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Geriatric Gladiator
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682 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Just got my general ticket and interested in any pictures , specs.,opinions of anyone on building a backpack rig. I'm thinking something that would do (80 meters -6 meter band) I already have a 2 meter/70cm handheld. I would like something that could have a fairly high transmit power but could be turned way back incrementally to save battery power. Least amount of power needed to make a good contact. Could use advice on a good antenna tuner also.I would like to be able to use both a whip or a dipole antenna depending on the situation. Also thinking that lithium wheelchair batteries might be light and work well. Thanks guys 73
 

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1,382 Posts
have seen some other threads on this here and a couple of other spots, Yaesu FT 857d if you want all mode,HF and 2m,70cm ,up to 100 watts HF and a fairly small package,run it with the LDG tuner made to work with yaesu's , a good battery ,possibly folding solar to recharge, a military type whip that can be broken down easily, and maybe a LNR precision end fed dipole on the HF band or bands you want, that can easily be put up in a tree etc. A Chinese made frame you can order off ebay and put together.
If you want lighter with not as much battery draw, same freqs and modes, but more of a low power QRP type rig, look at FT-817 . These seem to be a common choice for what your looking for. Google and you will find a bunch of videos. Looks like we joined up here about the same time.
 

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Geriatric Gladiator
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682 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thank you sir. I've been scouring all the backpack and portable hf sites I can. Trying to gather as much info as I can on components before I spend the money. Like to do it once with no regrets and do it right. Thanks also for the solar panel idea. I believe flexibility in frequency choices, power settings , mode and antennas will pay big dividends when the grid fails. Have a great day.
 

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Premium Member
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Geriatric Gladiator
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682 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thank you my brothers for giving me more food for thought and reading to devour.It will give me a nice break from reading the radio math section of my extra class license manual.I feel that time is getting short and this will help get this project started.
 

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Storyteller
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1,909 Posts
As you look at different radios, pay very close attention to the quiescent (RX) current draw. Some of these rigs pull a full amp or more just sitting, no signal present.

Good luck.
 

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Veteran 11BC2/EOD
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2,020 Posts
Elecraft KX3 and spend your time learning the radio and building antennas instead of cobbling together a Rube Goldberg rig

Most of the man pack posts are not about effective communication, they are about building a rig from what you already have. I applaud the effort, but I carry a KX3, and 4 sets of LiO batteries in a pouch the size of a BDU pant pocket.

Like I said in other posts, you have to research radios, not survivalist sites if you want the truth.
 

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Geriatric Gladiator
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682 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Wow PLA I just checked out the KX3 and I like the whole concept. More time on dipoles,whips or whatever fits. Resonates well with me (joke). Thanks.
 

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Veteran 11BC2/EOD
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I could not have said it better Damonte

There is a current here with " the buy, buy, buy as much pos as possible so they can say they have something"

I am a longtime Yeasu fan, I have way to much of their stuff to say otherwise, but I am mature enough to see where it is not a manpack radio in any form compared to what a KX3 can do in the hands of a skilled operator
 

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my experiences/advice:

-get an alice pack frame. you can mount the radio, tuner, battery, etc on accessory racks on the back. an antenna bracket (cheap CB style is fine) can mount securely to your frame's shoulder. get a tuned mobile whip antenna and screw it into the bracket, run coax jumpers between the equipment and zip tie everything down to the frame, or use something else to secure it.

something I did not consider and really should have is that if you want to operate the radio WHILE MOVING, your only real option is to get a radio that has a remote head. you bring the remote head around front so you can see the display. otherwise you basically have to stop and take the backpack off in order to change frequency or anything else but listen and key up.

lower output mean smaller batteries means less weight and ease of recharge with portable panels. if you plan on carrying lots of other stuff in your pack besides radio equipment, this can be important.

it might be worth using a powerbank battery as your power source (you can buy them on amazon for $50). one that has a 9v/12v switchable output. if you are using a QRP radio, they will cap out at ~1.6A on transmit, which should be in the specs for the powerbank's max draw. the added benefit of course is that as long as the powerbank accepts an input voltage in the range that a portable rollup solar panel will output, you can recharge the powerbank and use it to power other devices in addition to the radio (though not at the same time).

the more flexible your whip the better

if you are willing to stop and deploy your antenna rather than having to talk while walking, you can take a wire antenna and throw it up in a tree instead.
 

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Geriatric Gladiator
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Discussion Starter #13
I have been reading about the KX3 all day including reviews on eham.net and I can't see any big downside to it. The size and weight are great, and it can even be ordered with an internal antenna tuner. 10 watts with the right antenna should work. I realize my education in this area is not the best and will be getting the ARRL antenna handbook soon. I feel time is getting short and need to get this done. Any suggestions on where a good place to purchase a KX3, what options you would suggest both with the radiom antenna possibilities and batteries and a solar wrap are greatly appreciated. If I have to become portable I would like to know what is going on around, not necessarily transmit a whole lot.
 

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I own and am a big fan of the KX3, and of all Elecraft gear in general. People seem almost offended when I mention it though, due to the price tag.

If you are willing to buy once and cry once, it's the best (efficient, compact, feature packed, engineered) radio in its class on the market.
Compared to the cost of that shiny new AR15 the KX3 really ain't bad. I own an 817 but would love to have a KX3. People have no problems shelling out big bucks for guns and other junk but cringe at similarly priced radio gear.
 

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The 857 certainly has more power than the 817, but running it on batteries means carrying batteries. External batteries. The 897 (discontinued but widely available on the used market) is a bit bulkier and a little heavier than the 857, but it has the advantage of space inside for two batteries or a battery and integral charger/power supply. On battery power, it will put out 20 watts, so it has a bit more punch than the 817 and it puts out a full 100 Watts when there is enough DC input current available. Any of the three will also handle your 2 meter/70 centimeter traffic. Personally I would go with the 817 for a backpack rig with the option of adding a power amplifier (and associated power source) if and when needed.
 

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Constable on a beat
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670 Posts
http://www.airadio.com/Vertex-Standard-HF-Manpack-Radio-VX-1210*productID_303-products_details


Vertex Standard HF Manpack Radio: VX-1210

Designed to deliver field communications and provide continual contact at all times, the VX-1210 is both simple to operate and light weight. The large memory capacity allows users to easily index and alphanumerically label each channel for quick and easy call management.




Features Include:
•Receive Frequency Range of between 0.5 ~ 30MHz in 10Hz Steps
• Transmit Frequency Range of 1.6 ~ 30MHz
• SSB/CW, AM, and Data Operating Modes
•500 Channels
•Three Custom-Programmable Panel Keys
•Weather Resistant, Rugged Construction
•Kill System to Disable Unauthorized Use (Via Selcall)
•Call Alert / Hailer (Multiple Hailing Tones Available)
•Noise Blanker



http://st-img1.airadio.com/userfiles/productsPhotos/VX-12101_06162040.JPG



Green Shadow <*>
 

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Veteran 11BC2/EOD
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2,020 Posts
Hess

The KX3 runs on AA rechargeable so any solar setup with a charger will work, and there is a built in charger available to charge the batteries inside the radio without swapping them out

Unless you win the lottery and find one used, Elecraft is where you get them
 

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one thing i forgot to mention is that if you are using a mobile whip antenna, you will gain significantly improved signal by having a proper-length tuned counterpoise dragline. it makes a big difference and isn't something to be overlooked as unnecessary. it probably has more impact that doubling your power output and improves your receive as well
 
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