If you recall from my last field report, I’ve been pairing the Elecraft AX1 antenna with a number of radios. For me, it’s been a fun exercise because I always enjoy seeing what sort of results the AX1 might produce. So far, it has never disappointed.
On Thursday, February 2, 2023, I packed two radios in my car with the idea of fitting in two consecutive park activations.
At my first activation of the day–Lake James State Park–I paired the AX1 with my Mission RGO One transceiver. The activation was a blast! Not only did I stay busy working stations, but I also managed a little QRP DX thanks to a hunter from Italy.
K2 and AX1 Under Shelter
After grabbing a curried chicken salad wrap at Food Matters and a coffee at Little Guatemala roasters in Morganton, I hit my second and final park of the day: Tuttle Educational State Forest (K-4861). It was rainy, so the park was empty which allowed me to take over the very large picnic shelter at Tuttle.
Even though this particular shelter is in a bit of a dip in the land and has a large metal roof, I’ve had successful activations there in the past employing the AX1 antenna.
My hope was that history would repeat itself!
Attaching the AX1 antenna to the back of the Elecraft K2 was not complicated because the K2 has a BNC connector with nothing protruding to get in the way of the Bipod.
It also has a nice grounding point next to the antenna to attach the 13′ counterpoise (I planned to operate on 20M and 17M).
Since the BNC jack is higher off the table than it would be on, say, the KX2 or KX3, the Bipod legs were much closer together. In terms of stability, if it were a gusty day, I’d need to secure the AX1 a bit better.
This was not an issue on this particular day, though, and the AX1 was quite stable.
Note here that my activation video below shows the entire setup process.
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- Elecraft K2
- Elecraft AX1 packed in a Maxpedition Fatty Pouch
- Key cable: Cable Matters 2-Pack Gold-Plated Retractable Aux Cable – 2.5 Feet
- Begali Traveler
- Spec-Ops Brand T.H.E. Pack EDC
- Bioenno 3 aH LiFePo Battery (Model BLF-1203AB)
- Ham Radio Workbench DC Distribution Panel Model HRWB101
- Rite In The Rain Weatherproof Cover/Pouch
- Moleskine Cahier Journal
- GraphGear 0.9mm 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil
- Camera: OSMO Action Camera
- My fingerless gloves
On The Air
I continued working on 20 meters due to the little rolling pileup that kept me busy. All told, I worked 34 stations on 20 meters including three Park-To-Parks: K1NGZ, KD5ICE, and M0TTQ.
Yes, under the metal roof of a picnic shelter, pushing 5 watts of power into a 4 foot whip antenna, I logged a P2P with Stuart (M0TTQ) in the UK. That was amazing. Better yet, he was at G-0022 in Portsmouth–not terribly far from where I used to live in Surrey (Shere). Thanks for that Stuart…it made my day!
For fun, I QSYed to the 17 meter band and called CQ for 5 minutes working 4 stations with 10 watts.
Here’s what this QRP activation looked like when plotted out on a QSO Map (click to enlarge).
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.
My K2/10 is pretty much fully loaded in terms of receiver and filtering options. It also has the latest firmware.
One addition I’m considering? Adding a built-in rechargeable battery. I’m not interested in the one Elecraft sold for the K2, rather I’m curious if I could fit a LiFePo4 battery in the enclosure. If you’ve done this, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
No doubt, this won’t be the last time I pair the K2 and AX1!
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.
As I mentioned before, the Patreon platform connected to Vimeo make it possible for me to share videos that are not only 100% ad-free, but also downloadable for offline viewing. The Vimeo account also serves as a third backup for my video files.
Thanks for spending part of your day with me! Have an amazing day!
Cheers & 72,