Field Operating Gear

Taking radios into the field is the fastest growing segment of the hobby right now, and it’s easy to see why. You can scale a peak to activate for Summits on the Air, set up at a picnic area for Parks on the Air, practice your emergency operating skills on ARRL Field Day, and more. There are no antenna restrictions, no RFI, and no limit to how far you can make contacts.

Ham radio operator N6BSC
A beautiful day working contacts from the top of a mountain

Despite its popularity, portable operating isn’t easy. The station setups and operating techniques are very different from what you would use at home. Also, deluge of conflicting information and hype online makes it even harder for newcomers to get started.

A little guidance goes a long way, and that is why I created this section. I’ve been operating portable since I got my technician license, and I’ve learned a lot along the way.

The sections below show some of the antenna projects, field power systems, and other gear that I have found to work (and not) over the years. Browse through the projects and pick up some tidbits of information to use in your own adventures.

Field Power

  • Field Power-Early Days: Not all of my projects have been high-speed, low-drag works of art. Some of my early stuff was just plain fugly . . . but it worked! (coming soon)
  • Power Packs Version 2: My current field power setup is a lot more streamlined, portable, and versatile. Ironically, it is also simpler than any setup I’ve used before.
Ham radio field power supplies for a rover
The power arrangement I used during the 2021 June VHF Contest.

Portable Antennas . . . coming soon

  • Cebik 2 M Yagi
  • Cebik 6 M Yagi
  • Configurable Dipole (HF-VHF-UHF)
  • Field Fan Dipole
  • Handheld Fan Dipole (VHF-UHF)
  • LDG 4:1 Non-Resonant Vertical
  • LDG 9:1 Long Wire Antenna
  • MFJ Loaded Vertical
  • SOTA Linked Dipole
Linked dipole for SOTA
My original SOTA linked dipole on its maiden run


  • Tilt-Over, Drive-On Mast
Ham radio vehicle with tolt-over mast mount
A tilt-over mast makes setting up field antennas much easier.

Updated 2022-05-21