K6ARK Portable Radio Youtube

Bushwhack SOTA: It doesn’t have to be fun to be fun

My previous attempt at this never-activated summit, WE/SD-025, failed. I bailed at the base of the climb due to heavy brush. Today, I go back and try again. It’s cooler and I’m wearing heavy cotton clothing to help shield the scraping and shin-bashing of the manzanita, scrub oak, and sumac.

In my pack is a freshly modified MTR3B with the 17m band added where 30m used to be. I’m hoping for some DX. Let’s see if it works.

N0SSC – Sterling’s channel:

YouTube Ham Radio geek swag:

Thanks for watching!

K6ARK Portable Radio Youtube

CA to EU S2S DX? Is it possible?

What better time to find out than the 2020 SOTA Trans-Atlantic S2S QSO Party? The first winter storm of the year was in-bound, but I’m not going to let a little bit of rain stop me. I chose a local drive-up summit, brought my tent as a shelter, and left my home bright and early to get to the summit and on the air by 5am.

I had a blast activating, and recorded as much of the activation as possible. Here’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.


K6ARK Portable Radio Youtube

Antenna Design & Build – Arrow Shaft Dual-band Portable Beam

Fellow YouTuber, 2E0UKH told me about a 2 element dual-band beam he built. I ran with the idea and made my own, out of arrow shafts, with an additional element. The results? Pretty dang impressive.
2E0UKH YouTube Channel:


Antenna Photos – SWR and Patterns:

Element Lengths and Positions:
– Driven element
– Position: 0"
– Element Length: 20.17" (ea.)
– Director #1
– Position: 3.78"
– Element Length: 19.05" (ea)
– Director #2
– Position: 13.26"
– Element Length: 18.36" (ea)

Arrow Shafts:
– Note: you can likely find them a little cheaper on
Threaded Inserts:
Arrow Connector:
– Note: you can also just use a threaded rod and a jamb nut or some LocTite to secure it

Nylon Threaded Rod:
Aluminum Threaded Rod:
… more durable alternative
Stainless Steel Threaded Rod:
Nylon Spacers:
Aluminum Hex Nut:

Key Build Tips:
– Use a drill press. Hand-drilling will not result in straight enough holes.
– Remove the anodized coating from the inside of the arrow shaft before crimping in the inserts. The coating is non-conductive.
– Apply dielectric grease to the outer part of the threaded insert to prevent corrosion.
– If you over-crimp the inserts, you’ll have to re-drill the clearance hole portion and re-tap the threads.
– Be careful installing threaded aluminum rods, as the threads can be easily damaged.

Have fun building, and good luck!

K6ARK Portable Radio shirts for sale (thanks Jason!):


K6ARK Portable Radio Youtube

Quick Tips – How to Record QSO Audio

People often ask how I record my QSO audio for my videos. Well, here’s how.

This quick tip is a little longer than the others, but I figured it was worth giving you the full picture of how I record my audio.

The recorder I use:
Sony ICD-PX370 Mono Digital Voice Recorder with Built-In USB Voice Recorder – $43.00

A newer, stereo recording model with rechargeable internal battery:
Sony ICD-UX570 Digital Voice Recorder – $74.79

Short Aux Cable:

K6ARK Portable Radio Youtube

Extraterrestrial Communications – Satellite QSO Attempt

Over 10 years as a ham and no satellite QSOs in the log. But, to be fair, that’s mostly for lack of trying. I recently decided I should give satellites a try

I built a portable 3 element dual-band yagi and have been itching to try it out. Hooked up to an HT, I was able to hear QSOs on a couple of amateur satellites and the ISS over the past couple of days, but I was unable to make any contacts. Suspecting inadequate power was the issue, I hooked up the FT-857 in "split" mode and gave it a shot on a low pass of AO-27. Did it work? There’s one way to find out…

K6ARK Portable Radio Youtube

Shop Tour – My electronics workshop

Want to see where baby antennas are made? This is the spot.

Stop by for a quick tour of my electronics workbench, the simple tools I use, and how I organize my junk, then join us on Temporarily Offline’s stream to chat about our workbenches.

K6ARK Portable Radio Youtube

SOTA With Wheels

What better way to take my new (to me) mountain bike out for its maiden voyage than to do a SOTA activation? I packed up the MTR3B, telescopic pole, and water and food for the morning, and set out for Middle Peak (W6/SC-024) in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. It’s about 5 miles to the summit via fire roads, and plenty of trails in the area provide options for the descent.

The activation went great with plenty of contacts, and I even kept myself upright on the bike the whole trip up and back. Looking forward to the next one…

K6ARK Portable Radio Youtube

Nighttime SOTA DX and 40m Across the Country

N1CLC, W6RWS, and I joined forces for an evening/nighttime activation of Palomar High-Point. 40m was on fire with contacts across the country, and 20m CW yielded a couple of nice DX contacts as well as a number of stateside QSOs.

We capped the evening with a little night photography before making the trek back down the hill.

K6ARK Portable Radio Youtube

Another Failed SOTA (not my fault!)

But this time it wasn’t because I forgot my earbuds, AND I had sufficient coffee. Sometimes stuff just happens and you end up paying your hiking dues with no activation.

Johnnie and I set out to activate a couple of the highest peaks in Southern California, and escape the heat on Labor Day weekend. 2 nights in the backcountry were planned, and then… well, you’ll see.

We’ll be back…

Enjoy the show.

73 de K6ARK

K6ARK Portable Radio Youtube

Miles from Nowhere – Yosemite Backcountry

Backpacking, family, fishing, and SOTA. What more do you need in life? Not much. And it’s all packed into this film about our recent 5 day adventure into the depths of the Northern Yosemite backcountry. Two SOTA activations, plenty of fish, and gorges scenery filled the trip. Hope you enjoy coming along for the ride.

Here’s a link to the video of the Live Stream activation…

73 de K6ARK