My Field Radios

Taking a little break from activations and hunting, I thought I would showcase my field radios as it stands today. I recently culled the herd and this is what I ended up with. The power draw was measured using a Watts Up inline meter, something like this: https://tinyurl.com/yc6yfvsd. Not lab quality, but certainly enough for this article.

Most of my recent activations have either been camping with my little teardrop camper or in my truck for a day trip. The desire to trek to a destination is not as romantic as it used to be. Often my radio time is fitted in with my other responsibilities.

Before I go down my list of radios, I want mention that my modes of choice are CW and Digital with CW generally being my preferred mode. When band conditions are poor as they have been these past few months I use FT8. Some might say that FT8 is easy or point and click, but to be a successful FT8 operator does take some skill.

My first radio is my IC-7300. Because of band conditions these past few months, it was my radio of choice because it is a 100 watt radio. In the field, I normally operate in the 5-10 watt range, but when the bands are bad I am in the 25-35 watt (and sometimes more) range. I also want to note that over the past few months I was working on my N1CC award which is working 10 bands at 10 different parks. Most parks are a couple of hours drive away from me so I try to get my 10 bands over the course of a weekend. Because gas prices are elevated, returning to some parks may not be an option.

I’ve had this IC-7300 since 2017. It’s a great radio and a great field radio. I have 4 radios that share much of the same menu system so I do not have to relearn the radio everytime I take it out. The filtering is excellent. The noise floor is lower than many other radios by a factor of 4. I have worked stations were the meter is not moving indicating a less than S1 reading.

With Icoms, antenna tuner integration is a simple cable connection and will also power the tuner. The only mod to the radio is I added a set of Portable Zero 7300 Escort guards https://portablezero.com/icom706.html. The radio rides in a Dewalt Tough Sytem medium case with no additional padding https://tinyurl.com/2sw8u9ub. The guards protect the knobs from bumping into the sides of the case. They also make great handles. Power consumption for this radio at idle with nothing connected to it is 0.81 amps or 810 mAh. For a 100 watt radio, that’s pretty darn good. The paddle I use with this radio is a Begali Traveler Lite. I am a fan of Begali paddles.

The next radio is my current favorite QRP radio, the IC-705. This radio is brillant. Icom packed a bunch of goodness into a samll package with an idle amp draw of 220 mAh with the charger off and 360 mAh with the charger on. That’s right down there with many other QRP rigs.

My 705 travels with a 3D printed cover for the face inside a MTM Ammo Crate https://tinyurl.com/y4j6t4nu. These are great cases for small radios and their accessories. A nice feature for this radio is it and be linked/controlled via Bluetooth. I have run FT8 and logged on my iPad using an app called SDR Control https://roskosch.de/sdr-control/. Another brillant feature of the IC-705 is it can be recharged via USB. That means both my iPad and the IC-705 can use the same charger. Some complain that the IC-705 is too heavy. When you realize that you do not need an HT for VHF/UHF (plus you get 10 watts of power), no cabling needed to hook the radio up to a laptop and as a bonus can use an iPad, and, can be charged via USB, you may have an actual savings of weight. No, it doesn’t have a built-in tuner and that has never bothered me. I have the AH-705 tuner and it is amazing. I use it to tune random wire antennas and can tune them without a UnUn or Balun. I would say the AH-705 tuner is on par with an AH-4 or even an SG-237 albeit at lower power.

The paddles for the 705 are Begali Adventure Dual. Big performance in a small package. Like all Begali products, they must be tried to be appreciated. I also use the Begali stand for the 705, it does a good job preventing the paddle from moving without adding a lot of weight. The screwdriver is a Nite-ize KMT-11-R3 that I modified by narrowing the screwdriver blade. I also have the begali base so I can use the paddle with other radios.

The paddles are stored in a little 3D printed box which holds the paddles, the base and the screwdriver. To the left of the box is another steel base from American Morse Equipment. The Begali base is a little light but has magnets on the bottom to attach to the AME base. Together, they work perfectly.

Last but not least is my Lab599 TX-500. This is a great rig for many reasons. Lightweight, simple to use, weather resistant and draws less than 100 mAh idle. It includes a waterfall on the easy to read LCD display. The receiver specs are pretty decent and I have not had any issues using it. I normally pair it with Elecraft T-1 tuner and Bioenno 3Ah battery. For travel I use 3D printed covers.

