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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-Challenged

from Charles Cohen, VA7CPC on October 4, 2006
View comments about this article!

How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-Challenged

I got a Yaesu FT-817 a few months ago, and started "learning the ropes" of QRP operating. It's been a frustrating, rewarding experience. Lots of people here on eHam, and friends met along the way, have helped me along.

Recently, the Yahoo "FT817" group had a thread on QRP operating, under the heading "Not much success". It was started by someone wondering "Why isn't anybody answering my CQ ? ".

The responses were a good guide to QRP strategies. Here's a compendium of what was on that thread, combined with the advice others have given me. Thanks to everyone!

0. [really important] Use the best antenna you can. Don't confuse "low SWR" with "efficiency". Lots of wire, up high, works well. Most other things work worse. [There's a wealth of expertise here in the "Tower Talk" Forum.]

For me, portable operation has been quite successful. A 31' windsock pole on a beach puts out a much better signal than a hamstick off my apartment balcony. A 7 amp-hour battery is enough for many hours of operating. My recent 5-watt SSB QSO from Vancouver BC to Trinidad/Tobago, shows that a decent antenna really helps!

1. Don't call CQ. Your signal is weak, and many people won't bother to answer it. Instead, listen, listen, listen.

2. Use CW or digital modes -- PSK31 or RTTY. They are much more effective than SSB. [For new CW ops, a membership in FISTS and listening on the FISTS frequencies will probably give lots of contacts, and practice.]

3. "Tail-end" QSO's, after the final sign-off. A call to one of the stations often works.

4. Work strong stations. An S9 incoming signal means that there's a good path to the other operator, or that he's got a good antenna. In either case, he's more likely to hear you than someone with an S5 incoming signal.

5. Work the nets. Try MIDCARS, dawn to dusk, 365 days a year, 7.258. They're not a traffic net. They primarily do mobile check ins. The will listen and normally call for QRP stations now and then. I've used the Maritime Mobile Service Net (MMSN) on 14.300. There's an Alaska Net, numerous local and regional traffic nets, WAS nets, and so on. The WAS net participants expect QSL cards, but you'll have a bunch of people listening _very hard_ for your signal.

6. Work the contests. The big ones, the smaller state "QSO Parties" -- everyone wants to talk to you! 2 points is 2 points. Many participants have excellent antennas and skills. Check the ARRL website for times and required "exchanges". My first contest experience was overwhelming; the second was more effective; the third was a blast.

Good luck! You _can_ enjoy the party, even if you have laryngitis !

Charles Cohen
VA7CPC

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by VE2DSB on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Hi! Charles

The secret of QRp is the antenna.

Here I work many grid sqare with only little 3 watts on Vhf with a optimised home brew 6 elements yagi on flat side(my grid is FN35, worked FN01 last week in Cw). On Hf, I work Cw with only 10 Watts on 15 and 17 meter in a home brew multiband coaxial trap dipole at 40 feet up.

Good result in Hf too, you have to be patient, somebody will eard you any how.

Like Hi-fi system, $10 000 on the system and $10 on the speaker......imagine the result....HI!

73's from Daniel
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by LNXAUTHOR on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
- and even more fun is QRPp! see what you can do with less than a watt!

- i use a NorCal BLT tuner w/my 817... another great accessory is an OHR WM2 meter (http://www.ohr.com/wattmeter.htm), although the 817's built-in SWR meter works fine...

- there are many good QRP txcvrs out there, especially if you do CW... but there is only one FT-817 - a fantastic piece of gear...
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by M0JHA on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
hello,
without doubt with low power a good efficient antenna is a must . i find tail ending qso,s also works. i have bust through some big pile ups by being patient and letting the other stations jump in and as the panick settles give a shout.

working dx even at qrp is possible without any problem as long as your expectations are not the same as working say 100watts.

and the added bonus, for me anyway is having to educate myself on antennas etc which is a mind bender but fun .

73 billy manchester uk.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W4LGH on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I had a Yaesu FT-817, and I loved it. One of the best radios out there for FUN! I made many many contacts on it around the world, running between 3 to 5 watts.
Yes antenna is the key, but operating skills also play a big part. I made many contacts using a 54" Miracle Whip antenna! (yes they do work!) Its not a 50' piece of wire, but it did work super for what it was. Great accessory fot the FT-817. Going back to operation skills, its a lot like a Kenny Rogers song... "Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
& know when to run!" QRP skills are developed from practice with a lot of fustrations, just hang in there and keep on trying. I found that a lot of times when you thought the band was dead, find a super quiet part of it and start calling CQ/QRP, did this several times and had some good pile up going.

QRP can be a lot of fun, and after you get good at 5watts, cut the power back to 1watt! There are many QRP'er out there running 100MW or less, mostly on CW, but I have heard a few operating SSB.


73 de W4LGH - Alan
http://www.w4lgh.com
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by KA4KOE on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
QRP at the moment is almost fruitless due to the extremely poor propogation. I usually run 20w on a PRC1099 and have a difficult time, even with a good antenna.

PHILIP
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by AB9LZ on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
If I hear a weak station on one of the QRP calling freq's, it's likely that he is qrp as well. Had lots of great contacts this way with guys camping etc. 30m has been really good for QRP Dx recently, the band has been opening to Europe (from Chicago) around 21:00, stays up for an hour or two. 40m right after sunset has been pretty hot as well.

The antenna advice is true, my best results have always been had by running tunerless into resonant dipoles.

Finally, don't be shy about calling CQ if no one else is, it just may be that folks are listening around, I usually get combacks when I do.

73 Mark.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by N4LI on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Many of the tips given above are good ones. But, there is one more important tip here:

BE PATIENT!

QRP or QRPp is not for impatient Type-A people with countless crumpled-up grande Starbucks cups in the waste basket.

So, listen, learn, and play it smart. But, remember, this is like hunting with primitive weapons -- it's a lot of fun, but a lot more effort. Don't expect to bag as much game as your QRO buddies. With that attitude in mind, QRP is a lot of fun.

Peter, N4LI
 
RE: How to QRP -- Try the Spartan Sprint Contest!  
by KT8K on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Some DX stations will give you preferential treatment if they know you are QRP, which I signify by adding "/qrp" to my call. Other DX stations will ignore you (or not hear you through the din at their end.

A really fun and easy QRP contest is the Adventure Radio Society Spartan Sprint, a 2 hour contest held from 0100-0300Z on the first Monday evening (US time) of each month. Entry is done manually at the club's website - no log file, dupe sheet, etc. required - and results are posted right away via email. Power level is 5 watts max. Propagation hasn't been very good lately, and has been best on 40 and 80 where the noise levels make for tough going, but its still great, casual fun.

