Thursday, April 18, 2013

Portable ops

We Radio Amateurs in general, and QRPers in particular, take so much for granted when we want to enjoy both our hobby and the great outdoors together.  It really takes no effort at all to pop a small, lightweight radio into a backpack along with a lithium battery and a hunk of wire, and find yourself on the air - literally in minutes.  What's your pleasure?  An Elecraft KX1, K1, KX3?  A Sierra?  A Yaesu FT817 or an Icom IC-703? A Steve Weber ATS or MTR? A Hendricks PFR3A? One of the HB radios from either YouKits or one the Ten Tec models? One of Dave Benson's Small Wonder Labs models? There are many other models from other manufacturers that will fill the bill just as well, too.

But it wasn't always this way.  Before the days of transistors, ICs and other semi-conductors, radio equipment was (for the most part) big, bulky and destined to a life in an indoors environment.  When radio equipment was needed for outdoor use by the military, conventional equipment was often modified for use outside, on the battlefield. Here's the story of how Hallicrafters served our country during WWII:

Obviously, I'm comparing apples to oranges.  First off, today's military doesn't rely on HF as in years past. A majority of military communications take place in the UHF and higher frequency parts of the radio spectrum.  Also today's military makes extensive use of satellite communications.  But for the moment, let's forget that.  If HF was the still predominate playing field today, like it was during WWII, think what a small radio like a Yaesu FT857D (capable of 100W output), a small generator, or a deep cycle marine battery and an antenna like a Buddipole could do. This would be a lot more convenient (and portable) than the equipment shown in the YouTube video.

My point?  We've come a long way, baby!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!


  1. Good morning Larry, yes we sure have come along way....from having to get off the sofa to change channels, talking on the phone and the limitation was the length of the coiled cable between handset and main body, sitting down and hand writing and mailing a "fast" note....I could go on and one but as for portable op's.....mine is the K2 with the internal battery and the KX3.
    Have a good weekend

  2. WOW - What a great piece of history ! Really does make one appreciate how the gear we have today has so much performance in such a small package... Keep up the great posts Larry.
    Paul K9PLG