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

Ready to go for next weekend at approx 960grs…

MTR2 v2 30-20-17m
4 band EFHW
5m pole
1000mAh 3S lipo

System budget
battery + lead 126gr
radio 122gr
iHeadphones 12gr
notebook+pen 20gr
key 58gr
pole 370gr
tuner 80gr
4 band linked EFHW + winder 154gr
pole velcro straps 20gr E

Some further savings possible if I leave the 40m wire element out and were to optimised other bits…

73 Angel


Hi Pete,

just found on youtube your nice evening flight video with your new Hubsan.
Now eagerly waiting for your next SOTA activation video, filmed from a bird’s eye view :rolling_eyes:

73 Stephan, DM1LE

Just been in to my local Lidl store and purchased two stunt kites at £3.99 each, good value surprisingly as it comes with 50m high quality kite string with winders. May be also of interest to anyone else building an antenna, the second kite is for the kids.

photo is with 10m of kite string on each winder 83g next phot shows with dipole on the winders 254g an increase of 51g from before


Angel, Since I have worked hard for several years to get the weight of my HF system down, I wanted to toss out a comparison to what you are doing (which is very very good!)

Set up:

MTR2 v3
5M pole
350 mAH 3S liPO

System weight…

feedline none
battery 40g
earbuds 12g
pen/log 8g
radio 122g
paddle 18g
tuner 12g
5M pole 210g
pole velcro none
20/30/40 ant 72g

TOTAL 494g

I like to think of my system as “Ultra-Lyte.” The heaviest item is the pack itself. I have a very light runners’ pack, itself just ten ounces, and I use that when I need to carry water. If the trek is less than two or three hours round trip, and weather is not too hot, I can carry my set-up in my pockets and forget the pack as well.

73, Fred KT5X (aka WS0TA)

1 Like

12gr??? DIY?

Im adding up my weights lately and my KX3 setup +etc is 2.1kg (can go down to 1.8k but not less I think)

Hi all,

is it including the shelter, water, fire and food? :slight_smile:

Are somewhere complete rules please? .pdf? Tnx Petr OK1RP

Hello Peter,

this thread refers to an invitation of setting reduced gear with minimal equipment (only radio related, excluded cloths, shelter, water, etc).

Many people contributed with great ideas about how to prepare such a minimalist setup.

Due to the interest we prepared an Event held on 17-19 June 2016.
You can see details of it in this other thread:

There is no other challenge planned yet for the future, but if there is interest we can do it again…
What do you think gents?
VY 73 de Ignacio

1 Like

Yes! I’m interested. I’m working on learning CW, but until then, I’m figuring out ways to fit the FT-817 and EFHW into my running pack. Ha!

73 de Rex

Anyone else?

I have purchased a MTR3B with the intention of doing some lightweight activations. Not specifically to participate in this event but I will follow it with interest.

73 Andrew VK1DA VK2UH

Sounds great I would be interested in participating in the challenge, if I am free from work I may be try for an overnight stay.


I’m interested too!

Dear all:

Ever since I’ve started being a ham (last year, hi), I have been trying to work on a light and quick-to-setup station, because I do not have a real station at my QTH and do most of my QSOs as /P. I started with an FT-817, which is a nice radio but it’s power consumption and weight limit portability.

I have been doing mountaineering in summer and winter for ages, and for longer hikes and skitouring trips, there is very limited space and weight left in the backpack for ham radio gear; I mean, it does not make sense to have super-light harnesses and ropes etc. if I have to carry a 65l back-back for my ham gear, hi.

I quickly came to the conclusion that CW is the way to go, and started learning CW about a year ago.
My goals for an ideal station are the following:

  1. Lightweight and compact (that is clear).
  2. Rapid setup: In the beginning, I tried packing an MTR with all kind of stuff in bags, which was compact and lightweight. But it takes a lot of time to unwind and connect everything; parts can be lost, and it is a pain to use many distinct parts e.g. in 50 cm of fresh snow. Also, I often have very limited time on the summit, so loosing 10 minutes to unpack my rig is problematic.
  3. Sturdy and watertight: I want to be able to squeeze my gear into a full backpack with crampons, carabiners, etc. in a hurry without fearing to break the key or other parts. The MTRs slide switches are e.g. easy to damage. Also, at least when stowed away, rain and some snow should not harm.

