Elecraft KH1 Super Power? Anytime/Anywhere POTA/SOTA Hunting!

Photo from morning SOTA activation on Richland Balsam.

Yesterday morning, I took my Elecraft KH1 to the summit of Richland Balsam and performed a SOTA activation using only the KH1’s whip antenna on 20 meters (I ran out of time to hit 17 and 15M).

It was insane fun. Without really intending to, I actually filmed the entire hike to the summit, entire activation, and the hike back to the car. I’m not sure I’ve ever done that before.  I plan to post the video by Monday (Nov 6) if at all possible (again, trying to push my KH1 videos to the front of the line for a little while).

Parking Lot Pedestrian Mobile

After the SOTA activation, I drove back to town to pick my daughters up at their acting class. I arrived about 20 minutes before the class ended and thought, “why not pull out the KH1 and see if I can hunt some POTA activators–?

I opened the trunk of the car, grabbed the KH1 from my SOTA pack and then decided to even film this short, impromptu hunting session.

As you’ll see in the video below, it took no time at all to deploy the KH1, hop on the air and work a couple of stations.

Short Video:

Click here to view on YouTube.

I could have also chased some SOTA activators, some DX, or just looked for a random ragchew with someone calling CQ.

I like hunting/chasing POTA and SOTA activators, though, because the time commitment is manageable. For example, by the time I ended this video, my daughters and one of their friends were already hopping in the car to hit the road. I didn’t have to apologize to anyone for ending a QSO early. 🙂

November is KH1 month

I decided that I’m only going to use the KH1 both in the field and in the shack during the month of November. The only exceptions will be other radios I need to test or if I need to make contacts outside of the 40-15 meter KH1 window.

One of the big reasons for this level of commitment is that I am in the testing group of the KH1. This is how we flesh-out any minor issues that may have gone unnoticed.

Another reason is I do plan to post a comprehensive review of the KH1 eventually and I only feel comfortable doing this after I’ve spent dozens of hours with a radio.

If I’m being honest, another reason is that I absolutely love this anytime, anywhere radio. It’s so insanely portable, I take it with me everywhere. The KH1 and I have been inseparable since last Monday when I took delivery. And, yes, I’m still contemplating what her name will be.

Note that I will post some of my other activations videos this month (I’ve quite a few out there!) and I will also post the occasional bonus video exclusively on Patreon. Indeed, I posted a video on Patreon yesterday where I paired the CHA F-Loop 2.0 with my Icom IC-705.

Stay tuned for more radio goodness and I hope everyone has an amazing weekend!


Thomas (K4SWL)

12 thoughts on “Elecraft KH1 Super Power? Anytime/Anywhere POTA/SOTA Hunting!”

  1. Great video! Very helpful hint to change tone for hunting with a low power transmitter. I’ve always had problems with that, so I’ll give it a try.
    Looks like a terrific portable radio. If you do find any issues for ‘lefties’, particularly with the log tray or the keyer, it would be very useful as it would almost always be handheld.

  2. It was a very interesting, and I watched it twice on YouTube.
    It doe’s look a very compact radio. I hope it is not over priced.
    In fact if I had the money I would be interested in buying one.
    Paul 2E0PKK

  3. This summer I went on several birdwatching expeditions with my wife. Often we were at a POTA location (usually driving through a national forest) so I took my KX2/AX1/AX2 along. It was so easy to pull out the rig and make a couple of P2P contacts, then put the rig away and go back to birdwatching. Oh, wow, the KH1 would be ideal for this sort of operating! I may have to break down and order one.

    1. Great. I may have to learn code so that I can get once. I think Elsie would be a great name for this radio.

      I just ordered a (tr)uSDX yesterday as it has SSB and it can be used as a CW trainer.

      I would love to see a series of posts on how to do a SOTa/POTA activation in CW. It all seems so esoteric to and I have no idea what to send or how the QSO flows. SSB seems more natural for me for a QSO. Maybe because I have been talking now for 67 years.


  4. Very very cool Thomas, I really enjoyed that parking lot activation. The last thing I need is another QRP rig, but it’s getting very hard to resist! Hi hi

    Question: I have a heavy fist when sending CW. Does the paddle mount move around much when you key it? It looks like it’s only held in place by the 3.5mm (or smaller?) jack vs like on a KX3 or KX1. I certainly understand space constraints etc on this size of a rig but just curious if it’s a practical paddle for a heavy fisted amateur?

  5. Look forward to your vids, like you I have a swathe of QRP radios, I often use the KX2 / AX1 indoors while away, for a few QSO’s, can we perhaps have a indoor run on the radio please. LLAP 73. Best.

    1. The action is soft. Elecraft designed the key this way so that it could withstand vibration and momentment from being in your hand. It’s less likely to key. It is different than any other paddle I own, but I find it keys accurately. That and I’m willing to bet by the end of the year, there’ll be a handful of 3rd party 3D printed paddles for the KH1. 🙂

  6. Thanks for all the KH1 coverage, Thomas! I hope you consider doing one of your comparison posts for this radio like you have done in the past for the KX2 and KX1 so that we may see how it sizes up to other QRP radios we may have in our collections.

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