K6ARK Portable Radio Youtube

VHF Contest/SOTA Wrap-up

For the January VHF contest, I decided to have some fun from a SOTA summit. I set up as a 3-band station and operated for about 5.5 hours. Lots of activity on the bands, and many contacts. Enjoy the show!

#MNHR Playlist: -coming soon-

I will certainly be making build videos for the 6m yagi and the Extended Double Zepp. The 2m/70cm yagi already has a build video:

I created an Amazon store with a bunch of the goodies I use to build antennas and play radio. Check it out:

Amazon gives me a small kick-back from any purchases through that link.

K6ARK Portable Radio Youtube

Optimizing a Windows tablet for Portable FT8

Here’s a run-through of how I optimize my low-power Windows tablet for portable FT8 use. These little low-power computers struggle with difficult tasks, but with the right settings you can make them work well enough for portable FT8 use.

This tablet is a HP Pro 608 G1 purchased in December 2020 for about $80 on eBay. Here’s how I set it up for portable use on FT8.

Here’s the summary:
00:00 Intro
00:45 Uninstall all unnecessary applications.
– Search: "Add or remove Programs." Uninstall what’s not needed.
01:15 Disable unnecessary Startup Applications
– Search: "Startup Apps." Uncheck anything that’s not absolutely needed.
01:45 Turn off Tablet Mode
– Settings – System – Tablet mode
– "When I sign in" – "Use desktop mode"
02:42 Touch Keyboard
– Settings – Devices – Typing
– Touch Keyboard
– "Play key sounds as I type" OFF
– "Show the touch keyboard when not in tablet mode and there’s no keyboard attached" ON
03:03 Turn off Notifications
– System – Notifications and Actions
– "Get notifications from apps and other senders" OFF
03:23 Optimize for Performance
– Search: "Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows"
– Select "Adjust for best performance"
03:59 Power Performance Settings
– Click "Battery" icon in system tray
– Use higher settings for better performance at a battery cost
04:34 On Screen Keyboard Shortcut
– Search "On-Screen Keyboard"
– Right click, pin to Task Bar.

WSJT-X Website:
Dimension 4 Time Sync:

What other settings would you tweak to optimize performance? Let me know in the comments below.

K6ARK Portable Radio Youtube

My solution to portable FT8 (it’s NOT a Raspberry Pi)

I finally found a portable FT8 solution that I’m satisfied with, and it doesn’t involve a Raspberry Pi. Pi computers are great, but they require a separate power supply and the use of your phone as a VNC viewer to control the computer. Phone screens are tiny, and controls are difficult.

So rather than using a Pi and a phone or tablet, I thought, why not just use a small windows tablet? So I did.

I found a slew of Windows 10 capable laptops on eBay for various prices. I settled on the HP Pro Tablet 608 G1 Tablet which can now be had for about $80-90 in good, refurbished condition. I picked up one of those and paired it up with a cover and stylus.

From when I used a FT-817, I have a WolphiLink adapter that acts as an audio and VOX keying circuit. Unfortunately, these were recently discontinued. The manual with schematic are on the website and a creative ham could likely build a similar device.

Wolphi-Link interface

For audio output from the tablet, I have found that a USB-C audio output adaptor works best:

How do YOU operate digital modes including FT8 in the field? Tell us in the comments below.

K6ARK Portable Radio Youtube

Will it can-tenna?

What happens if you tack-weld together 45 empty beer cans and set it up as a 20m quarter wave ground-mounted vertical antenna? Today we find out.

In the spirit of #WillItAntenna night for #MNHR, I committed to the hard work of emptying 45 cans of craft beer over a couple of weeks to provide the necessary material required for this antenna. It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it. I may be a few pounds heavier and slower going up mountains, but it was all worth it for the DX Brewmander.

But will it actually work? Watch and find out.

If you liked this and want to see more similar videos, here’s the "Will It Antenna?" Monday Night Ham Radio playlist:

I get many questions about my gear, so I’ve put together an Amazon store with some of my favorites.
Amazon gives me a few pennies on the dollar for each sale made through that link which helps support my building and experimenting.

#MNHR #HamHarder

K6ARK Portable Radio Youtube

2m SOTA – Every which way but Digital

2m activations can be a blast. There are so many ways to make contacts with 2m, and on this summit I used a bunch of them. The result? Plenty of contacts in the log and a heck of a lot of fun. Give some other 2m modes some love on your next activation.

