POTA Field Report: Pairing the Icom IC-705 with the CHA MPAS Lite at Tuttle

Last week, we had a glorious break in the weather–it felt almost spring-like.

On my way back home after visiting my parents, I decided I would take in a quick afternoon hike. I originally planned to go to one of my favorite county parks, but I also had a hankering to get on the air and that park wasn’t a part of the POTA network.

Tuttle Educational State Forest (K-4861)

I decided to stop by Tuttle Educational State Forest (K-4861) instead and make February 19, 2021 not only a hiking day, but a Parks On The Air day. Tuttle sports both excellent sites for POTA and a nice little trail system.

Gear:

I decided to play radio first then go on a hike, so I pulled out an antenna that I thought would give me quick deployment and pack-up: the CHA MPAS Lite.

I also remembered that a reader recently asked if I would include the deployment of the CHA MPAS Lite in one of my real-time, real-life activation videos. So I did just that!

Deployment was quick and the mAT-705 Plus ATU did a fine job finding matches on the CHA MPAS Lite.

I started calling CQ on 40 meters and worked quite a few stations in short order. When the first batch of eight chasers was worked, I moved up to the 20 meter band and started calling CQ. My hope was that I could work at least a couple of stations on 20 meters then pack up and go for a hike.

I started calling CQ on 20 meters and was quickly rewarded six additional contacts.

Without a doubt–if this wasn’t completely obvious in my video–the highlight was working my friend John Harper (AE5X) in Texas. I’ve known John for years now and have followed his excellent blog but we’ve never managed to catch each other on the air!

Turns out, John was using his recently unboxed Icom IC-705 as well. Click here to check out his post which includes a mention of this very activation. In addition, check out his thoughts after taking the IC-705 (all amped-up with the KPA-500) on the ARRL CW contest that weekend.

Another highlight was logging CU3BL in the Azores again. To me, it’s still mind blowing that 5 watts can reach out that far.  Here’s a QSOmap of the activation (click to enlarge):

In total, I logged 14 stations with 5 watts and a vertical in very short order, leaving me a full hour of hiking time! Mission accomplished!

Video

Here’s a real-time, real-life video of the entire activation:

The hike afterwards was just what the doctor ordered, too. I’ve mentioned before that my ankle has been healing nicely after twisting it badly in December. This hike was an easy one and gave me a chance to properly test my ankle before the (epic-to-me) SOTA activation I planned with my daughter, K4TLI the following week. (More on that in a future post!)

Here are a few photos from the Tuttle hike:

If you ever find yourself at Tuttle Educational State Forest doing a POTA activation, make time to take in a hike as well. It’s a gentle hike and even the long loop can be completed within an hour at a very leisurely pace.

Thanks for reading this field report and please comment with your experiences on the air and in the great outdoors!

10 thoughts on “POTA Field Report: Pairing the Icom IC-705 with the CHA MPAS Lite at Tuttle”

  1. I am interested in your account of using the CHA MPAS Lite antenna. I can see where it should be effective on 20 meters, but wouldn’t expect much from it on 40 meters, where it appears it worked quite well for you. I normally use wire antennas when portable QRP, but will give thought to this approach. Thanks!

  2. Thomas,

    Congrats on your QSO with CU3BL. That is quite the distance with a vertical and one counterpoise. Again, I enjoyed your set up and watching you work contacts. Guess I should stop living vicariously through your activities and get on the air myself. Guess I could put Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, K-0824, on the air next week.

  3. Hi, Ed,

    Honestly? For POTA/SOTA and WWFF a vertical will work fine. You’re right–not as efficient as a 40 meter half wave on 40, but good enough to get the job done!

    Cheers,
    Thomas

  4. Nice to work you Thomas and very fun to hear what my signal sounded like at your end! Hopefully we can soon have a P-P or a phone QSO.

    The 705 is a keeper – I’ve been having so much fun with it and have only scratched the surface regarding its capabilities. Like you, I didn’t buy Icom’s backpack for it wither but I do have another solution to transporting it and the necessary accessories.

    73 for now,
    John AE5X

  5. Hi Thomas,
    I have been enjoying many of your videos on YT. Thanks for making them. I was wondering if you might do an intro of one of your videos by showing us how you pack up all of your equipment into the rucksack. I recently purchased an IC-705 and plan to try some POTA and SOTA activations this coming spring/summer and am looking for better ways haul this stuff.
    73, Doug KX7H

  6. Oh my goodness! What an obvious topic! Of course I’ll put this in the pipeline. Give me a bit of time, but I’ll get something together.

    73,
    Thomas
    K4SWL

  7. I’m looking forward to hearing about your IC-705 transport solution, OM!

    Is there an “I worked AE5X all modes award”–? I’ll go for that! Hi hi!

    Cheers,
    Thomas
    K4SWL

  8. Thomas, I just got an IC-705 and am getting familiar with it. I have been trying POTA as a hunter but looking forward to being an activator as the weather here in PA gets better. I have operated portable at vacation homes with End-Fedz and various verticals using Wolf River or Buddistick coils . I am thinking of trying the Chameleon 17 ft whip as a full size 20 meter vertical either ground mounted with a few radials or on a tripod at 5 or 6 ft with a couple radials rather than using a coil coil and a 9 ft whip. Have you tried that option.

    Thanks,
    Phil N3ZP

  9. I have not trie that option yet, Phil. In fact, I really need to try the numerous other configurations of the MPAS 2.0–there are SO many. Give that a go and let me know what you think!

    I’ve been thinking about doing a SOTA activation just using the top portion of the MPAS vertical sections much like they have illustrated as a manpack antenna. It would be super easy to pack away.

    Cheers,
    Thomas
    K4SWL

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