SKCC 5123T----- FISTS 14979----- Flying Pigs 2331----- NAQCC 3610-----QRP ARCI 14176-----Polar Bear 257

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Choosing Portable Radio Gear for Airline Travel.

A trip out of state via an airline raises the question of what you want to pack for radio gear. It is a little different than driving to the local park. You could pack lots of goodies up to the airline limits but the gear would be a burden to lug around. Fortunately, there are good options for portable radios like the Elecraft KX3 and Yaesu FT 817. In my opinion, the Elecraft KX2 has really nailed it for size and performance. It is smaller than a shaving kit, runs 10 watts all modes 80 through 10 meters and includes an internal tuner.

Elecraft CS 60 Case

Elecraft CS 60 Case

The KXBT2 lithium-ion battery fits inside the KX2. I also have a spare. As far as I can tell the batteries can go in my carry-on bag with the rig. Also per the quote below my 10 ah, LiFePO4 could go as well. It is 120 watt-hours.
Effective January 15, 2018, each Customer is permitted up to a maximum of 15 PEDs and a maximum of 20 spare lithium-ion batteries per person. Loose or spare cells or batteries (including power banks) must be protected from short circuit and transported in carryon baggage only. If the lithium-ion cells or batteries exceed 100 watt-hours, only 2 cells or batteries not exceeding 160 watt-hours each are permitted. Cells or batteries that exceed the 160 watt-hour limit are not allowed as checked or carryon baggage.
Elecraft KX2, MFJ whip, and AlexMic

Next, I will include my MFJ whips for 40, 20 and 17 meters.  They let me use the KX2 like a handi-talkie for HF. I use a short counterpoise wire with the whips. This is the ultimate in portability. I even do CW while walking with the KX2 paddle. I treat the paddle like a straight key.

Alexloop on tripod
My experience tells me the next go-to antenna is the PY1AHD Alexloop with a tripod. It is easy to set up in the room, on the hotel grounds or in the park. It will work 40 through 10 up to 20 watts SSB. This would be a good place to draw the line. Just have fun. If I get going on FT-8, it would help to make contacts out of the room with the Alexloop.

LNR EFT 40/20/10 Trail Friendly EndFed Antenna
The next tier to go includes LNR Trail-Friendly End Fed. It is very light and fits in your palm and why not the Wind Camp Gypsy Adjustable dipole. Of course, I better pack throw line and a throw bag. Beyond that, I have more options including the BuddiStick, Chameleon products including the Hybrid Micro and their whips. All good but the weight and bulk will start adding up. I have poles to support the adjustable dipole But that would go too far I suppose. Everyone can make their own choices, but I just have too many.