Some hints for the Newer QRP Portable Operators

Its a cool Saturday afternoon her in Ottawa and I don’t really feel like heading outside to do anything so here are a couple of suggestions or hints for the newer QRP Operators out there….  Some of them you might of thought of yourself and if you have any I forgot to mention please feel free to leave them in a comment at the end of this post…  Share your knowledge….

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Pens freeze in the cold… Use Pencils for logging in the winter time if operating Portable

merblueFT817

Watch the weight you carry in your pack…  The gear weighs twice as much on the walk back…

Keep your feedlines as short as possiable to keep line loss and weight (see above) as low as you can…

When operating QRP the fact that you can hear them does not mean they will hear you.  I normally do not use any RCV preamps when in the field.  Why hear them if you can’t work them?  In some cases you can work them but don’t get upset if you can’t.  There is only so much you can do with a 5w signal.

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Bring two different styles of antennas if you can.  I like to bring an endfed and if the trees (location) do not cooperate then I also have a Buddistick in my bag just in case

merblue3

Keep your coax attached to your antennas even when in storage.  Nothing worse is packing the antennas and then finding out you forgot the coax. 

VA3QV_Portable_STN_Oct2012

A small solar panel is lighter than a 2nd battery (see above comments about weight)

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Not all Parks and operating locations have benches and Picnic tables… Think about a lightweight camping chair and table…

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And these are just a few but before you ask…

Yes I have tried to log with Frozen Pens…  Yes I have found out that the trees are far and few between at the summit…  Yes I have done an excellent job of getting my antenna between trees to find out that I forgot the coax at home…. and finally Yes I have operated standing up because I had no where to sit but on the ground…

bobcncycle

And Yes I still had fun…

73bob

ps… and like I mentioned earlier…  feel free to share…  leave a comment if you have any good suggestions

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4 Responses to “Some hints for the Newer QRP Portable Operators”

  1. Razvan Says:

    Nice write-up, preparation is crucial for successful portable operations. There’s nothing worse than hiking for 4 hours and finding out the you forgot the microphone or the power cable.

    I’m not totally with you on the solar panel thing though, usually a battery that will last long enough (4-8 hours ?) is smaller and more compact than a solar panel that would provide the same amount of energy during those hours, and the battery is not weather-dependant.

    Example: the FT-817ND takes about 8Wh on a high Tx cycle, for 8 hours you will need 64Wh, but the internal battery already offers about 13Wh. You need a solar panel that will produce a usable 51Wh over 8 hours, that is an average of 6.3W. Considering the sunlight exposure daily average and the charger losses, you would need at least a 15W solar panel in the summer or 25W in the winter. A 15W solar panel is about 30x50x2cm in size and 2.5 to 3Kg in weight, while a cheap 12V/7Ah (84Wh!!) SLA battery is only 15x9x6cm, weights 2.65Kg, costs 3-5 times less, doesn’t need light to work and it is much less fragile.

    You can redo the calculations for any kinds of power levels, it won’t look appealing. The only situation where a solar panel would actually make sense is if you stay there multiple days, make the panel the main power source and the battery is there just for buffer.

    Anyway, now I got in SOTA mood, I need some summer soon.

    • VA3QV Says:

      Hi Raz and thanks for the visit and the comments….

      A little more about the solar panel idea…. If you check the pictures in the post it shows my 817/tuner combo with a battery park (CDN flag on it) and the small solar panel on the left.

      The purpose of the solar panel is to extend the life of the battery rather than have me carry a 2nd battery. I know that the panel itself does not replace a battery but it does help to maintain a battery…

      A few years ago I was able to start with a fully charged battery and by keeping the solar panel attached was able to operate for a full day (8 hours) calling CQ and having fun without having to switch to the backup battery. In the past the battery started to fade after about 6 hours…. This way I made 8 hours (but it was a very sunny day)….

      In the winter even a trickle charge helps to keep the battery warm which also extends the life of it slightly.

      Its better than nothing and its cheap…. The small Solar Panels are usually sold as a “Loss Leader” by the big box stores here….

      Your statements are correct but…. for my single day outings the small Solar Panel idea works for me….

      73bob

  2. ve3clq Says:

    Great article Bob!! I’m linking it to an article I’m doing today on my blog. Stay tuned.

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