Category Archives: QRP

The New Xiegu X6200: First POTA activation in CW with a production unit!

If you’re following the new Xiegu X6200 closely, you might recall that I took a prototype version of the radio out two weeks ago for a POTA activation. Propagation was so challenging–as in, a complete radio blackout in North America due to an X-Class flare–it took about 90 minutes of calling CQ POTA to snag the ten needed for a valid park activation.

I had planned to post the activation video on YouTube, but learned shortly after the activation that this particular unit was a proper prototype instead of an early production run radio. This is a detail I misunderstood prior to the unit shipping.

I only shared the 2+ hour video to Patreon supporters, but not on my YouTube channel for this reason.

Production

This past weekend, I received a second Xiegu X6200: this time, a production run unit!

Again, this unit was supplied to me on loan by Xiegu via their distributor, Radioddity who (in the spirit of full disclosure) is also a QRPer.com sponsor and affiliate.

[Note: Also check out Steve’s channel if interested in the X6200. He’s been testing power output, OS accessibility, and other aspects on the bench.]

POTA Time!

Two days ago–Tuesday, June 11, 2024–I took the new X6200 out for a POTA activation on the Blue Ridge Parkway (US-3378).

I had a couple of hours that morning to fit in the activation, including a round trip from the QTH. The best site for a quick activation was the Folk Art Center picnic area.

Thanks to the early hour, there was no competition for picnic tables.

I decided to pair my PackTenna 9:1 End-Fed Random Wire with the X6200. This provided a chance to test the ATU with a readily matchable antenna (in the future, I’ll make it sweat a bit more by using a transformerless random wire antenna).

This production run X6200 has the same firmware (version 1.0) as the prototype, but the hardware has received noticeable updates. I spotted two changes–one cosmetic and one that had a positive impact on performance–almost immediately.

In the activation video below, you’ll see that I spent a few minutes doing an overview of the X6200.

One of the first things I did was set up the X6200 for CW Message memory operation. I demonstrated (after a bit of head-scratching) how to input the CW message using the X6200’s built-in on-screen keyboard. (If the CW Message Memories confuse you, check out the short primer in my previous post).

Gear:

Note: All Amazon, CW Morse, ABR, Chelegance, eBay, and Radioddity links are affiliate links that support QRPer.com at no cost to you.

On The Air

The last time I hopped on the air with the X6200, it was proper work making any contacts. It was a struggle and it wasn’t the X6200’s fault. It was our local star!

I decided to start on 40 meters since it was still mid-morning. After calling “QRL?” and hearing no reply, I pressed the second CW message memory button where I loaded “CQ POTA DE K4SWL” and the radio started transmitting. Continue reading The New Xiegu X6200: First POTA activation in CW with a production unit!

The POTA Babe Reaches the Halfway Mark!

by Teri (KO4WFP)

It is said that all good things must come to an end and a POTA trip is no exception. Packing up camp at Reed Bingham State Park the morning of June 3rd was an easy endeavor.  Daisy and I were soon headed toward Savannah with a POTA planned along the way at Alapaha River Wildlife Management Area (US-7881). We passed through the communities of Tifton and Ocilla, Georgia.

As one travels through Georgia, you see a variety of crops along the road – cotton, peanuts, corn, pecans, blueberries, soybeans, etc. – as well as cattle in fields and poultry houses. As I worked my way toward Alapaha River Wildlife Management Area (WMA), I came across a processing plant for peanuts in Tifton, Georgia.

Peanuts are big business in Georgia. According to the Georgia Peanut Commission, the state of Georgia produces 52% of the peanuts grown in the United States which translated to 1.45 million tons in 2022. That is a boatload of peanuts!

Peanuts are planted April through June and then harvested about five months later in the fall. One fact I did not know is there is a “peanut belt” in Georgia, an area south of the fall line but omitting the coastal counties, where peanuts are planted in the state. I was driving inside this belt.

