Prepping and Portable Ops – My Favorite YouTube Channels.
Over the years, I have watched many YouTube videos on Ham Radio and hobby electronics. With so much content out there I thought that I would list some of my favorite YouTube channels that show portable radio operations and give them a bit of a review. This list is based on my opinion and there are a lot of other fine YouTubers out there I am sure, so if you have a favorite that I do not have listed, please don’t take offense. I may just have not gotten around to watching their videos yet. With that said….let the show begin!
4/5 Stars: K9ARV Radio:
K9ARV Radio is the YouTube channel of Tony Valentin – K9ARV. Tony who is located in Wesley Chappel, Florida (just north of Tampa, FL) will often venture out to local parks, fields, or operate mobile from his beloved Jeep. Tony reviews many products such as different QRP radios, antennas, camping/hiking gear as well as shows techniques that he has learned from operating portable throughout the years.
His videos have become quite well produced throughout his tenure on YouTube and the videos are always in high quality (at least 1080p HD, if not 4K now). The production with the music, sound is always pretty well done with several shots of him coming and going. He does tend to show the “drive” to his local operating site which at times I find to be tedious as he speeds up the video and superimposes music over the “hyperspeed drive” so to speak. As long as the driving video isn’t too long, its not too bad. But where Tony’s videos really shine is where he shows the setup of his gear and the QSO’s that he makes. There is usually something for everyone as he does some videos about DSTAR, QRP HF, Antennas, portable gear and setups. Occasionally he will take his gear with him on trips (there was one this fall where he traveled to upstate New York), but mostly you will find that his outings are the ones that most of us hams love to make….quick outings to local parks and rural areas. No Survivorman type stuff here, but I’m not into that anyway. It’s just nice to be outside and operating a bit of radio, and he does a good job showing it.
I really envy Tony in the winter time as he is out portable when it is snowing and cold up north here in Indiana. His videos keep me going until spring time when I can get out for some of my own adventures.
Tony has a great personality on camera and watching his channel is like hanging out with any of your ham buddies. This is definitely one of my favorite channels and I urge anyone that is interested in QRP portable operations to subscribe to his channel.
4/5 Stars: Radio Prepper
The Radio Prepper Channel is run by Gil Gruson – F4WBY of Lille France. Gil shows portable operations from a disaster preparation point of view. His content is not quite as polished with music and fancy graphics as other YouTubers, but the information provided is great.
You will find a great deal of CW operation from Gil and he usually always shows the text of the decoded CW for those people not familiar with morse code. Gil also shows various QRP outings with minimal setups such as the Webber MTR style rigs and even the QRP Pixie kits, showing us that worldwide communications can even fit in the pockets of your jacket.
Reviews and builds of different QRP radio kits, antenna building, and even VHF SSB operation round out the content of the channel nicely. In particular I like his QRP radio kit builds, as I find these videos the most interesting. Portable ops are typically to local parks, but on occasion you will see him venturing to other counties on holiday.
Mostly the videos are in English, but there are times that he will make the occasional video in French for his amateur radio countrymen. Gil is an fervent anti-contester and at times will complain about contesting on the bands. I personally think that he should embrace contesting. I think that he would make some more contacts during contests as they can bring out more DX than usual.
Overall I really love what Gil has done and his channel is always interesting and enjoyable to watch. I highly recommend anyone into QRP portable ops, kit building, and antenna building to subscribe to his channel. You will enjoy it.
3/5 Stars: Anything With Wheels
Anything With Wheels is the YouTube channel of Tom Newcomb – N9YO. Short outings to parks operating QRP CW or voice as well as overnight camp-outs in the state of Missouri with radio highlight his channel. No highly polished production here, but the videos are well done and the quality is good.
The channel name is kind of misleading as this was probably a channel with other content when first conceived, slowly converting over more to portable Amateur Radio operating videos. For a little while there were some strange video rants where he was burning NFL jerseys, and expelling his disdain for the NFL after the Colin Kaepernick national anthem deal. Personally I agree with Tom as the NFL was on the wrong side of Patriotism, but I just don’t think making a rant video about it when most of his subscribers were wanting radio videos was progressing the cause. I in particular shy away from political rantings and demagoguery as there is enough of that on the news and look to YouTube and Amateur Radio as an escape from that kind of content.
Tom usually shows the text of his CW QSOs onscreen so that viewers that do not know morse code can follow along which is great. He also shows a “LETS GO!” graphic that is quite enthusiastic when he finally gets that QRP contact that I really enjoy. Most of his videos are operating and setup with only the occasional review of gear, with also some setups of antennas.
3/5 Stars: SurvivalTech Nord – OH8STN
SurvivalTech Nord’s YouTube channel is more about using radio in extreme survival conditions. I would classify this also as a “prepper” type of channel. Julian – OH8STN is a radio amateur and survival enthusiast from Finland. There are many views of setups of power (solar and battery packs), QRP operation, and camping out in extremely cold conditions. Julian’s videos include some reviews of equipment and also quite a bit about operating digital modes.
His videos are semi produced with graphics and transitions and the video quality is always HD (if not 4K).
For a while he was really stuck on different power setups and batteries. Putting together battery packs and such, which I found to be a bit boring since there were already so many videos about that sort of thing. The power consumption reviews for different radios have a wealth of great info, but the videos can be boring…
The portable operations that he does with the small tent in the middle of a snow-covered field where he is operating completely off the grid are most interesting. This would be the more extreme portable operations than the causal ham would be into, but it is very interesting to see Julian’s approach to survival communications.