My most recent field report and video featured the Penntek TR-35 but it was not my first activation with this fantastic little QRP rig!
I pushed the last field report and activation video to the front of the line so that I could show how CW message memory keying worked in the TR-35’s updated firmware. It was, in my opinion, a major upgrade!
What follows is my field report from April 1, 2022: my first POTA activation with the Penntek TR-35. This video was made a week or so before I learned that WA3RNC was working on the new firmware.
Side note: If you’d like to read my full review of the TR-35, check out the May 2022 issue of The Spectrum Monitor magazine.
Although I’d used the TR-35 in the shack for more than a month I was eager to find an opportunity to take it to the field. April 1, 2022 was that day and I made a little detour to one of my favorite local POTA sites to break in the TR-35…
Table Rock Fish Hatchery (K-8012)
First thing I did was deploy my antenna. Table Rock has ideal trees for installing longer wire antennas, so I chose to deploy a 40 meter end-fed half-wave. This is the one Steve (MW0SAW) kindly sent me a few months ago and it’s been living in my SOTA pack, so has gotten a lot of field time lately.
The TR-35 sports 40, 30, 20, and 17 meters. The 40 meter EFHW is resonant on two of those bands: 40 and 20. If I wanted to use 30 and 17 meters, I could, but it would require using an external antenna tuner (trans match).
Since the TR-35 has no internal speaker, I also hooked up my Sony digital recorder to capture the audio directly. Keep in mind that the Sony recorder sometimes struggles with the dynamic range (audio lows and highs) of CW signals. Any popping you might here in the activation video below is likely the recorder AGC, not the TR-35.
- Penntek TR-35
- MW0SAW end-fed half-wave
- N0SA SOTA Paddle (note: no longer in production)
- Spec-Ops Brand T.H.E. Pack EDC
- Bioenno 3 aH LiFePo Battery (Model BLF-1203AB)
- Arborist throw line
- Rite In The Rain Weatherproof Cover/Pouch (affiliate link)
- Moleskine Cahier Journal (affiliate link)
- Zebra Mechanical Pencil, Del Guard, 0.7mm (affiliate link)
- Camera: OSMO Action Camera (affiliate link)
On the Air
Setup was quick and easy!
In an effort this year to include more 20 meters and higher bands, I started calling “CQ POTA” on 20 meters first.
Glad I did, too! I bagged nine contacts in 13 minutes. Thank you so much, hunters!
Next, I QSY’d to the 40 meter band where there seemed to be lots of hunters as well–in 18 minutes, I logged 18 contacts! Woot!
Here’s what 5 watts into an EFHW on 20 and 40 meters yielded at Table Rock Fish Hatchery that fine day:
Here’s my real-time, real-life activation video. I spend a bit of time at the beginning of this video going over some of the TR-35 features. The video has chapters embedded so you can skip at will. As always, my videos have no ads.
The TR-35 is such a fun little radio and I believe what makes it such a gem is that it isn’t feature-packed: it’s simple. WA3RNC obviously focused on performance and ease of use. It works incredibly well and especially since CW message memory keying has been added, I can heartily recommend it.
As always, I’d like to send a special thanks to those of you who have been supporting the site and channel through Patreon and the Coffee Fund. While certainly not a requirement as my content will always be free, I really appreciate the support. It makes videos and reports like this one possible.
Here’s wishing everyone an amazing week, good health, and good propagation!
Cheers & 72,