Peanut crop in the field. source: georgiagrown.com
source: Georgia Peanut Commission

Nuts aside, it wasn’t long before Daisy and I arrived at Alapaha River WMA. This WMA opened in 2016 and contains nearly 7,000 acres. According to a Georgia DNR article, the site has an estimated 2,000 gopher tortoises, the most for any state-owned tract of land in Georgia. This is not surprising given the density of sandhills on the property, a habitat in which gopher tortoises thrive.

The dirt road into the property was nicely groomed. I drove past areas of young planted pines as well as more mature pine stands. However, neither of these areas were conducive to an activation, partially because the trees offered no shade and partially because the branches were either too low or too high for me to install my EFRW antenna.

Entrance into Alapaha River WMA
Young pines

I continued on Jacks Creek Road and headed toward a dove field (the brown area on the map down below) at the point the road dead-ends. I  figured there may be trees along the edge of the field offering what I needed. I turned left onto North Bugle Trail and, off to the right hand side, saw an area with both shade and trees I could use.

source: Georgia Department of Natural Resources
The shady area for my activation QTH
Trees with good branch options

After donning my blaze orange attire and installing the Tufteln EFRW, I attached the new hitch system to the hubcap of one of Kai’s front wheels and the rope to the clip on Daisy’s harness so she could make herself at home along with me in the shade.

While checking out the shady area, I noticed several things – dandelions with their sunny, yellow faces and animal tracks in the sand. The set of tracks for deer were easy to identify. However, another set, not so. I think the second set belonged to a raccoon.

Deer track
Raccoon track (I think)

Today’s activation would be short as I had a three-hour drive ahead of me and needed to be home in time for my son’s evening driving class. (Yes, we’ve reached that stage of life in the POTA Babe household.) In 45 minutes, I logged 19 contacts including one park-to-park with Charles AB9CA at US-2275 and a QSO with Ronald N7WPO in Washington state! That QSO on 5 watts and a wire is part of the magic I mentioned near the end of my previous article.

QSO Map for Alapha River WMA Activation

During the activation I had watched the sun creep closer and closer to Daisy and me. When the time reached 11:15 AM, we were nearly out of shade. It was time to call QRT and head home.

This overnight POTA trip turned out well. I learned more about my camping set-up and the beautiful state in which I live. I had time to do what I love – ham radio in the outdoors. And, with these three activations, I now have 30 parks toward my 60 new-to-me park activation goal for 2024!

I am halfway there.

Thank you to all of you who have supported me thus far. However, my journey is far from over and the fun will continue. Where will I activate next as I work toward 30 more new parks? Stay tuned…

Equipment Used

[Note: All Amazon, CW Morse, ABR, Chelegance, eBay, and Radioddity links are affiliate links that support QRPer.com at no cost to you.]

From Hamvention to History: A POTA Excursion with friends through Indiana’s Past

You might recall that my friends Eric (WD8RIF), Miles (KD8KNC), Brian (K3ES), Kyle (AA0Z), Charlie (NJ7V), and Joshua (N5FY) all played hooky on the final day of the 2024 Hamvention (Sunday, May 19) and instead activated a couple of POTA sites.

I wrote a short field report about our first activation at Pater State Wildlife Area (US-9492). It was a lot of fun despite the rough bands.

Our next stop was Whitewater Canal State Historic Site in Metamora, Indiana, about an hour’s drive from the first park.

Only four of us continued to the next park; Kyle and Charlie needed to head to the airport, and Joshua needed to start his drive back to Georgia.

Whitewater Canal State Historic Site (US-6977)

I was excited about visiting Whitewater Canal because it would be my first official POTA activation in Indiana.

We arrived around 1:00 PM and opted to grab lunch at a nearby pizzeria before activating.

Around 2:00 PM, we grabbed our gear from the car and walked across the road to the park grounds.

The Whitewater Canal State Historic Site offers a glimpse into the 19th-century canal era.

Built between 1836 and 1847, the Whitewater Canal was a 76-mile waterway that connected the Ohio River to Hagerstown, facilitating the transport of goods and agricultural products.

