Pairing the Penntek TR-45L and Chelegance MC-750 on a swift POTA activation

Friday, January 6, 2023, was a beautiful day and my route took me within 10 minutes of South Mountains State Park (K-2753).

Of course, I had to activate it!

In truth, I had only a short window to do the activation, but I knew it would be seriously fun.

I’d packed my Penntek TR-45L and Chelegance MC-750 for the trip and was looking forward to pairing the two.

My TR-45L actually has the built-in Z-Match manual antenna tuner, but I wanted to, once again, configure the MC-750 as a resonant antenna (much like I did in my previous activation).

I also had my new VK3IL pressure paddle along for the ride and wanted to see how nicely it might work with the TR-45L.

If I’m being honest, it was a bit strange not to use a wire antenna at this particular park because South Mountains has some very large old-growth trees that are ideal for hanging antennas.

That said, I also had my choice of spots to deploy the MC-750 vertical.

I quickly assembled the antenna and placed it about 40 feet from the picnic table. I fed it with a 45′ length of RG-174.

I set the stainless whip to the 14 MHz silkscreened mark and connected the antenna to my radio.

On the back of the TR-45L, I set the antenna switch to coax and the ATU switch to bypass. I didn’t want an ATU in-line since my antenna was going to be resonant.


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On The Air

That day (and a few after) we were having X-Class flaring that pretty much wiped out the lower bands like 40 and 30 meters.

Twenty meters, on the other hand, was pretty energized but a bit unstable. The higher bands were also producing some surprising results. I was very curious how propagation might play out.

I decided to start on 20 meters and, if it was dead, I’d move up to 17 meters.

I quickly checked my SWR and it was excellent: roughly 1.3:1.

I only had about 15 minutes to play radio before moving on. That’s not a lot of time.

I hopped on the air, started calling CQ POTA and the contacts started flowing in.

I was on the air a total of eleven minutes and in that time I worked 12 stations.

As you can see in my logs above (click the image to enlarge) the 20 meter band was very long that day. There was a path wide open into Texas and Oklahoma–half of my contacts were in that part of the US.

I was also grabbing the western half of the US (Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, and Washington).


I mention in the activation video how curious I was to see the activation on a QSO Map.  Here’s what it looked like:

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.

VK3IL Pressure Paddles

Although this activation was very brief, it was a pleasure using the VK3IL pressure paddles with the TR-45L.  While I prefer the feel of mechanical paddles, I must admit that I key accurately with these pressure paddles. I think I’m going to build a few more!

Between it and the amazing N6ARA Tiny Paddles, I can keep an affordable spare set of precision spare paddles in each of my radio kits.

Thank you

Thank you for joining me on this expeditious little activation!

If anything, I hope this field report and video demonstrate that you don’t need to carve out a large portion of your day to activate a park. If you have a spare 45 minutes or more, you should have plenty of time to fit in a quick activation. Of course, the key is knowing your field kit very well and being able to deploy it and pack it up in short order.

I hope you enjoy my field reports and my activation videos as much as I enjoy 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!

Cheers & 72,

Thomas (K4SWL)

6 thoughts on “Pairing the Penntek TR-45L and Chelegance MC-750 on a swift POTA activation”

  1. Great activation Thomas, thanks for posting this.

    There is a part of me that really wants to get that antenna but then there is another part that says “you already have a WRC Sporty Forty”.

    My biggest issue is the portability of the 17′ whip but both have that whip. I may still get the Chelegance MC-750 as it is such a neat antenna. But in the meantime I’ll just mark up my 17′ MFJ whip and use the WRC. I wired up a bypass jumper so that I an take the Sporty Forty coil out of the circuit.


  2. Does the MC-750 coil base detach from the spike?

    I often operate where the ground is too hard to drive a spike. If the antenna could also be used with a tripod, like the WRC TIA then it might work in my environments.

    1. Does the MC-750 coil base detach from the spike? – Yes it can be detached.

      Sometimes i use MC-750 with a tripod together with a 3/8 to M10 adaptor, when the ground is too hard to drive with spike: Detach base from the spike, and use the adaptor to connect the base and the tripod together.

  3. Perfect setup. On the list for a TR-45L and have been looking heavily at the MC-750 to go along with my 20m/40m Par EndFedz.

    Does the TR-45L have the ability to turn break-in on/off or does it stay on transmit 100% when keying ?

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