Hope to catch you on the air soon - QRP-to-QRP.
72 & best rx to all de kt8k - Tim
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by VE3XDB on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Good topic! I agree with all the comments, especially patience and listening. Sometimes, if I'm working on my computer across the room, I just turn the rig on to a frequency that I like to work, and wait until I hear something. Have made many good contacts this way.

In addition to a good antenna, the mode is important. CW or digital modes are best. SSB is possible, but less likely to be successful. I find that if you are QRP, but are sending nice CW, you will get a contact.

Band selection is also important. I have had my best QRP successes on 30 and 40 meters.

Philip, over the past couple of months, using my IC-703, usually at 10 watts (not strictly QRP, but low power, nonetheless), I have worked up and down the eastern seaboard, most of the Great Lake states, Cuba, Northern Ireland, Belgium, Sao Tome/Principe, Montenegro, Turks & Caicos, Italy and Western Australia. The contacts are there, with a bit of patience.

Good luck to all, and hope to work you soon.

Best regards,

Doug VE3XDB
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by K0BG on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
QRP is alive and well. Just look at the average mobile installation.

Alan, KBG
www.k0bg.com
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by N9XY on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Hang out on the HF-Pack frequencies. There will be lots of like minded QRP folks there....

Good info can be found at their website:
http://hflink.com/hfpack/index.html

73
Michael
N9XY
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W5ESE on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
QRP works fine, even during the sunspot downturn.

Using CW helps alot.

30 meters is a great band for operating QRP.

Another tip for working DX while QRP is to operate
on the highest band that is open. Often that will
be 17 meters, but 15 and 10 meters have some good
openings, too, even during the downturn.

I had a ZL (New Zealand) come back to my MFJ Cub
(1 watt) on 15 meters a few weeks ago.

73
Scott
W5ESE
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W9OY on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Good article.

I never understood the need for a "good" antenna. The whole point of QRP is to put out a miserable weak signal. You can do this just as well with a lousy antenna, as with puny power.

The real star of a QRP contact is the poor joker doing the receiving, not the guy transmitting a weaker than pond water signal.

73 W9OY
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by K3AN on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
But when you have a lousy antenna AND puny power, you are increasing your handicap.

The author's best advice is to operate CW and PSK. Take a look at any year's the November Sweepstakes results. Look at the Top 10 scores for high power, medium power, and QRP. When you compare the average QRP score to the average medium or high score, you'll see that the phone QRP scores are MUCH lower (as a percentage) than the CW QRP scores.

Speaking of handicaps, here's a classic short story (takes 5 minutes to read). Its title is Harrison Bergeron, and it was written in 1961 by Kurt Vonnegut.

http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/hb.html
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W4PA on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
6. Work the contests. The big ones, the smaller state "QSO Parties" -- everyone wants to talk to you! 2 points is 2 points. Many participants have excellent antennas and skills. Check the ARRL website for times and required "exchanges". My first contest experience was overwhelming; the second was more effective; the third was a blast.

-----------------------

I'll add:

6A. Do not EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER append "/QRP" to the end of your callsign in a contest. It is unbelievably frustrating to hear a weak CW signal in and out of the noise like WB6.../..P... and then spend the next three minutes trying to pull out what is "/QRP" after the only thing that should be transmitted: the callsign. Contest operators are good at hearing and copying weak signals - that's what contesting is. You'll have a better shot if the QRO contest operator on the other end doesn't give up on you merely because they can't understand what's after the "/" sign. Contesting is all about copying callsigns correctly - if there is doubt most of them won't log you (or will give up on trying to complete a hard QSO).

DO NOT do this. PLEASE.

Scott W4PA
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by NT4XT on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
However, I have had 100W QSOs wire to wire, 40 meters, half-way around the world, much much weaker than a 5W to 5W QSO from say Colorado to Georgia.

It is true that often, working a QRP station is a challenge.

If all we ever did was work 56 ot 59 signals, or 459 to 599s, we'd all be lousy operators.

Sometimes the kind of current required to work 100 to 1000W is simply not available. Certainly not hiking out on a trail where everything you have is what you could carry in a packpack.

It is true I cannot say that I relish a 1 hour Rag Chew at 339 QSB, but I do relish making the contact because it is a challenge to me, the guy hearing the weak signal.

And sometimes, when conditions are totally in the dumps- even a KW and beam might sound like a 2xQRP contact. I mean, how many times have you used a KW and beam, tried to make the contact, but could not?

Maybe if the other operator did not shy away from weak signals, you might have made the contact.

The whole point of QRP I think is NOT to put out a miserable signal, it's to MAXIMIZE efficiency, and make THE MOST WITH THE LEAST. I think every QRPers goal is to generate a signal where the other guy is saying,
"QRP, are you sure? Well, you're 599, reading s8 on my meter- you said you're running what? 4 Watts? Man, what sort of set up are you using? And of course all monitoring are waiting mostly to hear about the ANTENNA.

LOL.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by N4LI on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
==
I think every QRPers goal is to generate a signal where the other guy is saying, "QRP, are you sure? Well, you're 599, reading s8 on my meter
==

'Love when that happens!

Had a massive tropo opening back in April, and worked a guy at nearly 700 miles with 5 watts/SSB on 2m out of my 817.

S8 on his end. Dude was incredulous. Fun!

Peter
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by KD5PSH on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I do not agree with the "Do not call CQ" idea. While it can sometimes be frustrating, I have many times had a station hundreds of miles away come back and with a good signal report to boot.

Clearly, this is a time with lousy propagation on most bands and much of the time; in a couple of years, QRP users will be rewarded (and for another decade and more beyond that). And, what fun when the band is hot.

And yes, the antenna is critical to the operation. Although I did once make a contact on ten meters using a rain gutter, a good antenna is incredibly important to the QRP'r.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W3JJH on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Our club Field Day operation this year was an 11F all-QRP show. While most of the operating was hunt-and-pounce, there were times when we could hold and run a frequency. That even happened on 80 m SSB.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by NI0C on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article. QRP can be fun, but I've found the most enjoyment with 2-way QRP contacts.

As pointed out already by others, QRP CQ's can be fruitful, epecially in the vicinity of one of the QRP calling frequencies. You don't necessarily need to call stations with s-9 signals.

I get a kick out of "standard" RST for QRP contests, which is 559, instead of the usual 599.

