Today I cycled to Hogs Back Falls. I was trying out three new products/concepts for my portable ultralight amateur radio work. When I’m cycling/hiking/canoeing/etc, I like to carry as little weight as possible. Also when I’m out cycling to join a HF net, I want setup to go as quickly as possible.
So today I was trying out some stuff.
- A tiny 50 gram amplified speaker from Diamond called a ‘mini rocker‘.
- A tiny 170 gram 6½ amp hour battery from Novuscell.
- A quick deploy all band antenna
The speaker did work… after a fashion :-? Certainly it is tiny and powerful. The most obvious shortcoming was that when I’m sending morse code I cannot hear my side tone on every frequency. Some frequencies were okay, others were not. I guess the RF was affecting the amplifier circuit. I also noticed a lot of noise on the band which may have been generated by the speaker’s amplifier circuit. I didn’t have earphones to compare with.
The battery also is not without it’s quirks also. I’ve taken it on a few outings so far. There’s a button on top. When it charges up, and I press the button, four LEDs light up. Last time I took it out, I charged it with a 5W solar panel for around 6 hours and afterwards I got four LEDs. After about 2 hours of operating, it was down to two LEDs. The following morning I couldn’t get any of the LEDs to light
So today I had it charged up 100%. After 2 hours of very light operating (listening mostly) it was down to 3 LEDs (out of 4). My gut tells me that I should be getting more endurance out of this battery (if it really is 6½ Ah like it says on the front).
So… the jury is out… for now. Time will tell if these two items become a permanent addition to the VA3SIE/P ‘go-bag‘.
The quick deploy antenna concept however worked well. I strapped a Jackite Pole to my bicycle in a vertical configuration just behind my bicycle seat. When I got to Hogs Back, I rested the bicycle up against a low wall, hooked up the wire and extended the pole. The antenna was up in less than 5 minutes and I was on the air on 80m through 20m.