Pairing the Elecraft KX2 with a 28.5′ random wire for a rapid POTA activation

On Wednesday, January 11, 2023, I was on my way back to the QTH after a brief trip to Raleigh, NC.

Later in the afternoon, I needed to take my daughters to a class, thus I had a strict deadline to meet. Still, it was a beautiful day so I decided to pop by Tuttle Educational State Forest for a nice walk and possibly an activation if I time allowed.  I’d spent so much time in my car the previous couple of days, I really wanted to stretch my legs.

Tuttle Educational State Forest (K-4861)

As I drove to Tuttle, I made a decision to film a Hike & Talk session–I had a topic on my mind and thought the timing was right to make a recording. You can check out that (previously published) Hike & Talk session here.

After that casual walk, I found that I had a good 45 minute window–no more–to fit in a full activation including set-up/take-down. Very doable!

The radio I had packed away for this road trip was my Elecraft KX2 field kit which included a Tufteln no-transformer random wire antenna (compact equivalent of my 28.5′ speaker wire antenna) and my AX1 portable antenna. I had this particular kit because I’d hoped to do an urban park activation in Raleigh, but simply didn’t have the time to fit it in.

Setting up the KX2 is a swift process.

I chose a picnic table, deployed the Tufteln antenna and was on the air in no time!


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On The Air

I hopped on the air and starting calling CQ POTA (in CW) on 20 meters. Within eleven minutes, I had logged the ten stations necessary to validate this activation. I was very pleased with these results considering it was a Wednesday morning (not exactly prime-time for POTA)!

I continued operating an additional 14 minutes and logged twelve more stations for a total of 22 logged in 24 minutes–all on 20 meters.

This was just the right amount of “radio therapy” I needed that fine morning!


Here’s what this five watt 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.

There’s almost always time for a little POTA!

Lately, my schedule has been so jam-packed, I feel like there’s hardly any room to squeeze in a POTA activation.

I learned early on in my POTA career, though, that it’s important to keep a fully-stocked and self-sufficient field kit in my vehicle at all times.

I find it difficult to wake up in the morning, look at my schedule, and confidently predict that I’ll have a POTA opening because it requires 1.) having enough time (a very minimum of 20 minutes for a portable deployment) and 2.) being in the vicinity of a POTA park. SOTA, of course, is even more difficult because summits aren’t usually as accessible as parks.

If I’m not making a video, I can fit in an activation in 20 minutes.

Indeed, the upcoming field reports are all portable and all fairly rapid. And lots of fun, if I’m being honest!

Thank you

Thank you for joining me on this quick activation! It was a nice dose of outdoor radio therapy after a fairly somber beginning of the week. One of my best friends lost his wife to pancreatic cancer and the funeral was the previous day in Raleigh.  He’s also a ham and, like me, finds his radio time healing.

As always, 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! Here’s wishing you a wonderful week!

Cheers & 72,

Thomas (K4SWL)

One thought on “Pairing the Elecraft KX2 with a 28.5′ random wire for a rapid POTA activation”

  1. Great video Thomas!

    My copying is getting better again, the magic of YT is I can rewind over and over until I get what the operator said in a QRM situation. What comes over on YT and what comes through my Sony BT wireless headphones might be a bit different sound than what you hear.

    I do not consider my hearing too bad for a 61-year-old unless you ask my wife about OM vs XYL filtering, but all kidding aside ear health is something we old guys do not give much thought to except when someone is screaming at us to get hearing aids.

    I always wore hearing protection while hunting as a youth and in my aerospace career around those loud screaming, test stands where 3-phase power actually is felt in your chest too, LOL.

    Thanks again for the CW practice! You gave me an idea, you told us how much work it is for a POTA activation. I want to try a mock activation with my US Morse straight key with my arm in the correct relaxed position with my wrist straight (At the picnic table here) to see how I do after a 10-15 minute test. I was a whiz at it at age 17, but at age 61 I noticed that operating tools and such my hand pains come sooner and last longer after working on my father-in-law’s RV this winter and boy does it need a lot more of my attention as at age 90 we won’t let him get up on his roof anymore. It is bad enough that I do it, reminds me of both my tower-climbing days and when I used to have to clean my eave gutters, LOL!

    Cheers and very best, 72, Dave – KU9L

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