New Penntek TR-35 Field Kit, Canine Welcome Party, & Brilliant 20 Meter POTA Conditions!

There are few things that make me happier than radios and pets.  On Saturday, January 7, 2023, I got copious amounts of both.

On the way back to the QTH, I stopped by Table Rock Fish Hatchery (K-8012) for a nice, leisurely POTA activation.

En route to Table Rock I gave some though to the antenna I might deploy. In the end, I decided I’d once again set up the Chelegance MC-750.

There was no question which radio I’d use: it’d be the brilliant Penntek TR-35 packed-up in its new field kit!

Table Rock Fish Hatchery (K-8012)

Table Rock Fish Hatchery isn’t open on Saturdays, but that really isn’t a problem because the picnic area where I set up shop is open 24/7.

And the best part about Table Rock? The welcoming committee…

These two dogs are so incredibly sweet and always a highlight of activating Table Rock. You may have seen them in my previous field reports and videos.

Since it was a Saturday and the staff at the fish hatchery were at home, these pups were desperate for a little attention. I was happy to give it to them, too!

I just love these guys!

New Nanuk 903

During a Black Friday sale in 2022, I grabbed a Nanuk 903 watertight case.

If you’re not familiar, Nanuk cases are very similar to Pelican cases but instead of being made in the USA, they’re made in Canada (in fact, I still hadn’t removed the Made in Canada sticker on this one). Nanuks have locking latches which is a bonus. It’s a very secure case to pack away.

I purchased the 903 case with the Penntek TR-35 in mind. My 903 came with foam inserts but, turns out, I didn’t need the actual pick foam insert. The foam in the lid and on the floor of the interior is all I needed.

I found that if I orient the TR-35 vertically inside the case, all of the accessories fit securely around it without needing any extra padding. If the TR-35 were a centimeter taller, I’m not sure it would fit. As-is, it fits perfectly. You can see the TR-35 indent in the lid foam:

It’s tight, but not too tight!

Here are the contents of the Nanuk 903 case (gear links will be in the gear section below):

  • Penntek TR-35
  • Power cord
  • Elecraft KXBT2 Li-Ion Battery Pack
  • Retractable paddle cable
  • PackTenna 20M EFHW
  • N0SA 3D-printed paddles
  • 10′ of RG-316 with BNC connectors (not in these photos)

Since I was using the Chelegance MC-705, I left the PackTenna EFHW antenna in the Nanuk case. I also opted to use my CW Morse CNC paddles for this activation.

Setting up

Due to X-Class flaring we were experiencing that wekend, I decided to stick to the higher bands. The TR-35 is a four band radio: it includes 40, 30, 20, and 17 meters. I knew 40 and 30 meters were wiped out by the flaring but 20 and 17 meters might be quite active.

I picked 20 meters as a starting point and configured the MC-750 vertical for resonance.

This is the older model. The front panel and switching has changed (for the better) since 2020.

Since the TR-35 lacks an SWR meter, I used my little MFJ-9218 meter to make sure the MC-750 was actually well-matched. Check out my activation video to see how I did this.

Fortunately, the match was spot-on! I believe it was 1.1:1.  I’m really enjoying the versatility of the MC-750.

After confirming the match, I removed the MFJ SWR meter.

I figured if 20 meters was inactive, I’d move up to 17 meters and reconfigure the MC-750. Turns out, that wasn’t necessary…


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On The Air

I started calling CQ POTA on 20 meters–the band was simply booming!

I worked my first ten contacts (for a valid POTA activation) in eight minutes! Wow–!

I was on the air for a total of 43 minutes and worked 40 stations in that time.


Besides 20 meters being energized by our local star, no doubt the level of activity on the bands also had a lot to do with it being a Saturday. I so rarely do activations on weekends due to family activities, but when I do, I can really see just how large the POTA family has become! It’s impressive!

I remember in the early days of POTA, even on a weekend, I was pleased if I could log my first ten contacts in 30 minutes. My how times have changed!


Here’s what this 5 watt CW activation into the MC-750  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 watch on YouTube.

“Let’s go for a ride!”

As I packed up the station post-activation, I had to keep checking the car to make sure my doggy friends hadn’t jumped inside. They were ready to go on a ride!

The activation was simply a blast and a good bit of “radio therapy” for me that fine Saturday.

In the end, this is what it’s all about!

Thank you

Thank you for joining me on this fun little activation!

I hope you enjoyed the field report and my 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.

Thanks for spending part of your day with me and I hope you have an amazing weekend filled with radio wonder!

Cheers & 72,

Thomas (K4SWL)

9 thoughts on “New Penntek TR-35 Field Kit, Canine Welcome Party, & Brilliant 20 Meter POTA Conditions!”

    1. Hi John, I’ve purchased such a cable recently on AliExpress – the shipment was quick, and it works well, not to mention an affordable price 😉 The only thing I miss is to be sure it’s really teflon. But the overall quality is high, I must admit.

      1. Thanks Damian, I’ll check it out. I’m currently waiting for an antenna I bought from AliExpress. Scheduled delivery on that item is over a month (to Canada) but some things are worth waiting for.

  1. Can you please post a source for the fold-out-feet for the Penntek TR-35 (link not functional).
    Bill AG5ZN

  2. I just come to this website for the dogs 😉

    That Chelegance antenna is a versatile antenna, well priced too and it’s my birthday coming up..

    Right best take my own hound out for his daily walk….

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