Tag Archives: PackTenna EFHW

SOTA & POTA with the QRP Labs QCX-Mini and Packtenna EFHW on Flat Top Mountain

When I head out the door to activate a summit, if it involves a long hike, I reach for one of my super compact QRP transceivers like the Mountain Topper MTR-3B, Elecraft KX1, or KX2. If you’re carrying your entire station and all of your hiking provisions in your backpack, it’s best to keep the load as light and compact as possible.

I purchased the single-band QRP Labs QCX-Mini last year specifically with Summits On The Air (SOTA) in mind. My QCX-Mini is built for 20 meters which tends to be my most productive SOTA band.

The QCX Mini has a rugged, utilitarian feel: basic controls, two line backlit LCD display, and a sturdy aluminum enclosure. It’s super compact.

One of the first things I did was build a dedicated field kit around the QCX-Mini. Everything–save my throw line–fits in my Spec-Ops Op Orders pouch:

After the QCX-Mini’s insane debut on Mount Mitchell in November, I was eager to hit the field with it again.

A window of opportunity opened on the morning of Thursday, December 9, 2021, so I packed my new Spec-Ops EDC backpack with the QCX-Mini kit and drove 1.5 hours to Flat Top Mountain off of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Continue reading SOTA & POTA with the QRP Labs QCX-Mini and Packtenna EFHW on Flat Top Mountain

My QCX-Mini Field Kit

So I just finished putting together a dedicated, compact field kit for the QCX-Mini. I’m planning to do a SOTA activation tomorrow, if the stars align. Hopefully, they’ll align!

Everything in the photo above, save the throw line bag, fits in my Spec-Ops Brand Op Order Pouch.

QCX-Mini Field Kit Contents:

One of the newest products in this kit is my high viz 2mm x 50M Marlow throw line. I learned about this throw line from Mike (W4MAF)–thank you, Mike! It is much less bulky than standard poly throw line and fits in my Tom Bihn small travel tray. We’ll see how well it works tomorrow. First impressions from having used it at the QTH once was very positive.

Again, with any luck I’ll have this kit in the field tomorrow on a summit. If you’ve nothing better to do, look for me on the SOTA Watch spots page!

SOTA Report: New QCX-Mini, new Packtenna EFHW, and pileup insanity on Mount Mitchell

Do you know what it’s like when you have a new radio and you can’t wait to take it to the field?

Yeah, me too!

Even before I received my QCX-Mini in October 2021, I already knew where I’d take this pocket-sized, single-band QRP CW transceiver for its first field activation: Mount Mitchell (W4C/CM-001).

Mitchell is the highest summit east of the Mississippi river and only about 6 miles from my QTH as the crow flies.¬† I had yet to activate Mitchell this year for SOTA although I have activated it for POTA/WWFF several times. As I’ve probably mentioned in the past, Mount Mitchell park is my “happy place.” Our family loves this site and we visit it frequently to hike in the spruce-fir forest.

On the morning of Wednesday, November 3, 2021, I realized I had enough room in my schedule to swing by Mount Mitchell for an activation, so I quickly assembled my SOTA pack around the QCX-Mini. Continue reading SOTA Report: New QCX-Mini, new Packtenna EFHW, and pileup insanity on Mount Mitchell