Planning a Portable Ultralight radio DXing Session – 2021


Paul Blundell
 

 

For some people this could be as easy as grabbing a radio as you head out the door; I have found that some more planning is required to get the most from my portable Ultralight radio DXing sessions. This is especially important now with COVID-19 restrictions in some areas and changes due to this. I am now focusing on more remote / less used areas. For those in areas with current COVID-19 restrictions, it is vital that all rules and guidelines are followed. Local health advice must be the overriding decider on what you are able to do, when and where.

When I am planning a portable Ultralight radio DXing session, my first step is to arrange a suitable day and time. I am happily married and as we have a couple of young children, ensuring the domestic front is happy goes a long way to ensuring I can have a good time. I like to try and arrange my outings around times when my wife won't be home or is busy; this makes it easier to be away from home. Only you know your own domestic situation and can assess the best way to do this. All too often I hear of domestic situations where one person’s hobbies or interests have a negative effect on the household as a whole. Normally I aim to have at least one portable Ultralight radio DXing session a week if I can, normally a Saturday night or one night during the week, however this can change based on the above. Of late I have been taking my children for more walks and quite often I take an ultralight radio or two with me in case I find a suitable location, as they are now slightly older they will often be happy on the play equipment while I am doing some Ultralight DXing.

 

Once a suitable day and time has been found the next step is to check the weather forecast for that day. In the past when I was involved in the amateur radio / radio scanning hobby, I used to undertake quite a bit of out and about scanning which involved sitting on hill tops, lookouts, mountains and so on, from doing this I learnt two VERY important lessons:
- Sitting in the sun for hours at a time is not fun and this reduces your enjoyment of the hobby.
- Sitting in the cold for hours at a time is not fun and this reduces your enjoyment hobby.

 

Based on this I like to make sure the weather will be suitable. While the cold can be overcome with extra clothes, being too hot is much harder to control and in extreme cases this can be quite bad for your health (dehydration, sun stroke and so on). Storms and other weather extremes are also not fun to be out in so I like to try and avoid these if possible. During our Australian summer, bush fires are a very real risk and given most locations are prime fire spots, the fire danger rating (FDR) and a safe access / escape are very important to consider. The local sunrise / sunset are also checked and this helps with planning a suitable time to leave home to be at the chosen location to maximise any advantage from these different times of the day.

 

Next you need to decide on a location, I like to have a mix of new locations and some proven ones. Some are quite close and others are quite a distance to drive. The things I consider when deciding on a location include:
- Distance to drive (The cost of fuel is a factor in this, as is the amount of time I have for my DXing session)
- Access (some areas are locked after hours)
- RF profile (Some locations are better due to distance from high power transmitters)
- Comforts (Shops, toilets, etc.)
- Personal Security / Safety

 

 

My planning really starts the night before or early in the morning when I prepare everything I am going to take, charge batteries and pack up my gear. My normal kit consists of this:
- Receivers (1, 2, 3 or more in my carry case)
- Batteries (Fully recharged and also some spare alkaline AA's and AAA’s)
- Head phones (I prefer the ear bud type and these are easier to carry)
- Log book / sheets and pen + spares
- Torch (Now using my phone / torch in my radio)
- List of all frequencies
- Multi-tool
- Food and drinks
- Band-Aids and a small first aid kit.

 

 

- Mobile phone
- Identification such as a driver’s licence (which you should be carrying anyway if you are driving)

 

In the past I have used digital camera bags and hard ABS type cases, these types of cases / bags each have advantages and disadvantages. ABS cases stand out and make it look like you are carrying expensive equipment, which might not be a great idea in some remote locations. Soft cases on the other hand don’t provide enough protection in some circumstances. Based on my experiences to date, I have settled on a hard case which I can either carry with me or leave this in the car and grab a radio or two to carry with me.

Before leaving home, I check my kit and confirm I have everything I need. When I arrive onsite I do a quick recon of the area to make sure it is safe, no dodgy people around and I feel comfortable. Then I do a quick scan of the bands and check for the normal stations, now I can sit back, relax and get serious about logging. I also try to eat something and drink to keep my fluids up. I like to also get some photos each time I go out for the report on my blog. If I am going portable I like to try a few different spots and also interact with anybody I see, even if this is just a passing hello on a track. 

