Monday, April 11, 2016

1 Watt in the Great Outdoors

Taking the 1Watter 40m portable

This past Saturday I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Paul AA4XX, Dick N4HAY, Marty W4MY and Marc W4MPS.  We hung drywall at the new shack at the Excalibur antenna site.  During our most excellent lunch break replete with Dominos pizza provided by N4HAY I decided to try out the 1Watter I'd built for portable operation.

I pulled the 1Watter radio out of my backpack and attached it to the 40m Doublet we'd put up a couple of weeks ago and used my BLT+ as the antenna tuner.  

I could tell the little radio was just bursting with anticipation so I pulled up a couple of plastic chairs for an impromptu operating position.

1Watter connected to BLT+ tuner which is connected to a ladder line fed 40m doublet
I powered the 1Watter with the same 3ah 12v battery I've used for the past couple of weeks.  The 1Watter is such a power frugal radio that a battery seems to last a long, long time.  It would probably be a good candidate for solar operation.  

What a great little rig

Using the 1Watter and BLT+ together

The BLT+ tuner has a Tune/Operate switch.  When the switch is the Tune position it presents a 50 Ohm match to the radio to protect a home-brew radio final transistor.  The LED SWR indicator lets me know when a match has occurred by going dim to off.  The RF from the radio powers the LED indicator light.  

I found a clear frequency near 7030 kHz to tune.  

The 1Watter has a number of commands built into the internal keyer.  The commands are accessed by pressing the Command button on the side of the enclosure above the key input.  Pressing the Command button sends a 'R' on the sidetone indicating it's ready for a command.  I sent the letter 'X' placing it in Tune mode which generated a continuous carrier and illuminated the BLT+ SWR indicator LED.  Obtaining a match to the antenna was quickly achieved by observing when the LED indicator light dimmed while turning the tuner knobs.  I then sent a Dit, taking the 1Watter out of Tuning mode.

I  flipped the Tune/Operate switch on the BLT+ to the Operate position and sent out my call a couple of times.  

I was promptly answered by Pete N4KXG who gave me a 589 report into Florida.  He reported using an Icom 718 running 90w into a wire antenna so neither of us had antennas with much if any gain on 40m.

Sending using the fine little Palm Single paddle key
During the QSO Pete commented on the nice performance of the little 1 watt radio.  

After the QSO it was time to get back to work on the shack so I put the little rig away in the backpack for another day.  

The weather wasn't really conducive to operating outdoors.  A cold front was moving in and the wind was really whipping the antenna around with gusts up to 40 mph.  I ran the ladder line through the slats in the back of the chair while keeping my foot on the chair leg to prevent it from yanking the tuner and radio away as the antenna danced in the air and tugged on the feedline.  We still don't have the ladderline suspended yet so about 20 feet of it was laying/writhing around on the ground during the QSO.

But the moral of the story is...

Operating portable with a 1watt radio is more than a possibility; it's a piece of cake.

That's all for now

So lower your power and raise your expectations


Richard, AA4OO

I want to offer my sincere thanks to Paul - AA4XX for taking the pictures while I operated.


  1. This is what it's all about, OM. Looks like a lot of fun. Jonathan W0XO

  2. Keep up the good work! I wish I could do CW, but I continue to fail. What you have illustrated is the essence of our fine hobby.
    Best regards,

  3. Nice work. I need to get a portable setup together to get active on the air again.

  4. I go looking for your latest blog every day. Love the content and pictures and dialog. If you are looking for kits for new hams and hams new to QRP and CW, checkout I'm a ham of 38 yrs. And new to QRP and CW. I've built 2 of their kits(12W Dummy Load and Keyer 2) and use both daily. Documentation is HeathKit level, easy to assemble and moderately priced.
    Keep up the level of content and the frequency of posting.

    My tablet mispelled any errores you find!

  5. Forgot to add,I'm waiting for my 40m 1 Watter now.

    Rick KA8BMA

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  7. Wow thats very imrpessive, it would work perfectly as an emergency radio