Ice Fishing Tent Makes Winter Ham Radio Comfy

ice fishing tent and antenna in a snowy field

Cross-pollination between different activities and industries can yield some pretty useful techniques or product combinations, and [Steve] shares some details on using ice fishing gear to make winter ham radio activities more comfortable and portable.

Radio operator inside ice fishing tent in winterWith the help of a folding tent shelter, [Steve] was able to create a minimal and self-contained field station that hosted all his needed equipment, and with the help of a small propane heater, stayed quite comfortable during a 24 hour winter event.

For those interested in the radio end of what [Steve] was doing, he goes into detail about the radio equipment and antenna he used, which itself stows easily into a bag and withstood high winds with success. The goal of the event after all was emergency preparedness, and while radio can operate without a wider infrastructure to support it, antenna design is crucial for best results.

As for keeping the operator safe and sound during all this, it turns out that the problem of a pop-up winter shelter that is both light and compact has already been solved by ice fishers; and while it can be fun to roll one’s own solutions, there’s not always a need to re-invent the wheel.

29 thoughts on “Ice Fishing Tent Makes Winter Ham Radio Comfy

  1. In other news: Perseverance Lands Ice Fisherman Coveted WAS Award

    Undeterred by rising fuel prices and eager to fill in the stickers on his 1973 Winnebago’s U.S. travel map, Frank Plucky of Paoli, Pennsylvania knows a thing or two about cross-country travel. “Alaska of course was a piece of cake, and the northern states were not bad.” he told Field & Stream. “The Deep South was bit tougher and found us killing lots of time in Walmart parking lots waiting for that rare winter freeze, but all along we knew Hawaii was gonna be the real bugaboo here,” he said. “So what to do? Turns out my XYL has a cousin in L.A. where we could ditch the ‘Bago and just fly out, and thankfully the supermarket not far from our hotel in Maui had a walk-in freezer. It was at that point the missus and I knew that award was assured” he smiled. “‘Just bring your own bucket,’ they said. ‘The last guy in here turned out to be some ham who walked off with ours mumbling something about a ”dummy load.” Know anything about that?’ ‘Not a clue,’ I said, and asked them where I could buy some live fish.”

  2. Tempting space/weight saver for year round portable ops, but I’ll stick with normal floored tents after a rattlesnake tried to join me last year for some late night search and pounce Morse contacts. The tent floor was all that separated us. Maybe OK for winter CQ (icq?) when the ground is frozen, but then I guess it’s less of a hack.

  3. My uncle’s version of ice fishing:

    1. Build your fishing hut – his was made of scrap 2X4’s and plywood.
    2. Tow it out on the lake with your snowmobile and anchor.
    3. Drill a hole in the ice with your auger.
    4. Set your lines – usually three.
    5. Get on the snowmobile, ride to the nearest bar and drink.

    1. The only time I went ice fishing, 1966, we just put a hole in the ice and set up some “rods”. And then sat in the car waiting.

      In 1971, someone took a camper, the kind that fits on a pickup truck, and added a crank up tower. He had to set up when he arrived at a location but it made it easy to operate in a remote location.

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