QRP Portable Station

The KX1?  Well that little jewel is my "take it anywhere" portable rig.  What distinguishes the KX1, in my opinion, is that the little rig contains everything necessary to operate portable and still fits in a large jacket pocket.  It's got internal batteries, an attached paddle and an internal tuner that is optimized for a random wire antenna.  Just 28' of wire and a 16' counterpoise puts my signal on 40, 30 or 20 meters.  

Sometimes, I just hook up some RG-174 to the antenna switch and take my KX1 out to the back deck or the front patio, or down in front of the fireplace.  That way I can get out of the "shack" but still enjoy my excellent attic doublet.

However, for "real" portable operation away from home, I like to remain as independent of as many variables as possible - terrain, trees or lack thereof, picnic tables, etc.  I was walking through Harbor Freight and saw a folding chair that looked like it would be a great foundation for a totally self-contained portable QRP radio station.  Here's the result:



The above pictures pretty much tell the whole story.  I mounted my KX1 on the foldout tray, and a 12 volt 7 amp hour battery underneath.  On the other side, I mounted a piece of PVC which holds a 31 foot fiberglass pole. On the left bottom I mounted a 33 foot tape measure which serves as a tuneable counterpoise when using a 28' vertical radiator.  A small amplified speaker for an IPOD gives me a choice between headset or speaker.  An empty fishing line spool that spins on a homemade axle winds the wire and keeps it nicely organized.  I can honestly be ON THE AIR in less than two minutes!  The routine is:  1. Open the chair. 2. Pull up the radio tray.  3. Walk the tape measure out to 31 feet.  4. Connect the antenna wire to the tip of the push-up pole. 5.  Push up the Pole.  Then just turn on the rig and operate! 

 Clearly my style of portable operating isn't for everyone.  But it suits me just fine - I made up a carrying strap so I can hoist the chair over my shoulder and carry it from the car to a nice spot by a lake, next to a river, in a park, at a rest stop off a highway....just about anywhere I choose.  I remain independent of whether there's a tree available, whether there's an empty picnic table available, whether there's a flat rock to sit on, how do I get out of the sun and still remain connected to the antenna in the tree, where can I write in my logbook, and so on.

The other nice thing is that the chair has plenty of pockets and EVERYTHING is stored in it and remains there between outings.  The external battery lasts WEEKS and if I ever forgot to charge it, then I've got my backup 6 "AA" cells right inside the KX1.

Finally, 3 watts and a simple wire antenna is more than enough to work the world.  I like the simplicity of the 28 foot radiator and the tuneable tape measure counterpoise.  However,  I've also got a linear loaded vertical and 20 and 40 meter resonant Inverted V antennas that work with the chair/pole.  They just take a few minutes longer to set up.

This, folks, is carefree portable operating for old people!

See a video of the "QRP Camp Chair Station" here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5ikU7Q0O5Q 


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