Portable Operating (/p)

Using a dipole while portable operatingA good number of amateurs enjoy going out into the countryside to use their radios.

This is often beneficial to those that suffer high radio reception noise levels, limited or no room for antennas at home. Of course there are numerous reasons why an individual may enjoy outdoor operating.

This is known as a portable station. When on the air this is donated by adding /p (slash-P) to the normal callsign, consequentially, G7SYW becomes G7SYW/P.

In the picture I was located approx 450m (1300 feet) above sea level in the Dartmoor National Park, near to the Haytor Rocks at Hemsworthy Gate

I use a 7m telescopic fibreglass pole as a centre support, and have experimented with a fan dipole. The dipoles were tuned for the 40/20/15m bands, similar to those at home.

I decided to build the linked dipole as the fan dipole had a tendency to get tangled in the wind. It was also awkward to raise in the slightest breeze when alone.

Here’s a short clip of a few stations I heard while out portable during a contest.

Currently, the telescopic pole is now used to support a linked dipole in an inverted V. This has enabled me to gain access to more bands. The telescopic pole is supported by a “drive-on” plate. The plate has a vertical stub onto which the pole is temporarily fixed with either velcro straps, cable ties etc.

Yaesu FT-747 used portableI’ve invested in a folding camping table and a couple of camping chairs.

Instead of balancing the radio on the car dashboard and the logbook on my lap, the table makes things easier.

Lots of other amateurs go out portable in all manner of places, which often takes in hiking up hills and across the countryside to find the “perfect” spot. Radio hams who tend to take portable operating more seriously, tend to construct “go boxes” or back packs that contain all they need to enjoy the radio out in the open air.

Radio manufacturers offer portable radios which offer low power consumption combined with internal, rechargeable batteries.