Having seen the Steve Weber designed compact transceivers on the web and having seen an MTR owned by VK1FB, I was delighted to find one for sale on vkclassifieds.net.au recently. After duly receiving it and waiting for my birthday to pass (due to my wife’s insistence on waiting for the actual day to receive gifts), I wanted to test it from home and learn the menu system, which like the radio itself, is very compact.
Using my home antenna, a fan dipole with elements for 80, 40, 20 and 10m, I connected the radio to power (a 3S Lifepo4), headphones and the antenna and turned it on. It sent the number 4 in morse, saying it was on 40m. I tuned it around the CW end of the band for a while and tried a few of the control functions. Then I returned it to the default 7030 frequency by switching it off and on again (where have I heard that before?)
Then in the headphones I heard “cq sota de vk5cz” which was Ian at summit vk5/ne-095 in the north east of South Australia. I listened to his contact with VK3PF and then heard him ask QRZ? (“who is calling”, or “is there anyone else there?”) to which I responded with my callsign. He replied immediately with a good signal report. I gave him a report and then told him this was my first contact with the MTR3B. He acknowledged that and wished me good luck. I returned the greetings and signed off.
Yes the new radio works despite being smaller than my morse paddle. It’s the blue box in this pic. Produces about 3-5 watts on 7, 10 and 14 MHz amateur bands. The Mountain Topper Radio 3B.
Ian/Buhd vk5cz posted to facebook a comment that this contact was the highlight of the activation, which was great to read. And later he also published a video clip in which the contact can be heard taking place.
A day later I had the MTR connected again, this time on 14060. I tuned it up to 14062 and there was a familiar callsign, VK5CZ, in contact with someone. Looking at SOTAWATCH.ORG I saw that Ian had recently called CQ from another SOTA summit. I waited until the contact was finished, then heard him send QRZ? and again sent my callsign. Back he came with a 559 with QSB (fading) report, which was pretty good. I told him it was the MTR again, which he was pleased to hear about.
Now I need a contact on the remaining band provided by the MTR, 10 MHz, for which I need to make some alternative arrangements as my home antenna does not have a suitable impedance on that band. The MTR is designed for a 50 ohm non-reactive load. I will route it through an antenna matchbox which can be adjusted to present a 50 ohm impedance to the transmitter.
So far so good. I am very impressed by the MTR and look forward to many lightweight activations with it.