Allen’s 22.5 ounce, super affordable, QCX field kit

Many thanks to Allen (N4NN) who writes:

Hello Thomas,

Enjoyed your last video with the QCX-mini as it reminded me of my first portable setup.

Last August, I celebrated my fifth year as a ham and at 74 I’m still able to do some backpacking. This was my first attempt at taking a radio along. The QCX-original was the only model at the time and sold for $49 + shipping. The case is a dollar store pencil box with the radio mounted on stand-offs.

I changed the antenna you see to K6ARK EFHW setup with counterpoise. No coax. I used the on-board key. The throw line was arbor line much like yours and my weight was the tent peg pouch filled with rocks from the camp site. This was my food bag hanging setup. Under $100 for everything.

Before I used it much I discovered POTA from you and purchased a KX2. Haven’t camped much lately but I have activated 70 of Georgia’s 203 parks and having a ball!

[I should note that a] few years back when I made the kit, prices were lower so it may be more difficult to hit that $100 mark. For example, a QCX-mini (no case) runs $57.79 and the QRPGuys EFHW kit is now $30. Adam’s (K6ARK) EFHW kit I changed to is only $20. The “water resistant “ pencil case is still $1! I was more interested in weight rather than cost and as shown the weight is 22.5 ounces.

Thanks Thomas and wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and peace and good health in the coming year.



I love it, Allen! Pure QRP fun on a shoestring budget. Not bad at all! You make a good point here that many kits can be built into a waterproof (or in your case a water resistant) case. I’ve often wanted to do this myself and may very well one day! 

Thank you for sharing!

6 thoughts on “Allen’s 22.5 ounce, super affordable, QCX field kit”

  1. Nice, thank you for sharing Allen’s story. I like my QCX-mini though haven’t used it much since getting the KX2. So I guess with a new year approaching might be time to bring it along.
    73, HNY

  2. Love this! Looks like my first HF setup: 40m QCX with a K6ARK prototype antenna he gifted me (still my lightest HF antenna). I think this type of budget setup is really inspirational because it brings down the barriers to entry ($$$) for new (or old!) hams or even prospective hams. You don’t need a $2,000+ radio setup to have an absolute blast in the field. Swap those batteries with a 450mAh Lipo battery and maybe throw in an N6ARA TinyPaddle and you’ve got yourself a seriously featherweight setup! I’ve also found that modding the QCX with a capacitive filter at thr paddle connection avoids any funkiness (stray dits or dahs) caused by the antenna match. It is a really simple, but super power efficient, radio after all.

  3. Gillian and the professor would have loved to have one of these QCW kits. Another example does not take much to do QRP, POTA, base, just having fun.

    73, ron, n9ee

  4. Hello all,

    To comment of Steve Thom : Good stuff! I think every CW portable op should build a QCX.

    Well I like it very much but to built a jewelry like this it is not for everyone, Been hamming for 60 years in 2023, my eyesight are not the same as when I was a kid, according to what I saw i n many video, Hi! Hi!

    But the QCX is in my dreams Hi! I’m waiting the day to buy one already built and tested. Hi!

    It is really ideal for portable operation, you can have all you need in a really small bag.

    See you on the air in some Pota

    72/73 Mike VE2TH
    The QRP’er for 60 years.-

    1. Mike, Hans only charges $50 to assemble one of his new 5 band QMX radios for you. Considering how much work goes into putting these excellent little rigs together you can’t beat it! There’s a bit of a waiting list so sooner you jump on hopefully you will be ready to head outside with a new rig by spring!
      73 de NG9T

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.