New to amateur radio, or a seasoned operator some people have never experienced the fun of operating out portable. The thrill of operating in a low noise environment.
If you going to take out your VHF/UHF handy, make sure you have a good antenna fitted. The stock antenna or the fake cheapo antenna on eBay is exactly that mostly useless. VHF operators sometimes take a vertical antenna with some gain to take advantage of an elevated location.
If your hill walking with unlicensed operators, then consider some PMR 446 radios as they provide good range and the ability to keep in touch with your fellow walkers.
Speaker wire makes excellent antenna wire, lightweight and strong, and I would suggest you make a few dipoles and maybe wind them onto a former so they are easy to deploy.
If you are taking the equipment in the car, then you may want to consider getting a telescopic mast. These can be deployed behind the car with a suitable mount.
Para style cord is great for putting up guy ropes. You will also need some tent pegs to secure items in the ground. Flimsy tent pegs often bend, why not try these more robust pegs.
Guy line tensioner will come in very handy when putting up a mast.
Telescopic plastic poles used to fly flags at campsites make ideal HF antenna supports.
No one wants to run out of power for their phone while out on the hills. These USB power banks will recharge your phone making sure its ready when you need it.
Everyone needs a torch, this one fits on your key ring and provides best in class illumination.
Depending on power requirements, you may wish to use a leisure battery or a suitable voltage LiPo system. If your going QRO then a small generator will provide the power needed.
Everyone loves a bank holiday weekend (unless you happen to be working) and last weekend was a 3 day radio event run by LEFARS. The event is based at the Rainbow and Dove PH, yes really a radio event in a pub garden !
The event used the special event call GB2LRS on 7 and 144 MHz, while 21 MHz used the Secret Bunker Club call M0SNB. On 7 MHz the club used a doublet antenna, on 21 MHz we used 400w and 4e home-brew beam aerial. The beam was mounted on a 10m Clark pump up past, with a recently purchased Yaesu G1000S rotator. The linear amplifier was a solid state by Expert 1.3K providing flawless power on the Honda generator.
While the band conditions did provide a challenge, we did prove that even on a quiet band its possible to work DX with some power and a good antenna. We worked some nice DX including Uruguay, Brazil and Philippines to name a few.
In the evenings we turned our hand to 3.5 MHz, and I made a simple dipole to hang from the mast. We placed a 1:1 Balun at the feed point, and fed the antenna with coax. The antenna was cut to provide a match on 3.7 MHz, so no ATU was required. The addition of 400w allowed us to put out what many described as a phenomenal signal. I checked the signal on the Hack Green SDR, and from this screenshot you can judge for yourself. The signal reported by Hack Green was -42 dBm.
Listen to the audio clip of M0SNB operating 400w on 80m recorded via Hack Green SDR
Fred G3SVK also guest operated, working over 100 station on CW including some USA stations. The total number of QSO over the weekend was 320 mostly on SSB. The conditions at times did throw up a few surprises, at one stage I could hear and worked stations in Ireland at 59 on 21 MHz !
It was also nice to see Charlie M0PZT and Peter G0DZB operating portable both using Elecraft KX3s although both torturing their radios with some old school on-off keying 🙂
Thanks to the LEFARS team for organising another great weekend of radio.