Field Kit Gallery: K2EJT’s Self-Sufficient Elecraft KX1 Field kit

Many thanks to Evan (K2EJT) who shares the following article about his portable field radio kit which will be featured on our Field Kit Gallery page. If you would like to share your field kit with the QRPer community, read this post. Check out Evan’s field kit:

KX1 Field Activation Kit

by Evan (K2EJT)

I take a minimalist approach to most of my gear.  I don’t like to carry anything I don’t need.  Whether it’s what I pack in my daypack, an overnight pack, or my radio kit…..If I don’t need it, it’s probably not coming along.

That’s where this kit comes in.

This is the absolute minimum radio kit to do a field activation.  While it’s not the lightest kit I have, it still comes in at only 1008 grams (2.25lbs), and that’s including the Pelican case which makes this kit rugged and waterproof (I have an SW-3B kit that weighs 700g, but it’s in an ultralight stuff sack).

This kit contains EVERYTHING (and I mean everything) to do an activation.  The radio is an Elecraft KX1.  It’s a four band radio with the internal ATU.  Powering it are six AA Lithium Ion batteries.  I love this radio, and I wish it was still in production, but these days they’re unobtanium unless you’re willing to spend a ton of money and get lucky and find one for sale.

The CW key is a N0SA paddle.  The headphones are a pair of old SkullCandy earbuds I’ve had forever, but sound great.

For an antenna I’m running a 41’ random wire antenna, with a 17’ counterpoise, constructed of 24ga silicone jacketed wire.  That’s attached to the radio via a BNC binding post.  While this setup isn’t the most efficient, it’s definitely the most compact and agile.  Normally I run resonant antennas, but having the tuner allows me to run the absolute minimum antenna, and swap bands quickly, and that was the idea behind this kit.

The throw bag is rip-stop nylon with a paracord loop sewn in the top and a velcro closure across the opening.  I fill that bag with rocks, seal it shut with the velcro, and it’s ready to go. The throw line is 65’ of 1.8mm high vis reflective cord.  The throw bag doubles as a stuff sack for the cordage, so it’s all contained in one neat little unit that rolls up tiny.

Also included in the kit are a pencil and a logging sheet, as well as the KX1 cheat sheet.

I have lots of other field kits, but I wanted to showcase just how little you can actually get away with and still get the job done. Yes, I know you could build a Pixie kit and a tiny home made key and stuff and make the kit smaller and lighter, but I wanted a kit with no major compromises or downsides.  This fits the bill.   There’s nothing like a 100% complete kit that contains literally everything you need to do an activation that fits in the palm of your hand!  Thanks for reading and 73!




Everything else is either generic, home made, or ancient.

Readers: Check out Evan’s YouTube channel for more field radio goodness.

14 thoughts on “Field Kit Gallery: K2EJT’s Self-Sufficient Elecraft KX1 Field kit”

  1. “There’s nothing like a 100% complete kit that contains literally everything you need to do an activation that fits in the palm of your hand!”

    I agree 100%. Great little kit and review. My smallest kit at the moment is an X6100 in an Elecraft case. I want a smaller radio but I don’t know CW so my options for going smaller are limited.
    Your throw line solution has me thinking.


    1. You can go smaller, but you’d lose some functionality and the radio would be more of a compromise. The 6100 is a good solution for a shack in a box setup. The throw line thing is something I came up with because I was tired of carrying around a heavy throw weight, and stuff sacks worked, but when you cinch them closed to put them in the kit they bunch up and take up space. It’s not as durable as a Weaver or anything, but it works. I think I might make one with 500D Cordura and line it with thin leather. It would still be light and compact, but it would take more abuse!

  2. Very nice Evan, thanks for sharing this field kit! I especially like your details, including a brief description of each item.

    The KX1 is a great, timeless QRP portable radio. I doubt I’ll ever sell mine; it’s a mint 80/40/30/20 with with the attached paddles.

    Your post is a reminder for me to bring it off the shelf and exercise it.

  3. Evan, what an awesome field kit! And a four-bander too! It’s simple elegant.

    I only have two questions… Do you date Super Models? And, can I borrow it?

    (HiHi) de W7UDT

  4. Wait! Brent (VA3YG)… So you own a four bander too? “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!???.” – Lloyd (Jim Carey)

    (HiHi)(Seriously) de W7UDT

  5. Thank you, Evan, that is truly a thing of beauty!
    Someone above already used the word “elegant”, and I think that also applies.
    Always been a huge fan of the 2-wires-on-a-BNC-adapter, and I like the throw-bag idea a lot, I’m going to try that.

    1. Not very long. 20 minutes or so. It’s enough to get an activation in, but not much more. I normally would run a small external battery like a KX2 battery or a 3am Talentcell, and then have the AA batteries as a backup.

  6. Another alternative to the throw bag is a few zip lock 2 by 5″ bags . They can be filled with sand, rock even water and are easy to replace.

  7. Hello, bh1sxj is from China. I like this kx1 very much. But now I don’t even know anything about his complete set. What I see at present is the host and microphone. I don’t even know if there is a power cord when I bought it. Although China, Europe, the United States, and Canada are very far away, I am still eager to have it. Can you tell me which website or Can I buy him elsewhere? Although it is a long time to mail to China, I am willing to wait.

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