RaDAR – Reducing pack weight

The are many miniature QRP shortwave ham radios available on the market but few come close to the FT-817ND or the KX3 for size, weight, versatility and RELIABILITY!

I recently aquired a You Kits HB1A which needed a few repairs (Good bonding time) and one would think that with such a rig the pack weight / size can be radically reduced. Not so! The same antenna / antenna logistics like ropes, poles and tent pegs need to be carried. Then you need to carry a key, I carry the same key. I carry a mic …. with the 817 at least and then you have SSB functionality too which is a must because of the very sparsely populated group of ZS CW operators! Your chances are 90 percent higher in having a successful QSO on SSB in ZS.

Then it’s a battery – I use rechargeable penlights and maybe a 7 A/Hr SLAB or two which in my opinion are the most reliable but yes, heavyish. The weight and size difference between the HB1A and the 817 isn’t all that much. For the versatility of the 817 I’d add that small extra weight / size difference with pleasure. You may need to carry a GPS or cell / smartphone and maybe a spare battery or two for them too. The rest of the pack contains support items like a headlamp, insect repellant, small tools, water, layers of clothing (Not forgetting a raincoat) and maybe a few snacks suitable for the hike / jog distance.

So really the choice of rig has little difference on the overall pack weight unless you take an absolute minimalistic approach to the communications kit keeping in mind how far can one communicate with such a rig, supported modes by which I mean human operators on the other side with whom you need to communicate.

Power supply recharging is an absoute must for multi day hikes. You can’t afford to be left without power for then the total communications kit will mean nothing. A roll op solar charging system will need to become part of the kit.

Nothing has been said about shelter and sleeping facilities like a good sleeping bag. That can be lightweight but overall mass becomes larger with each extra item.

RaDAR allows one to practice using various considerations in the real world. Practice makes perfect!

73 de Eddie ZS6BNE


One thought on “RaDAR – Reducing pack weight

  1. Backpacking tent, sleeping bag and mat will likely add about 7#. It all adds up, thats for sure. Good post!

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