73,
Chuck NI0C
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by KX0R on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
After 25 years of QRP operating, what stands out for me is the positive attitude that most QRP operators have. The QRP crowd is by far the most friendly, optimistic, and can-do bunch of operators on the bands. The reason for this is that operating QRP acts as a filter, and people who are impatient, negative, and unfriendly mostly filter themselves out of this corner of our hobby. Operating QRP is a challenge, and people who don't like challenges and want instant gratification will not stay with QRP very long. Those who continue using low power have the right stuff: a combination of good operating skills, effective radio technology, and antenna knowledge that brings consistent results and satisfaction. Those who lack the prerequisites will continue to make negative comments and try to throw cold water on the party.

QRP walks away from the high-power side of RF technology, and that's some of the most interesting stuff in radio. QRP doesn't need vacuum relays, doorknob caps, air inductors, high voltage, or blowers. It takes a certain kind of attitude to step back from the heavy metal and operate something that looks slightly like a toy.

The QRP phenomenon is a fascinating development, considering how easy it is to use today's radios of 100 watts or more. It's about psychology and human behavior. As radios become smaller and more high-tech, they become more magical to us. My first QRP TX used a VN10KM with a heatsink, and a VXO, and it put out 2 or 3 watts. Using a wire tied to a TV antenna on my roof, I made hundreds of QSO's back in 1980, before QRP was really popular. My favorite trick was to listen on 40M CW around 10PM MST, which was 11 or 12PM to the east, and then I worked a lot of veteran night-owl rag-chewers. Many of those QSO's were over 30 minutes, so I don't think the other stations were straining to hear me. I got lots of nice comments like "I can't believe ur running 3W - ur 579 here OM". I made a QSO or two many nights, regularly, and every night I felt the same magic. I couldn't believe all those QSO's were running through a little chip of silicon in a cheap switching mosfet! It was magic!

The magic has gotten much better. Today's top QRP rigs have stable VFO's or DDS sources, microcontrollers, digital readouts, fine superhet receivers, sharp filters, internal tuners, built-in keyers, and they run for hours on small batteries. A huge range of nice tuners and other great accessories are available, making it possible to use excellent antennas in the field. Take a look at the reviews here on EHAM, and look at "QRP Accessories". You can spend most of your spare time (and a lot of money) doing QRP if you choose, and it's a great hobby!

I agree with most of the positive comments posted here. You can really enjoy QRP if you use efficient antennas at a good location. You'll meet some of the best operators on the bands. No, you won't open up 20 meters when it's dead, you won't stand above the QRN on 160 meters on a summer night, and you won't crush though many pileups...but you'll find plenty of magic, and a lot of interesting roads and trails to follow. QRP is a great way to get on the air from an alternate location, such as a campsite or a mountain, when you can't operate effectively at home for any reason. QRP dares to challenge the "more is better" paradigm that runs beneath our consumptive culture, so it will continue to tweak some people a bit. It's real magic, and it gets better as you work with it!
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by KC0QXU on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
How about thinking of QRP to be likened to boating?

Some sail powerboats. QRP is like sailing a sailboat.

I'm sure the comparisons of conditions, etc. are obvious.

And definitely no to the powerboater who said a sailboat can sail just as good with a lousy sail as with a good sail.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by NI0C on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
One really fascinating thing about QRP is developing listening skills for extremely weak stations. It is a blast listening for some of the portable stations operating from wilderness locations. I got a really nice QSL card from W0RW/pm (pedestrian mobile in a Colorado park) who I heard on 80 meters one evening (I sent him an SWL report).

 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W9DZ on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"When you compare the average QRP score to the average medium or high score, you'll see that the phone QRP scores are MUCH lower (as a percentage) than the CW QRP scores."

It doesn't matter. QRP stations only compete against other stations in their class regardless of mode. I've done Sweepstakes using QRP on phone several times. It's a very easy way to work WAS in a weekend. I missed a clean sweep two years in a row by just one section. As pointed out by others, decent antennas make the difference.
 
If you doubt that QRP works, even now  
by K3ESE on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
just go to DX Summit, use their site search for "qrp" as "any field" and check it out for yourself.

I work the world with QRP, almost all the time. Propagation varies, of course, and it's critical...but when it's good, my signal is big as life.

My antenna is usually a 302' horizontal loop, four supports, up about 50', fed with 300 ohm window line, and tuned on all bands from 10-80M with the autotuner in my K2, through a balun.
 
RE: If you doubt that QRP works, even now  
by LNXAUTHOR on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
- love reading about other folks' QRP contacts... best contact with my 817 for me to date is western MD to Belfast using 500mW (1 powerbar on 817 LCD) SSB on 17M using a wire dipole up a pine tree - about 3,500 miles or 7,000 miles per watt...

- and that's hardly an accomplishment for QRPprs... but a thrill for me!
 
RE: If you doubt that QRP works, even now  
by EXWA2SWA on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Another thought, if you're working for a 2xQRP QSO:

Once you've established contact, give us 100-watters a chance to QRP to 5W and continue the QSO. Most of the newer HF rigs will get to 5 watts pretty easily & I, for one, don't mind at all if it helps another op on a quest. All ya gotta do is ask, & the worst possible answer is "Nope."

Semper CW,
Jim KE5CXX



 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by W8ZNX on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
ARCI member for well over 30 years

qro or qrp antenna is everything

EVERYTHING!

anybody that sugests that
qrp is the same as running qro to a bum antenna

will just never understand qrp

or walking a backwoods trail
not blasting over it in a orv

sailing the North Channel of Lake Huron
in a sailboat with no motor

would rather run a FT-7 or TS-130V
to a great antenna

than the best rig in the world
to a bum antenna

most of my qrp contacts come from
calling cq

100 watt to bum antenna boys
can't gripe about my signal

if you do not want to work
my poor weak signal don't reply to my cq

who is holding a gun to your head

if a qrp sig is to weak
darn it don't work them
also
please do not give me a 559 or better report

if you can't carry on a rag chew

better to give me a 339 report
and then i know you are working to copy
will make contact short and to the point

if am realy to weak
please don't string me along
trying to make a go of something that
will not work

than later gripe about all the work you did
trying to pull a qrp sig out of the mud

just send
" sry om ur to weak next time 73 "

90% of my qrp work is 80 cw 10% is 40 cw
late winter nights

often run home brew rock bound glow bugs
from 1.75 watts to about 12 watts
if i waited for somebody to come along
and call cq on a freq i have a rock for
would almost work nobody

QRP equpment is fun to build

working Europe running a JA rice box
and amp 500 on 80 cw is nothing
ho hum worked Europe agn

working Europe 4 watts rock bound on 80 cw
using a rig you build from junk box parts
you walk around with a big grin for a week

to me qro is a usefull tool
for summers nights 75 meters rag chew

but still love running QRP

Mac













 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by AB9LZ on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
ya gotta love Mac's Haiku of wisdom...

He's right about the big smile, that feeling of accomplishment makes you want to go back for more, it's quite addicting.

