Portable operation (amateur radio)

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Portable equipment indicates a configuration that allows for relatively rapid collection, transportation, and deployment of amateur radio gear. Licensed operators often take part in portable operations using radio equipment when traveling. A portable station can be anything from a small QRP (Low Power) radio and antenna, to a top-of-the-line rig, space dependent. On long-distance expeditions, such equipment allows them to report progress, arrivals and sometimes exchanging safety messages along the way.

Kamal Edirisinghe, 4S7AB, from Sri Lanka, operating a portable amateur radio station south of Stockholm, Sweden

Portable operations[edit]

Solar-powered amateur radio station on a bicycle

'Portable' operation is usually signified by amateur radio operators appending the suffix '/P' to their callsign. Operating '/P' normally means that stations are operating away from their licensed station address.

The advantages of /P operation include the use of large empty spaces where full size beam and wire antennas can be erected on tall trailer mounted masts. If operating on VHF/UHF, this can mean a location on the top of a hill or cliff, with clear line of sight to the horizon. The main disadvantage is normally the power supply available. As normal mains grid power is unavailable, the /P operator may have to resort to batteries, portable generators, solar panels.[1] and wind turbines.

Operating amateur radio at sea is known as 'maritime mobile', as is signified by the suffix '/MM' on the call. Operating amateur radio from a vehicle is known as 'Mobile', as is signified by the suffix '/M' on the call.

A popular pastime for portable operation is the Summits on the Air programme, part of which involves portable operation from a worldwide list of over 73,500 summits.[citation needed]

Some countries allow the direct connection of amateur transceivers to telephone lines called "phone patching".[2] Thus, a traveler may be able to call another amateur station and, via a phone patch, speak directly with someone else by telephone. 


  1. ^ "Ham(Radio)ing it Up with Solar Power". KE2YK. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  2. ^ "Phone Patch, Autopatch and HF/VHF/UHF Operating Guidelines". American Radio Relay League. Archived from the original on 2006-11-30. Retrieved 2007-01-10.