Tag Archives: Pelican 1050

October Leaf Colors at Lake James: Pairing the Elecraft KX1 and Chelegance MC-750

This past fall was a busy season for me.

So busy, in fact, I completely overlooked an activation video I filmed two months ago (on Monday, October 23, 2023)!

That said, one of the things I love about making field reports and recording videos is re-living activations a second time. It’s fun to remember the site conditions, the weather, the radio/antenna choices, and all of the folks I might have logged.

I enjoyed stepping back in time a couple of months for this one!

Lake James State Park (K-2739)

That Monday was the first day I surfaced to fit in an activation after fighting a respiratory bug the previous week. I felt much better and tested negative for Covid, so I made my way to Hickory to help my parents with some tasks.

On the way that morning, I stopped by Lake James to play a little POTA with one of my favorite radios in the world: the Elecraft KX1.

On October 23–as I mention in the video–the QRP world had only just learned about the new Elecraft KH1 and I had yet to receive the almost-production unit I ordered as a field tester.

I knew that once I received the KH1, I’d be using it heavily for a few weeks, so I wanted to fit in a little KX1 time in advance!

POTA in Color!

The weather and fall colors at Lake James were absolutely stunning!

New KX1 Tufteln Cover!

Back when I filmed this video, it had only been one week since the W4 SOTA campout where my friend Joshua (N5FY) gave me a few prototype snap-on protective covers for my KX1s.

These covers are very clever because they protect all of the important front-panel components yet remain very low-profile so add little bulk to the radio.

Image: Tufteln.com

Joshua provides two new screws for the front panel (you simply replace out the stock KX1 screw); the cover magnetically snaps onto the higher-profile screws and seats itself securely.

Image: Tufteln.com

I demonstrate my cover in the activation video.

At the time, this was a product Joshua was considering adding to the Tufteln line-up–since then, he’s made it available to order–click here to check it out.

At present, Joshua offers the covers in two colors: black and light brown. Mine are the light brown color.

You’ll notice in the video that Joshua added my callsign to the covers he gave me. I don’t think the production covers are customized with your callsign because Joshua makes these in batches. You would need to check with him about customization–I assume there would be an extra charge and lead time for that because it would require modifying the file and printing a one-off cover.At any rate, I love the covers and have added them to all of my KX1s. Note that I used a Sharpie to write the name of each radio on the cover–this makes it very easy to tell the difference between my KX1 models (they’re named Ingrid, Greta, and Ruby)!


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On The Air

It was early enough in the morning that I decided to spend some time on the 40 meter band to work POTA “locals.” I deployed my Chelegance MC-750 with the 40 meter coil.

I tested the SWR and discovered it was high due to a loose connection on the end of the cable assembly–I fixed that and the SWR came down to 2.5:1. With the MC-750, I could have easily lengthened or shortened the whip to get a perfect match, but instead I took the lazy (& speedy) route and simply used the KX1 ATU to get a 1:1 match.

Even though I’d spent a long time talking about the KX1, KH1, the Tufteln cover, etc. in the  video, I actually didn’t have a lot of on-the-air time. (Typical me to talk away my activation time!).

I started calling CQ POTA and the contacts started rolling in.

Within ten minutes, I’d already worked ten contacts.

I worked a couple more, then called QRT. Looking at the time, I had to end this activation earlier than I’d hoped. I needed to hit the road again.

I packed up in short order, but still took a few moments to enjoy the beauty of that lovely autumn morning.


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.

Thank you

Thank you for joining me on this activation!

I hope you enjoyed the field report and my activation video as much as I enjoyed creating them. I enjoyed reliving this Octeber activation.

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 certainly 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 make 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!

Here’s wishing all of the you best of the Holiday Season!

Cheers & 72,

Thomas (K4SWL)

Seal the Deal: Exploring the Best Watertight Cases for the Elecraft KH1

Well before I actually had a KH1 in hand, I noted the dimensions of the radio from the preliminary spec sheet and started exploring the world of compact, watertight cases.

Why a watertight case?

This Pelican 1060 case houses a complete Mountain Topper MTR-3B field kit including a throw line and throw weight.

I like to have a watertight case option for pretty much any QRP radio I take on SOTA (Summits On The Air) activations.

It’s reassuring to know that if I stumble and fall on my pack, the case will prevent me from crushing the radio. In addition, a good case keeps my radio dry if I get caught in heavy rains or (even more likely) slip on a rock and fall in a river/creek. In fact, many of these watertight cases will float with the KH1 inside so if it goes overboard while kayak mobile, it’ll be easy to retrieve. (For the record: I don’t want to test this theory.)

With one exception, all of the cases I explore here cost somewhere between $25-$40. I consider this cheap insurance for a $500-1100 radio.

My requirements

I searched a few manufacturer’s websites and tried to find interior dimensions that would accommodate the KH1 and all protrusions: 1.4”H x 2.4”W x 5.6”L (3.5×6.1x14cm).

I primarily searched two watertight case manufactures: Pelican and Nanuk. I trust products from both of these companies and both offer compact watertight cases. There are more manufacturers out there, but but both of these companies offer quality products. Pelican cases are even made here in the USA. Many Nanuk models are made in Canada, but not their Nano series included here.

In the end, I was searching for two case sizes:

  1. A compact case to only hold the KH1 “Edgewood” package: the KH1 with paddle attached, Cover/Logging Tray, Whip Antenna, and 13′ Counterpoise. There also needed to be enough room for a pair of earphones.
  2. A slightly larger case that would accommodate the KH1 “Edgewood” package along with earphones, a throw line, throw weight (or rock sack), and a simple random wire antenna.

The idea with the second, slightly larger, case is that it would give me the option to use a wire antenna during an activation and would be fully self-contained (meaning, everything needed for the activation included).

The contenders

I took a total of eight cases to a local park and spread them out on a picnic table for this test. This made the process of comparing the cases quite easy. I actually made a video of this whole process–you’ll find the video further below in this post.

Here are the cases I tested in the order you find them in the video (any Amazon links here are affiliate and support QRPer.com):

Hint: many of these cases are available in multiple colors–prices can vary greatly based on the color. A red case might cost as must as 30% less than a black case, for example.  Always check the pricing of color options, but make sure you don’t accidentally select a different size case in the process (this is easy to do).

Again, you’ll see a lot of detail in the video below, but let’s look at each of these cases with my notes: Continue reading Seal the Deal: Exploring the Best Watertight Cases for the Elecraft KH1