I’m always interested in seeing what others are using on summits. I started out with a Yaesu FT-817ND which was a great rig with a ton of capability, but it’s pretty heavy! I got on the waiting list when I heard about the LNR FX-4 and was luck enough to get one of the early models. With some more luck, I ended up with one that has no quality issues.
The FX-4 has gone a long way to lighten up my pack. As a SSB activator, I’m a bit more limited in my radio selection. I’m learning CW, but I can’t yet copy quick enough to use it for an activation. Soon…
The FX-4 is a pretty sweet little rig offering 4 bands - 17m, 20m, 30m, and 40m - putting out 5 watts on CW and SSB. The cheap mic it came with was obnoxiously large compared to the size of the radio, so I hacked together a mini-mic from an earbud/lapel mic assembly that came with a Baofeng HT. It works great, weighs next to nothing, and takes up a lot less space in the pack.
With the radio, I purchased the Trail Friendly End-Fed 10/20/40 antenna. Not long after I got it, I added a link for 17m so I could operate on that band as well. A 6" coax jumper connects the radio to the antenna, and earbuds provide my audio.
One more thing I added, but haven’t used much yet except in practice into a dummy load is a touch keyer. I opened up the FX-4 and found there was just barely enough space for a CW Touch Keyer P3 circuit. I soldered that in, and added a couple of touch points insulated from the chassis to eliminate the need for an external keyer. It’s not perfect - the touch points are a bit farther apart than they should be, but with a little practice, I think it’ll work just fine.
Total weight including the LowePro cases, 2200mAh Li Ion battery, and the Cabelas 14’ telescopic pole is 33.4 oz which I’m pretty happy about. Just over 2lbs for a multi-band CW and SSB rig isn’t bad.
Now show me your tiny CW rig and make me want to hone my skills so I can do the same. Or show me your beefier system with more power and more gain to work DX SOTA stations. Show us what you’ve got and tell us why you like it. We’re all gear junkies at heart and would love to see it.
Here’s the current kit…
The “small” LowePro bag - 2200mAh 11.1V Li battery and LNR Trail-Friendly antenna
The “larger” LowePro bag - LNR FX-4, power cable, coax jumper, earbuds, and mini-mic
Here’s a close-up of the touch keyer touch points. They’re just a couple of cap nuts insulated from the chassis.
And the rig in use!