Sunday, 18 May 2014

Ultralight radio

Keeping the weight low…. 

The above statement is easier said than done. I have been aware of size (bulk) and weight for a while now, but never approached the subject too seriously in the past.
Having a light, yet efficient trail friendly radio setup has become my new challenge.
It is quite amazing how quickly the bulk and weight adds up.

HB1-a CW QRP transceiver, paddle, battery, notebook and antenna system.
If I assume a weight of 400 grams for the antenna system. EFHWA + QRP AMU.

If I use a 3 AH SLAB then I am looking at a total weight of: 2,340 grams
If I use 8 AA batteries of about the same capacity then the weight = 1,280 grams

It seems the setup above is fairly compact, but I am not happy with the almost 2.5 kg weight. That equates to 2.5 Litres of water…. IMHO That is way too heavy.

I really should finish the Small Wonder Labs SWL-40 QRP transceiver and possibly have that powered by one of those fancy new LiPO batteries.

HB-1a powered by 3 AH SLAB


  1. Hi Pierre, now this subject is dear to my heart! The adventure radio society runs a contest (I think it is still going on). Scoring was factored taking the station weight into account. The ARS3 was the favorite in an altoids tin. Problem was the antenna was never factored in etc.. My setup for my kruger expedition fitted in a shoebox. I did not weigh it but it was also quite heavy. I think one of the keys is to specify the type of operation you are planning. If you are planning only to make local contacts on a single frequency (say 7020Khz) and have say an hours operating time then the battery can be much reduced as can the Tx power output. If you plan to use only an end fed on a single frequency then the coupler can be made extremely lightweight etc. Many thanks for the blog and will look for your trail friendly radio.. 73

  2. Hi Dick,

    It is great to hear from you again. It seems as if you are settled in once again. I envy you being there in the USA. You have so many fantastic QRP events to look forward to. As you experienced first-hand the situation here is very different and it requires huge dedication to remain committed to QRP.

    Regarding “ultralight” I think Hans W1JSB has several great ideas regarding effective packaging to save weight and yet remain robust.

    Sure hope that we end up with a 2-way QRP QSO

    73, Pierre ZS6A