This engineering feat played a vital role in the economic development of the region, contributing to the growth of towns and industries along its path.

Today, the preserved section of the canal, along with the historic grist mill and other structures, stands as a testament to Indiana’s rich industrial and transportation heritage.

I’ve always been fond of railroads and canals, so this site was brilliant as it featured both running parallel to each other!

Eric, Brian, and I (Miles didn’t activate) were careful to set up within the actual park boundaries.

In this case, it was a little difficult to determine the exact boundaries because the town and park blend together.

I used the Parceled app on my phone to confirm our location.

Eric set up his Elecraft KH1 station at a picnic table under a large tree.

Brian set up his KX2 on a covered bench next to Eric, using his Elecraft AX1 antenna mounted on a clamp secured to the bench.

Brian’s site was super stealthy behind the sign–since he operated with earphones, you couldn’t hear him and barely could see him!

Can you spot K3ES in this photo?

I wanted to put some space between my station and theirs, so I set up under the shade of a tree (it was blazing hot that Sunday) and deployed my Helinox camping chair.

Local ducks enjoying the shade–I picked a different tree.

I then deployed my Chelegance MC-750 vertical for 20-meter operation since Brian and Eric were on other bands.

I connected the MC-750 to my Elecraft KX2, which I mounted on my kneeboard, and was ready to play radio! My hope was that band conditions would be decent. Continue reading From Hamvention to History: A POTA Excursion with friends through Indiana’s Past

Guest Post: Preparing radio and trail gear for a once-in-a-lifetime, epic through-hike

We’re excited to welcome Bryce Bookwalter (KD9YEY) as a guest contributor on QRPer.com!

I had the pleasure of meeting Bryce at the 2024 Hamvention, where he shared his plans for an ambitious hiking adventure next year. Knowing he wanted to incorporate radio into his journey, I asked if he’d be willing to bring us along by sharing updates on his preparations and experiences on the trail.

To help fund his adventure, Bryce has started a GoFundMe campaign, which you can learn more about at the end of this post. Additionally, please note that some of the gear links below are affiliate links that help support QRPer.com at no extra cost to you.

Bryce, take it away…


Backpacking Booky: A Quest to Hike the Appalachian Trail

by Bryce (KD9YEY)

The dream is formed, and it always seems so attainable. It’s as easy as the desire to walk in the woods and explore the beauty of nature. To find community with the world around you and discover your reflection is no different than the hills and streams that stand steadfast against time. I feel like anyone who wishes to pursue a long hike starts with these feelings and lofty ideas of what the trail will be like and the experience they will have…and then you realize you’re going to have to poop out there.

Hello, my name is Bryce Bookwalter and in 2025 I am attempting a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. This has been a goal of mine since I was in my freshman year of high school in 2005 and first learned about the trail.

I was in Front Royal Virginia at the time and one weekend we went hiking and our trail passed by the A.T. I remember hearing that this same trail traveled all the way from Georgia to Maine and it blew my mind.

I wanted to hike it right then, and I still want to hike it today. Life happens of course, and I had to let the dream go for some time. I have found myself in a unique time of my life recently where I will be between schooling and a new job and I realized that if I don’t hike the trail now, I may never get the opportunity again. My education has been off and on throughout the last decade and 5 years ago I ran out of my GI Bill that I received from the Army. With only 2 semesters remaining until I received my degree, I started doing construction to save money to return to school. 5 years later I have returned to Indiana University, and I am now 1 semester away from finally receiving my degree in Community Health. With this milestone accomplished, I have decided that before I start another job I need to try and complete my long-time goal of hiking the A.T.

It is an interesting turn of events that brought me back to the love of backpacking. It would seem an illogical path to say that Ham Radio is responsible for my rekindled passion for the outdoors, but this is in fact the case. Two years ago, my stepdad Joe (W9NVY) got into Ham Radio, and I decided to at least get my Technician License so that we can communicate through the local repeaters. Later that year we both participated in the GOTA team for a local Field Day club out of Indianapolis. After working to set up the antennas and operate for 24 hours, I was hooked on HF!