The paddles I use for this radio are Larry’s N0SA SOTA paddles. These are great paddles but last I heard he is no longer making them.

What is nice about these paddles is they are easy to hold in the hand and can be mounted to a flight deck.

These are my current radios and the paddles I use with them. Is this list set in stone? Of course not, you never know what you might find just around the corner. However, I could be quite happy with these. They are all good perfromers that give me a lot of latitude when operating in the field. Now that my N1CC is complete, I can worry a little less about quantity and a little more about quality. Hope to hear you out there — 73 Scott.

POTA Activation Florence Marina State Park K-2174

Thursday I made a quick trip to K-2174 to finish up my N1CC award. I needed one band. My wife and I made a day of it since it’s about a 2 hour drive each way. I made 43 contacts mostly on FT8. The bands were in fair shape and we were done in about an hour and a half. Here is a QSO map.

The antenna was my 29′ random wire antenna with a 17′ counterpoise. I really like this antenna. It is my current favorite. The radio was my IC-7300 running about 25 watts. While FT8 is a great mode to use when band conditions are poor, it is not my favorite. Now that my N1CC is complete I will go back to focusing on CW and QRPish. What made FT8 a good fit for N1CC was the ability to find contacts on all the different bands needed. What I didn’t like about FT8 was the lack of cohesiveness between hunters and activators. I have seen on Facebook where activators didn’t care if hunters contacted them or not and some don’t even call CQ POTA. That is not me. Below is a short video of the activation. Enjoy and 73’s — Scott

ZN-Lite II Update

I’ve had these paddles for about a year now but I haven’t used them much. Here is a link to my original review: https://kk4z.com/2021/11/24/n3zn-zn-lite-ii/. The reason is rather complex. they are small but because of their design, they can’t be held in the hand like some other paddles. If you put them on a table with the included Lexan base, they are so light, you have to use both hands to operate them. To me, it was a conundrum. These are very well-built, precision paddles and as smooth as any well-made paddle out there. My original thought was to use them for POTA. I was a little discouraged with their functionality, and even offered to sell them at one point — but I didn’t.

Here lately, I have been pairing my paddles with my various radios. My Begali Signature with my IC-7610, Begali Traveler Light with my IC-7300, Begali Adventure with my IC-705, and my N0SA SOTA paddle with my TX-500. I have a Penntek TR-45L on order. It is a CW-only radio that has a nice retro look. I thought these paddles would be a great match for this radio. What I want for this radio is a set of paddles that can be operated with one hand. The TR-45L is a tabletop radio https://www.wa3rnc.com/store/penntek-tr-45l-qrp-transceiver. I envision its use at a park during a POTA activation. I decided what my ZN-Lite II paddles needed was a heavier base. I ordered from Amazon a 3″ diameter, 1/2″ thick piece of steel.

I drilled a hole to mount the paddle and 4 smaller holes to mount the rubber feet. The paddle hole is countersunk on the bottom so the screw head is below (or above) the surface of the base. That way it can be used without the feet.

The holes for the feet were drilled and tapped for 8-32 thread. I had to drill the hole all the way through because I didn’t have a bottom tap. Without a bottom tap, there would not have been enough threads in the hole if I didn’t drill all the way through. When I do these projects, I basically use hand tools and in this case, I used a cheap drill press I bought from Home Depot.

Here is a view of the base from the bottom.

Because the paddle mounting hole is offset from the center, I can mount the paddle two ways.

In the bottom picture, the base offers some protection for the paddles. Even though I can loosen the screw to move the paddles to where they face outboard, I found that I prefer the paddles facing inboard like the bottom picture. I feel it offers a little more stability. This mod allows me to use the paddles one-handed on most surfaces. The last step was painting. I put a coat of gray primer, followed by a coat of Nickel Metallic (Rustoleum), and finished off with a clear coat.

I didn’t go overboard with the painting. The main goal was to give the metal a little protection from corrosion. Basically one coat of each with a 15-30 minute wait time between coats. I chose the color because I thought it would complement the paddles. I think it did.

There you have it, a nice set of paddles ready for my next adventure. 73’s Scott

POTA Activation K-3683 Choccolocco WMA

This past weekend was a busy one. Saturday morning The West Georgia Amateur Radio Society provided communications for the Semper Fi Century Bike Ride. We covered routes from 33 to 100 miles on hard surface and gravel roads. It was a good opportunity to get out. This weekend was also one of the POTA Support your Parks on the Air weekend so after the bike ride, many of us headed out to Choccolocco for an overnight activation.

