Backpacking Rig

Small Wonders Labs SW-20+

(Packaged for minimal weight and for use inside a tent.)

When considering what rig to use while backpacking, I set up some criteria: 1) Small Size, 2) Low Pwr Drain, 3) Reasonable Frequency Coverage, 4) Pwr Adjustable to .5 or 1 Watt. The Small Wonders Labs SW series fit my requirements nicely. Packaged in a 3Wx5Lx1.5H cut-down Bud box, the rig weighs in at 7.7 oz. All the controls are on the top of the box so that it can be placed on my tent floor and still easy to use. The RF, Key, and Pwr jacks are at one end of the radio. I also installed an Embedded Research Tick 1 keyer inside the radio. The trial run for this rig will be the Adventure Radio Society Rendezvous 2001 in Oregon. (I modeled the layout and enclosure package after a similar rig built by Mike, W3TS).

The entire radio is built into the top of the Bud box so that it can be easily opened in the field. The Tick keyer is ugly constructed and taped to the end of the top of the box as well.

There is plenty of room to use a Bulldog paddle, suctioned to the top of the enclosure. The earbuds are a pair of Grundigs I scrounged from a broken radio.

This is a photo of the resonant 20m dipole that I string up as a sloper. Not in the photo is 25' of RG174 feedline that I use. I used this antenna on a cross-country bicycle trip in Aug.-Sept., 2000, and had great results. I was careful to angle the sloper in the direction I wanted to emphasize, and to keep the "hot" side of the dipole as the most elevated leg of the antenna. The battery pack holds 10AA alkaline cells, but I only use 9 cells and a dummy cell, giving me 13.5 volts with fresh batteries. The SW20+ is set to transmit slightly over 1W at 13.5 volts. The dummy cell is affectionately dubbed, "The Everdeady," by my daughter who helped me build it and who used markers to give it pizzaz. The writing on it reads, "Everdeady, 0.0v, Mercury Free, Never Needs Charging."

The entire package, including batteries, antenna, rig, earbuds, and paddle weighs in at about 1.7 lbs. I also plan to play around in the Spartin Sprints using this setup (minus the heavy batteries and antenna). I think I can minimize the weight to about 10 oz. ;-)