Since then, I have received my General License and am currently working on my extra. I learned about Parks on the Air and discovered that there is a whole side to this hobby that involves preparing gear, packing it, and carrying it into the wild to set up and operate remotely. This speaks to me in so many ways. Not only do I get to play radio, which I love, but I also get to add hiking and backpacking to the mix.

I am a gear junkie! I will admit it openly. I love researching gear and seeing what works for others and obtaining gear and putting it to the test in the field. This harkens back to some of my favorite aspects of the military and Civil Air Patrol before that.

Civil Air Patrol days.

So, let’s talk gear! When preparing for a thru-hike, there is a lot to consider. You’re not just planning for a weekend outing but for a 4–6 month long adventure. It’s hard to know what to take…and even harder to know what NOT to take. There is a saying that I agree with that says, “Backpacking is the art of knowing what NOT to take.” This is so true.

There are different levels of backpackers, from conventional to ultralight.

Conventional backpackers can find their packs weighing 30-40 lbs. or more. Ultralight typically have their base weight (weight without food and water) down to under 10 lbs. I find myself somewhere in the middle. I lean towards lightweight, but I certainly do not consider myself an ultralight backpacker. Especially considering I will be carrying radio equipment with me along the trail.

The journey of finding the right gear is a constant process, though I believe I have narrowed the list down considerably. So, I will break my gear down into two sections: Backpacking Gear and Radio Gear. Continue reading Guest Post: Preparing radio and trail gear for a once-in-a-lifetime, epic through-hike

Overnight at Reed Bingham State Park for the POTA Babe

After a valid activation and exploration of Bullard Creek Wildlife Management Area, Daisy and I headed to Reed Bingham State Park (US-2195), roughly a two hour drive. Along the way, we passed a huge lumber mill and drove through the communities of Douglas, Nashville, and Willacoochee.

Lumber mill
Train Depot in Willacoochee, Georgia

Courthouse in Nashville, Georgia

Reed Bingham State Park, located in southwest Georgia, is named after Amos Reed Bingham, who envisioned a dam on the Little River to provide electricity to the rural community. Even though the flow of the river was not sufficient for that purpose, Colquit and Cook counties purchased 1,600 acres along the Little River and deeded the land to the state of Georgia, creating the park. A 400-acre lake was created in 1970 by the current dam and provides recreational opportunities for park visitors.

source: Google maps
The lake at Reed Bingham State Park
Overflow from the dam into the Little River

Besides working toward my 60 new-to-me park activation goal, the trip to Reed Bingham served another purpose – refining my camping set-up and routines before my twelve-day POTA trip this summer. I made quite a few notes about equipment that would make camping life better and realized I need to think through where to keep certain items so I can lay my hands on them more easily and quickly.

The tent at the campsite

A new item I purchased for hiking and camping  trips is a hitching system for Daisy. I want her to be able to “free range” while I set up camp, make meals, or visit the bathhouse but still be contained. Ruffwear makes a hitch system with a daisy-chain (aptly named, don’t you think?) on one end and a kermantle rope on the other.

I ran the daisy-chain around a large pine and then, as there was not another tree close enough, the kermantle rope to the rails on the top of Kai. A large carabiner slides up and down the rope and Daisy’s six-foot leash attaches it to a clip on the back of her new harness. The system worked well and eliminated her getting tangled in a lead line while in camp.

After setting up camp and eating supper, it was time to fit in an activation. There were two trees near the campsite – a large oak and shorter-than-usual pine tree. I opted for the pine tree as it was closer to my tent. (I longed to sit in the comfort of my tent on my Thermarest chair for the activation.) Continue reading Overnight at Reed Bingham State Park for the POTA Babe

Overcoming Band Conditions: A Challenging (But Rewarding) POTA Activation at Scioto Trail State Park!

On the morning of Wednesday, May 15, 2024, I woke up, grabbed breakfast, and headed to Strouds Run State Park in Athens, Ohio. (You can read about that activation in my previous field report.)