73 Mark.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W5JON on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I "often" read DX contact conquests of QRP stations.

I have "never" read where a QRP operator gives any credit to the operator at the other end. You know, he is the guy that spent countless hours and dollars putting up the "stacked array" and legal limit station, and has just spent a half hour digging your 10 foot whip, and 1 watt out of the QRM/QRN.

So pandon me if I do not celebrate your latest DX conquest, and all your "efforts". Perhaps the other guy should get just a little credit.

73,

John W5JON
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by NI0C on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
John W5JON,
That's why I like two-way QRP contacts the best.

I completed WAC-QRP on 40m some months back by working JM7OLW who was running an amplifier and a 3el Yagi up high. Wasn't much work for me, but he assured me in a subsequent e-mail that our QSO was most difficult on his end!

73,
Chuck NI0C

 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by WI7B on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!

One rig I carry everywhere in my briefcase is my Pixie-2 with its SPST switch/keyer. The whole unit was built into a plastic razor dispenser and plugs right into a 9-volt battery. I use it on the 40m QRp calling channel with a 1/4 wave and ground that attach with alligator clips to anything, including coffee shop/bar outdoor umbrellas.

Qrp...instant on...anywhere...everywhere~

73,

---* Ken
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by KC0QXU on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Please forgive my naive little mind.

How does legal limit improve one's ability to receive?

Are you talking about a stacked array of beverage antennas?

Who said stacked array's aren't allowed in QRP?

Did someone come up with a rule that QRP has to use a 10 foot whip for all bands?


Again, please excuse me as I must be a real dufus...

 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by W2LJ on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Charles,

Great article! I only have two exceptions to your list.

1 - Never call CQ.
Sorry, but I don't agree. Just because your running 5 Watts or less doesn't mean your signal is going to be weak everywhere. We have to get out of this habit of thinking that low power = weak signal. It just ain't so! I've made over 3,000 QRP QSOs over the last couple of years (in fact in 2005, I made at least one QRP CW contact a day for the entire year!). Even with the sunspot lull, I have worked 49 states and am close to making DXCC QRP. Lots of those were garnered by calling CQ. Propagation usually dictates that your signal is going to be loud somewhere! I have a ton more reports 579 or better than I've received 579 or lower. In addition, a vast majority of these 3,000 QSOs have been ragchews. Signals have to be decent to keep the gabbing talking for more than just a few minutes.

2 - Work only strong stations.
To an extent this is okay; but you're going to be denying yourself a whole lot of fun if you make this a personal rule. Work the weak ones, too! You might be surprised at what you pull out of the aether.

Antenna is everything; but it doesn't need to be a monster Yagi on top of a 100 foot tower. All my QSOs have been completed either using a G5RV at abotu the 25 foot level; or a ground mounted Butternut HF9V vertical.

Frame of mind plays into this a lot, too. If you expect that you're not going to make QSOs, then you probably won't. If you take the mindset that QRP works, you will find out that it does, indeed; and in spades.

Working the contests is a good tip, especially if you want DX. In the last CQ WPX Contest, I decided to turn the power down to 1 Watt out. I amazed myself by making the "1,000 Miles per Watt Award" many times over in the space of a few hours. It's amazing how easily you can be heard when there are points at stake!

My recommendation to anyone who is generally interested in QRP that you join one of the many fine QRP groups oout there. QRP-ARCI, the Flying Pigs, or the North American QRP CW Club (NAQCC) are all excellent organizations. By participating in their activities and by taking advantage of their resoources you can really get a good start towards becoming a top op - QRP or QRO!

73 de Larry W2LJ
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by N4KZ on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Antennas and location. Those are the secrets to success in ham radio whether running 5 watts or 1,000. I have operated QRP off and on during my nearly four decades on the ham bands. I've never subscribed to the idea that low power and minimal antennas go together. Until recently, I elected to invest most of my ham-radio-money in the antennas. Rigs were secondary. That pays off regardless of your power level.

I sold my FT-817s. Twice. Should have kept the last one. Running it into my 3-element SteppIR yagi at 60 feet yielded excellent results with DX -- so much so that I had many question my QRP status. Even SSB DX was fairly easy at 5 watts. I even managed to work Europe in the 75-meter SSB DX window in January while running the FT-817ND to a full-wave horizontal loop. Of course, the hilltop location looking toward Europe and Africa was a big help.

QRP can be a blast but I never enjoyed making other operators struggle too much to dig me out of the mud. But good antenna installations take care of that. Yeah, I know not everyone can afford that. Been there, done that. (Although I sure don't understand the guys who spend several grand on rigs and then run a crappy antenna that heats up the backyard earthworms. Even many of those saddled with nasty HOAs and horrible CC&Rs should be able to disguise a vertical as a flagpole or birdhouse support. Such an antenna will put many QRP contacts in your log if you lay down some radials -- even a compromise set of radials.)

But QRP can be incredibly frustrating for new, inexperienced operators who might not yet realize just how important it to invest time, effort and money in good antennas.

73, Dave, N4KZ
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by AK2B on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
QRP is great fun. There is nothing sweeter than having a contact with low power equipment that you have built yourself. It can leave you giggling like a school girl. To those that believe its the guy on the other end who deserves all the credit I say, Say what? Most of you would never know you were working a QRPer unless he told you so. I never sign /QRP (Ok, I did it once in a pile-up but it didnt work and I gave up). The only time someone took a half hour to dig my signal out of the mud was during a QRP contest by another QRPer. If I or someone else is having a rough time during a QSO, I bail out. Whats the big deal? Even when running QRO, you will have the same problem occasionally. I used to work QRO with a kw and a mono-bander at 100 feet and could work anyone, anywhere, anytime. Im happy for the experience but it got boring after a while.
The QRP community is amazing. The internet has brought together some top engineers who give their ideas to anyone willing to listen. Often their designs are available through some of the great clubs who package kits together for anyone to build. Some of the kits are excellent. You can get cutting edge technology for next to nothing.
Its nice to be able to work on your own equipment. I look inside my TS-480 and see gazillion-pinned closed spaced ICs that leave me shuddering. I dont think there is much I can do if one were to fail other than send it back to the factory and hope they still have the parts. Not so with my K1, K2, ATSIII, or my two NC2030s. I wont hesitate to jump in and fix something or make a modification.
QRP has put the fun back into ham radio for me. And really, isnt that what its all about?

Tom, AK2B
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by G0GQK on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
How true ! The remark Alan made about mobile stations being QRP. Most people seem to believe when they pump 100 watts into the antenna that there is a substantial amount of power being radiated, but there isn't ! Anyone pushing 50 watts into a mobile HF antenna really is a QRP station ! And as for 80 metres, boy this is micro QRP !

