Steve tests a compact, carry-on QRP field radio kit while on holiday in Croatia!

Many thanks to Steve (MW0SAW) who shares the following field report:

Portable Ops in 9A Land

by Steve (MW0SAW)

Just back from a family holiday to Croatia and I was lucky enough to be able to take a QRP station with me on my travels. It’s always good to stop and review what you took and how it worked out, else you won’t be able to iterate and improve next time.

My wife and I have always been efficient minimalist travellers and even now with our daughter the traditional continues. And let’s face it, who doesn’t love to get their inner pack geek on when it comes to QRP ham radio and travel!

I’m very lucky to own several QRP radios, Elecraft KX2, FT-818, IC-705, but for minimalist ops they are all a/ too expensive and/or b/ too heavy & bulky. The choice naturally brought me to a CW rig and after some deliberating I chose my Venus SW-3B over my newly constructed QCX mini. The Venus is just more versatile having 3 bands and SSB RX.

So the item I spent weeks torturing myself about prior to the holiday was the antenna. You have to try to imagine from where you will operate. I don’t think you can beat a wire antenna like the K6ARK EFHW however you need trees or a mast, I thought I was most likely to operate from the hotel room balcony. I came to the conclusion, despite the extra bulk, that the Gabil 7350T and Tripod would be my companions.

And how did I get on? Well the first time I setup the station on the balcony the electrical interference was terrible, and I could not hear any signals. So I had to adapt and go for plan B. Which actually turned out to be a stunning spot.

Operating on a small jetty next to the salt water on the island of Sveti Nikola near the town of Porec in the early mornings, I deployed my station and called CQ. You can see from the RBN that my 5 watt signal was making a good impact, however only had a couple of European stations come back to me from my calls.

I decided to switch to hunt and pounce mode, and I was amazed to work several USA, VK and ZL stations over a few days. It’s such a great feeling to work DX with such a modest setup. The icing on the cake for an already special family holiday. I think you will agree such a beautiful place.

So overall I was very happy with my station choices.

Kit list:

(Note: Note that Amazon links are affiliate and support

Until my next QRP adventure.
Best 73


I didn’t mention it in my report (above) as he hadn’t replied to my email, but I did work Peter Parker VK3YE (he has a good YouTube channel). I’m in his video about 10mins 45seconds in:

9 thoughts on “Steve tests a compact, carry-on QRP field radio kit while on holiday in Croatia!”

  1. Thanks Steve and Thomas.

    I’m curious how you transported the 7350T. I have that antenna and it does break down well but I haven’t found a good way to transport it.

    I have an IC-705 field kit and I am working on one for my X6100 but I haven’t been able to come up with a good solution for the 7350T or for a 17′ whip. I’m looking for suggestions and curious as to how you handle the antenna.


    1. Hi Marshall,

      The tripod, the small maxpedition pouch and the two pieces for the antenna were just tossed amongst our clothes in the suitcases. The radio pouch and battery in my hand carry.

      Cheers Steve

      1. Thanks Steve

        So, I’m assuming you just hand carry the antenna when going into the field. I’m looking for a good way to get the antenna and mast from the car to the transmitting site. So far I’m not having much luck and hand carrying the individual pieces has been my only solution

        1. Hi Marshall, it’s pretty robust collapsing into 2 pieces. Yes I just hand carry or wedge loosely inside my backpack. I also wedge my mpas lite in backpack in the same way. If they pick up a few scratches I’m not bothered, I only worry about keeping my radios pristine.


        2. Hi, Marshall. I was worried about damaging the collapsible whip for my Wolf River Coil. I cut a length of PVC pipe, put a fixed cap on one end, and a screw cap on the other. I wrapped it in paracord (because you can never have too much paracord) and strapped it to the side of my pack.

  2. As QRP field operators, refining and streamlining our kits is a thorough, well tested, and never-ending process.

    Your kit is well organized, and it’s field performance spectacular! (I’m very impressed!) And I’ve always wanted to travel to Croatia…. Great field report, Marshall!

    72! de W7UDT (dit dit)

    1. Thanks Rand, I was really pleased with my travel kit. Saltwater always helps!

      Best 73 & 72
      de Steve MW0SAW

  3. Aha!, I’m currently putting together my pouch with my SW-3B and that same Talentcell battery 🙂 I can only currently dream of VK and ZL – amazing!

    Marshall (W4MKH) – when I put together a PAC12 clone it took some searching to find any sort of suitable bag, but ultimately I found that fishing ‘bankstick’ or ‘buzzbar’ bags were a good fit. They are long and narrow and commonly have elasticated loops inside for holding the sticks. I don’t know if they are called the same thing where you are – here is a link to the one I got for my PAC12 (which might be longer than you need). I do need to add a carry handle to that one (on the todo list)

    Graham, M7GRW

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.