HF Packing, updated September 11th, 2010

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HF Packing

The challenge and of packing an HF radio to places especially to set up your station and see how well you can operate is both fun and difficult.  Most military radios are not light, but they are made to be self contained portable stations, all in one backpack, something that Amature"HAM" radios cannot provide.  Most military packset radios operate in the area of about 20 watts.  For comparison, the radio in my M37 comm truck operates at 400 watts and I am still not able to be heard everywhere.  See the challenge here, low power, what Ham opeartors call "QRP" is a diffcult challenge to partake, but fun for those of us that do it.
I have operated my sets from the built in whip antenna (Verticle) and from a wire Dipole antenna strung in trees.


Here I am in the State Capital Park in Sacramento operating HF pack mobile on Feb 27, 2010. Funny story, there were a ton of middle school Girl Scouts staying in my hotel, there was some convention or something going on, well, while I was in the park, they were running around in a group hiding behinde trees watching me.  Made me feel a little weird, and I havent ever been shy about using my gear in public. Well later a Mom asked me what I had been doing, aparantly the Girlscouts thought I had a fishing pole, and there isnt any pond in the park.


This is the PRC-174 in my issue backpack.  I have the antenna sticking out the hole on the side where a water tube from a camel back would be.  The radio just barely fits in there.

On August 29th, 2010, my wife and I hiked up to the abandoned Laguna Air Force Station on Laguna Mountain in San Diego County.  Its at the top of the mountain range, and litterally on the crest.  You can look right down very steeply into the desert floor.  Just a little higher up the peak was the DEW radar station for detecting incomming Russian Bombers.  The station was abandoned in 1981 and was mostly intact untill the early 90s when about half the buildings were rasied and the streets were torn up.  Today its a pleasnt spot to set up a radio under the enormous pines and look out over the desert.  What remains of the base will soon be gone because the USFS has gotten stimulus money to abate (remove) all traces that the USAF was ever there. Some googleing will produce lots of photos and view of what remains today.   I set up my PRC-104 and a GRA-50 dipole wire antenna and made several good contacts over the course of an hour, including one station (N4LA) that was set up under a tree in the Adirondack mountains, doing the same thing I was.