Hiking with the MFJ Cub – DX with 2 Watts

Today I took a step back 15 years and went for a hike with an old MFJ Cub and a plain dipole. I worked Wales and Wisconsin with only 2 watts.

I hiked up to the cabin at Knox Mountain and had a beautiful afternoon.


As I approached the pond I found a small patch of mountain gentians near the old dam. The pond was beautiful in the afternoon sunlight.


An old cabin overlooks the pond. I set up my gear just on the other side of the front porch under the wild cherry tree.


I tossed a line over a high branch and pulled up a half wave dipole fed with RG-174. I hung a water bottle from the low end. This way I could use the dipole as a vertical.


I plugged the dipole into the 20 meter MFJ Cub without a tuner. I searched around for a while and soon heard GW0FZY from Wales calling CQ. Justin had a strong signal and was kind enough to answer me. He gave me a 569. There was some QSB earlier on, but toward the end of the QSO he sent, “Solid Jim… FB on UR hike.” It was an absolute pleasure to work Justin all the way across the ocean!


The little Cub performed well… I think I built it nearly 15 years ago from a kit. I used to hike with it all the time.

Next I answered Ron W9UW in Wisconsin. Ron was very gracious and sent, “UR doing a great job there with 2W.” Ron also gave me a 569.

I packed up the gear for the downhill journey. I took one last photo of the pond.


As I left the blue jays sent 73 with their “Dee Dee Dee” calls. Along the trail, I treasured each moment. As I noticed the change in color, I realized our days are numbered before the woods turn gray.

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

9 Responses to “Hiking with the MFJ Cub – DX with 2 Watts”

  • W5MRM:

    Looks like a beautiful and fun day. A great reminder to enjoy the outdoors before winter sneaks up on us. Thanks for sharing Jim!

  • Jeff K5JEF:

    Nice. I enjoyed the read.

  • Mike Ve3WDM:

    Good morning Jim, very nice run down of the day out and you sure did do a fine job with the Cub radio. It’s great to see how far just 2 watts can get you.
    Thanks for sharing the journey.

  • Paul, W3FIS:

    What are you using for a battery???

  • Thanks for the comments guys. Paul W3FIS: the battery is a 750 mAh LiPo from batteryspace. Very small! but enough for a couple of hours of QSOs. vy 73 Jim W1PID

  • bruno w6usc:

    Wow those pictures are great. Nothing like playing radios in the outdoors
    73 bruno

  • Randy-KD8JEB:

    Nice article and great pictures. What kind of camera are you using?

  • Randy KD8JEB – Thanks. Just a Nexus 4 Android phone. 73 Jim W1PID

  • Michael VE3WMB:

    Jim :

    It is nice to be reminded that we don’t need Pan Adaptors, DSP and DDS to make QSOs ! There is something uniquely satisfying in making portable QSOs with a very simple mono-band rig (less is more), especially one that you have built yourself. This inspires me to get out and operate with my SWL rigs.


    Michael VE3WMB

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