Elecraft KX3 Portable Operation 3

IMG_20130519_172523-croppedI recently purchased and constructed the Elecraft KX3 Transceiver for portable operation. I specifically wanted this for SOTA (Summits on the Air) operation. I wanted to do a test run to make sure everything worked as expected, before i go and attempt to activate my first summit.

The first test run was botched and saw me forget the vital power cable required to connect the battery to the KX3. So not much happened on that trip!

For the second test run i headed to Alexandra Palace Park, which is the nearest park in my area. It’s elevated above the urban sprawl of London, which should in theory provide for a better take off.


The kit list

To operate the KX3 portable i used the following equipment:

  • Elecraft KX3 (obviously!)
    • Instruction manual (i’m still learning my way around the transceiver)
  • SuperStick Portable Vertical Antenna
    • PL-259 to BNC antenna connector
    • Three counterpoises
  • 10 meters of RG-58 cable
  • Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) Battery (purchased from Maplin)
  • Power cable (with crocodile clips to connect to the battery)
  • Microphone (for SSB voice operation)
  • Earphones (instead of using the loud speaker)
  • Notepad & Pen (for logging)
  • Rucksack
  • Plastic bag (to sit on)

I’m sure the kit list  will refine itself further, but this was enough to get started with portable operation.

Here are some photos of the set-up:

The dangers of operating from a public space

This day i faced some pretty unique challenges during my portable operation in the park:

  • Damp ground
    • I sat on a plastic bag to mitigate this risk!
  • Segways, yes that’s right, segways!
    • Turned out the quiet part of the park i wanted to use had a special Segway event on
    • I distanced myself from the event but there was still the risk of the people accidentally riding over the counterpoise wires and taking all my kit with them!
  • Members of the public
    • They were naturally quite intrigued as to what i was doing with all this equipment.
    • People equate to noise, so not ideal operating under these circumstances
  • Errant dogs
    • Dogs were interested in sniffing around and there was the risk of cable biting etc…

Future Plans

In the future i plan to extend the set-up to include an iPad for portable PSK31 operation. I have all the connectors required but still need to give this a try and get it working.

Soon i plan to go and activate some of my local summits for the SOTA award scheme.

I hope this helps others to understand the extras required to operate the Elecraft KX3 portable.


3 thoughts on “Elecraft KX3 Portable Operation

  1. Pingback: My Amateur Radio Targets for 2014 ← Randomize This!

  2. Reply Nigel Oct 20,2015 17:22

    Oh, how I sympathise! I always operate /P when on holiday in France. If it isn’t passing walkers who always want the very last detail of what I’m doing, it’s cows. Large, inquisitive, French cows which are attracted magnetically to counterpoises! With regard to the walkers, I have given up on the full description of my activities in French, I just tell them I’m a spy! I’m told French prison off is quite palatable. 🙂 Nigel GJ7LJJ

    • Reply James Stevens Oct 24,2015 17:55

      Haha – thanks for the comment Nigel. Earlier this year I almost ran into a cow on a windy hilltop while chasing an antenna bag. I’ve also had to leave a SOTA summit when a bull didn’t take kindly to me squatting in his field. So I share your pain!

      Also, if one more person asks if I’m talking to aliens, I might not be held accountable 😉

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