Mel G0GQK
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by K6YUM on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I have an Icom-703 that I use mainly on SSB. I live near Chareston, SC. I operate mainly on 20 and 17 meters though I would prefer 15 or 10 meters. I do get on 75 and 40 now and then with this rig. My big time antenna for the Icom-703 is a K4POZ screwdriver antenna on top of a 10 foot tall 4X4 in the back yard. I have 7 ground radials at 10 feet up that eventually go to ground and a 6 foot ground rod below the antenna connected with a #10 copper wire.

On 10 watts I have worked all of Europe including European Russia, Israel, N. Africa, N. America and a good bit of S. America. These contacts have been on 20 & 17. On 40 & 75, I have worked all over the US.

I have jumped into DX pile up and won, if you win in them. I have been ignored. I find an old CQ gets me little. I listen a lot, pick the people I call - good signals usually.

I do have a linear for this rig that can give me up to 400 watts PEP. Some times I use the linear. Often when using the linear I ask the other end to listen for me with the linear off. I get S9+20 reports with the linear and S5-6 reports often with only 10 watts. I have used the rig on 5 watts and have done well.

Sitting next to the Icom-703 is an older Kenwood TS-140S that drives a Heath SB-200 linear. The Kenwood goes to a multi-band Butternut vertical. The bare foot Icom works the same stations as the Boat Anchor almost KW next to it. I can call CQ and turn people with ease on the higher power.

I should note the Verticals are easier to hide or disguise in a restricted neighborhood. The Screwdrive cannot be seen. The Butternut is behind trees and a fence.

10 watts is not QRP but it is close. I have a lot of fun with it. I also run a DX-70TH mobile on the low power setting. This rig also gets out great. Again it is pick who you call.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by WB2WIK on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I didn't have time to read all the responses, but some were really great.

Here's one that I didn't see, in a quick review:

Try operating QRP "portable" from an advantageous location when possible. Especially if you have compromise antennas.

Where I am, there are two "advantageous location" possibilities: A mountaintop, or a beach. Mountaintops tend to be good in all directions, a beach is only good for about 180 degrees because right next to the beaches are mountains. But if that's the 180 degrees you want to work, you're all set.

We also have a third possibility: A mountain that's right next to the beach! Places like the summit of Palos Verdes, which is 1800' high and surrounded by the Pacific on three sides, are pretty great. That's where Don Wallace, W6AM used to live...

I can drive to the summit of Saddle Peak (2830' and next to the Pacific, with an ocean view for about 230 degrees) in less than 15 mins, set up an antenna (typically an inverted vee tossed over a tree limb) and be on the air QRP/portable, often out-gunning stations "down below" running kilowatts. Must admit, that's fun.

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by KD5PSH on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Speaking of QRP: I was bragging during a QSO with a man in Loveland Colorado that I was running just over one watt. He came back to advise me that he was running 250 milliwatts. I am near Albuquerue.

We had a good QSO, but I could only give him a 569; he gave me a 589 so you can see that power does count.
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by WN2A on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Just A Quick Note or Two:

>>1. Don't call CQ. Your signal is weak, and many people >>won't bother to answer it. Instead, listen, listen, >>listen.

I used to think that was good advice- but with 10 watts
I get answers to my first or second CQ-almost always!

>>2. Use CW or digital modes -- PSK31 or RTTY. They are >>much more effective than SSB. [For new CW ops, a >>membership in FISTS and listening on the FISTS >>frequencies will probably give lots of contacts, and >>practice.]

This is the key (pun intended) to success with Item#1.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by AB9LZ on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
John W5JON,

Two of my last three DX contact were QRP to QRP. The third was a UK ham with a G5RV. In fact I don't think I've ever worked a DX station with a "stacked array" those guys are usually plugged up with U.S. qro guys that can't seem to hear for s**t.

73 m.
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by NG9D on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Great article. Great topic. And, great response. Look at all of us low power CW geeks.

On average, it seems that most of my QSOs are with stations running the equivalent of 100W to a dipole. So, as expected they are usually an S-unit or two better in strength -- which makes copying them a real pleasure. It is noted that they are recieving a weaker signal and doing more work, so to speak.

When I run the higher power and work a low power station, I don't mind. It is another kind of fun to dig low power signals out of the noise.

I like the occasional DX, which ususally comes along on 20m or 30m for me. But another real treat is to work other QRP stations. Whenever I work a station on my high power rig and learn the other station is QRP, I feel like I'm cheating! And if I learn they are using a T1300 series rig like mine, I usually turn off the IC740 and fire up the Ten Tec.

I can remember a lot of QRP contacts. But the ones I remember the most (since they are so seldom) are the ones made with my 350 mW 40m xtal controlled two transistor transmitter. Crystal control is kinda difficult, and I usually use the technique noted above: leave the reciever on and work on projects until someone shows up on frequency.

73 NG9D

 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by AE6RO on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
In November 1990 there appeared a great article about QRPp. It was in the now defunct 73 Magazine. Probably THE definitive article on QRP.
Entitled, "Working the World on 2 Milliwatts" it was about a ham who got WAC with a keyed computer clock oscillator.
Gosh, what a wonderful article it was. If only Wayne hadn't fired the editor who ran it, that magazine might still be around.
Every now and then I notice someone refer to the article without attribution. Those people should be forced to operate CW on 11 meters into a lightbulb for a period not less than one month and not more than one year...
Unfortunately the author of said article had a divorce a few months after it appeared so there went a great journalistic career. But not lucrative: the author only earned about fifty dollars. If only I could remember his callsign . . . was it KI6DQ?
73s, AE6RO
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W2TXB on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Definitely do NOT count out the very low power possibilities. I have the FT-817ND (it replaced an ICOM IC-765 last year) and was off the air for several months after moving to a new home. When I finally got a long wire set up, I switched on the radio and went for a contact, not realizing that the radio was on its lowest power setting.

Now that really stoked my confidence in QRP! :)
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by KT6K on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I usually go after the weakest signals. Theyre not always QRP (antenna may be in the attic or a vertical) but you make them happy! Sometimes theyre really exotic QTH.

f
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by KC8VWM on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!

I enjoy VHF QRP using my FT 817ND. Gee, does everyone have one of these? I use it with a 15' telescopic pole and magnetic loop antenna. Goes anywhere. Setup in seconds. Great Fun. Charges up quite nicely with a 5 watt solar panel too.

I have logged contacts from Mid Ohio into Chicago, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington D.C. using just 5 watts on 2m SSB

Just for additional effect, I usually tell my contacts that I am running 5,000 milliwatts and wait for their reaction. :)

Don't underestimate the power of a QRP station.

