The 1 Kilo HF challenge. A multiband activation pack below 1 kilogram

My personal target for this project is simple: I want to activate HF keeping all the required radio & antenna equipment just below 1 Kilogram (1 kilo = 2,2 pounds = 35,3 ounces). Food, extra cloth, etc, appart.

If the challenge were on VHF it could be easily accomplished with a handheld, but to achieve that on HF is much more complex.

Last week I measured on a weighting scale the usual gear I carry on hills. It all weights about 2,5 kilo, just for the radio gear, and I add the water, extra cloth, food, etc. It’s not much, but I’m far from this challenge level…

In order to fulfil my target, first I must get rid of the FT-817 as the rig itself weights a little more than 1 kilo. A pity!

After checking alternatives with the gear I own at home, here is a list of the required minimum optimised gear I composed:

  • Rig: KD1JV MTR (20 & 40m CW), 168 g (yes, only CW, but I don’t have anything as light to do SSB+CW)

  • External SWR meter: NoGaWatt Kit, 123 g (to protect the tiny TRX against bad SWR…)

  • ANT: homebrew resonant EFHW for 10+20+40m, 165 g

  • CW Paddles: homebrew iambic , 42 g

  • BATT: LiPo 11,1V 2,2 Ah, 193 g

  • COAX: 3m of RG-174 & BNC, 67 g

  • Pole: 5m long, 375 g

  • spare cord: 28 g

SUM: 1,161 kilogram.

Oh no! I’m still above the kilo and I can’t fulfil my challenge!

After much thinking on feasible variation, I have chosen the following alternative:

  • to use a smaller batt: 2S, 7,4V LiPo 1000 mAh (55 gram), and

  • to replace the SWR kit with panel meters by a SWR led indicator (kit by OK1CDJ) 53 gr.

The sum is now 0,953 kilogram, just okay!!!

When this little battery is fully loaded it provides 8,4 volts, and therefore produces 3 watt output from the MTR; I think it’s enough for a succesful activation.

I will be using this setup in some of my next activation and promise to keep you updated with the results. This is an appropiate gear for very long walks or when it is important to keep the weight low.

Here an image of my compact gear. I plan to use a belt pouch in summer time instead the rucksack to carry the gear with me. Nice compact setup ;o)

Is there any other activator who can bring a similar setup interested on this challenge?

VY 73 de Ignacio.

Ps: I found another way to express the target:

Gear weight divided by Output power. My new setup is 953/3= 318 gram per watt.

The ideal situation would be: 1000 gr/5 watt= 250 gram per watt.

A litle difficult to achieve that. But so far I’m closer than with my normal FT-817 pack: 2500/5= 500 gram/watt…


Or you could search for a Mizuho MX series transceiver, weighing 645 grams with the six AA batteries included. Hard to find but lovely little SSB rigs.


Good idea for a challenge but as my CW is not good on the receive (not too bad sending) my setup will be well over the 1kg limit.

But my 40m dipole is a good start - 36g including the winder.
It works well and stands up to gale force winds but don’t trip over it as it will snap easily.

You never know I might get practicing my morse more sometime and then work on light gear.

73 Neil

Just back from the scale.
KX1 with options and mini paddle: 478 g
battery pack 9 penlights: 265 g
30 m longwire + 3 x 10 m radials: 249 g
All together: 992 g.
When I remove the internal 6 pennligts even less but I like to have a backup

It’s vain to do with more what can be done with less.

73 de geert pa7zee

Include pole, pegs, guys, bungees and the like, and the weight goes up a bit. I expect my minimum kit is nearer 2kg including microphone and headphones as well…

My lunch used to weigh nearly that much ! :wink:


Looks like a great kit.
Maybe some lighter coax a bit shorter with simple crimp on bnc connectors will peel off some grams.
The water food and coat and hat for every occasion usually out weigh my radio gear and I never go without my blow up cushion . 73 all great challenge.
Ian vk5cz …

Hi Ignacio, great thread!

I’ve been using very similar equipment for the past year or so. I find the performance is perfectly fine. I have the same LiPo, it lasts for a very long time! Sometimes I use 370mAH 3S, which gives me about 4.5W from the MTR. This lower capacity LiPo is more than capable for a long activation.

I use a dipole antenna with small 4m pole.



Also, see my thread from the old reflector -

72, Colin M1BUU

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I have not weighed my portable HF gear yet, but I guess that a HB-1A (which can be run off eight AA cells) with a QRP antenna tuner and a wire doublet with 300 Ohm feedline is also among the more lightweight setups, even if I include a ball of string to help me set up the aerial. This, of course, requires the presence of some trees and stones in the area that I wish to operate from. Only the fairly hefty base of my morse key spoils things to some extent.

Anyway, I believe my lunch packet could easily turn out heavier than the radio gear, too - at least when I include some bottles of malty beverages :wink: I only wish I could find the time for portable operations …

73, Jan-Martin

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Albrecht AE2990 AFS is a CB handheld with AM/FM/SSB that can be opened to 12m and 10m. Needs another antenna and performance is mediocre but it’s enough for the 4 required contacts. 300 grams.

