Equipment Choices

The information given here is totally based on personal experience of TA1HZ. There has been no conflict of interest with any rig supplier, antenna or cable producer, or seller. 

Going on a Dxpedition to a remote entity, you are on your own, with whatever you have brought in. Luggage restrictions, especially weight, impose the limits mainly. Therefore, if there is a chance that you can acquire power supply or any other equipment locally, it is wise to use them. During my T8 Palau trip I had the opportunity to rent the shack, which enabled me to travel with just 10kg of luggage to the Pacific.

ATTENTION: Always have a checklist of ALL the equipment you plan to take with you and highlight whatever you are taking with you. CHECK TWICE!!!

Each and every radio amateur has a personal bias towards his rig and this applies to all working areas. However, when travelling you have to think twice before what you take with you. During my first and second trip to ZA, I used the Kenwood TS-570D with an interface for BPSK. The power supply was a switch mode. Third time I was using the TS480HX model with an Avair 30 amp power supply. My final rig for ZD8 and 9H was the Yaesu FT991 with the SEC1235M power supply.

Cables and antennas are some of the most valuable parts in amateur radio. A reliable, high gain antenna might provide many contacts in stead of some high power. Also, in stead of carrying a bulky 40kg power amplifier you might opt out for 25m of low loss coax, weighing 3 or 4 kgs. H-155 coax is a very lightweight cable for HF frequencies. Its loss can not match the low loss of RG-8U, but if you are going to run just 10 or 15 m of cables, the loss can be ignored.

I use Windom antenna by Wimo, 80-10m or 40-10m, depending on the availability of free space to set-up the antenna. With a 10m Spiderbeam fiberglass mast, I have the center up by 7-8m AGL or ABL(Above Building Level) and hope for the best. 10m H-155 or 25m RG-8X accompanies this antenna, with a total weight of app. 2.5kg. If I am left with any luggage allowance, I put in a 40m homemade dipole, to work on 40m and 15m.

Headphones and a pedal will help you with free hands to do the logging much more comfortably. You can carry it in your cabin pack, and it is not too heavy. Also if you have to work in a noisy place during your dxped, it will help you greatly in distinguishing between some very low signals and hard-to-copy callsigns.

Laptops are now an integrated part of ham equipment. A low weight one, preferably equipped with enough ferrite beads to take care of RF interference, is a must. When working in suboptimal conditions, ferrite beads are very valuable in protecting the laptop from RF. Grounding the rig and the power supply resolves the problem somewhat, but when you are situated on the fourth floor of a hotel with no means of grounding available, these small black clamps can be the only helpful hand.