Leo’s complete QCX-mini field kit and ZM-4 manual tuner kit

Many thanks to Leo (DL2COM) who recently reached out after watching my livestream with Josh at HRCC on the topic of QRP/CW portable. 

Leo shared some photos of a complete radio kit he built around the QCX-mini along with a ZM-4 ATU kit he also recently built. Leo has kindly agreed to share these on QRPer.com.

Leo notes:

Attached is a photo of my ultra light kit.

It consists of a QCX-Mini 20m version (self-built), K6ARK EFHW, Palm Radio Pico Paddle, Eremit 2Ah LiFePo battery, headphones and a few cables.

I usually also carry a small arborist kit and if there is still room also the 6m mast from Sotabeams, depending on what I think will work best.

I chose a hard case and went for the Peli 1060 Micro. It has room for everything I need and it could easily hold a bit of RG316 coax in addition (even more if I chose to shorten the 30m arborist line).

The main benefit for me is that I really don’t have to worry at all about what’s inside – compared to a soft pouch. So I can just shove it into my backpack or glove box and forget about it since this configuration is a lot more rugged and water proof – while being slightly heavier.

I will try this out for a while and if in the end I switch to a soft pouch again there are plenty of things I can store in the Peli Case.


ZM-4 tuner kit

Leo also shared these photos of a ZM-4 tuner kit he recently built:

Please find links to some of the products below. I am sure the rest is known to most people.

Note that the  website is not really what you would call 2022 style but Niko and his family are true QRP aficionados. Also please note that I decided to install higher quality switches but this can also be done at a later stage as the kit is easy to work on in general.

The main benefit over the popular ZM-2 supposedly is that it does tune up 160m and is better at handling low impedances at the feed point in addition to a more rugged and still compact design.

Wow! Beautiful solder work there, Leo! I like the form factor of the ZM-4 as well–seems compact and rugged.

I used to have a clear cover Pelican 1060 case for my first KX1.

My first Elecraft KX1.

I sold it along with the radio in 2016, but a 1060 case came with the KX1 I purchased in 2000. It’s solid yellow, though, and I’ll admit that I prefer being able to see inside the case. I might purchase another clear cover 1060. While it does add a bit of weight and bulk to a pack, it 100% protects it from damage and water/weather. 

Thanks for sharing your photos and notes, Leo! 

4 thoughts on “Leo’s complete QCX-mini field kit and ZM-4 manual tuner kit”

  1. Thanks Leo for sharing your kit. And thanks Thomas for publishing your blog. I l9ve my QCX-mini though I do use the ZM2 with it. Great ideas, thanks again.

  2. Nice work on the field kit! Nice little tuner as well. I have a T1 tuner so I could use a little help justifying the ZM-4, a very nice looking manual tuner!


    1. Hi Joshua,
      I guess it comes down to personal preference and the T1 is obviously hard to beat :). As a new ham I like the manual aspect of it to learn what is actually happening when matching my antennas to my rigs. Right now I do carry a NanoVNA to check what the tuner does but this is just me wanting to know more about it…..the SWR led works really well to locate the SWR dips even without a network analyzer. Another argument vs. T1 would be that the ZM-4 allows directly feeding it in a symmetrical way (e.g. ladder line) and to be independent of another battery.
      vy 73 de Leo

  3. Petzl, who knew, have my inverted L up at 40
    feet now, so easy to use, thank you.

    De G4LHT

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