How to operate Pedestrian Mobile with the KX1

As those of you who read this blog know, I’m the proud builder/owner of an Elecraft KX-1. Below, courtesy of Paul, W0RW, is a message he posted to the Elecraft mailing list. I can’t wait until it gets warm enough outside to try this….Dan

The KX1 is a great portable rig but it is also a great pedestrian mobile rig. You can go to new heights, evade local power line noises and find hot spots near flag poles and in baseball diamonds.

Step by step (peripatetically speaking), here is how to do it…

  1. Get your KX1 on the air from your base and learn how to use all the controls. You are going to have to increase the LED display brightness as soon as you get out in the sun. (Hit MENU, rotate Dial to ‘Led’, Push MENU for 1 second, Push RIT to raise LED brightness to 6). It is a good idea to cary a small instruction cheat sheet with you. If you see P=0 on your display you won’t be having many QSO’s.
  2. Get a banana jack to BNC converter for the KX1 antenna connector.
  3. Get a two-ft. paint stirring stick (free from Home Depot).
  4. Attach an 8 foot whip (or longer) to the stick with duct tape.
  5. Attach a 3 foot piece of insulated wire from the base of the whip to the KX1 hot banana jack (do not use ANY coax for this run).
  6. Attach a 13 foot piece of insulated wire to the black terminal of the banana jack (this is your counterpoise or drag wire).
  7. Put the paint stir stick in your back pocket (low ‘Z’ part of your body). Attach the whip to the upper part of your body by using a short strap around your neck and arm to hold the upper part of the whip.(You could use one of your old shoulder holsters). I am in cold country so i almost always just use my North Face down vest. The whip goes through the arm hole in the vest and rests in my rear pocket.
  8. Turn the KX1 on, install ear buds, walk 15 feet into a clear space (letting the drag wire layout behind you). Set the KX1 for 14060+/- (or your favorite tune up frequency). Push the TUNE buttons. You should get 3W and <1.5 SWR. Start walking. Call CQ xxx/pm. I have “CQ CQ de w0rw/pm” in memory so i don’t have to do anything but hit ‘PLY 1′.
  9. You can lessen your antenna directivity loss by walking away from the station you are communicating with. The single drag wire makes the whip directional. You can get a 3 dB boost from your local flag pole or street light by using it as a reflector.
  10. Operation on 30 and 40 meters will be greatly aided by adding a top hat to the whip. i use 4 of those little underground utilities flag markers (also available at Home D.) You can see my top hat in the ‘photos’ section of the HFPack2 Yahoo Group in the folder ‘w0rw’. Watch out for those top hat eating trees.
  11. I hold the KX1 in my left hand with my left thumb near the paddle and send with my right hand. i added an additional rubber foot under the “L” in Elecraft for a finger grip.
  12. I carry an external battery pack in my pocket for long hikes.
  13. I have a small log that attaches to my cuff, like an NFL Quarterback.
  14. Make sure the 2 bottom case screws are tight and keep the paddle thumb screw tight. If they get loose, add lock washers. You cannot find these screws if you drop them in six inches of snow.

Hope to see you on the trail.

You can see a picture of my KX1/pm on the Adventure Radio Society web site at or read about my KX1 pedestrian mobile contact with Latvia at

Jim, W0EB, replied:

You forgot to mention to watch out for following pedestrians. They tend to step on the drag wire and this gets interesting when it comes up short. Tends to yank the KX1 out of your hand, or in my case, bust the BNC to binding post adapter off. Also taught me to buy a Pomona BNC to BP adapter. They are much more rugged than the cheap ones.

Finally, W0RW sent me this list of recently published pedestrian mobile articles he’s written:


  1. I do pedestrian mobile with the KX1 a bit differently.

    I use a loop, which has two advantages over the short whip.

    1) The loop NULLs can be used to null out interference quite dramatically.
    2) There is no need for a dragging counterpoise wire.

    On the down side it’s a little trickier to walk with.

    The efficiency seems to be about the same as a short whip for 40m, but for
    20m a whip seems to be more efficient.


    The loop is a DCTL loop, design is here.

    I built a W1CG balun which I installed at the base of the loop. Design is here.


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