This weekend is the CQ WPX contest, a great opportunity to try out the IC-7100 + PackTenna portable station. I like to throw the radio, battery case and antenna in the back of the SUV. Then drive to the park or where ever I plan to operate, flip open the back hatch and set up to operate from the tailgate. This pic shows the PackTenna mounted to a photo tripod.
The station is an IC-7100 and LDG tuner mounted in a Ridgid tool case.
The PackTenna in this test is a 29′ vertical wire with the PackTenna 9:1 UNUN at the base fed with 25′ of RG-58 coax. There is no counterpoise. The red bag is weight to keep the antenna upright.
This perspective view is shot looking up the antenna. The picture is deceptive because the black mounting tube is only about 20″ long. The rest of the antenna mast, the gray part, is 32′ tall. You can see the wire radiating element and the UNUN on the right side.
The whole portable station is in three cases. Left to right is the black Ridgid radio case, the orange battery box and the black nylon bag is the antenna system including the tripod, and PackTenna mast and wire antenna set.
The battery box is a copy of Jeremy’s (KF7IJZ) great design. I liked his so much I had to make my own. Check out his video. The box contains a 40 Ah LiFePo battery, solar charger, battery monitor and external connections. One power pole set is for solar panel input, the other is the load output.
The system worked great. In 30 minutes I racked up several contacts on 15m and 20m without trying too hard. The best part is that it takes less than 5 minutes to set up and take the system down. Overall I like the idea of splitting up the radio, power and antenna into their own cases. This way I can swap in and out various modules as needed. Field Day may require more battery or a different antenna than a quick trip to the park.