Also a big thanks to those that are patient during contests. It means a lot to us to reach you after spending a great deal of effort and entire half day trying for that one single contact from outside in the backyard or from a campground somewhere.

73 Charles - KC8VWM
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by OZ8AGB on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
My first transatlantic QSO was with my K2 running 5W PSK into my homemade wire vertical in my small garden.
I was thrilled!

vy 73 de
OZ8AGB

Michael
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by KC7QDO on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
QRP is a blast that is for sure. I have found with the lack of solar ativity durin the down time the lower power tends to work better than high power on the upper bands.

I have only been a ham for 10 years but I have noticed during the last bottom of ths sunspot cycle that worked the openings on 10 allot more effectivly with 25 watts which is all that I had at the time.

With the 100 watt amp that I had in a fair amount of the time it was to much power and appeared to go through the inionzartion layer and was not able to make the contact.

And not to mention that is why I am still working on my code to get above 5wpm so I can play with the home brew 1 watt cw tuna can radio.

No matter what your brand of tea is make a cup and enjoy.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by NS6Y_ on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
In QRP, "real men" have BIG antennas! Get lots of wire and metal up there! Yes, the Miracle Antenna looks great on the analyzer, does just what it says it does, produces a nice low SWR in the range you dial in - but it will be a Miracle if someone hears you!

It takes a certain amount of study of what really works in antennas, not a G5RV, but really serious stuff, lots of wire in the trees. And QRP and CW are two great tastes that taste great together, because of the huge advantage of CW over voice (6dB advantage I think?).
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by NS6Y_ on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
YUM I learned at one of the lectures at AmTech Day at stanford linear accelerator* that elevated radials = GOOOOOOOD!

Even the humble Miracle Antenna would be greatly improved by setting it up with some radials, I am quite impressed with the build quality of the Miracle Antenna it's just that you have to understand a bit of antenna theory to get the most out of any antenna...

And I've learned on my own, 5W into a humble 1/4-wave with 3 radials antenna beats 50W into the same antenna that the gardener's tipped over and put back into place with one radial up instead of the radiating element up!

It's all ANTENNA!
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by NS6Y_ on October 4, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
*Dangit forgot to put in the footnote!

Amtech Day is monthly at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Visitor Center, this month it's this Saturday, come on down!

If you Google "AmTech Day" you'll find the latest news and meeting time..... it's monthly and great fun!
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by G0RIF on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Fred (KT6K)

"I usually go after the weakest signals. Theyre not always QRP (antenna may be in the attic or a vertical) but you make them happy! Sometimes theyre really exotic QTH."

You get my "in the true spirit of amateur radio" nice guy award of the day!

This to me is what it's all about - making the contact and letting the little guy know he's getting out.

Best wishes,
Dean - G0RIF (a user of attic dipoles)

 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by AC9TS on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Fred and Dean,

Listen for me! I use attic wire and 10 to 20 watts. Not true QRP but probably so considering the ERP.

Tom - AC9TS
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by N3OX on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
KC7QDO says:

"With the 100 watt amp that I had in a fair amount of the time it was to much power and appeared to go through the inionzartion layer and was not able to make the contact.
"

No way. Not possible... I do wonder though where you got the amp... if it was a cheap CB-type amp it probably didn't sound very good... those things can let loose a lot of distortion, though I don't know about audible distortion.

You need HAARP-level power and gain to even slightly perturb the ionosphere.

Dan
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by KT6K on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Are you still QRP if you put 1w to a 5 lambda rhohmbic? It's a blast! (At least in 1 or 2 directions)
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by AB2MH on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Great article but don't expect to QSL if you work the maritime mobile service net.
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by K0CBA on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
QRP and QRPp is a fun aspect ot ham radio but PLEASE let's give credit where credit is due. ..... to the receiving station(s). Any one can run loooow power and work 'bazillions' of miles but it's the op with his head stuck in the speaker trying to hear those pea-whistles that makes the QSO possible.
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by WA4GCH on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I worked a guy 800 miles away walking to his car on 6 meter SSB that 817 is one nice radio for QRP!
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by W2LJ on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"QRP and QRPp is a fun aspect ot ham radio but PLEASE let's give credit where credit is due. ..... to the receiving station(s). Any one can run loooow power and work 'bazillions' of miles but it's the op with his head stuck in the speaker trying to hear those pea-whistles that makes the QSO possible."

So you're saying that in your entire Ham career, you've never ever heard a QRP station that was 579 or better?I can't even keep track of how many times, I've worked N9NE in QRP contests, only to have him blow the cans off my head with a 599+ signal from WI to NJ.

Your idea that QRP signals always have to be dug out of the noise floor is ill conceived. Many times, it might be true; but not always and that's the point.

Again, this holds true to ALL amateur radio QSOs; not just QRP ones - if you don't want to listen, if the incoming signal is too weak for you - then just move on. I guarantee that you won't hurt anyone's feelings by not working them. But please don't try to make QRP operators feel somehow guilty that we're making all of you "stick your heads in your speakers" to copy us. Just ain't true.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W9OY on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I love the propaganda

"I've worked the world on QRP" "It's all about efficiency" "I'm a dufus"

The only way you work the world on QRP is that the guy at the other end has the patience to sit there and try to make sense out of your puny little signal. In fact W4ZV won the miles/watt award listening to a robot. No operator was even present at the transmitter. The transmitter sent its power through a precision attenuator and then to a as I recall a basic vertical. W4ZV did not win this award with a tuna tin 2. He was using an Orion and I believe a beverage. The point being what won the contest was not the low power of the transmitting station, but the a very skilled receiving operator with a very high performance receiving system.

You know what I find entertaining? I like to get some QRP joker to start giving me the brag tape on how he doing wondrous things with his friggin 5 watts. Then I turn down MY POWER to 5 watts. It generally takes exactly one exchange before he is signing off.

So that's the real measure of the operator. When he's the transmitter of the lousy signal he's all bustin his buttons about the glory of QRP. When it's his turn to suffer..... "OOOOOPS sri OM bnd chngd CUL es pls look fer my crappy sgnl dwn the log"

72 W9OY
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by WI7B on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!


QRp at its CHEAPEST and FUNNEST with 200 milliwatts!!!

-----------------------------------
The Pixie-2 CW Transceiver -> $9.95
-----------------------------------

FYI
=> http://www.halted.com/

HSC Electornic Supply

73,

---* Ken
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by AC7ZL on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I agree that good antennas are very important.

However, I'd hate to see an overemphasis of that point discourage somebody with limited antenna resources from experimenting with and enjoying QRP activities.

