On a POTA Mission with the RGO One!

On Thursday, June 6, 2024, I had two missions:

  1. To help fellow volunteers at the Asheville Radio Museum assemble shelving.
  2. To fit in a POTA activation over lunch.

I started out the day pretty early at the QTH sorting out a few chores, then I made my way to the museum around 9:30.

The Asheville Radio Museum

I’m a member and volunteer of the Asheville Radio Museum, a small – but brilliantly curated – museum on the campus of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.

That Thursday morning, we organized a shelf-building party to assemble a shipment of new shelves we’re going to use to house our collection in a new space A-B Tech has given us on the third floor of the Elm building.

We’re super excited about the new space not only because it’s much larger, but there’s even a dedicated workbench where we can invite students and guests to learn some soldering and repair skills.

If you’re ever in the Asheville, North Carolina area, I’d strongly encourage you to check out the Asheville Radio Museum. Check our website for directions and hours.

We ended up working on the shelves for a couple of hours, and once assembled, I decided to grab lunch at Bridge & Tunnel Coffee in the Coman Student Activity Center next door. The food and coffee were absolutely amazing. A-B Tech students are so lucky to have a café of this caliber on campus!

I spent more time hanging with my friends at lunch than I had planned. No regrets there.

I knew there was still plenty of time to make my way to the Vance Historic Birthplace and fit in a POTA activation! Twenty minutes of driving later, and I was pulling into the Vance parking lot.

Zebulon B. Vance Birthplace (US-6856)

As I made my way around the visitor’s center, I was very pleased to see that the picnic shelter was unoccupied. School was still in session for many districts in the area and field trips tend to take place near the end of the term. Had there been a school group at this small historic site, I would have gone elsewhere to activate so as not to disturb them.

The weather was pretty amazing – the perfect day to be outdoors playing radio.

Speaking of radio, I brought a special one with me that day.

The Mission RGO One

As I mention in my activation video below, I receive more questions about this radio than any others I take to the field. Some have seen it in previous activation videos, and many see it in my QRPer.com banner rotation.

Typically, I’ll get a message with the following question, “Thomas, what is that cool radio with the white faceplate I see in the banner on QRPer?”

It’s no wonder I get a lot of questions about it. The Mission RGO One is a very low-production run modular transceiver – the creation of Boris Sapundzhiev (LZ2JR).

Boris produces the Mission RGO One in small batches at his facility in Bulgaria. This is very much a cottage industry radio – one you won’t find in many shacks or on Field Day because there just aren’t a lot out there (compared with Yaesu, Elecraft, Icom, etc.).

I’m a massive fan of the RGO One. So much so, that if I had to pare down my radio collection to only two HF transceivers, the RGO One would be one of those two.

I love the RGO One’s legacy design and the fact it’s a down-conversion superhet receiver with 9MHz IF. The receiver is absolutely amazing.

You don’t see the RGO One in many of my POTA videos mainly because I tend to use my smaller, portable radios in the field. That said, the RGO One was designed with field operating in mind – it’s a very capable radio and lightweight compared to other tabletop radios.

The RGO One is my main HF radio in the shack, so it actually gets heavy use. If I’ve ever hunted you at the QTH while you were activating a park or summit, it was likely with the Mission RGO One.

As I mention in the video, I will plan to make a “Getting To Know You” video with the RGO One in the near future, so I’ll speak a bit more about it then.

In the meantime, you can read my full review of the Mission RGO on The SWLing Post and check out more about any upcoming production runs on Boris’ website.

Setting Up

I decided to deploy my KM4CFT EFHW kit that I trimmed for 30 meters with a 40-meter extension. This antenna is brilliant because it resonates on 30 and 17 meters as a 30-meter EFHW, then if you link the 40-meter extension, it’ll give you 40, 20, 15, and 10 meters. That’s six bands on one antenna without the need for an ATU.

Next, I paired my Begali Traveler paddles with the RGO One.

Although the RGO One has a maximum output power of 50 or 55 watts, I had it set to my standard 5 watts QRP.


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On The Air

Being in the early afternoon, I decided to hop on 20 meters first, as I assumed it might be one of the more productive bands. Conditions – as we all know – have been quite rough as of late, so I tend to start my activation on the band where I think I’ll accumulate the most contacts.

I started calling CQ POTA, and fortunately, the hunters started calling back.

Within 13 minutes, I logged my first nine stations before the band became quiet.



I then moved to the 40-meter band, where I was quite pleased to work my buddy KB6NU at US-3315.

I decided that since I had great mobile phone reception, I would use the POTA.app site and hunt some Park-To-Parks.

I added WD8RIF, K6PB, WA3GM, and AD8Y! Thanks for logging me!

All in all, I counted 14 contacts in the logs, which made for a very casual and relaxed activation.

Perhaps that’s one good takeaway during these days of unstable propagation: it does produce activations where the contacts are fewer and further between instead of constant pileups.


Here’s what this five-watt activation looked like when plotted out on a QSO Map:


Activation Video

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.

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.

More Mission!

Each time I take the Mission RGO One to the field, I’m reminded why I love this radio so much.

I love the ergonomics, the audio, the receiver, and the silky-smooth QSK. It’s, in many ways, a simple radio that reminds me of some of my favorite legacy transceivers – the Elecraft K2 and Ten-Tec Eagle come to mind.

I love the fact that the RGO One is lighter than 100-watt radios (about 5 lbs) and the current drain is a respectable 0.65A with the receiver preamp on.

Again, I hope to post a “Getting To Know You” video about the Mission RGO One in the near future! Stay tuned!

Thank you

Thank you for joining me during this activation!
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 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 makes 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 a brilliant, radio-active week ahead!

Cheers & 72,
Thomas (K4SWL)

7 thoughts on “On a POTA Mission with the RGO One!”

  1. Great activation Thomas. Sometimes it’s nice when they fall into your lap, but having to work a little to overcome conditions is also satisfying.

    I’m stoked to see you worked my friend Pete, K6PB, in Southern California! I met Pete while visiting the N6IPD Field Day site in 2023. Pete and the whole gang at IDEC are FB!

    1. Brilliant! Always nice to work a friend of a friend!

      Yes, I kind of enjoy the relaxed cadence from time to time–especially if I’m not really pressed for time. 🙂

  2. Yeah, I’m seriously thinking about one of these. I’m a little tired of the run-of-the-mill modern rigs or the not-quite-there-yet Chinese rigs. Problem is it’s pretty pricey right now at his site. I’ve seen a couple for sale but I hadn’t got curious at that time. I’m thinking of selling my IC-7610 and Acom 1000 because they simply don’t get used! The only other way forward is the Hermes Lite 2 plus extra PA. 50 W is a good compromise.

    1. The RGO One is wonderful. It’s a simple radio compared with so many others and is the product of a small company. You’re welcome to check mine out, Paul, since you’re so local to me!

      I’ve never done the CAT control and other things you typically implement.

  3. Nice rig… no idea why, It reminds me of a new version of the Ten Tec Argosy 525. I saw the RGO rig at Dayton a few years ago !!
    73 VE3MKX

  4. Thanks for the report and video Thomas. 🙂

    I’ve always been partial to this radio, probably because I also liked the white-panel Yaesu FT-107 from years ago. Maybe one day I’ll have the pleasure of operating a Mission RGO One.

    Also, since I only typically watch your videos on our TV, due to mic placement or something, the radio’s sidetone is almost completely canceled out. I had to turn the balance all the way to the right, then all of a sudden I could hear the sidetone. This has happened on other videos and our older TV too — maybe TVs just don’t like CW! 😛

    72 / 73 and God bless you from Will B – AF7EC

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