John's portable operating page

I have always enjoyed hillwalking (indeed I used to do a bit of rock climbing as well) and amateur radio has got me back into it again, especially through discovering SOTA. However you can take the rig with you on car trips too along with heavier gear, and even operate from a caravan - I count this as portable especially as I use batteries, and since the antenna is always a temporary setup.


Hillwalking is really the best form of portable operating, as there's a chance for some superb views as well as some great VHF paths. I'm hoping to move up in frequency as well eventually.

I have been carrying the radio gear in a box for convenient and quick packing. Not really ideal in a rucksack but good so far; I might try some other arrangements. Certainly you can drop things into it without being likely to lose them, and the rig is propped up nicely in the box. You can put the lid on quickly if it rains, too! The GPS is handy to get the Maidenhead locator.

heat sink bits

It can get very windy especially in the winter months; on this day I couldn't operate 2m SSB with the beam because (a) it wouldn't stay pointed in the right direction, and (b) the pole bent over a lot in the wind, even with the beam very low. I did manage to get my activation of the SOTA summit completed using the helical antenna on the FT-817 by contacting locals!

heat sink assembled

Car portable (rather than mobile)

Car boot operating is quite good especially if I'm feeling lazy. Lots of room to set up, and it also means I can take the heavy Spiderbeam pole to get the antenna higher.

inside the box

Caravan portable

Caravan operating is the height of luxury. Lots of room to spread out, and if I get round to building a mains PSU it won't really be /P operating at all!

inside the box