Radio Therapy: Fresh air and a little backyard QRP portable

So far, my favorite thing about the Elecraft KH1 is this: it’s a constant radio companion.

Since 2020, I’ve always had a small field radio kit in my vehicle.

My Venus SW-3B kit, which is packed in a headrest pouch, is one example.

When I’m traveling, or just find an opening in the day, I can deploy that field kit and do a little POTA or even SOTA. I know I have a full field radio kit ready to go.

As many of you know, I do a lot of traveling back forth from my QTH to my hometown each week to do caregiving for my mom and dad. Most of the POTA sites I activate are along that corridor between Asheville and Hickory, North Carolina. Having a radio kit in the car at all times makes impromptu activations effortless.

Until the KH1, though, I never had a field radio kit that could so easily live in the backpack/shoulder bag I carry with me everywhere…my EDC bag.

EDC (Everyday Carry)

Linus understands.

Since 2000 or so–back in the days when I was living and traveling extensively in Europe–my EDC bag (sometimes a laptop bag, messenger bag, or backpack) has become a bit like a safety blanket.

I feel lost and unprepared without it.

When I have my EDC bag, I know I have my basics and essentials for working on the road, taking care of small repairs, administering first aid, and even coping with unexpected overnight trips. My EDC bag has the basics for taking care of all of these things and more.

And now, my EDC bag has a tiny QRP field radio kit.

Healing waves…

I’ve been staying with my parents a lot lately–most of the week–doing caregiving for my sweet mother.

This week in particular, I’ve been grabbing my KH1 and using it for a little backyard “radio therapy.”

You see, there has been no time in the schedule this past week for even short POTA activation forays, as much as I’d love that (more on this below).

Instead, I’ve been catching quick radio sessions in my parents’ back yard.

If I worked you this past week, this was my station:

On Sunday afternoon, January 7, 2024, I grabbed my KH1 from the backpack and took it on two short POTA hunting sessions.

In both cases, I walked to the very back of my parents’ yard to distance myself from most of the QRM that surrounds their house.

During the late afternoon session, I decided to grab my camera and make a video.


Here’s a real-time, real-life (short) video of my late afternoon POTA hunting session.  As with all of my videos, I haven’t edited this one. 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.

Being Present & Thank You

We admitted my mother into Hospice care on Monday (the day after I made the video above) and we don’t expect her to be with us much longer.

Because of Hospice, she is at peace, pain-free, and surrounded by her family. Mom made it clear to all of us that she is ready for the next adventure.

All of my energy is going into being present with her, my wife and daughters, my father, and my sister during this time.

Our community here on has lined up some amazing field reports and articles that will allow me to take a break from writing and, frankly, give me something to read and enjoy as well.

Thank you all for your support and kindness during this time.


Thomas (K4SWL)

37 thoughts on “Radio Therapy: Fresh air and a little backyard QRP portable”

  1. I’m sorry to hear about your mother Thomas. I’ll be praying for her and your family as well during this difficult time.

    God bless!
    Brian W8KBM

  2. Prayers for you and your family. By all means radio takes backseat to your current situation. May God bless.

  3. Sorry about your mother Thomas. My father (43 years ago) and my MIL (4 years ago) both passed under hospice care. It is a great program and can really make the transition easier on the patient and all involved.

    Family comes first and we all understand your absence. We will still be here when you get back.

  4. Thomas,

    I am sincerely sorry about your mother, but it is so fortunate that she has you close by.

    I remember the weeks when my mother was slowly passing and my wife, a nurse, spent most of every day at mother‘s home to provide care for her rather than having her in a hospice center. I spent many days in the hospital and also at home with mom and had collected or printed out every issue of QRP Quarterly going back to the beginning. I wasn’t able to get on the air, but I spent many hours with mom reading the QRP quarterly and just enjoying the history of the low power hobby.

    We all will have to go through things like this and ham radio sure makes it more comfortable for us.

  5. I’m so sorry to hear about your Mom. My thoughts and prayers for her and your family. God Bless.

  6. I will pray that God’s grace will sustain you and your family during this challenging time,

    I don’t expect an answer on this but… I noticed that you have attached the cover/log pad on the left side of the KH1. Any specific reason for that?

  7. I’m sorry about your mother, Thomas, but very happy about her attitude and her being in Hospice. My mother-in-law had a similar situation and attitude, and it was an amazing experience for all involved. You and your family are in our prayers.

  8. Best wishes to you and your mother, Thomas. May her transition be as peaceful as possible and may you bear up to the circumstances as well as possible.

