Pairing the Elecraft KX2 and Chelegance MC-750 for a quick QRP POTA activation

After a fun “discovery” activation with the TEN-TEN R4020 on the morning of November 12, 2022–click here to check out that report and video–I realized I had just enough time to squeeze in another activation on my way back to the QTH.

I picked Lake James State Park (K-2739) because it was the most conveniently located; only a 20 minute detour.

When I arrived, the park was very quiet even though it was a Saturday no doubt because the ground was still saturated after the two days of rains we received from the remnants of Hurricane Nicole.

I grabbed my radio gear: the Elecraft KX2 and the new MC-750 vertical antenna sent to me (at no charge) by Jesse at Chelegance. This was only the second time I’d used the antenna–the first time was with the X5105.

I knew the MC-750 would be quick to set up and that was a good thing because I only had a max of about 45 minutes for the entire activation including set-up and take-down.

I walked down to a picnic table by the lake and deployed the station.

The MC-750 took me all of three (casual) minutes to set up.

Next, I set up the Elecraft KX2 and my CW Morse Outdoor Paddle with Steel Base for one-handed picnic table operating.

Of course, I also needed to prepare a log sheet even though I planned to live log everything in the HAMRS app on my phone.


On The Air

So a funny thing happened on the way to the activation…

As with nearly all of my POTA activations, I scheduled this one via the website en route to Lake James (of course, I pulled off the road to do this). By scheduling the activation, there’s rarely a need to self-spot because the’s connection to the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) will do that for you. It’s pure genius.

This was also possibly the first time I’d used the Elecraft KX2 since early August actually, KO4AWH reminds me that I used the KX2 during my SOTA activations with him in October! The reason for this is I used the KX2 almost exclusively during our summer in Québec; once I returned home, I was eager to give my other field radios a little outdoor time (I had missed my other children!).

At Lake James, and while talking to the camera, I started my activation by simply using my first CW message memory in “beacon” mode (meaning, it would repeat my CQ POTA at 4 second intervals) to grab the attention of the RBN.

As I chatted away, I realized it was taking the RBN a little longer to pick up my call and spot me. I finally noticed that the CW message memory still had my Canadian callsign (VY2SW) loaded and was calling CQ POTA with it! What? This was a bit embarrassing to say the least, but hey, no one was harmed in making of this video. 🙂

This was one of the last activations in Canada where I used the KX2’s CW message memory.

I think the real reason I didn’t catch this is my Canadian call sounds “normal” to me now. I used it so much in Canada, my brain just accepts it, so it never caught my attention until I actually started listening to see if something was wrong.

I quickly, re-recorded my “CQ POTA DE K4SWL” into message memory number one, then played that back in repeat. Within a short period of time, I was spotted and logging calls!

Whew! I hope no one noticed my blunder! 🙂

This was a very brief activation since my time was so limited.

I managed to work sixteen stations in 15 minutes. Thank you so much, hunters!

That was brief, but seriously fun!


Here’s what this 5 watt activation looked like when plotted out on a QSO Map. I think the Chelegance MC-750 performed quite well, in fact:

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 short activation!

I hope you enjoyed the field report and activation 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.

I hope you get a chance to play radio this week. If you’re learning CW, keep up the good work and remember that it takes some time and patience, but once your brain starts to recognize characters, and you listen to a lot of CW, the process speeds up without much effort at all. I would also encourage you to hunt CW POTA and SOTA stations–this really puts your CW Brain in high gear!

Thank you so very much and have a wonderful week!

Cheers & 72,

Thomas (K4SWL)

16 thoughts on “Pairing the Elecraft KX2 and Chelegance MC-750 for a quick QRP POTA activation”

    1. The former President of TEN-TEC, Jim Wharton, told me once that one of his pet peeves was when magazines/website noted the company name as Ten-Tec, TenTec, Ten Tec, etc. because it should always be all caps with a hyphen (TEN-TEC). I don’t think many people ever realized that, and I don’t believe TEN-TEC publicly complained about it. I did my best, though, to spell it correctly in reviews and correspondence with TEN-TEC (especially knowing Jim was looking!). 🙂

  1. A nice antenna for a nice price. So nice, actually, that is sold out at Wimo, available again in 45 days! Bye bye (potential) Christmas present!

  2. Thomas, TNX for another great video/ if you liked the MC-750 you will for sure love the mid loaded JPC-12 which is very easy to tune where you need/ the 10 wires flat ribbon provided as radials splits nicely and I am using 5 pairs for a nice ground plane/ I got an additional 5.2 m telescopic whip for it (with the same M10 at the base) to use as an alternate for the standard 2.5 m one when I tune to 40 m and want a wider pass band (I only do SSB and like to frequency hop without a tuner :-)/
    73 de Darie VA3HFC

  3. Tom,
    Question: Can the spike on the MC-705 be swapped out for another mount, like a tripod or clamp? It looks like a great antenna for the price, but there are situations when use of the spike would not be appropriate.
    Thanks for the video.

    1. I have to “2nd” Jack’s question. Some parks officials don’t want the ground penetrated by spikes. But on the other hand and depending on its weight to height ratio a tripod may not keep it upright.

    2. Hi Jack,

      Yes – The spike and the base(transformer) uses M10 and can be separated.

      You can use something like 3/8 to M10(according to the tripod connector spec) adaptor to make the base able to connect to the tripod.

  4. Nice post Thomas!
    I’d like to see you review the Chelegance MC-750 performance on 40 Meters where QRP can be more of a challenge for such a vertical. Thanks

  5. Thomas, it was a nice video and report, thank you!

    I did have to chuckle when you kept saying things like “Wake up!” in post-production when your Canadian call was being sent. Also, did you risk injury and soaking to get that trash out of the lake after all?

    God bless you, 72 / 73 de AF7EC 🙂

    1. Ha ha!

      Half way home, I realized I forgot to go back and get that trash from the lake. Not sure I could have managed it without a very long stick. The next time I went to that spot, though, it was gone. Hopefully park staff or someone else found it. I really hate litter.

      And thank you for the kind comment, Will! 🙂



  6. I seem to have figured out the markings on the CH 750. As I suspected, set the upper sections fully open above the band marking you wish to use, like 21 MHz. Set the 21 MHz section to the mark, and collapse all sections below. The above will get the resonance close. I was set up clamped to a deck rail, and my SWR was below 2:1 on all bands with 7MHz a bit higher. Will try closer to ground. Could tweak sections to get closer, and KX2 ATU finished the tune. Pretty quick!

    The “spike” is very sharp. Ask me how I know…A bit of tubing should protect me in future.
    73, N6TZV

  7. My previous comment hasn’t appeared yet. I want to complement Thomas on this video and many previous ones as well.

    The CH 750 is nicely made, and goes together quickly. Mine arrived last evening. The package is very nice and well thought out. Will comment again as I have time to use it. Thanks again, Thomas.
    73, Ken N6TZV

  8. My previous comment hasn’t appeared yet. I want to complement Thomas on this video and many previous ones as well. Will comment again as I have time to use it. Thanks again, Thomas.
    73, Ken N6TZV

  9. Hi Thomas,
    Great video.
    – Just ordered one for Christmas! 😉
    Was doing some research on Vertical antennas and Elevated Radials yesterday.
    – In order to improve signal strength, it may be beneficial to raise the radials to the 50 cm level above ground ( some suggest 1 meter) – beginning with the take off angle of 45 Degrees from the base.
    This is something I am looking forward to playing with after the snow retreats and warmer weather returns (or I take a trip South). 😀
    Keep up the good work.

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