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Home Ultra Portable operating in the Sierra Nevada Mountains


Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
This past weekend my wife I and met our daughter and fiancée at a remote cabin campground up in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California near the town of North Fork and Bass Lake. The location is quite remote. I needed to pack light as I had to go from there to another city on a business trip, so I packed up the Elecraft KX2 with a couple of batteries and the Elecraft AX1 antenna, the AX2 antenna, and a couple of ground radials cut for 40, 20, and 10 meters. Here's a few pics:


Starting on 17m (the AX1 antenna has a switch for 20m and 17m), I found the propagation round table active and checked into the station running it out of Arkansas. We had no problem having a good QSO. The path was good between Arkansas and California but not between any of the other stations.

The location of this camp site is where the devastating Creek Fire of 2020 ravaged. The desolation is breath taking, but the new forest growth and snow on the peaks is beautiful at the same time. I checked 20 meters, but it wasn't happening so after a while I added the AX2 40 meter coil, changed the ground radial and had fun there:


7.178 is home to the 24x7 Filipino net on the U.S. West Coast and I check in there often because there are always lots of stations from all over the pacific and they are super friendly. Sure enough, with only a few watts, I was talking to stations all over central California in no time. I also dialed around and listened in for a while and even made a contact with one of my locals back home in SoCal.

This little ultra portable setup is really fun. When propagation cooperates, it's amazing what you can do with 10 watts or less and an extreme compromise antenna. The rig weighs nothing and the little 4 cell battery pack that fits inside or can also plugs into the external port lasts for hours. The little boom mic in the pic is from ebay. Now I'm off to the outskirts of Albuquerque with the same setup to see what I can do when I have some down time from work!

Great stuff Moleculo,
My normal SOTA setup is a KX2, LiPo 4 cell battery, mic, EFHW, earbuds, external speaker weighs in less than 3 lbs. I can operate for 6 hours with a small battery on SSB.
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Help Users
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  • @ wavrider:
    sea que sea que,
  • @ ButtFuzz:
    C'mon let me take you on a Sea Cruise! (Maybe there is someone to talk to out there?)
  • @ ButtFuzz:
    Just for the Halibut.
  • @ ButtFuzz:
    Seems to be dead on the radio lately. I don't know if the conditions are horrible, or more likely my weak antennas. I may head up in the mountains on Wednesday and see if reception / transmission is improved.