Sota expedition to Reunion

I will be on Reunion in mid-December to activate some mountains. When I look at the logs it is, as expected, difficult to get my 4 connections there. Everything from there is DX. I will replace my KX3 with a FT-891 and work with 80 watts. I’m not sure about the antenna? Do you have any tips?


We’ll be around the top of the Solar Cycle so 15,12,10m should be working very well still. I’d be considering 1/4wave GP for those 3 bands. You can make 3 antennas or a link selectable version and it should fit easily on a 6m pole. Next bands would be 17 & 20m, 1/4waves are getting bigger for those bands and need bigger poles which may be difficult to get info flight luggage. I’d be considering an Inv-V dipole aimed at JA or EU or US depending on the time of day (but they’re not that directional).

The extra power with the 891 makes sense. You probably will make the trip with only 10W but 80W gives you the ability to command the frequency a lot more. You don’t say if you are voice only or can do Morse. If no CW, consider FT8 via your phone. People on here can advise on that.

My $0.02. YMMV


Servus Tom,

wie wär’s mit CW?
4 QSO’s in CW sind überhaupt kein Problem, sogar mit 5W und Stück Draht :wink:

Mario DJ2MX


Hallo Thomas,
First of all - well done in getting the chance to travel to this remote island.
With the differences between the 15w from the KX3 with its good built-in ATU and the FT891 with up to 100w (probably only running 50w, because of battery drain) and perhaps an external ATU and a larger battery - I would go for portability and use the KX3, not the FT891. 15w at the right time of day on the right band will get you contacts around the world - whether on SSB, CW or digital.

Of course in your situation, you will need to look at the time that you can operate - midday for you may be midnight for someone else and even if they are in their shack at that time, it’s almost impossible that 10m will be open! As you will be 90 minutes behind India, and 2 hours ahead of South Africa those might be the best groups of hams to aim for.
6:30 pm local reunion time could get you on the greyline on 40m into the central and western USA where it would be 6:30 am.
6 am Reunion time would get your signal into Central Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan (~ 6:30 - 7 am) and Alaska (5pm) via the greyline on 40m.

For an antenna, I would keep it down to an inverted-V linked dipole (self-built or bought) covering 40, 20, & 10m and if you use CW 30m. A travel mast - 6-metre extended and small enough to go easily into your luggage when collapsed. Add a couple of rubber straps (“Bongo-Ties” are great if you can find them - otherwise just thick rubber bands). Then all you need is a fence post, tree trunk or similar or a hole between rocks on the summit to set up and operate. I presume you already have a small battery, otherwise, Eremit are very good with their 4 Ah LifePO battery, which can be charged off any stable 12v source as it has the BMS built-in. They also do a larger 8Ah version but I prefer the lighter 4Ah one.
Good luck with the trip!
73 Ed.

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Hi Thomas,

There are some radio hams on the island and they do have some vhf repeaters which could be used to contact them when you are activating, but you then need to go simplex obviously!

Association Réunionnaise des Radio Amateurs

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I activated Wentwood GW/SW-033 on Saturday morning. I heard 5R8IC calling on 10m CW from Sainte Martin Island (IOTA AF-090) off Madagascar. I replied with my 5 watts from the FT-817 via my homemade 10m quarterwave with elevated groundplane antenna and got him first call.

So if I was off to Reunion Island in December 2024, I’d be taking homemade quarterwave-groundplane antennas for 10m and 20m (back up) and a Travelmast. No need for more power; 5 watts will be plenty enough.


When looking at propagation charts from that localisation on


I think you the best bet will be 10/12/15/17/20m bands.

I would go for linked vertical on DX-Mini 10mtr mast which folds into 60cm or so and fits standard suitcase when folded. I would put my money on 10/15/17/20 monoband vertical EFHW. Such verticals would have a sufficient gain to make Europe even with 10-15W both SSB and CW, as long you hang it high.

