POTA Field Report: Pairing the Icom IC-705 with the Elecraft T1 and CW Morse Pocket Paddles

The new CW Morse “Pocket Paddle.”

On Wednesday, October, 14 2020, the weather was gorgeous so I decided to make an impromptu POTA activation of Pisgah National Forest and the Pisgah Game Land (K-4510 and K-6937). These sites are the closest to my QTH and only a 15 minute drive (in fact, I can even hike up to the same trail network from my back yard).

My canine companion, Hazel, jumped into the car before I could even invite her to come along.

We drove to the trailhead, parked, and hiked a short distance into one of my favorite spots where it’s relatively flat, with lots of tall trees and almost no foot traffic from other hikers.

This activation gave me an opportunity to use the Icom IC-705 in more of a “backpack” setting since I hiked in with only my pack, Hazel, and my folding three-leg stool. Up to this point, I’d only used the IC-705 on picnic tables and flat surfaces since it can’t easily fit on my clip board like my MTR-3B, KX2, and KX1 can.

The activation also gave me a chance to evaluate a new product sent to me by the CW Morse company: their “Pocket Paddle” designed specifically for portable operations.

After reaching the site, I easily deployed the EFT-MTR antenna using my arborist throw line.

I decided to set up the Icom IC-705 much like I did the lab599 Discover TX-500 when I took it on hikes: mount the radio above the front pocket of my Red Oxx C-Ruck backpack.

The arrangement works quite well–I simply sit on the stool in front of the pack and hold my simple logging notepad and paddles on a clipboard.

While this particular site is great because it’s so accessible to me, the negative is it’s deep down in a valley surrounded by high ridge lines. I feel like this does have some impact on how well my signal travels.

Wednesday, it took nearly 50 minutes to rack up a total of 12 contacts in CW mode.Β  I never bothered with SSB/phone because this site had no cell phone service and, thus, there was no way to spot myself on the POTA network.

That’s okay, I felt pretty chuffed about racking up 12 contacts with 5 watts and a wire! This is what field radio is all about, in my opinion.

Loving the Elecraft T1

The Elecraft T1 ATU pairs beautifully with the Icom IC-705.

After a little falling out with the mAT-705, I decided I wanted to try other ATUs with the IC-705. I used to own an Elecraft T1 ATU and loved it, but I eventually sold it for a song to a friend since all of my field rigs at that point had internal ATUs.

I reached out to Elecraft and they sent me a T1 on loan to give it a go.Β  I’d forgotten how much I love this simple, effective ATU.

Even though the EFT-MTR is resonant on 40, 30, and 20 meters, moving to the 30 meter band requires lowering the antenna, pulling off an SMA cap on the coil, then re-hanging it.Β  Not a big deal at all, really, but it’s so much easier to simply press the tune button on the T1 and have it match 30 meters without going through the normal process.

CW Morse Pocket Paddle

I also thoroughly enjoyed using the CW Morse “Pocket Paddles.” I’m not sure when they’ll be available to purchase (perhaps they are already?) but I can highly recommend them.

The paddle action is field-adjustable and even though there’s an Allen wrench built into the paddle base, the machined screws are easy to twist by hand.

They feel very sturdy, too, much like the other CW Morse paddles and keys I’ve used.

I believe the Pocket Paddles are going to permanently pack with my IC-705!

8 thoughts on “POTA Field Report: Pairing the Icom IC-705 with the Elecraft T1 and CW Morse Pocket Paddles”

  1. Hey Tom,

    Maybe it is time for the POTA people who hold the strings to their site to match RBN with alerts set in the pota site. This already exists on the SOTA site, ou post an alert and once you are on the air RBN detects you’re there and the sota site publishes you’re on the alerted sota summit. This even works when you post several alerts in one day !! Super FB ! πŸ™‚

    The morse key looks swell, I alsways use a single paddle key made out of a relay but I think I will try a double paddle key on my next activation, see whether I send less faults hi !

    Once you go Elecraft there’s no way back, they simply have the best stuff around ! Their tuners are awsome ! I tune my inv vee on all bands with the internal K2 or KX3 tuner. Love it.

    Frank on6uu

  2. Hi, Frank,

    Actually, the POTA site does scrape the RBN regularly for spots like the SOTA site. In fact, I rely on the POTA site to spot me for from the RBN on most of my remote activations now since there’s simply no mobile phone service where I typically activate.

    Yesterday, I actually tested how quickly the POTA site would spot me via the RBN (it’s in a video I’ll post soon) and I was spotted in less than a minute.

    Very handy!

  3. indeed a handy tool, I did not know about it also being in use by POTA, good stuff πŸ™‚

    Enjoying all your stories Tom, nice to read in these cumbersome times.


  4. Thank you, Frank! POTA is a nice little refuge during these crazy times. πŸ™‚ So glad you enjoy the reports.

    Best & 73,

  5. What is the best starter paddle for CW use with the ICOM 705. I would use it to learn CW and then use it in the field for SOTA and POTA paired with the ICOM 705.

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