Part 2: What to bring for portable operations?

Now that I have some potential operating areas scouted out (with more to come as I do some more exploring) it’s time to look at what to bring
  1. An HF radio……….DUH well of coarse……I’m bringing my Elecraft KX3 it has internal rechargeable batteries and you can plug in an external power source, internal antenna tuner, CW paddles attached to the radio, up to 15 watts of power thanks to the recent firmware upgrade but I will stick with 5 watts and many more portable friendly features.
  2. The antenna……..I have chosen to use mono band whip antennas. I have the Workman HF whips from 10m to 40m and a great carry case for them. I’m able to Velcro strap them to the rear rack and to the front bar on the bike.
  3. Spare external battery and I have already the Tracer 4Ah rechargeable battery. I was looking at other batteries but I figured “use what you already have”.
  4. 3x5 cards with some of the common command functions of the KX3. Such things as setting up CW Keyer memories and playing them,memory setup and recall and dual watch if needed.
  5. Bring some info on the contests that may be going on that day as I can scoop some contacts that are in a contest. It’s handy to know the exchange they are looking for in the contest.
  6. Then there is the miscellaneous  stuff such as coax, pen, paper, cell phone and don’t forget bug spray, sun screen, sun glasses, water and a hat.
  7. Make a list ahead of time that what to bring………there has been to many times to count when I thought I could remember everything only to find out I missed something and I was not able to operate because of it.



Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

7 Responses to “Part 2: What to bring for portable operations?”

  • Ron Wright, N9EE:

    Lots of good batteries for this type operation. Recently bought a 12 AHr that has 12V and USB output (in case need for cell phone), 6″ x 3.5″ x 0.75″. Only issue must note the max current draw of these. Mine is 3A which is more than my FT817 needs.

    I do my portable operation from fixed QTH such as a park. I bring some rope, keyer paddle of course, SWR meter and other accessories for a complete station.

    Great way to enjoy the outdoors.

  • Bob. VE3ORK:

    Where in Ontario do you need bug spray…..?? I want to move there!! hihi!

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good morning Ron, a 12aH battery sure is nice for portable op’s and the physical size of it is nice and compact as well.
    Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment Ron have a great week.
    73, Mike

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good morning Bob, right at this moment in time it’s a snow shovel we need and looks like the weather outlook for next weekend is morn spring like conditions. Before you know it we will be complaining about the humid hot days…….and oh yes the bugs as well.
    Nice to hear from you Bob and have a great week.
    73, Mike

  • ke2yk:

    Mike,
    I have enjoyed portable ops over the years. Around here it’s the ocean that provides some extra push to the QRP signals. No mountain topping on this sand bar called Long Island! LOL. Loved all of my lil rigs over the years. Enjoyed the heck out of my K1 but have been pounding the brass on the KX3 for around 2+ years now. As always, waiting for warmer weather to get the portable gear out of moth balls. You can check out some of my ham musings over on ke2yk.com Best Regards, Gary KE2YK

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good morning Gary, very nice to hear from you and yes I too am waiting for some warmer weather before I venture out into the out of doors with the radio. I had t he K2 that I built and I used to bring that rig out and about before I sold it and got the KX3. I will check out your site as well thanks for the info.
    Have a great week.
    73, Mike

  • Gary Jamerson , kf4cnm:

    Hello ,
    Enjoyed your comments on portable operation.

    I currently have two QRP radios . I plan to keep My New Elecraft KX3 I am still in the learning stages with this radio. My other radio Icom-703+ with accessories will be up for sale.

    Look forward to make contact with you as soon as I learn how to operate the K X3

    Thanks for spending your time in helping us have a more interesting hobby.
    Gary Jamerson, kf4cnm
    73’s

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