I enjoy these weekends. Yes, sometimes it’s a little less activating and a little more kibbitzing, but we need that in our lives, don’t we? We all set up in one of the primitive campgrounds. Everyone pitched in and brought some food for the group. My donation was chips and my wife’s fabulous Graham Cracker Cookies. They are liked so much, I no longer ask what I should bring.

Operating. This weekend I was working on finishing up my N1CC award which is working from 10 different parks on 10 different bands at each park. For this park, I needed 3 bands. My weapon of choice was FT8. FT8 does a good job of reaching out and there are plenty of folks on it so getting the numbers is a little easier. I will say that over 90-95% of my contacts are either Park to Park or from me calling CQ POTA. I want hunters to get the opportunity to get points as much as possible.

Equipment. For this trip, I brought my IC-7300. It does a great job and I can bump the power up if need be. I normally run it a about 35 watts. My antenna was my 29′ Random wire with a 17′ counterpoise. The antenna was configured as vertical using an MFJ pushup pole. I used a homebrew 9:1 UnUn and a 1:1 current balun to keep the RF where it should be. With this antenna, I can tune from160-6 meters though 160 is a little sketchy. My computer was my Thinkpad T14. Since we were at a primitive campsite which meant no power or water. I ran everything off of battery and in the end, had to crank up the generator for a little while. Digital Mode really uses power.

How did I do? Not too bad. I started Saturday afternoon and operated on and off until about 0100 Eastern Sunday morning. I made 100 contacts from 23 states and 18 countries. Here’s a map.

Unfortunately, later Sunday morning I got rather ill and had to leave early and head for the house. The rest of the group hung around until Sunday afternoon. There are already plans for a Spring campout. I am excited. Camping out is always good, camping out with friends is even better.

What’s left. I have one band at one park to complete my N1CC. Of course, I will have to make 9 other contacts but hey, that’s what we do. After the N1CC I will probably go back to QRP CW. I feel there is more community there. It’s like Cheers, “Where everybody knows your name.”

Final. Here’s a short video of the activation.

Why I’m keeping my IC-7300

I know there’s been a lot of hoopla over the new Yaesu Radios. I am sure they are fine radios and do a great job. These will be fine radios for those invested in the Yaesu environment.

I have owned Yaesus in the past, the last being the FTDX-3000. However, I always seem to gravitate back to Icom. I am not necessarily an Icom fan boy, just that currently, Icom suits me better.

I was tempted to buy the new FT-710. I looked at it long and hard. I schemed about how I was going to buy one. Part of my justification was looking at the specs where I discovered something…

The IC-7300 hears better. The noise floor for the IC-7300 is -133 dBm vs -127 dBm for the FT-710. Rob Sherwood defines noise floor as “Noise floor measures how weak a signal one can hear.” I can work signals on my IC-7300 and IC-7610 with an S0 (zero) on the meter. I’m working a station and the meter is not moving when receiving.

I hear comments about the FT-710 being quieter. It could be possible that Yaesu has a 6 dBm high pass filter creating an artificial noise floor above the actual one? This is just my opinion based on what I see in the specs. That may be why the Icom hears better and the Yaesu is quieter. Ah, but the FT-710 has better close in dynamic range. This is true. The FT-710 has about a 10 db better close in dynamic range then the IC-7300. The question becomes, do you really need it? From Rob Sherwood “What do you need in the way of close-in dynamic range? You want a number of at least 70 dB for SSB, and at least 80 dB for CW. A 10 dB safety factor would be nice, so that means you would prefer 80 dB for SSB and 90 dB for CW.” Unless you’re a hard core contester or chasing DX, the answer might be maybe not. Rob Sherwood put an IC-7300 through its paces during an ARRL 160 meter CW contest. His comment was “I have zero complaints about using it in a CW contest.” This contest would be a good test for any receiver. Like Rob I have no issues with my Icom the way I use it.

Am I telling you not to get a FT-710? Of course not. It’s a fine radio in its own right. Like I said, I was tempted. But, if you already own an IC-7300, the extra expense of buying a FT-710 and/or selling your IC-7300 may not be worth the effort. I’ve owned my IC-7300 since 2017 and can make it dance and sing. I would have to relearn the Yaesu menu architecture and it may take me a while to get the same results as the Icom. I have 4 Icoms with the same/simular menu system so for me it’s a no brainer to keep the Icom. I believe either radio is well suited for the task it was designed to do. I am not really saying the Icom is better than the Yaesu, what I am saying is that the Icom is better suited to me. YMMV. 73 Scott.