Once I returned to Eric’s (WD8RIF) QTH, Eric, his son Miles (KD8KNC), and I packed up the car for the drive to Dayton—roughly 2.5 hours from Athens. En route, we decided on an activation of Scioto Trail State Park (US-1990) which also happens to be a two-fer with Scioto Trail State Forest (US-5448).

I’d hoped band conditions would remain as favorable as they were in the morning, but the sun had other plans! (Indeed, this would become a recurring theme throughout the following week.)

Scioto Trail State Park (US-1990) and Forest (US-5448)

We arrived at Scioto Trail around 2:00 PM, under scattered clouds and after passing through some rain. We hoped the weather would hold!

I’d never been to Scioto before and was pleased to see a small island on the lake accessible by a footbridge.  It had a gazebo, perfect for a POTA station.

Reunited

A highlight of this trip was giving Eric a chance to operate my Index Labs QRP Plus. Eric had owned one for 13 years as his first field radio. In fact, as I’ve mentioned before, when I first met Eric in 1997, it was while he was operating a QRP Plus during FYBO!

Since the QRP Plus is better suited for tabletop use, I recommended Eric set up in the gazebo.

I provided my Chelegance MC-750 for him to operate on 20M.

POTA in the Shade

I set up under a tree at the edge of the island—as far from Eric as possible to minimize interference. In reality, the island is small, so I was only about 15 meters away—not ideal!

The tree offered some shade and potential rain protection. I deployed my Helinox Chair, my “no-transformer, no feedline” Tufteln random wire antenna, the Elecraft KX2, and my Tufteln/N0RNM kneeboard.

When I turned on the radio, I could hear Eric’s signal bleeding through on 30 meters (a band I chose to avoid harmonic interference with 20M).

The KX2 is sensitive, so this wasn’t unexpected. Eric never experienced interference from my station, likely due to the QRP Plus’s less sensitive receiver.

Gear:

Note: All Amazon, CW Morse, ABR, Chelegance, eBay, and Radioddity links are affiliate links that support QRPer.com at no cost to you.

On the air

This turned out to be an activation where I’d really put my KX2 ATU to work! Continue reading Overcoming Band Conditions: A Challenging (But Rewarding) POTA Activation at Scioto Trail State Park!

The POTA Babe Embarks on an Overnighter

by Teri (KO4WFP)

It is summer break and I’m getting stir crazy. Earlier this year, I scheduled an overnight trip to Reed Bingham State Park. However, given the chaos of my personal life, it was necessary to reschedule the trip. The earliest weekend available was Sunday, June 2nd.  My son would be out of school for summer break and riding lessons would move to weekdays.

Sunday rolled around and this POTA Babe was ready to hit the road again. Out came the camping gear with a few tweaks. I ditched the DEET insect repellant replacing it with a 20% picaridin spray and added a Thermacell unit. I purchased a hitch system for Daisy as well as a harness to replace her collar. The North Face sleeping bag would stay home and, in its place, I’d use a Sea-to-Summit bag liner for the warmer night temperatures.

Gear – camping, ham radio, video
Food for the trip

With my gear loaded, Daisy and I hit the road a little after 8 AM. Before arriving at Reed Bingham State Park, I planned an activation at Bullard Creek Wildlife Management Area (US-3737). (Yes, I should just become the poster child for wildlife management areas as they’ve become my favorite place to activate in Georgia!)

The drive through rural Georgia was a pleasant one.

source: Google Maps

We passed through towns familiar to us (Pembroke, Claxton – the fruitcake capital of the world, and Reidsville) as well as new places like Daisy, Georgia. It was a pleasant trip and before I knew it, there we were, crossing the Altamaha River a stone’s throw from Bullard Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

Actually, Apple Maps routed me to Bullard Creek itself and not the WMA. After a little sleuthing, we were headed in the correct direction and accessed the WMA via a back route. (I knew we were in the right place when I began seeing WMA boundary signs!)