So here is my current station, inspired by the GoBox concept by Tom, OE2ATN, see

  • Mountain Topper MTR 3B, gives 40-30-20m, which is all I need, removed from its metal case
  • Pelican 1040 case, 1040 Micro Case | Peli
  • 4.8V 4 x AA Nimh battery pack; fully sufficient capacity for several hours, much less risk than Li-based batteries
  • Two step-up converters that generate 6 and 12 V DC from the battery, 12V for full 5W and 6V for 1 W for tuning and QRPP
  • Simply battery voltage monitor with two LEDs, a zener diode and a transistor - green LED shows sufficient voltage to not overload the step-up-converters (their input current increases as the input voltage drops), red LED shows undervoltage so that you can stop before the Nimh batteries get damaged. I decided against an automatic turn-off circuit, because I want to be in control to finish a QSO.
  • SWR meter (rather: indicator, hi) and power indicator with LEDs, based on the design by DF3OS, see
  • Volume control (simple 1k micro potentiometer) to adjust headset and speaker volume
  • LM386 amplifier and tiny control monitor, so that I can be away a few feet from the radio, e.g. during CQ loops

All components are mounted on a front panel designed as a 3D print part. I will later replace that by a laser-cut aluminum one but wanted to test the concept first.

The front panel includes a few metal washers so that a Palm Pico Single key can be mounted in various angles via its magnets and can be retracted during transport.

The charging of the NimH batteries is done by an external plug-in power supply ( that supports 1 A current and includes all circuitry for intelligent charging.

For longer activations, external batteries can be plugged in via the same DC connector.

I am very, very happy with this setup. I can be QRV within 15 seconds + antenna set-up; you cannot loose any part, and the complete station without antenna is just 559 grams. The batteries allow for many hours of operation.

As an antenna, I use the trapped 3-band EFHW design by Heinz. HB9BCB (Trap EFHW and Coupler and The antenna is ca. 16m long and can be used as an inverted L, inverted vee, sloper, and horizontal with very good performance (spots in VE and USA with 5 W are common). When there are no trees etc., I use the 6m mast from Lambdahalbe.

So my total station is

Rig with battery, paddle, case, earphone, SWR meter etc: 559 g
Antenna with winder and EFHW matching unit: 131 g
Golf ball + fishing line for trees: Lees than 100 g
Optional: Mast: 650g

With the mast, one is slightly over the 1k limit, of course.

I plan to document the whole project once I have finalized it, but this will take a while.

The only things I am missing in this setup is a VFO knob (I am considering to add one to the MTR3B by combining a rotary encoder with an ATtiny; other have done this already), and maybe a direct frequency display (by intercepting the frequency values sent from the uC to the DDS inside the MTR). I was also thinking of adding a simple zero beat indicator. But then again you could also simply take an Elecraft KX2, hi.

73 de Martin, DK3IT


Hello Martin,
I am not a CW person ( I have tried and got some chaser points) but it is not for me.
Well done on your research and the activation pack looks great.
Good luck and best wishes.

Hi all,
after following this thread for a while, I also succeeded in the 1 Kilo challenge.
Thanks to all contributors for the nice suggestions.

In the meantime, all the relevant parts of the station below can be bought.
So I have to admit that no homebrewing was required.

Here comes my station, with about 850g:

  • Rig is the well-known MTR-3B

  • Antenna is a trapped EFHW for 20/30/40m. A ready-to-use version is avaible at hamshop in CZ

  • Battery is a 3s Lipo with 900 mAh. It is directly used, and of course may only be loaded up to 12V

  • The paddle is from Jan, OK1QO. The golden cover contains a small keyer (not used with the MTR)

  • Fishing pole is a 4m Caperlan (not on the picture. Instead, the photo contains a 6m mast)

  • Paper box: Well, for sure, this is a temporary solution, which will be replaced soon

And the best thing: One week ago, I did the first activation on “Grosser Laber” (DL/AM-093).

It really was fun to work with such a small radio!

73 de Robert. DL4ROB


Well done Robert,
make sure you bring your cardboard box up a summit only on sunny days…
… or buy a cheap plastic tupper and there you have an easy watertight container :blush:

I also hold the MTR-3 with rubber bands. 73 de Ignacio

Working hard to reduce the weight, the key is the RTX: FT817 is too heavy but I don’t know better SSB RTX at the same price with lesser weight.

as for SSB transceiver with less than FT-817 weigh (about 1 kilo itself) you could check:

Elecraft KX2 -->0,37 kg
LNR LD-5 / LD-11 --> 0,54 kg
Xiegu X1M --> 0,65 kg
RS-918SSB --> 0,63 kg (clone of McHF)
FX-9A --> 0,60 kg

There might be more if you search on the web…
Good luck! 73 de Ignacio

If you consider also kits you could include bitx20/bitx40.

73 de IZ1KSW - Gab