Pedestrian Mobile Step One: with Balloon

On February 19, 2003 I took my first step into the world of HFpack and took to the field with a balloon-lifted antenna for 17 meters. The balloon came from a local party supply store and is 28 inches in diameter. The antenna is an end-fed, vertical halfwave made of 26 feet of  26-ga. Teflon-coated wire. Early on I decided that if I was going to try operating QRP I wanted a big antenna to compensate. It worked well. Running 2-1/2 watts, I made thirty contacts that day including one each to Honduras and Belize.
I used this setup for several months with much success. It wasn't too long, however, before I realized that when the wind kicked up, I no longer had a vertical, but a horizontal trailing at shoulder height behind me. See my modified balloon setup here.



The backpack came from K-Mart and is a combination backpack and carry-on luggage.


Closeup of antenna and 150 lb. safety line. For more information on the end-fed halfwave antenna, see the Adventure Radio Society story by Paul, AA4XX.