Yesterday, John (WA3RNC) opened orders for his long-awaited Penntek TR-45L 5 band, CW-only, QRP transceiver.
As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve had the pleasure of helping John beta test this radio for the past month. In that time, I’ve gotten to know the radio from the inside out and have even taken it on a few POTA activations. In fact, with John’s permission, I just posted my first TR-45L activation video for Patreon supporters yesterday. The radio was using an early firmware version in that video.
TR-45L Video Tour and Overview
I then got the idea to take the TR-45L out to a park, do a full video overview of its features, then put it on the air in a POTA activation.
Hazel loved this idea too.
So I packed the TR-45L, a log book, my throw line, and two 28′ lengths of wire. Hazel jumped in the car before I could invite her.
I’ve used a wide variety of antennas on the TR-45L over the past weeks, but I hadn’t yet performed a park activation only using two lengths of wire and relying on the TR-45L’s optional Z-Match manual antenna tuner. This would make for a great real-life test!
Quick note about video timeline
Side note for those of you who follow my field reports and activation videos…
I pushed this video to the front of the line since the TR-45L just hit the market. I wanted to give potential buyers an opportunity to see and hear this radio in real world conditions thinking it might help them with their purchase decision.
I’m currently about 7 weeks behind publishing my activation videos. Much of this has to do with my travel schedule, free time to write up the reports, and availability of bandwidth to do the video uploads (I’ve mentioned that the Internet service at the QTH is almost dial-up speed).
I was able to publish this video within one day using a new (limited bandwidth) 4G mobile hotspot. Patreon supporters have made it possible for me to subscribe to this hotspot service and I am most grateful. Thank you!
So that I can publish this report quickly (this AM), I’m not going to produce a long-format article like I typically do. Instead, this is one of those rare times when the video will have much more information about the radio and the activation than my report. I’ve linked to and embedded the video below.
Now back to the activation…
- Penntek TR-45 Lite (TR-45L)
- Two 28 foot lengths of wire
- Foxpro branded padded camera bag
- Mini Arborist throw line kit: Tom Bihn Small Travel Tray, Marlow KF1050 Excel 2mm Throwline, and Weaver 8 or 10oz weight
- Rite In The Rain Weatherproof Cover/Pouch (affiliate link)
- GraphGear 0.9mm 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil (affiliate link)
- Muji A6 Notepad
- Camera: OSMO Action Camera (affiliate link)
Blue Ridge Parkway (K-3378) NC
Hazel and I decided to head to the Craggy Gardens Picnic Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a chilly day–proper fall weather–and the skies were clear.
The only thing I did prior to turning on the camera was to deploy my arborist throw line. The wire antenna I planned to use was short, so it was effortless to snag the right tree branch on the first throw.
Next, I started my video and gave a full tour of the TR-45L, describing its features and controls.
Then, I deployed the 28′ random wire antenna: a 28′ radiator and 28′ counterpoise. I connected the wires the posts on the back of the TR-45L. I switched the antenna input from BNC to the binding posts, and engaged the Z-Match antenna tuner.
I then tuned the random wire. Last time I used the Z-match to tune this wire, I got a near 1:1 match on all bands almost effortlessly. This time, it took a wee bit longer. There’s certainly an art to using a manual Z-Match tuner, but it’s surprisingly easy (very easy if you’re used to an ATU like the Emtech ZM-2).
I found a good match, and started calling CQ POTA on 20 meters. I logged sixteen stations in about 20 minutes.
Next, I moved to the 30M band and found a fairly good match. I called CQ POTA for a few minutes and had no replies, so I decided to QSY down to the 40 meter band.
On 40 meters, I logged fourteen stations in 13 minutes. I was very happy with these results especially since I thought 40 meters would be in worse shape than the 20 meter band.
My video was getting very long, so I called QRT on the activation.
Here’s what this activation looked like when plotted out on a QSO Map:
Here’s my real-time, real-life video of the entire activation. As with all of my videos, there are no ads and I don’t edit out any parts of the on-air activation time.
Please note that I’ve added chapters to this video to make it easier to browse. In YouTube, simply hover over the video timeline and you can easily click on the chapters that interest you:
I hope you enjoyed the field report and the video as much as I enjoyed creating them.
Of course, I’d also 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.
As I mentioned above, QRPer supporters make it possible for me to invest in a mobile hotspot and other gear that helps me with my workflow. This is all a pure labor of love for me, and your support makes it sustainable.
Thank you so very much!
Cheers & 72,
Thomas (VY2SW / K4SWL)
Update: John (AE5X) has just published his review of the TR-45L. It’s a must read!