(This blog entry is in English since I plan to share it with friends in the U.S.) Since we will stay home this summer, I plan to do some summit on the air activities again, and decided to try a different solution for my radio go kit. Compared to my old solution, which used a Pelican case clone (see my YouTube video), which has served me well, the new kit
- should be easier to carry, with both hands free
- should allow much easier deployment (most connections already done)
- should provide optimum weather protection while hiking, especially necessary for the KX3, which is a great radio but notoriously ill protected from the elements
- and should contain a much higher capacity power source than the built-in NiMH batteries of the KX3.
My new kit builds on a Tamrac Evolution 6 backpack for photographers.It is a bit pricey, but then, so is the KX3. It is comfortable to wear also on longer hikes, well padded and even comes with an additional rain cover. A major advantage is that its main compartment can be flexibly arranged using Velcro dividers, and can be accessed through three doors. The picture shows it fully loaded, with the dog ball launcher I use to launch my wire antenna into the next tree. The tennis ball sits inside of a small net, to which I attach the guy rope. Few people will suspect that I carry a radio, an added advantage. They will have pity with me since I obviously lost my dog. I have to remember to put on an appropriate face.
The top compartment contains the KX3, fully connected to the coax and DC supply leads, both leading down to the main compartment. The microphone is also connected – I could equally connect the CW key, but find it a bit too fragile to keep it here. The KX3 could be operated inside of the backpack, e.g. in inclement weather, but normally I would pull it out and place it in front of me for convenience. The cables are long enough to allow this.
The top compartment can also hold a rain jacket.
The main compartment is shown here with the front hatch opened. The blue block on top of the picture is a 6 Ah LiFePo battery which delivers about 13 V. To the right of it is a small compartment which holds a car adapter and a small box with coax adapters. Below it is another identical box which protects the KX3 iambic paddles. In the center compartment is, on the left in the clear plastic box, the Palm Radio paddle which I mostly prefer over the Elecraft paddles since the latter has intermittent contact issues. Small Sennheiser in-ear headsets are also contained in this compartment. The compartment to the right contains a switchable balun (Buddipole) and two thin guy ropes. The bottom compartment contains at present the battery charger. When hiking, a small box with food would go here, or a GPS tracker. Please note that „top“, „bottom“ refers to the picture. The battery compartment is in reality at the bottom of the backpack when I carry it. The left side hatch provides access to the antenna, which is already connected to the coax. I frequently use just a 12 m wire, thrown into the next tree, and a 5m counterpoise on the ground. Works well for 40m (my favorite band) and up, and the KX3’s internal tuner handles it flawlessly.