POTA Activation K-2939 Cumberland Mountain State Park

I try to get out camping about once a month. It’s good for the soul. While out I am often activating the park. Also fun and relaxing. I book my campsites 3-4 months in advance to ensure I have a place to go. Campgrounds in the southeast fill up fast. This trip was up into Tennessee to the Cumberland Mountain State Park. It was a lovely 4-hour trip with only 44 miles being on an Interstate Highway. The park is located in the Cumberland Plateau Region of Tennessee and my drive included driving through Sequatchie Valley. The valley is rather narrow and you can see the walls of the valley on both sides. I couldn’t ask for better weather. Highs in the 70’s and lows in the ’50s. After a hot summer, it’s was a welcome relief.

The campsite was cozy. This park had a higher density than I normally like, but there was lots of foliage and greenery around to set my karma right.

Band conditions were not that good and I operated FT8 on this trip. I am working on my N1CC award which is working 10 different bands from 10 different parks. Because the park was so far away (200 miles) with gas prices what they are, I wanted a one-and-done which is why I stuck to FT8. My setup was what I have been using on the past couple of trips.

The radio was my IC-7300 and the tuner was an old LDG Z-11 Pro. Since I had shore power, I used a Powerwerx Switching power supply. The computer is a Lenovo Thinkpad T14 which I bought refurbished from Lenovo. It’s a really nice computer. The mouse is a Logitech Pebble which is Bluetooth. For FT8 I also use a GPS dongle to keep the clocks on my computer and radio synced. On FT8 the further you drift from the actual time, the probability to connect to another station goes down. Even at home I sync my computer every day that I use FT8. I also keep a flash drive plugged into the computer. I use ACLog and I have it set up that it makes a backup copy to the flash drive every time the program shuts down.

The antenna is my homebrew random wire. It’s a 29-foot wire setup as a vertical using an MFJ-1910 pushup pole attached to my truck’s trailer hitch. I use one 17-foot counterpoise with a homemade 9:1 UnUn and a 1:1 current balun for a choke. I highly recommend a choke on any portable operation. Keeping RF at the antenna prevents all sorts of things on the radio. I really like this antenna. It has become my go-to antenna. I have probably made over 1,000 contacts with it from all over the world. Since there are no holes in the ground or wires in the trees, the park staff remains happy. On this trip, my campsite was next to the campground host. I can’t say enough about the antenna, it just works, it goes up and down in a couple of minutes, and didn’t cost that much to make. You do need a good tuner though. With this antenna I managed to get my 10 bands. 6-meters was dead the whole weekend so I had to to the other end — 160 meters. On digital modes, my antenna can tolerate about 65 watts max before toroids get saturated. On 160, it’s more like 35 watts. 160 was looking a little sketchy, however, I managed 2 contacts, here is one. I have used this antenna from 6-160 meters.

The IC-7300 has become one of my favorite field radios. Compact, lightweight, and full of features. It has never let me down. I bought mine back in 2017. The only protection I use on it is a set of Portable Zero rails. When I transport it, it rides in a Dewalt Tough System box with no additional padding. Every time I pull it out and plug it in, it works. I have had other brands of radios, but I always seem to head back to Icom at least for HF.

I operated from Friday afternoon until Saturday night. I made 350 QSO’s from 43 States and 18 countries. I worked them from 10 meters to 160 meters. It was a blast. I now have 8 parks with 10 different bands. I have one with 9 and one with 7. I should be able to wrap those up in the next couple of weeks. Then I think I’ll go back to low power (less than 10 watts) and get my CW mojo back in order. See you out there — Scott

Bicycle Mobile

For the past 7 months, I have been walking to improve my health. Recently, I bought a bike to change up the routine a little. I think it would be fun to ride while I am camping and the times when I am not at the highest point in the park, I could ride my bike there. When I bought the bike I had them put on a rack. This left a very nice mounting tab for the antennas.

I had some angle aluminum from a prior project so that is where I started. I cut the aluminum to match the width of the rack and then started shaping it. I only had hand tools and there was a lot of filing involved.

