Rig or Transceiver Considerations for multi-day Backpacking
Feb. 2015 I have several rigs that could be candidates for taking on a backpacking trip. The primary purpose of the trip we are planning is multi-night wilderness backpacking, NOT ham radio. I make this point because on You Tube for example, there are many videos talking about putting together a radio backpack. They generally focus on the radio, antenna and power issues with less regard for weight than when one must carry on ones back EVERYTHING, food, bedding, tent or hammock which of necessity will use up most of the volume and weight in your backpack. The radio is a non-essential and can only be included if it is very light, takes up very little space and is very easy to deploy at the end of a long day's hike when all you really want to do is eat and sleep!
With that in mind, on weight alone I pretty much initially ruled out the Yaesu FT817nd. It is just too heavy at 2-1/2 pounds. It is also kind of power hungry so would require about a pound in batteries as well. That is sad as it is a beautiful little radio.
My second option is a Ten-Tec R4020. It only weights one pound and is very conservative on power requirement. Since I'm into RC planes I have several good 3200 mAh 3 cell lipo batteries that weigh just over a half pound. One of them would do the trick. But my Ten-Tec R4020 sort of went crazy recently. It is like the computer chip got all messed up. After a number or emails with YouKits I sent it off to Canada to be repaired.
A third option, which is tempting is my little QRPkits dc40a 40 meter transceiver in an Altoids ten. It puts out around a half watt on 40 meters. It is crystal bound which is a limitation but it weighs just 3 ounces! And it would run a month on 3200 mAh battery. In fact with it I could get by with a 2200 mAh or less for a total weight of a half pound, plus antenna and key!
May 2015 After playing with the FT-817 for a month or so on various end fed wires as described on my portable antenna pages I'm rethinking the possibility of taking it along. The ability to work CW, SSB and Digital as well as VHF/UHF FM makes it very attractive. Maybe I can leave a couple lunches behind to compensate for the weight!