This page is all about QRP - operating at low power. This includes lightweight equipment and /P working

I often take my Yaesu FT-817 out on a hill-top for a bit of QRP /P operating. This combines a bit of radio with my love of walking.

The 817 is an ideal bit of kit for this purpose. It is a full HF/VHF/UHF transceiver with built-in battery pack and giving a bare-back  power of 2.5 watts. With an external 12v battery connected it can output a whole 5 watts.

I have a small paddle which bolts on to the side of the 817 for CW operations.

For VHF (2m) hill-top activations I use the SOTABeams SB270 or similay lightweight 2m beam and a 6m fibreglass fishing pole. The two neatly fit into a fishing rod bag and are easy  to transport.

For HF I have developed a 15-20-30-40 trapped inverted ‘V’. The traps are again from SOTABeams.

The weights are:

FT-817 with internal battery

Keyer - paddle



PL239-SMA adapter

Antenna supports/guys/pegs

That’s a grand total of 1660 gms to which you have to add a 6m fibre glass pole which weighs in at 650 gms. A total of 2.3kg!

Yaesu Ft-817 with CW paddle attached.

1150 gms

83 gms

130 gms

160 gms

27 gms

110 gms

The dipole centre-piece is from SOTABeams and I have fitted a small bracket to it to hole the SMA socket.

The cable has a SMA socket and makes up the choke balun. The 4mm plastic nut, bolt and washer were not used because the choke balun sits flat against panel. The choke balun was formed by the coax being wound around the little ferrite ring. The free end of the coax passes down through the centre hole in the plastic where the coax inner and outer are split out. The ends of each are wound round the ‘ladder-line’ attachment points and soldered.

The next picture shows the parts before assembly and test.

The picture above is the whole antenna wound on to a medium sized wire winder from SOTABeams. Total weight of aerial is 130 grams, the downlead is 160g and the winder adds another 30g. It is perfectly tuned so that no ATU is required. This all helps to keep down the weight.

Parts used in QRP antenna

PL239 to SMA Adaptor

SMA Cable (one end to be sacrificed)

10m SMA-SMA RG174 cable for downlead

Antenna Traps are 10W PICO Traps from

Dipole centre from

Medium wire winder from

Ferrite ring

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