The hole on the left is for a SO-239 mount and the one on the right is for a 3/8-24 bolt. The SO-239 is attached to some thin coax probably RG-174 and terminated in a female SMA connector. Perfect for an HT. To get the wide radius I cut in the metal with a Dremel tool.

This is where the hand filing came in. After the filing came sanding the old finish off and applying coats of primer, flat black paint, and a clear coat. Installed on the bike it looks like this with a Diamond NR-770HA dual band antenna.

Out by me, the repeaters are VHF, I tuned it for that band. I ended up with this.

With an HT on the other end, I was able to hit repeaters 10 miles away while under my carport. I called it good.

I also wanted to work HF using my bike as a stand. I won’t ride with the HF antenna installed but rather set it up when I stop. I mounted a 3/8-24 coupler to the antenna mount and wanted to use my Buddipole 12′ fiberglass antenna. I tried several different combinations and the one that worked best was using my Chameleon Micro Hybrid transformer with one counterpoise.

SWR on 6 meters through 40 was acceptable and can easily be handled by a tuner.

I didn’t try HF on the bike but I have used the configuration before. It’s part of my Frankentenna system. The only thing left I have to add is a handi-talkie mount which I will probably order today.

There you have it. A fun little project that will add to the adventure of ham radio. I hope this may spur some of you to try a few projects of your own. Most of these projects I do are with hand tools. I do have a cheap drill press that only seems to be a little better than a hand drill. Get out there and do it. 73 — Scott

POTA Activation Choccolocco Wildlife Management Area K-3683

Today I was lucky enough to get away for a couple of hours and play radio. I chose Choccolocco Wildlife Management Area which resides within the Talladega National Forest for a 2-fer. The trip gave me an opportunity to try a new configuration on my laptop. I recently purchased a Lenovo ThinkPad T14s. It has 3 available USB ports. Two type A and one Type C (Thunderbolt). There is another Type C but as far as I can tell it is used for power delivery.

When I operate in the field, I use a flash drive to give ACLog a place to store a backup file when it shuts down. Makes no sense to have the backup file on the same drive. I also use a GPS dongle along with the GPS2Time app to keep my computer’s clock synced. It doesn’t take much of a time difference to lose a contact. That used up my Type A ports. To hook up the radio, I bought a USB type B to USB type C cable and tried it out. I first in error plugged the type C connector into the power delivery port and of course I had problems. When I figured out my mistake and plugged it into the correct port, things went swimmingly. It’s always good to experiment on smaller trips.

Here is the setup in the truck.

I normally have the radio setup where I can better see it, but this was a quick activation. If I ever try a RADAR event, it might look something like this.

The radio was my IC-7300 with the LDG Z-11 Pro riding piggyback. The antenna is my 29.5 foot random wire antenna with a homemade 9:1 UnUn and choke. I use a 17′ counterpoise. The coax is RG316 with BNC connectors. I was running somewhere around 40 watts. Here is a previous picture of the antenna.

The antenna is hoisted in the air via an MFJ-1910 33′ pushup pole in a trailer hitch flag holder. Nothing fancy, but gets the job done. I have since replaced the 3D printed winder with one made from ABS to resist heat better.

How did my little setup do? I think pretty well. Bands were up and down but I managed 26 contacts without breaking a sweat. I did jump around the bands a little bit, trying to get set up for 10 bands for N1CC. I managed to make it to 7. Six meters was dead and it was too early for the lower bands. My club has a campout planned for the fall Support your Parks weekend so I should be able to get the rest. I worked a lot more DX than I thought I would which was a pleasant surprise.

Thanks to all the hunters who worked me and for your patience as I tried to work through some of the pileups I had. It was a fun little trip hopefully with more in the future. Until then — 73, Scott

POTA Activation K-2168 Chattahoochee Bend State Park

Chattahoochee Bend State Park is only 17 miles from me as the crow flies but to drive there it’s 37 miles and takes about an hour. I needed 2 more bands for the 10 band per park requirement for the POTA N1CC award. Since the band that were left were nighttime bands I decided to spend the night there. This park is only a few years old. It is tucked away off the beaten path. It is a nice park, that never seems to be overly filled, which is my preference. Cell service is spotty and you are quite a ways from any grocery store.

Set up was pretty simple. I used my homemade random wire antenna with an MFJ-1910 pushup pole attached to my truck’s trailer hitch. I really like this antenna. Simple to set up and it just works.