My first ham rig was an FT-817ND. I chose it because the all-band all-mode nature of that radio would allow me to sample a lot of the spectrum. I also chose it because I thought QRP operation would afford challenges that might help to make me a better operator.

My antenna system consisted of numerous strands of surplus teflon-coated hookup wire, thrown up into some nearby trees. The wires rested directly on the branches, and none of the trees were much higher than about 15 or 20 feet. Horrible antenna, right? Yet, I had no problem working a New York operator with PSK-31 from my Tucson, Arizona QTH. 2100 miles or so, not bad.

While on a weekend getaway in Bisbee, I threw some wire up into a tree, and left another strand along the ground as a counterpoise. This QTH is an old mining town, literally perched on the side of a mountain, and surrounded by other mountains, houses with galvanized metal roofs, defective buzzing streetlamps, and tangled utility wires.

I woke up in the middle of the night to get a glass of water, and noticed that I had accidentally left my radio on. Rather than simply shut it off, I slipped on the headphones and heard CQ in morse from Japan. I answered, and we had a brief QSO.

I later explained to a friend why I found this experience so magical. He is quite non-technical so I proposed the following analogy: Imagine taking a 5 watt nightlight and mounting it on top of huge mast, such that it can be seen over the horizon. Now, back up 5800 MILES, and see if you can still detect whether the bulb is on or off.

If I had to rank the importance of a good antenna to success in QRP operation, it would certainly be high on the list. However, it would not be as high as simple patience, and it would certainly rank below choice of mode. I've had greatest success with narrowband modes like CW and PSK.

I still have and still use the FT-817, by the way.

Pete
AC7ZL
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by W2LJ on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
" I love the propaganda"

There have been times that I HAVE been on the receiving end on a QSO from QRP ops in Europe and South America and Africa. Didn't really have to strain to copy them. I guess it all boils down to what you want to do. Don't want to listen to a weak signal? Then don't! You won't be breaking anyone's heart. Listen and answer 599 signals all you want - you won't hear anyone knocking on your door to beg you to work them.

Just don't always assume the weak signal you hear is QRP and don't always assume that QRP signals have to be weak. Make blanket assertions like that and you prove just how little you really know.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W5JON on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
W9OY:

Thank you, you are exactly correct... Been there, done that.

73,

John W5JON
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by KT8K on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Even the US Navy runs QRP .. I read somewhere that their ELF communications system had 1 or 2 watts ERP (with a 2 megawatt input -- can't they get a better antenna??).

I NEVER put "/qrp" after my call in a contest, only once in a while in a dx pileup, especially if I heard the dx station work someone else who signed that way. You have to take any reasonable advantage you can get when you're running QRP. QRP trains your ears, and your mind, besides being big fun.

My first rig was a TenTec Argonaut 509 (5 watts max, CW/SSB) and my favorite rig now is an Orion I, but that Orion has been set on 5 watts since I got it, and I've made less than a handful of contacts at more than 5 watts (of the 5500+ I've logged on HF in the past 4.5 years).

QRP is a blast! CW forever!
Hope to work you QRP-QRP soon!
best rx & 72 de kt8k - Tim
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by WR8Y on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
QRP does NOT always mean a 519 signal!

My first 15 meter CW contact was in 1974. I was running 12 to 15 watts from an HW-16 (with a weak PA tube) to a conduit dipole in Michigan. The kid on the other end was in Oregon. He was running an HW-7 at whatever power THEY run (2-5 watts I guess) into a wire dipole. I still have that QSL card on my wall - I don't remember what report I gave him, but he was not weak! He gave me a 579 or 599, can't remember which (I'm at work now) - but I do remember he said, "gud strong sig from MI, mark".

5 watts on 75 meters would probably be weak, but 5 watts on the higher HF bands isnt'always that weak.

Hell, back in 2001 I drove from Georgia to Michigan yakking on 10 ssb with a 20 watt Radio Shack rig to a mistuned magnet mounted cb antenna. I worked stations all over the USA and CANADA.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by WA1RNE on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
With today's band conditions, to say QRP is challenging is an understatement for sure.

Within the next 3-5 years, you'll be able to hang a wet noddle from your kitchen window and work coast to coast on 10 meters - AM, SSB, CW, FM whatever floats your boat.......


Curious why anyone would bother with an FT-817 or any other 5 watter when you can buy an FT-857 for just $120 more and have the 100 watts when you need it - and just turn the power down for running QRP?



WA1RNE
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by N4QA on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
*Now* is the time to run QRP, whether it be CW, RTTY...whatever.
When the next solar cycle gets all tuned up, you'll be hard pressed to squeeze in a signal edgewise, when all the QRO ops, who couldn't cut the mustard during the trough, come on the air in droves!
72.
Bill, N4QA
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W9OY on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I like listening to weak signals. I spend most of my ham time low band DXing, listening for stations at or below the noise. Listening to weak signals is a blast. If you read my comments I am not knocking listening.

I do not find transmitting weak signals on purpose to be much to brag about. People have been transmitting weak signals since the beginning of ham radio. It is not amazing. Is it fun? Getting out a puny weak signal is more fun that not putting out any signal, but actually communicating instead of "well I missed 75% of that..." really isn't all that much fun, or sticking to "RST.. Name HR is... WX here... pwr hr 5W 5W 5W.." so that the receiving guy has a greater chance of filling in the blanks really isn't that much fun. Ya Ya I know you once talked to a guy for half an hour and HE WAS RUNNING ONLY ONE WATT.... The exception does not negate the normal experience.

If you read this article it's about how to get people to notice your puny weak signal and take the time withstand the pain of actually talking to you, The underlying premise therefore is if you have to do tricks to get people to listen to you, puny weak signals are not all that desirable.

72 W9OY
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by KC8VWM on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Curious why anyone would bother with an FT-817 or any other 5 watter when you can buy an FT-857 for just $120 more and have the 100 watts when you need it - and just turn the power down for running QRP?

----------------

Well because I was stupid and I really didn't know any better at the time...

Does that help answer your question? :)

Not only is it cheaper to but the 857D in the longrun than the idea of buying a 100 watt amp seperately for the FT 817ND, but a built in 100 watt amp means it would weigh less and take up much less space in a backpack too!

Also the FT-857D has a detatchable face which means more options are available to you in a portable setting.

The detachable face fits better on your waist than the entire FT 817ND does.

Also the FT 817ND doesn't have any way to install a mobile bracket on it. Your constantly finding something to prop it up to an operating position.

So basically wby the time you spend all the money upgrading the FT 817ND to do what you wan't you could have just bought the 857D instead.

The internal battery pack inside the 817ND is really just a novelty and you really need an external SLA type battery pack anyway.

