Field Day with 4 AA Batteries

This year’s Field Day provided a chance to experiment with emergency communications. I used a tiny rig that fits in a 3 X 5 inch box and runs on 4 AA batteries. I set out to work 50 stations with this setup. I succeeded.

This box fits is a shirt pocket. It contains the MTR-3, earphones, adapters for power and antenna, the paddles, and an extension for the paddles. It does not contain an antenna or batteries.

For power I used 4 AA batteries in the Goal Zero Guide 12 power bank. It outputs 5 volts to a USB-A connector. I converted that to 10.3 volts with the Baofeng USB charging adapter.

I wanted to put this kit together for years. I was never able to find paddles that were small enough to fit. Then I found the N6ARA paddles. They are smaller than your little finger. They can plug directly into the key input. I used a short extension and held the paddles in my left hand and keyed with my right hand.

I put up an 88 foot doublet for the event and planned to operate 1B on the deck. Then it rained. I operated from the sun room as 1E on 40 and 20 meters. I made the 50 QSOs fairly quickly. I would guess my setup was putting out about 3 watts. The batteries would have been good for another 5 hours I think.

Then I switched to the (tr) uSDX rig running 5 watts. I wasn’t sure if it would stand up to Field Day traffic. It did wonderfully. I made another 50 QSOs with that tiny rig. I used a set of full sized paddles with three 18650 batteries for a full 12 volts.

Field Day provides a great opportunity to test emergency gear. These experiments satisfied me that pocket gear, with a modest antenna and a USB power bank will do quite well in a pinch.

Jim Cluett, W1PID, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Hampshire, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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