Trail-Friendly Radio

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The term Trail-Friendly Radio, or TFR, was coined by the Adventure Radio Society (ARS) in 1996. A TFR is a ham rig optimized for field use.

Typically, a well-designed TFR will have all of its controls and connections on the top, unlike desktop rigs that typically have connections at the back and controls at the front. TFRs are intended to be used from an operator's lap, often while wearing gloves. They must draw as little power as possible because they must typically are run off of batteries, and are thus nearly always QRP rigs. TFRs are nearly always CW rigs, because carrying a computer along for digital work would be too heavy and SSB operation is difficult at QRP power levels.

Field use of ham rigs is very popular. Such operation includes car-camping, day-hiking, canoeing, and backpacking. Because the operating location can be on a mountain or at a salt-water beach, and because the outdoors is more spacious than many back yards (allowing large, efficient antennas to be used), field sites are often superior to many home QTHs.


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