Big or Small: Radio, Key and Antenna

When deciding what to take on a QRP field trip any number of variables must be considered and planned for; will you unload it from the car or carry it on your back, will you operate inside or out, use an antenna already in place or put one up yourself? I guess it is these variables and our finding solutions for the circumstance of the day that keeps QRP interesting. As one QRP'er put it, QRO is just too easy. Of course there isn't necessarily any one answer to any of these situations, it usually is a matter of personal preference and/or how strong your back is. This post is not intended to present any grand solution but simply to capture some of the alternatives.

In the picture below there are two keys, actually three if you count the Begali Adventure key on the KX3. Also in the picture, on the left side,  is the Te Ne Ke and next to it is the Micro Key. Clearly a size difference, but also a weight difference. Also in the picture is the KX3 (160 - 6m)and the KD1JV designed Mountain Top'er Rig (MTR), (40m/20m CW only). Again, the bigger radio brings more options, the smaller one easier to carry.

Below is a picture of the two versions of the LNR Precision 40/20/10 EFHW. The larger one to the left is the MKII model and the one on the right is the "Trail Friendly" model which uses the 40m coil as a wire winder (brilliant). I've used both and the perform identically as far as I can tell.

Of course you must have an antenna support. Below are three telescoping poles to choose from,  a 33ft. MFJ Telecsoping Pole, a 20ft Black Widow and a 13ft Spirit of Air. Again, size, weight and optionality.

So many options and so little time. As WA0ITP says, "I like this radio stuff".
Mike Crownover, AD5A, is a regular contributor to and writes from Texas, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

One Response to “Big or Small: Radio, Key and Antenna”

  • Ernest Gregoire, AA1IK:

    I use the LNR and MFJ mast too. The tip of the mast is very small and flimsy so I tied a pulley to the second section down with a cable tie. I run a small Dacron rope trough the pulley and back down to the ground.

    Now I’m set for raising the connector end of the EFHW along with the coax. The coax, is the ‘second half of the antenna’, for those who might not know. This arrangement allows me to use the EFHW as a sloper, thus giving it some directional steering. As long as the end is off the ground by two feet or so, its fine. I use and electric fence post for this. I can move the fence post around to ‘point’ the antenna in a different direction.

    de AA1IK

    Ernest Gregoire


Leave a Comment

Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter
News, Opinion, Giveaways & More!

Join over 7,000 subscribers!
We never share your e-mail address.

Also available via RSS feed, Twitter, and Facebook.

Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter

We never share your e-mail address.

Do you like to write?
Interesting project to share?
Helpful tips and ideas for other hams?

Submit an article and we will review it for publication on!

Have a ham radio product or service?
Consider advertising on our site.

Are you a reporter covering ham radio?
Find ham radio experts for your story.

How to Set Up a Ham Radio Blog
Get started in less than 15 minutes!

  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor

Sign up for our free
Amateur Radio Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address: