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Portable radio with the FT290R

Having written about the new FT817 and being something of a devotee of portable operation I figured it was high time to scribble something else about my dear old FT290R.  It was something I always wanted and I finally obtained one about 5 or 6 years ago and it has been a great source of pleasure and fun (in radio terms obviously!).  I have written about the rig before but it seems time to relate a few tales of its use when it was still very much at the forefront of MJ0RZD operations.


The rig is a QRP unit and as such ideal for use in the annual Practical Wireless VHF QRP Contest where it has been fun to team it up with a pre-amp and a big beam (10 element Yagi usually) and attempt the seemingly impossible (or at least very unlikely) by getting as far as possible on 2.5 watts and battery power.  Personal best from Rozel was up to Scotland and the borders and from Noirmont Point to Spain but with the right conditions you can get much further!

My mate Mike 2J0SZI enjoying using the FT290R at Le Platon, Jersey and chatting to M1AGY Jules in Plymouth, the rig worked pretty well in a aluminium case as a 'ready pack' with the 30watt MM linear, 7Ah battery, SWR meter, external Yaesu speaker and dual time clock for UTC logging during the summertime!

Typical battery operated setup with Microwave Modules 30watt linear amplifier and pre-amp for 'QRO' operation!  In this instance accessing the Dorchester repeater through the five element 'backpacker yagi' from Rozel (about 100 miles).