The antenna is fed with RG316 coax using BNC connectors. The exciter was my IC-7300 with an LDG Z-11 Pro to balance things out. New this trip is a Lenovo ThinkPad T14s that I bought refurbished. I also added a mini docking station. I’m kinda nerdy when it comes to computers and can be a little picky. Since it was a one-nighter and rainy, I chose not to set up outside and instead operated from inside the camper.

I decided to cut the memory foam as it is not that comfortable to sit on. This is much better. When I am solo, I will leave the extra foam at home.

My intent was to use FT8 to get my needed 10 QSO per activation day and get the 2 bands I needed and then switch to CW. However, band conditions were not that good, often with a lot of QSB so I decided to stick with FT8, and even then sometimes had issues completing a QSO. I worked from about 1830 hrs UTC to 0530 hrs UTC or about 11 hours. All I can say is that the bands were –weird. I was working parts of the country I didn’t normally work. DX-wise, propagation was more easterly than usual. Still, I had a good night. I ended up with 200 contacts. I worked 41 States and 21 countries.

Final Thoughts? First a big kudo to all the hunters out there. We have some fantastic hunters who go out of their way to make contacts. Along with the kudo, a big thank you for being there. Probably 99% of my contacts were from me being spotted and calling CQ POTA. Here’s a YouTube video about the activation:

POTA Activation K-2174 Florence Marina State Park

Wow! What a weekend. 438 QSO’s successfully uploaded to POTA. What a blast it was. I had a great time, got little sleep, and tried some new gear. Thanks to all who worked me and thank you for your patience as I worked through some of the pileups. Mode this weekend was FT8. I was going to try some CW but FT8 was running non-stop. Much of the time my WSJT software looked like this.

I was QRV from Friday 1800 hrs Zulu until Sunday 0500 hrs Zulu. Band conditions were good. I didn’t see as much DX as I have in the past, but I still managed to work quite a few. This time I got about 98% of my contacts by activating, that is calling CQ. I did hunt a few, mainly P2P and a few call signs that interested me. So, you don’t have to hunt to get the Q’s. The secret is picking a frequency and holding it. There were times I held a frequency for hours.

GEAR
For this trip and the past few, I have been bringing my IC-7300. I am trying to complete my N1CC award and having a few extra ponies under the hood helps. There has been some discussion about packing radios. I put mine in a box with the rest of my stuff. I do have Portable Zero Escort side rails, but that’s about it https://tinyurl.com/45dcupe5. They keep the knobs away from the box sidewalls.

Shack setup is pretty straightforward.

I can be QRV within 30 minutes from the time I pull into the site. The computer is a Microsoft Surface Go2. I use a USB hub to attach everything to it but if to jiggle it even slightly, it drives WSJT software bonkers. I may look to replace it. The tuner is my old LDG Z-11 Pro which I have had for over 15 years. It takes a lickin’… For coax, I run RG-316. I don’t see the need to use anything bigger. After this trip, I am redoing my radio box. After every trip, I do a mental after-action report. This time I decided I am bringing too much stuff.

What is new? This time I brought the KK4Z enhanced random wire antenna. This is a 29.5′ random wire antenna with a 17′ counterpoise. Same old, same old. What is new, is I added a 9:1 UnUn rated at 250 watts PEP and a choke balun.

I use my truck hitch and an MFJ-1910 – 33′ pole to get it up in the air. No holes in the ground, no rope in the trees.

This was a pretty exposed campsite. I had Park Rangers and Camp Hosts drive by all day long. All they would do is wave at me. The other secret is don’t make excessive noise. With FT8 I keep the volume turned way down and with CW I use Skull Candy Ear Buds https://tinyurl.com/2p89mz8u. The benefit of this antenna setup is the amount of power I can use. With my Chameleon transformers, I am lucky to run 35 watts and only 6-80 meters. With my antenna, I can run up to 65 watts without anything getting warm on 6-80 meters. On 160 meters, I have to reduce the power down to 25-35 watts. A larger choke balun may solve that problem. This past weekend I was running 50-65 watt range just to see and I had no problems. This antenna will become part of the Frankentenna system. So I guess I have a new favorite antenna. It gets the job done (see map above) and it keeps the campground staff happy. One of the real benefits is how little space it takes up and its low visual profile. If I am beyond the eyes of those who care, I can easily sling it up into a tree.

I do have a short video about the activation on YouTube.