GL 73 Marek

Sounds like a good plan. I have taken an FT817 and a KX3 to Kenya on occasions, and made contacts with them. A directional antenna helps, but the extra power my IC706MkIIG or FT450AT can manage has made making plenty of contacts much easier. From Kenya, 15, 12 and 10 are good daytime bands, while 17, 20, 30 and even 40 are better after dark.

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Thanks for your answers

I would take a serious look at the Chameleon Antenna CHA TDL (Tactical Delta Loop). I bought one of these and it has worked great when I activate parks. I am planning some SOTA activating when this rain finally passes.

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I ran 2 8ah lifepo4 batteries with ft891 at 50watts. They lasted less than an hour each
1a on receive and 15a on xmit

Will try 12ah. I want an hour of use

If not ft891 stays home and I bring my 705 to Spain

The antenna will be the jnc radio mc-750 or the Buddistick

Works great and fast deploy

Check my blog

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I am using MC-750 portable antenna. You can use it without ATU on all bands:
MC-750 portable vertical antenna 40-6m (

73, Milos S57D

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Sure, 10 watts would be enough… especially if you’ve set up a spot… But if you also want to be heard by the chasers whose receiving situation may not be so perfect… 80 watts is a nice thing.

The simplest type of antenna that is also cheap and light… and has a small pack size… would be a 1:49 Unun with an EFHW (40,20,15,10m), which you can often get up somewhere quickly.

The 1:49 Unun is sufficiently dimensioned with 2 x 114-43 toroidal cores for 80 watts… it fits in an old plastic film can…

73 Armin


I don’t find the TD to be too rugged. I took 2 of my SS217 whips with my CHAmini balun and a mount and some wire

It is good 20m and up but flexy
John ve3ips


Good info John. I haven’t had an opportunity to deploy it a lot due to these rain storms that we have been having but I will certainly have a back up plan when I take it out on a SOTA activation. Thanks.
W6LEN / Jess

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NE1RD wrote an article: “Antennas for 100 pound dxpeditions”. I just joined to describe elsewhere on this forum how I made a clone of the Force12 Sigma 5.

73’s, John

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Max Battery on North American flights is 100W/hrs per battery. I like the 6AH batteries. They hit a sweet spot for capacity and weight.

Consider the KX3 and adding the DIY599 amp from DL4KA. The amp puts out 40-60 watts and has ATU built in and draws 50 milliamps on receive. Max 8 amps at 13.8V on transmit. With 2 6AH batteries, run the K33 at 2-5 watts to drive amp on a separate battery, then swap batteries. The KX3 will run fine on the first depleted battery and drive the amp. Much less current draw on receive than the FT891. Much longer operation.

OH8STN has a video here:

The weights are as follows:
KX3 + Soft Case + Mic = 1250 grams
2 6AH Bioenno Batteries = 700 grams x2= 1400 grams
DIY599 Amp +Tuner = 900 g
Coax from KX3 to Amp = 50g
Total system weight = 3600 grams for several hours of operating at 40-60W and <250 millamp/hrs on receive.

I’m very happy with this setup. 1500 grams provides 4x the power relative to the base KX3 at 12 watts.


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I’m sure it’s very good but €1150 for 60W amp and ATU is very pricey. And it doesn’t even say Elecraft on the box!

Better still €43 for 0.9m RG316 patch lead. :rofl:

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Wow! Glad I bought it when I did. Buy once, cry once.

It’s expensive. Oliver sometimes has a 100w dxpedition model available that goes for 2x that at eBay auctions.

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It is soulless, but I believe 80w and the WSJT modes will pretty much guarantee 4 contacts from anywhere with even a modest antenna. There are phone apps to generate and receive the signals, so very little extra weight…just the cables to connect the phone you are likely already carrying to the rig.
Of course you could also skip the cables and just use the phones speaker and mic as well.
Oh and be sure to setup SOTAmat beforehand as well to guarantee the world knows where and when you are on.

Good to have as backup in any event.

Tom, N2YTF

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