QR Codes: A different kind of amateur Radio Code

A DIY project to organize and label your radio gear

Owning a lot of portable radio antennas,  I recently realized that I needed a quick, cheap way to organize, record and provide information on each antenna.

I often find myself needing info on my antennas such as resonance, overall length of the elements and SWR data for each band.

Considering the small size of my antennas, I decided to use QR codes as you can scale them to a small size and link them to a PDF document via a URL.

First step was to create a template that I could use for each antenna.

Information would include

  • Antenna name
  • Bands
  • Website/Manufacturer
  • Date antenna was purchased
  • My name and contact info (in case someone finds it)
  • Description of antenna
  • Antenna SWR data

After downloading the template, add all your data relevant to your antenna. Once completed, export it as a PDF file. Next you will need to upload this file to a cloud sharing service such as Dropbox.

Copy the URL where the PDF is located. Next you will need to create a QR Code. There are programs available and online services that will create them for you. I preffered to keep the information local to my computer so I downloaded the Offline QR Code extension for the Firefox browser.

Use this extension when going to the URL of your stored document and click on the QR code in your browser.

From there you can right click on the generated QR code image and save it as a .png file. With this file you can now print it out to whatever size your need. I tended to keep my images printed at 25%. You will have to experiment to see what size QR code fits on your particular antenna.

Originally, I just printed the QR code and taped it onto the antenna but didn’t like the appearance. Your phone camera will read the QR code even covered in clear tape. I had some paper that was adhesive lined so I printed my codes on it and cut them out to attach to each antenna.

SWR analyser with Q Code

After labeling my antennas, I decided to add some to my radio gear including my KX3, Rig Experts AA-30 SWR analyzer and Mountain Topper 5 Band radio. Instead of using SWR charts, I made the links point to manuals for each piece of gear. So if I was using my KX3 and needed to look something up in the manual, all I had to do was open my camera app, scan the QR code and my web browser would open the manual for me.  Should be noted that you need internet access for this all to work. During those times that I don’t have internet access, I have saved the equipment manuals to my files on my phone.

Pelican case with Q Code

Another variation of this is gear checklists. I added a QR code to my portable HF bag so when I scan the code, I get a checklist that includes everything in that bag.



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