Portable Kit

I’m always fascinated with the operating kits people take portable. There are a heap of interesting trade-offs to make. Here’s my usual HF kit:


  • FT-857ND
  • MFJ 904H Travel Tuner
  • 20m braided wire (with teflony stuff in it)
  • 4S 4.2AhLiFePo
  • 7m Squid Pole and a couple of straps

This all fits in one of those insulated wine picnic bags (I tossed the plastic wine glasses and corkscrew). I have a cheap laptop case I put the radio in first so it doesn’t get scratched by the other gear. The tuner zips into the glasses pocket.

I run the antenna as a sloper from the squid pole if there’s no tree. I generally only run 20m portable. If I have the time to operate it’s usually in the middle of the afternoon and 20m is open to somewhere. Given this situation I could possibly lose the tuner and make a dipole. Doing this and comparing it will be a project for the future.

The change to a LiFePo from a gel cell is a recent one. If I’m in a vehicle I’ll usually take a gel cel that I salvaged from a dead UPS. I generally only operate for a couple of hours and most of that listening; either battery easily does that. The LiFePo is a fraction of the weight of the other. The small meter you can see in the photo plugs into the balance taps on the battery and alerts me if the power is too low. I’m very fond of this battery, I’ll often use it at home if I feel like operating from the coffee table and can’t be bothered moving my power supply and finding an extension cord.

I recently travelled down to Albany in a rented bus on a job where I needed the ability to monitor UHF CB. The Southern Electronics Group has recently done some work on the Mount Barker repeaters so I thought I might get a chance to range test them a bit as well (sadly this did not pan out). The FT-857ND was an overkill for that so I took a Wouxun KG-UV950P, gel cell, and Nagoya 77-BH on a mag mount.


The funky radials on the antenna are a recent eBay impulse purchase – the theory is it will capacitively ground to the vehicle better. I haven’t made any careful attempt to compare the with and without situation yet. That’s yet another project for the future.

If I’m staying anywhere for a few days I generally take this Wouxun KG-UV950P and a WARG 2m coaxial dipole (they sell them as the Pogo Stick). I have a 920P in my ute, but the 950 is better for this purpose as I sometimes listen to the aero-band.


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