Bullard Creek WMA consists of over 17,000 acres in two tracts along the Altamaha River. One can hunt as well as fish, view wildlife, and use the public shooting range. This WMA was among one of the nicer properties I visited so far.

Shooting range on site

Not far after entering the WMA, I found a clearing off the main road and decided to set up there. Present in the clearing were pine trees with branches low enough to reach with my arbor line. (I knew the WMAs allow wire antennas and figured Reed Bingham would as well so I left the Chelegance MC-750 at home.)

After donning my blaze orange vest and hat, I had the Tufteln EFRW in the tree, the coax attached, and was settled to begin.

The road beyond our clearing for the activation
Pines with lower branches
Daisy’s checks out the surrounding woods

Two things happened in short order. (Remember, ALWAYS expect the unexpected with POTA.) I couldn’t access the POTA site to spot myself due to variable cell service. My partner Glenn W4YES came to the rescue and spotted me on 30 meters. I worked a few callers and then…the sun came out. Literally. Continue reading The POTA Babe Embarks on an Overnighter

NI1Q’s Long-Awaited Elecraft KH1: Worth the Wait?

After 126 Days, A Long-Awaited Unboxing: The KH1 Arrives!

by Emily (NI1Q)

If there was one thing being in a physical rehab facility for 4 months taught me it was friends and families were a comfort.  They brought encouragement, broke the boredom and were helpful in bringing hope when I wasn’t sure if I would be walking again. I was able to have my DMR handheld and checked into nets and talked with friends, but I really missed being on HF.

Although I own an IC-705 and a QRP Labs QMX, managing them in a room would have been difficult.  I really love the 705, and can manage the QMX, but the 705 is not the kind of rig you can put in a bedside table drawer;  the QMX with an EFHW + batteries becomes about as large and difficult to deploy.  Especially in bed.

It was with this mindset that I watched in interest Tom’s initial videos of the Elecraft KH1.  I initially saw it as something akin to the QMX, and I had some reservations about the key.  As I watched several of Tom’s exploits, my mindset began to change.  On January 29, 2024, I placed an order for KH1 Edgewood package.  I would soon (I hoped) become an Elecraft owner, part of what sometimes seems to be a cult, and other times seem to be the most loyal fanbase in ham radio.

I initially calculated I would get delivery sometime in April, just in time for my birthday.  As that time passed I talked to Elecraft and they opined that I would have it in time for Dayton.  A week before, it wasn’t going to happen, and I packed heavy to take the IC-705 with me.

And, then, May 30th, my wait was over. An email arrived: The KH1 was on the way!

Boxes Arrives:  I can’t contain myself…

On June 1st, I was out playing fetch with Zoe and saw the postal truck coming down the street, and I rushed over to the curb to meet him.  As he clicked his phone to certify delivery I asked “It’s from Watsonville CA, right?”  He smiled; “You must have been waiting for this one.”  “126 days for sure.”  I rushed into the house with my package quicker than Ralphie Parker running out into the snow with a Red Ryder BB-gun on Christmas day.

I had previously ordered the right angle antenna adapter, so together I had two boxes to unwrap.  The KH1 was packed well enough the box puffed up with what I assumed was bubble-wrap.

Carefully cutting the packing tape confirmed my assumption, and I was greeted by a very nice and unexpected colour manual that confirmed I had now become an Elecraft owner for the first time.

I thumbed through the manual and made a mental note of the sections I’d need for a quick “getting started” activity.  Time set – check.  Antenna selection – check.  Charging – check.  On-off switch – check.

I was ready (and eager) to go.

Pieces, Lots of Pieces.

Even though it looks like a tidy group of four things, there were multiple layers.  First out was the Edgewood case.  It’s a nice case but with only one extra pocket.  I would later learn it wasn’t really enough. The case was well padded, so for now it would be where the radio lived. Continue reading NI1Q’s Long-Awaited Elecraft KH1: Worth the Wait?

POTA Activation at Strouds Run State Park: A Rainy Morning and Ham Radio Memories!