    I should also say you “get” the KH1. This integrates ham radio with one’s everyday life like none before. Stick it in your jeans pocket and go! It’s what I have been hoping for since I was licensed in 1968. It was just a dream then, but now it’s here. Think it’s costly? Like the credit card commercial says, it’s “priceless”, available to you now for the low, low price of between $550 and $1200!

    Take care, Thomas

    73, Kevin K3OX

  9. Thomas,
    Family is what grounds us. Thank you for your posts, hoping this time with your family is healing, and heartening.
    Be well.

  10. I pray you find peace during this stressful period. Its beyond difficult but having family support is a key factor.
    Ken WW5A

  11. Firstly, thoughts with you and your family.

    Secondly, with regard to the KH1, I completely understand the fun and joy in this radio. I’m about to start “thinning the herd” ahead of purchase, but might need to wait awhile as there is currently no Elecraft dealer in the UK!


    Richard MM0RGM

  12. Firstly, thoughts with you and your family; may you all find peace within.

    Secondly, with regard to the KH1, I completely understand the fun and joy in this radio. I’m about to start “thinning the herd” ahead of purchase, but might need to wait awhile as there is currently no Elecraft dealer in the UK!


    Richard MM0RGM

  13. So sorry to hear about your mother. As others have said, we will be here for your return when the time is right. Wishing you and yours the strength and peace needed to get through this time.

  14. Amateur radio, what an amazing hobby and RF communications service! Not just a hobby and service, but even as a healthful means of therapy requiring no drugs, medical insurance, etc.

    I have been through this before with my own mother and father and with my wife’s parents too. It is not easy to see this happening to others, but this is a sad inevitability of our common lives together. My thoughts and prayers are with your mother and her family and friends.

  15. Thomas,

    I too have been through this lengthy journey with my Mother. It was an uplifting and transformative experience. Prayers and gratitude for all that you do for your family, and for this online family.

    Your KH1 experience is like mine. With me every day, it allows an instant radio session, even if I only have time to listen. Fits my years long evolution to Always Portable ops.

    73, Ken N6TZV

  16. “I’ve been staying with my parents a lot lately–most of the week–doing caregiving for my sweet mother”
    This week in particular, I’ve been grabbing my KH1 and using it for a little backyard “radio therapy.””

    I resonate on so many levels with this, as my parents got older I travelled back & forth to Ireland to caretake & give my siblings a break & at times it was tough, they looked after me at my worst as a child so they say the child becomes the parent, but I had a KX2 & Mizuho 20M which I set up in my parent’s shed & a vertical wire through fiberglass antenna 9/1 unbalun on a very long wire fence (wonderful ground plane) It was my “therapy” & oddly because of my Uncle Patrick (Gi4LHT) who was ex Royal Air Force they thought it the pursuit of the intelligencia”.

    1. all that said I am truly sorry for your loss & I wish you true contentment for the future.

  17. Thomas, I’m glad you are able to be with your parents at this time. Many years after my mother passed, I’m still very grateful I had that opportunity.

    Our prayers are with you.


  18. I’m sorry to hear that, Thomas 🙁 That must be a very tough time for the entire family, but as I read, you do all that you can in these moments – you spend time together. I don’t know if there’s anything better that one could do.

    My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family, Tom.

  19. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Thomas.
    May your Mom be comfortable and at ease, during this difficult time.

    Jay – KK1J

  20. So sorry for your mother,
    First time reading your blog,
    You and your family are in our prayers,
    Best wishes, 73

  21. We took care of my brother-in-law, with the help of hospice from January – May of 2020 in Richfield NC. During that stressful and sad time, 1000 miles from home, and in the middle of the COVID outbreak, the radio was a G-d sent. I got my Extra ticket there and was introduced to the local radio club, in Stanly Co., by one of the VEs, KI4UDZ. I made fast and long distance friends, who, through their kindness, set me up with a full shack ( IC-7300, PS, 880-H and antennas). The power of Ham Radio as a respite in both happy times and sad ones, cannot be underestimated. A club member there, who set up my antennas, WK4WC, sowed the seeds for my own CW journey.
    Doors close as others open. I wish you peace and good family memories.

  22. Hey Thomas,

    I’m really sorry to hear about your mom. She must have been quite the lady. Just remember, we’re all here for you, thinking about her. Take some time, buddy. Sit back, let the good memories with her wash over you.

    Take care!

    Scott Gaudet

  23. Thomas,

    Very sorry to hear the news about your mother. Please accept my condolences. She is out of pain an in a better place now.

    Praying for you as caregiver and your father for a quick recovery. Perhaps he needs some radio therapy as well!

    Take care,
    Rhett – KB4HG

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