BITX40 Rebuild Part 2: It Has Begun!

BITX40 Rebuild Progress Report, MiscDotNews

First QRP Portable Ops: Failure!

I recently decided that with the amount of camping I’d like to do, I couldn’t handle sleeping in the back of my Suburban. As much as I like the rig, getting in and out is difficult at best, and there’s no room to sit up, let alone stand up. So, I bought The Tent To End All Tents: The Gazelle T4. It’s 11 feet diagonally, and at 6’1″ I can stand up in it. It’s incredible! It also goes up and down quite easily. Here’s a picture of my camp:

The tent was great overall, and I’m very glad that I bit the bullet and purchased it. It was expensive, but worth it.

Since the temperatures were in the high 20’s’ at night, I also picked up a Mr. Buddy Heater which was also everything I thought it would be. As long as I kept it fed with propane, it kept me nice and warm even on its Low setting. An excellent purchase!

On this trip I also decided to take my QRP L-Match Tuner, my QCX Mini 20, and enough things to make them work. I got some wire into a tree, and then went to hook up my antenna analyzer so I could tune it. Oh no! I didn’t bring the right cable. Okay, no problem. I’ll just tune it by ear. So I hooked up the QCX Mini and grabbed the power pack I’d made, and then realized my mistake:

I’d brought the power pack (8xAA cells in a battery holder with 9v style connections) but left the power cord (the 9v style to the barrel connector used on the QCX Mini) at home. Talk about all dressed up and nowhere to go!

So I just enjoyed the rest of my time without the radio. I was just going to listen, as my CW skills aren’t good enough to try a QSO yet. In another post I’ll explain why I had to come home early for this camping trip. It involves a cat, and it’s probably not what you think!

Thanks for reading and 73 🙂


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  1. Your not alone in that one Ryan. Happened to all of us.

    Or when you are out in the field, getting high SWR, only to find out that your antenna cable with BNC crimp has a lose center pin (still wondering how that could have happend). So now all my field cables are soldered BNC.

    • Dave Benson on March 14, 2021 at 4:10 AM
    • Reply

    Ryan- the Mr. Buddy heater works great for camping, but the 1-lb propane bottles last only 6 hours on high. I upgraded to a 20-lb tank and dedicated burner element to keep our 100 s.f. cabin comfortable. // That space was ‘home’ while I built our place here.

    I’ll bet many of us have discovered the ‘missing cable’ issue far from home. I’ve learned to carry a couple clip leads ‘just in case’.

    • WB3GCK on March 14, 2021 at 6:16 AM
    • Reply

    Sweet tent! Sorry to hear about your missing power cable. Been there, done that (several times). 73, Craig WB3GCK

  2. Been there, done that! Not specifically with the power cable, but I’ve had occasions when I intended a field operation and had forgotten a key piece. Some hams have dedicated go-kits with all the necessary parts set aside… but even then you have to remember to charge the batteries.

  3. Your tent selection is great Ryan! I have a Eureka dome 4 That I have been camping in for almost 30 years now. I can stand in it, pull on my pants, and not fall down. A bonus for us older hams. One of my coolest (literally) QSO’s was a CW QSO from my tent with a guy from VA that was a retired CIA aerial photographer. I was running a watt to a homemade dipole slung in the tree I was camping under, the wind was blowing, the sleet was bouncing off the tent and it was in the mid 20’s. I was snug in sleeping bag with paddles and my Norcal 40A. The magic of radio.

    • Bob on June 21, 2021 at 1:35 PM
    • Reply

    Maybe you can help me, since I can’t seem to find this….. what is the polarity of the power connector; center pin +, and the outer is -? Thanks in advance!

    1. Go check the manual here:

      and check section 3.44 Connections for basic operation, it shows polarity and voltage requirements.

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