Spring Flashback: Pairing the Elecraft KX2 and Chameleon MPAS Lite at New River State Park

This year, it’s been a challenge for me to keep up with field reports that accompany my activation videos.  It’s been a very busy year with a fair amount of travel, DIY projects, and family activities.

I recently realized that I have a number of activation videos from much earlier this year–videos I skipped over in order to post some of my Canadian field reports while I was still in Canada (at one point, I was over 2 months behind posting field reports and activation videos!).

I’ve often said that even if only a handful of people enjoyed my reports and activation videos, I’d still post them. I feel like they could even play a small part in someone’s path to doing field radio or learning CW, it’s wort it.

Plus, I occasionally like looking back at them myself.

In a sense, these reports are my travelogues and they bring back memories of some beautiful spots where I’ve played radio, gone camping, and enjoyed time with my family.

So why don’t you join me as we travel back a few months to…


Photo by K4TLI

In late April 2022, I took my family on a camping trip to New River State Park here in North Carolina. You might remember this post and a couple field reports from that trip.

In short, it was an amazing trip and I got to play radio quite a bit!

Each day, I played radio from the morning into the evening. The camp site was actually ideal for playing radio. Until…

Saturday morning (April 30) I woke up, made some coffee at the picnic table, then fired up my radio. It was then I learned that one of the new RVs that joined the campground Friday evening brought some sort of RFI-spewing device with them.

I’ve no clue what it was. If I were to venture a guess, I’d say it was likely something used in electronic warfare. It was intense.

At the campsite that morning, I couldn’t copy a single signal that wasn’t S9+ on my meter. The noise level was S8 or S9.

I decided that I’d need to move to a different part of the park to play radio after breakfast and our family’s morning hike.

Fortunately, there was a large picnic shelter within a short drive of our campsite.

I had the whole place to myself!

I had a few wire antenna options at my disposal, but most of the trees around the shelter were pretty short. I decided, instead, to pair the Chameleon MPAS Lite vertical with my Elecraft KX2.

Deploying the MPAS Lite took every bit of two minutes.

As I’ve mentioned in the past–and not that it mattered at all at this site–the MPAS Lite is actually pretty darn stealthy. I had this set up next to the shelter in the open and it was very difficult for me to see from the parking area.

Had it been up against the edge of a wooded area, it would have been nearly impossible to spot.

I set up the KX2, hooked it up to the MPAS Lite and quickly checked the bands.

Fortunately, there was no QRM to be found! Bliss!


On The Air

My expectations were very low that day. Propagation was truly in the dumps.

Still: I must have timed things nicely because I managed to log 8 stations in 10 minutes. When added to the two stations I logged earlier at the camp site, my activation for the day was officially validated!

Of course I continued to play radio.

All in all, I managed to work a total of 25 stations that day–23 of them at the picnic shelter. I also made one SSB contact.

This was one of those cases where it was pretty evident SSB simply isn’t as efficient as CW at QRP levels. The poor propagation made that evident. Normally, SSB QRP can be as productive as CW QRP simply because there are so many more SSB hunters out there.

Being able to do both modes (and digital) will increase your chances of a successful activation.

I should mention I worked six Park-to-Park stations which, of course, is always a thrill. P2Ps are so plentiful on a good weekend!


Here’s what this activation looked like when plotted out on a QSO Map:

Activation Video

Here’s my real-time, real-life video of the entire activation.  As with all of my videos, I don’t edit out any parts of the on-air activation time. In addition, I have monetization turned off on YouTube, although that doesn’t stop them from inserting ads before and after my videos.

Note that Patreon supporters can watch and even download this video 100% ad-free through Vimeo on my Patreon page:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Thank you

Thank you for joining me on this activation!

I hope you enjoyed the field report and my activation video as much as I enjoyed creating them.

I kept this particular report on the shorter side because I’ve a few busy days ahead and wanted to post this sooner rather than later.

I’ll have to sort out a way to properly catch myself up here within the next month. I may have to do one long-ish field report with multiple activation videos in it. Let me know what you think about that!

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 before, the Patreon platform connected to Vimeo make it possible for me to share videos that are not only 100% ad-free, but also downloadable for offline viewing. The Vimeo account also serves as a third backup for my video files.

Thank you so very much!

Cheers & 72,

Thomas (K4SWL)

6 thoughts on “Spring Flashback: Pairing the Elecraft KX2 and Chameleon MPAS Lite at New River State Park”

  1. I just thought this article deserved a comment. I “discovered” your Youtube presence about a month ago. Since then, I have been using your videos as real world receiving practice, which lead to making my first 3 POTA contacts last Friday and working my first K1USN SST later that day with 12 contacts. It really helps seeing someone who does CW constantly still make the occasional mistake and your attitude of just laughing at yourself and continuing on means I don’t have to be as hard on myself to be 100% perfect on the radio. As a warning I have now turned into a stalker on HamAlert for not just you but a whole lot of folks. Keep up the good work. It is much appreciated except perhaps by my wife when I have it on the tv.

    1. Hi, Jeff,

      Thank you so much for the kind comment. 🙂 And thank you for discovering my channel and site. Happy to play even a small role in your radio journey!

      And stalk me all you like! I’d enjoy working you on the air, OM!


  2. As winter sets in in earnest here in Wisconsin, it’s a real pleasure to read about operating in the spring! I’m looking forward to lots of outdoor POTA operations in, oh, say 3 or 4 months; until then it will probably be inside the car from parking lots.
    Thanks for the post, Thomas!

    1. You’re most welcome, Phil. I’ll admit that it was nice to post a video where leaves were starting to bud knowing that now, they’ve all fallen off the trees!

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