0:00 Let’s get to the summit
1:26 Station Tour
2:20 FM Simplex
6:26 CW and Sideband
8:11 Working Satellites
16:11 Time to head back down

K5ATA Goodgame Ham Radio and Outdoors channel

Since I get so many questions, I share my favorite gear from Amazon in my new Amazon store. Antenna building supplies, masts, batteries, you name it. Check it all out here:

Ham Radio YouTuber Swag from Jason, KC5HWB:

K6ARK Portable Radio Youtube

Smallest (ever?) HF transceiver? Let’s take it out for some SOTA

You’ve seen the Mini Pixie in the Altoids Smalls tin (, but this prototype Micro Pixie (aka "Choking Hazard") that I built brings tiny to a whole new level. What better way to put it to the test than to attempt a SOTA activation with it?

So today, we take this ridiculous little thing out to a never-before activated SOTA summit to see what it can really do. Is 2.7 g of radio and 850mW of output power enough to get the job done? Watch and see.

Youtuber Tees:

Since I get so many questions, I share my favorite gear from Amazon in my new Amazon store. Antenna building supplies, masts, batteries, you name it. Check it all out here:

K6ARK Portable Radio Youtube

Another Peak, Another Crazy Antenna

Double what? A double bobtail curtain. Yah, that’s right, two bobtail curtains – one driven, and one as a reflector – to #HamHarder on 15 m from a SOTA summit. I was hoping for VK or ZL S2S QSOs, but didn’t have any luck. Still, I managed some consolation prizes. Don’t miss the good stuff at the end.

Palm View Peak is a nice summit with a moderate hike. Summit elevation is 7,160′ on this SOTA summit, W6/CT-068. I had a blast running 15 m on this summit, and I hope you enjoy joining me for the adventure.

My Gear:
Yaesu FT-857D (discontinued)
Homebrew 15 m double bobtail antenna, fed at the bottom of the center element with a high-impedance transformer.
Bioenno 12 Ah LiFePO4 brick –
Helinox Ground Chair is discontinued, but the Chair Zero is awesome as well –
Antenna Poles –
NOTE: These are the same style ones I use with my 10m beam. Fiberglass poles are key for any antenna with wire running along the antenna. Carbon fiber messes up the pattern and resonance.

You can find that gear in my Amazon store
I am constantly adding gear to the lists. Purchases through those links give me a small kick-back that helps support my adventures.


K6ARK Portable Radio Youtube

You carried that to a SOTA summit?!

Um, yeah… Why not? It’s just an Icom IC-7300 and a 4-element 10m beam. It was for the ARRL 10m contest.

With a newly minted 10m portable 4 element wire beam antenna, I couldn’t resist hauling the station up to a local SOTA summit. The pack wasn’t light, but it’s not too hard of a hike – 1.5 miles and 1,000 ft of elevation gain, mostly on trail.

This was its virgin voyage, with no QSOs yet, so let’s break this puppy in.

My Gear:

I’ve had questions about the chair I’m using and unfortunately they don’t make the Helinox Ground Chair anymore, but the "Chair One" is an awesome alternative:

The Icom IC-7300 is not my normal SOTA rig, but for contests, the waterfall is such a benefit, I sometimes carry it out to summits. It’s a fantastic radio at an incredible price for what you get:

Pool cleaning poles make surprisingly good portable antenna masts. This one is a 12 footer:

#hamradio #youtubersbunch #hamharder

Landras Dream by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
Back To The Wood by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

K6ARK Portable Radio Youtube

Mail Call from KD9QYP

Got a sweet postcard in the mail today. Thanks, David, for the kind words, and for taking the time to write. You’re going to love your new MTR3B – it’s a fantastic radio. I have three ????????????. Stay safe out there, and 73 for now. #Shorts #Youtubersbunch #Hamradio

K6ARK Portable Radio Youtube

Picking the best HT Antenna

What is the best antenna for my handheld radio? How many times have we all heard that question? In this video, I talk you through the process of deciding which HT antenna will be best for you, and I share a few of my favorites.

Smiley Regular Duck (my preferred SAR radio antenna):
2.5" Flexible Mini-Duck (I use this one around the house for nearby repeaters and the DMR hotspot):

Diamond RH77 series dual-band antennas
– BNC model:
– Female SMA (for Baofengs, Anytone 878, etc.):
– Male SMA (Yaesu, Icom, etc.):
Signal Stick:

Half-Wave Telescopic Whip Antennas:
– Smiley Antenna Half-Wave:
– MFJ-1714:

– Roll-Up J-Pole Build Instructions:
– Extended Double Zepp Calculator & Build Instructions:

K6ARK Portable Yagi Build:
Elk Antenna:
Arrow Antena:

The Amazon links above are part of an affiliate account. Clicking through those links and making a purchase gives me a small kick-back to help support the channel.