A new radio, and finally W6/NS-397

Well this is probably the easiest peak to get in the basin, but today was my second attempt (radio issues first time around). So, I sold my old HF radio in December knowing it would not last me thru this year. I toiled for months trying to figure out which was the right radio for me, and by then had narrowed it down to the tank, and the new pocket rocket: FT-817, or KX2. The 817 is like a tank, everyone I ever talked to swore by it, tons of blogs praise it. It set the standard for backpacking durability and HF QPR. For someone like myself who is hard on gear, this seemed like the right way to go. So I went with the KX2 instead ;-). Maybe I just like taking risk, or maybe as I get older i’m finding ways to not be so rough on things. Maintaining constant situational awareness, blah blah. Probably what intrigued me is the BIG readout, the way easy to use buttons, and while I have a few Yaesu radios, enough of my other SOTA buddies convinced me I would be a lot happier with the KX2. Well, I cannot say I would not be happy with the 817, but damn, that KX2 is nice. I am not going to really review the radio today, but it did show up on the 27th at my house. I did a lot of listening to other SOTA folks from the desk while working, and while also testing my battery life on my LiPo battery. So far I am at 10 hours with ~3 hours of me yacking away and still at 11.55v (started at 12.5). Well I have already surpassed my old radio on power consumption..and apparently the KX2 is a lot better then the 817, but I cannot do a direct comparison.. Anyway that said, I’ve had this thing for 2 days, I’ve been listening at home, but I have not made any contacts with anyone, so time to go run up W6/NS-397. As noted above, it’s the easiest peak in the basin, it’s a 10 minute drive and then a 10 minute walk up to the tower on top. Tossed my line up in a tree, and extended my EndFedz antenna, self spotted on SotaGOAT and started calling on 14mhz. I knocked out 6 QSO on 20M in 20 minutes..Not a record by any stretch, but I was playing with antenna direction and such (about 25-30 feet up in the tree, at probably a 30-40 degree take off angle) so I was moving from E/W polarity to N/S polarity etc. All my connections came from the east needless to say. I was 3×4 into NC, and he was 5×5 to me.. The Chaser couple that live in KS had me at 5×5 (Thanks Gary and Martha, you two ROCK!) , and managed MN, and IA as well. flipped to 40M and adjusted angle slightly to be more NW/SE angle. I managed ID, Reno x2, UT, AZ, and OR x2 in 14 minutes. I could have kept going, but I was on a time budget. From my house to the summit back to my house in 90 minutes, and managed an activation that marked my shortest and longest HF QSO to date… Probably nothing new for most SOTA activators, and I cared more about playing w/ the new radio then anything else :D. I may have to bag the other 6 pointer in the basin on Thursday towards the end of the day..

That is that, and I get more and more familiar and comfortable with the KX2 then I may go ahead and toss a more formal review up..

Author: JDinSLT

Love playing in the outdoors, Amateur Radio operator. Since I love hiking and bagging peaks, I picked up Summits on the Air back in 2015. Made Mountain Goat (and Shack Sloth) in early 2019. Also do Search and Rescue in the Tahoe Area. Work in the tech industry.

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