On returning home I make sure I spend some time with my wife and children before checking my loggings and entering these into my frequency database.

In 2021, it would be great to see more people undertaking portable sessions and posting about these. Some photos would also be great.

https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/2020/11/planning-portable-ultralight-radio.html


Jock Elliott
 

Excellent stuff. Thanks!


Pedro Porres
 

Thanks Jock for a good and comprehensive description of the planning. There is always good advice to give or receive.

Pedro Porres.
Córdoba, Spain.


Jock Elliott
 

I'm afraid I don't get the credit for the excellent advice. It was Paul.

Cheers, Jock


Paul Blundell
 

No problems Jock, easy enough mistake :)

Paul

On Thu, Feb 18, 2021 at 12:41 AM Jock Elliott <jock.elliott@...> wrote:
I'm afraid I don't get the credit for the excellent advice. It was Paul.

Cheers, Jock



--
Paul


Paul Blundell
 

I have just given this a tidy up and update: https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/2020/11/planning-portable-ultralight-radio.html

Any feedback on it would be great.

Paul


 

How has the china virus been and has that stopped you much?

 
 
Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at 9:59 AM
From: "Paul Blundell" <tanger32au@...>
To: main@UltralightDX.groups.io
Subject: Re: [UltralightDX] Planning a Portable Ultralight radio DXing Session – 2021
I have just given this a tidy up and update: https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/2020/11/planning-portable-ultralight-radio.html

Any feedback on it would be great.

Paul


Paul Blundell
 

Early on with the lock downs here and some of the rules that were put in place it did as I didn't feel that ultralight DXing in public was a good look and didn't pass the "exercise" test.
Now it is much better and other than social distancing, it is not an issue.

On Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 12:15 PM Frank Standford <dxer2k1@...> wrote:
How has the china virus been and has that stopped you much?
 
 
Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at 9:59 AM
From: "Paul Blundell" <tanger32au@...>
To: main@UltralightDX.groups.io
Subject: Re: [UltralightDX] Planning a Portable Ultralight radio DXing Session – 2021
I have just given this a tidy up and update: https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/2020/11/planning-portable-ultralight-radio.html

Any feedback on it would be great.

Paul



--
Paul


 

I am so glad to hear this, I love being able to get out again.
Do you ever take anybody with you or do you always do them by yourself? In your photos I could not see anybody else with you.

 
 
Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at 1:17 PM
From: "Paul Blundell" <tanger32au@...>
To: main@ultralightdx.groups.io
Subject: Re: [UltralightDX] Planning a Portable Ultralight radio DXing Session – 2021
Early on with the lock downs here and some of the rules that were put in place it did as I didn't feel that ultralight DXing in public was a good look and didn't pass the "exercise" test.
Now it is much better and other than social distancing, it is not an issue.
 
On Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 12:15 PM Frank Standford <dxer2k1@...> wrote:
How has the china virus been and has that stopped you much?
 
 
Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at 9:59 AM
From: "Paul Blundell" <tanger32au@...>
To: main@UltralightDX.groups.io
Subject: Re: [UltralightDX] Planning a Portable Ultralight radio DXing Session – 2021
I have just given this a tidy up and update: https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/2020/11/planning-portable-ultralight-radio.html

Any feedback on it would be great.

Paul

 

 

 
 
--
Paul
 


Paul Blundell
 

In the past my wife would come along but these days it is mostly just by myself or sometimes I can drag the kids along too but not that often these days.

Paul

On Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 2:39 PM Frank Standford <dxer2k1@...> wrote:
I am so glad to hear this, I love being able to get out again.
Do you ever take anybody with you or do you always do them by yourself? In your photos I could not see anybody else with you.
 
 
Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at 1:17 PM
From: "Paul Blundell" <tanger32au@...>
To: main@ultralightdx.groups.io
Subject: Re: [UltralightDX] Planning a Portable Ultralight radio DXing Session – 2021
Early on with the lock downs here and some of the rules that were put in place it did as I didn't feel that ultralight DXing in public was a good look and didn't pass the "exercise" test.
Now it is much better and other than social distancing, it is not an issue.
 
On Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 12:15 PM Frank Standford <dxer2k1@...> wrote:
How has the china virus been and has that stopped you much?
 
 
Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at 9:59 AM
From: "Paul Blundell" <tanger32au@...>
To: main@UltralightDX.groups.io
Subject: Re: [UltralightDX] Planning a Portable Ultralight radio DXing Session – 2021
I have just given this a tidy up and update: https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/2020/11/planning-portable-ultralight-radio.html

Any feedback on it would be great.

Paul

 

 

 
 
--
Paul
 



--
Paul


 

It really is so important to get the next generation involved. I am sad when I see how little they have to do with hobbies like this these days. Do you do much to promote the hobby in your part of the world?
 

 
 
Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at 4:35 PM
From: "Paul Blundell" <tanger32au@...>
To: main@ultralightdx.groups.io
Subject: Re: [UltralightDX] Planning a Portable Ultralight radio DXing Session – 2021
In the past my wife would come along but these days it is mostly just by myself or sometimes I can drag the kids along too but not that often these days.
 
Paul
 
On Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 2:39 PM Frank Standford <dxer2k1@...> wrote:
I am so glad to hear this, I love being able to get out again.
Do you ever take anybody with you or do you always do them by yourself? In your photos I could not see anybody else with you.
 
 
Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at 1:17 PM
From: "Paul Blundell" <tanger32au@...>
To: main@ultralightdx.groups.io
Subject: Re: [UltralightDX] Planning a Portable Ultralight radio DXing Session – 2021
Early on with the lock downs here and some of the rules that were put in place it did as I didn't feel that ultralight DXing in public was a good look and didn't pass the "exercise" test.
Now it is much better and other than social distancing, it is not an issue.
 
On Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 12:15 PM Frank Standford <dxer2k1@...> wrote:
How has the china virus been and has that stopped you much?
 
 
Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at 9:59 AM
From: "Paul Blundell" <tanger32au@...>
To: main@UltralightDX.groups.io
Subject: Re: [UltralightDX] Planning a Portable Ultralight radio DXing Session – 2021
I have just given this a tidy up and update: https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/2020/11/planning-portable-ultralight-radio.html

Any feedback on it would be great.

Paul

 

 

 
 
--
Paul
 

 

 

 
 
--
Paul
 


DX Pedro
 

Hi PAUL!
Well the post is very good and light. But maybe you can take these
suggestions if you think they're ok:
1- some bold words to divide the post into parts, i.e.: Choosing
location; Radio Gear; Extra gear, etc.
2- maybe you can link the database to part of the text to MWDxerDB
post? assuming you're using it to log

OFFtopic: would you consider updating/tweaking your MWDxerDB to have
SW/FM stations?

All for now, and thanks for your post.
73s

// pedro andrade

On Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 1:00 AM Paul Blundell <tanger32au@gmail.com> wrote:

I have just given this a tidy up and update: https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/2020/11/planning-portable-ultralight-radio.html

Any feedback on it would be great.

Paul


Paul Blundell
 

My blog is fairly active and I am on a few different groups for various aspects of the radio hobby, on these I often post what I am doing.
I was an active ham a few years ago (Ex VK7FPGB) but my licence lapsed a few years ago.

On Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 7:39 PM Frank Standford <dxer2k1@...> wrote:
It really is so important to get the next generation involved. I am sad when I see how little they have to do with hobbies like this these days. Do you do much to promote the hobby in your part of the world?
 
 
 
Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at 4:35 PM
From: "Paul Blundell" <tanger32au@...>
To: main@ultralightdx.groups.io
Subject: Re: [UltralightDX] Planning a Portable Ultralight radio DXing Session – 2021
In the past my wife would come along but these days it is mostly just by myself or sometimes I can drag the kids along too but not that often these days.
 
Paul
 
On Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 2:39 PM Frank Standford <dxer2k1@...> wrote:
I am so glad to hear this, I love being able to get out again.
Do you ever take anybody with you or do you always do them by yourself? In your photos I could not see anybody else with you.
 