Article form a fellow romanian ham, translated

Also, the Xiegu X1M weights only ~600grams and provides full HF coverage with 5W.

My “lightweight” activation setup is around 4Kg for the whole bag, including 1L of water, a small snack, FT-817+tuner and a 6m fishpole antenna. Considering the amount of fat I carry on my belly, the compromise is already a bit too much :).

Razvan (YO9IRF)

Good Challenge… When I think that’s 1/3 of the FT100D weight’s :wink:
So should change the antenna wires and no trappes so 1 band… ;-(
And let the mast in the car if there are trees on top… ;-(
Well I can’t challenge less 2kg all include for the station but that is 1kg less than my old FT100D alone… :slight_smile:
Enjoy everything :sunny:

Speaking of lightweight SSB radios:

(Standalone SDR - said to be KX3 rival - way cheaper!)

(SSB handheld kit, might be light)

(Very lightweight unless you fit N3ZI DDS inside like I did)



(Is 635g by the way, so fits in as well :smile: )

(This is not lightweight, but is another interesting take on standalone SDR topic)

My normal SOTA station is well under 1kg (MTR, EFHW fed with LMR100, 500mAh 3s LiPO, Palm Pico paddle, lightweight phones, 1.5mm polyester rope to hang EFHW in trees). My entire pack is about 2kg in the summer.

Barry N1EU

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Spurious emissions -43dB(should be dBc) at 5 Watts. hmmmm… OK at 5 Watts but I wouldn’t use that to drive any substantial PA.
No FM, only a 2.5 Khz maximum filter width its going to sound wonderful on SSB :smile: Not sure its going to come close to “rivaling” it.

Sigh… I wish there where some better commercial alternatives for portable use. Even the KX3 could have done much better with just a few more months in development.


Three main items that make up the most weight on my activation trips are the rucksack, radio, and mast.
The best way I was able to reduce the weight I was carrying was to invest in a new rucksack, that would be suitable for longer trips in the future. I purchased a Nigor Zero G the size is 53l weighs in at 1kg, it can be compressed down for day outings.
I don’t think I would change from the ft817 as it suits my needs for multi mode/multi band operation.
The 10m mast I have reduced down to 5m but still weighs in at 1kg, still a bit heavy but until it breaks I won’t be looking for a new one.
Total weight is 8.75kg this includes my mountaineering equipment, the antenna weigh approx 400g.


thanks for all your contribution.
I did my own research of different rigs in order to find some light models…
You can see the chart I prepared at:

Anyway, so far I don’t plan to buy any other rig. I’m quite happy with the FT817 and the MTR.
The MTR is my choice for this challenge and I won’t invest in an SSB rig. If I was to buy a new one I think I’d get the LNR FX-4A for SSB…

It is very nice to see that other people thought about the same feature in the past.
Well done Colin, with your thread and setup! So far you are leading the Challenge with your 760 gram including the 4m pole!

Yes, having trees on summits would reduce a lot the weight making the use of poles unnecesary, but I don’t find them in most of my activation here!

Brian & Razvan: the use of handhelds like the Mizuho or Albrecht for 10m deserves a separate category, I’m afraid…

Concerning water and lunch, we could open a different chapter to study somethning like calories per gram and find a good solution.
I guess any chocolate bar like Snickers ™ is a good starter :heart_eyes: :doughnut:

I’m preparing my kit and soon will do my first 1 kilo challenge activation. I will let you know in advance.
Thanks for your ideas and take care.VY 73 de Ignacio

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Also not to be overlooked for inspiration are the Spartan Sprint contests. A similar idea where weight determines part of the score.

73, Colin

Hi Ignacio - you could take an acorn with you and plant one on each summit for future use :wink:

Interesting thread, thanks,


With food it’s a long discussion, but I find Snickers to be a very good balance as well - enough carbs for short-time recovery, some proteins and fat for long-term energy, enough calories per weight, doesn’t get altered in heat. The only thing you need is some minerals / electrolytes / Vitamin C added in the water and you’re good to go for intense effort :smile:

Congrats Ignacio for this nice thread.
I had never been too curious about my SOTA gear weight until you wrote this thread.
I have put my whole SOTA kit on the scale and found it weights 7.6 Kg
Since I usually run 5 watts, my ratio is 7600/5= 1520 grams per watt, which is 4.78 times worse than yours :frowning:

Then I stepped myself on the scale and found my weight in my current dressing (jeans and T-shirt) is 79 Kg, which means I usually carry 79+7.6 = 86.6 Kg up to the top of the mountains. Let’s round it up to 87 when I’m on my boots plus having my walking stick, plus carrying my mobile phone, wallet, photo camera…
When I activate Mt. San Cristobal on Saturday mornings, I manage to lift these 87 Kg up the 500m aprox. height difference in 33.5 minutes. :slight_smile:
The basis for a new challenge might be Total Energy = height difference covered from start point to summit with a total weight carried up vs time spent in the ascent :wink:
Have a nice weekend!