On Tuesday morning, May 14, 2024, I hopped in my car and headed north to Athens, Ohio. It was in Athens, back in 1997, that my ham radio journey truly began, and where I met my friends Eric (WD8RIF) and Mike (K8RAT).

For over 14 years, Eric, his son Miles (KD8KNC), and I have made the annual pilgrimage to Hamvention and FDIM, with few interruptions. My routine is to drive to Athens, catch up with Eric and his wife, Vickie, stay overnight, and then head to Dayton the next day with Eric and Miles. I enjoy this because it breaks up my travels and usually allows for some POTA activating along the way.

This Wednesday morning, Eric had an appointment and a meeting, so our plan was to leave for Dayton around noon. This gave me the morning free to play radio!

Breakfast at Miller’s Chicken

I left the house around 8:00 AM with the goal of activating Strouds Run State Park, conveniently located near downtown Athens. But first, breakfast!

I try to avoid chain restaurants when traveling, preferring local spots. I was delighted to discover that Miller’s Chicken, an Athens institution, served breakfast. I had no idea!

Miller’s Chicken holds fond memories for me. When my wife was a graduate student at Ohio University, for a brief period of time, she lived within walking distance and we often ate there. She even acted in a student film shot at the restaurant!

Walking in, I realized it had been 23+ years since my last visit. I ordered a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit with coffee as a group of students left, leaving me with the place almost to myself.

POTA at Strouds Run State Park (US-1994)

I arrived at the park around 9:15 AM. It had been raining all morning, so I sought cover under a picnic Shelter.  Eric, a frequent activator of Strouds Run, had told me where to find all of Strouds’ shelters.

Check out Eric’s standing on the park’s POTA page:

You can also read all of Eric’s hundreds of field reports on his website.

I found an empty shelter by the lakeshore (no surprise given the weather). I brought several radios with me on the Dayton trip: my Elecraft KX2, KH1, Index Labs QRP Plus, Venus SW-3B (always in the car), and my Yaesu FT-818.

Propagation has been a hot mess lately. I figured 40 meters and 20 meters would be the best bands to try, and the EFHW is resonant on both, eliminating the need for an antenna tuner.

Setup was easy, with trees near the shelter providing ideal suspension points for the EFHW.

(Note about audio: As I prepared this activation video, I discovered that my wireless mic wasn’t connected, so you won’t hear me when I walk away from the camera. My apologies! There’s also more wind noise than usual. However, you’ll hear plenty of waterfowl and other birds enjoying the park.)

Jeweler’s Bench Block

Only a couple of days prior, I received a Jeweler’s Bench Block that I purchased on Amazon.com (affiliate link). Several friends had recommended I pick up one to pair with my lightweight, portable keys that have embedded rare-earth magnets.

The key I paired with it was my BamaKey TP-III. You’ll hear me rave about this combo in the activation video.

It weighs 13.7 ounces and has a silicon base: I found that with the TP-III (which has a light action), it was rock-solid on the picnic table.

I wish I would have purchased one of these ages ago!

Gear:

Note: All Amazon, CW Morse, ABR, Chelegance, eBay, and Radioddity links are affiliate links that support QRPer.com at no cost to you.

On The Air

I started calling CQ and, fortunately, hunters started replying! Continue reading POTA Activation at Strouds Run State Park: A Rainy Morning and Ham Radio Memories!

Mike’s 2024 Four Days In May (FDIM) Photo Gallery

It’s hard to believe that Four Days in May (FDIM) took place two weeks ago! What a blast it was!

If you’re a QRPer, and you’ve never attended FDIM, you’re in for a treat when you finally do. This gathering is truly my favorite thing about the Dayton Hamvention weekend.

It’s a truly QRO event for all things QRP!

I was so busy at FDIM talking with fellow attendees that I took very few photos. Fortunately, my buddy Mike (VE3MKX) created a nice photo gallery to share with us!

Thank you, Mike!

Photo Gallery

Click to view the entire photo album–> Continue reading Mike’s 2024 Four Days In May (FDIM) Photo Gallery