 
Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at 1:17 PM
From: "Paul Blundell" <tanger32au@...>
To: main@ultralightdx.groups.io
Subject: Re: [UltralightDX] Planning a Portable Ultralight radio DXing Session – 2021
Early on with the lock downs here and some of the rules that were put in place it did as I didn't feel that ultralight DXing in public was a good look and didn't pass the "exercise" test.
Now it is much better and other than social distancing, it is not an issue.
 
On Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 12:15 PM Frank Standford <dxer2k1@...> wrote:
How has the china virus been and has that stopped you much?
 
 
Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at 9:59 AM
From: "Paul Blundell" <tanger32au@...>
To: main@UltralightDX.groups.io
Subject: Re: [UltralightDX] Planning a Portable Ultralight radio DXing Session – 2021
I have just given this a tidy up and update: https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/2020/11/planning-portable-ultralight-radio.html

Any feedback on it would be great.

Paul

 

 

 
 
--
Paul
 

 

 

 
 
--
Paul
 



--
Paul


Paul Blundell
 

Thanks for the great suggestions. I have made some changes to it now.

As for using MWDXerDB for FM and Shortwave, no reason this could not be added, I did play around with using it for FM loggings at one point. Anything specific you think I would need to change / update?

On Thu, Jun 24, 2021 at 12:13 AM DX Pedro <pmm.andrade@...> wrote:
Hi PAUL!
Well the post is very good and light. But maybe you can take these
suggestions if you think they're ok:
1- some bold words to divide the post into parts, i.e.: Choosing
location; Radio Gear; Extra gear, etc.
2- maybe you can link the database to part of the text to MWDxerDB
post? assuming you're using it to log

OFFtopic: would you consider updating/tweaking your MWDxerDB to have
SW/FM stations?

All for now, and thanks for your post.
73s

// pedro andrade

On Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 1:00 AM Paul Blundell <tanger32au@...> wrote:
>
> I have just given this a tidy up and update: https://ultralightradiodxing.blogspot.com/2020/11/planning-portable-ultralight-radio.html
>
> Any feedback on it would be great.
>
> Paul
>







--
Paul


 

Is that a real call as it looks too long? Or was it one of those fake monitor id's that PopCom used to give out?


keith beesley
 

Very useful checklist, Paul, thank you. I have not done much away-from-home DXing, but will start again soon. 

Keith Beesley

On Wednesday, June 23, 2021, 09:06:54 PM PDT, Frank Standford <dxer2k1@...> wrote:


Is that a real call as it looks too long? Or was it one of those fake monitor id's that PopCom used to give out?


Paul Blundell
 

100% real, issued by the ACMA.
Here in Australia we have three classes:
Foundation
Standard
Advanced.


On Thu, Jun 24, 2021 at 2:06 PM Frank Standford <dxer2k1@...> wrote:
Is that a real call as it looks too long? Or was it one of those fake monitor id's that PopCom used to give out?



--
Paul


Paul Blundell
 

Thanks Keith, I look forward to seeing and hearing more about your portable sessions.

Paul

On Thu, Jun 24, 2021 at 2:15 PM keith beesley via groups.io <keith1226=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Very useful checklist, Paul, thank you. I have not done much away-from-home DXing, but will start again soon. 

Keith Beesley

On Wednesday, June 23, 2021, 09:06:54 PM PDT, Frank Standford <dxer2k1@...> wrote:


Is that a real call as it looks too long? Or was it one of those fake monitor id's that PopCom used to give out?



--
Paul


 

Thanks for the link, that makes more sense now. I am used to the way we do callsigns here.

 
 
Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2021 at 2:50 PM
From: "Paul Blundell" <tanger32au@...>
To: main@ultralightdx.groups.io
Subject: Re: [UltralightDX] Planning a Portable Ultralight radio DXing Session – 2021
100% real, issued by the ACMA.
Here in Australia we have three classes:
Foundation
Standard
Advanced.
 
 
On Thu, Jun 24, 2021 at 2:06 PM Frank Standford <dxer2k1@...> wrote:
Is that a real call as it looks too long? Or was it one of those fake monitor id's that PopCom used to give out?

 

 

 
 
--
Paul