Many thanks to Dugbo (KD7DUG) 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 Dugbo’s field kit below:
Dugbo’s MCHF compact field kit
by Dugbo (KD7DUG)
My field radio kit is not so different or unique that it stands out from the many other experienced ham radio operators that have assembled and shared their field kits with the ham radio community. I am new in this game and by no means an expert. However, my field radio kit was designed as a fit for purpose and tailored to my CW operating needs and especially the bank account. I wanted my portable field kit to be nimble and easy to deploy at a minute’s notice. With many of the popular QRP radios backordered and even not available at this time, I chose a different route with my choice of radio.
Currently my preferred radio is the very capable SDR mcHF-QRP HF transceiver created by Chris, M0NKA. The mcHF is a smaller designed portable radio that simultaneously packs a left hook, upper hook punch, it’s a real contender. The radio is standalone, and its compact design is in comparison to other transceiver competitors with transmit and receive on 60-10 meter amateur bands with 5W output power on CW and SSB.
Currently the mcHF by M0NKA is very difficult to obtain and currently the kits are not available to purchase. However, there are multiple clones of the radio being offered by Chinese manufacturers.
Priority was to protect the radio while traveling in the field. Securing the radio in a case to prevent damage from the motions of backpacking up a summit while also protecting the rig from environmental factors, dreaded dust, dirt, and water.
The Evergreen 57 waterproof dry box was a perfect match with the mcHF and additional operating equipment. The radio slides perfectly into the rubber molding of the evergreen case and prevents the radio from moving around in the case during transport.
To power the radio, I need an efficient battery for my needs. Batteries are heavy and weight was one of my concerns. Also on my mind was which battery would provide enough amp hours for an activation? To minimize the weight and provide enough power for one to two POTA|SOTA activations, I finalized my decision on a 3Ah BioEnno LIPO4 battery to supply power the mcHF. To link the battery to the radio, I am using a 5.5 x 2.1mm with an Anderson Pole connectors.
For audio I am using an Anker IPX5 speaker for GoPro sound recording along with 3.5mm Ugreen Headphone splitter for an old pair of Iphone headphones. I prefer headphones for copying incoming callsigns, RST and QTH from hunters and chasers. The headphone splitter, headphones and two additional 3.5mm connectors for speaker connection and key are packed into the rubber mesh located in the upper lid of the Evergreen case.
I am using two highly regarded and engineered portable keys. The CW morse N0SA and the BaMaKeY TP-III, are very rugged and ultra-compact twin paddle keys for CW operations. For the BaMaKeY TP-III protection against the elements, it resides in a small waterproof case lined with foam. The N0SA paddle fits snuggly into the Evergreen case. I use a Sea to Summit bag to carry a smaller travel case that contains the Rite in the Rain pad with pens for logging, the Anker speaker, NY4G EFHW antenna, ABR316 coaxial cable and two 10’ pieces of paracord with two tent stakes for antenna deployment.
Once on the summit, I set up my radio equipment onto the Sea to Summit bag for additional protection from the ground. For a backup HF radio, I carry the very reliable Venus SW-3B 5W CW radio in small fly fishing Yonah Pack attached to my backpack. A perfect fit and well protected.
I am using a NY4G 64:1 balun EFHW QRP 40,20 and 15m with additional 17 and 30m bands with a maximum of 15W on CW.
To deploy the antenna in the field in an inverted V configuration, I am using a modified 4.5m light weight expandable carbon fiber fishing pole (99g).
To keep the antenna and mast vertical, I modified a 25-inch Valkyrie archery carbon shaft at one end with a 200g target tip and the other end with a center pin sleeve. No need to carry a small hammer to pound in the arrow shaft into the ground, mother nature has me covered with plenty of small size rocks in the field. I am using 15ft of ABR316 coaxial cable.
I am using onX Off-Road GPS app on my mobile phone to download maps of selected activations. I also carry an inReach Mini Messenger satellite tracker and communicator for safe insurance. Unexpected situations can occur without warning, so I always like to be prepared than not to be.
I am using a 20-year-old Dakine Heli Pro Backcountry pack to carry my compact field kit.
I used this pack for backcountry snowboarding in my early years. This pack is fantastic because of the extra compartments for carrying gear. It is also fitted with an ice axe strap that is perfect for carrying the expandable carbon fiber pole. The total weight of my portable field kit is 2.2 Kg or 4.9lbs. It might not be the lightest portable field kit setup, but it is definitely not the heaviest.
Overall, I am very satisfied with how my portable field kit came together as well as its performance in the field.
72 – DUGBO KD7DUG
Field Kit Gear
- mcHF M0NKA
- Evergreen 57
- N4YG QRP EFHW
- CW Morse N0SA Key
- BamaTech Twin Paddle Key
- ABR316 Coaxial Cable
- Bioenno 12V 3Ah LFP Battery
- Halokny 14AWG DC 5.5mm x 2.1 with Anderson Powerpole
- Rite in the Rain
- SHD 3.5mm Connectors
- Ugreen Headphone Splitter
- Yonah Packs
- InReach Mini
- 4.5m Expandable Carbon Fiber Pole
- Valkyrie Archery
- Sea to Summit
- Dakine Gear