our testing session went very well indeed, of course I have a bit more trimming/tuning to do on a pair of MFJ 20 meter “Hamtennas” set up as a horizontal dipole. The 40 meter set are good to go, and I look forward to obtaining a 75 meter set soon to add to the kit in our F-250 pickup.

Bottom line, we are having fun with the Amateur Radio hobby, and looking forward to taking this rig up in the mountains when the weather cools down a bit in Southern California.  Life is good!

 

This entry was posted by dave on Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 at 3:36 pm and is filed under Amateur Radio, General Ham Stuff . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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