73

 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by KB1GMX on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I'm not the usual hardcore QRP op. I operate at low power and prefer VHF. Low power is the limit for my power source. That being solar to run the shack.
Sure I can fire up power supply turn on a brick amp
and crank it up. It's not as much fun.

Normal ops here is 20Wpep or less usually around 5-10wpep SSB on 6/2m using solar/battery. Lot of homebrew and some end commercial with greater emphasis on RX performance than TX power.

My expereince is not a good antenna system but, an excellent one. Sure you can get by on a wire in a tree
and I've done that but for serious signal hunting nothing beats a antenna with height and if possible some gain. On VHF thats easier to do but, at HF a compromize antenna is exactly that. A clean signal going out and the best reciever I can find or build. The long standing rule is if you can't hear them you cannot work them. They will not listen to you if you have a clicky chirpy signal on CW or SSB that sounds terrible or fuzzy so a clean signal helps even if low power.

I have 23 countries on 6 alone, 48 states and hundreds of grids none during the solar peak. I'd say 90% of that was being there and listening.


Allison
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by K3YD on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I'd like to recount a QRP experience I had a few years ago which demonstrates how good QRP can be. I was operating as a guest OP at a Field Day operation in Virginia. Location was adjacent to the York River near Williamsburg, VA and the antenna was a horizontal full wave loop, up 50', fed with real ladder line. (In summary, good location and good antenna.)
On Sunday morning just after sunrise I called CQ on 40 SSB and generated a "run" which lasted over 2 hours from the initial CQ. I received many "BIG SIGNAL" compliments and several folks doubted that the station was QRP. It was. We were using an older Ten-Tec running on battery power and carefully adjusted down to 5 Watts. I recall a Bird wattmeter being in line to make certain of power output.

Thanks to the gang at the Williamsburg ARC for their hospitality that weekend and for giving me one of my best ham radio memories.
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by W2LJ on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
First off - your QRZ page explains everything.

Second of all:

"If you read this article it's about how to get people to notice your puny weak signal and take the time withstand the pain of actually talking to you, The underlying premise therefore is if you have to do tricks to get people to listen to you, puny weak signals are not all that desirable."

Tricks? What tricks? What "puny weak signal"? Why do YOU have such a hard time getting it that a 5 Watt signal is not necessarily a "puny weak signal"?

When I run QRP, I don't have to take out a magic wand to get people to listen to me. And I've had more ragchews that have lasted longer than an hour while running 5 Watts, than I can shake a stick at. Obviously, if my signal was so "puny" and "weak"; why would anyone stay in a QSO with me for all that time? Oh, I know! It must be the handcuffs that magically appear at the other end of the QSO - the ones I made using my magic wand to "do tricks". And then I magically clean up the blood from their ears with same magic wand. What blood? The blood that comes from making them "withstand the pain".

Do us a favor - don't Elmer anyone with that attitude.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by AK2B on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
From W9OY:
I like listening to weak signals. I spend most of my ham time low band DXing, listening for stations at or below the noise. Listening to weak signals is a blast. If you read my comments I am not knocking listening.
I do not find transmitting weak signals on purpose to be much to brag about. People have been transmitting weak signals since the beginning of ham radio. It is not amazing. Is it fun?

So if you want to QSO with one these weak signals at or below the noise, do you first ask if they are doing this on purpose? If they are, is it No soup for you?
Really, what difference does it make? Why do you even care? Did a QRPer run over your dog?
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by WB9NJB on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Great article. I operate an 817 at 3 watts into a 4 element beam at 75 feet from Colorado. I use the 817 outside on batteries when I work around the ranch. I frequently get great signal reports, and then tell them I am only running 3 watts. Great fun. The 817 has gone to Canada on remote fishing trips with wire strung in the trees. I usually start with checking in with the Maritime Mobile Service Net and go from there. On the last Canada trip, the outfitter had set up the cabin with solar lighting. To my great pleasure, there were two 100 amp hr batteries running the system. Needless to say, I never had a concern with having enough battery power during the 7 day trip. As for W5JON and and W9OY, go pound sand.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by NS6Y_ on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Those Pixies are really junk though! Sure, build one so you can say you did, but the real fun/small is a Rock-Mite, 40-40, or Small Wonder Labs SST, or get the Small Wonder Labs NorCal 40a and the book that's used with it to teach a college course on radio and learn sumpin'.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by WB9NJB on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
KC8VWM- In addition, even if you crank down the power on a 100 watt radio, the rig is still drawing far more battery power than the 817. When lugging batteries around on a camping trip, you become quite sensitive to power draw.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W7ETA on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Still trying to figure out what the difference is between me working a station with R of 3 running 1KW, 100, or 1 Watt?

If I didn't want to work a station that wasn't an easy, 100% copy, I either wouldn't have called him, or responded to his call.

Guess one could call CQ, and append "I will ONLY respond to someone who is way above the noise level on my end!"

"CQ only for anyone using a keyboard to send CW, with perfect spelling, that can type, error free, at the speed I'm sending, living in a 3 beedroom, two bath house, with a 2 car garage, 70 foot tower, using an beam antenna with at least 3 elements on this band, feed with Belden coax, running a modern transceiver, with two active crystal CW filters and external DSP."

"What say someone, please?"

73
Bob
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by KC8VWM on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!

One thing I will say about running QRP using a rig like an FT-817ND is that you gain a great deal of satisfaction and appreciation from using it.

Unlike my main station and the idea of using big gun stacked yagi's on my roof, it takes more effort and skill to operate QRP.

Everything matters in QRP.

Only use resonate antennas. Never use coils, traps or antenna tuners. Always choose the lowest loss feedline. Squeeze out every last ounce of efficiency you can possibly muster.

The QRP motto - by KC8VWM:

"No coils, traps or tuners for me - I'm working QRP!"

Basically, that should be everyone's motto.

Operating QRP is not about using antenna tuners which only introduce unfordable losses.

Efficiency is supposed to be maximized to the extreme.

It continues to perplex me why some people intentionally reduce thier signal's efficiency when in many instances they don't always have to.

For example, why use a single random longwire and antenna tuner combination to work all bands, when that same longwire can be folded back against itself to various marked lengths along the wire and it becomes a perfectly resonate antenna on the band of your choosing?

Why why why?

Also, why would you wan't to degrade your signal further by connecting your rig behind several layers of coax patch cords using 6 or 8 Pl-259 connectors between the rig and the antenna going though VSWR bridges, antenna tuners, coax switches etc etc.. when a single PL-259 to the back of the rig will do?

The amount of time one spends twirling knobs on a box finding that sweet spot, can be much better spent reconfiguring the antenna for perfect resonance.

What's the better thing to to do?

Carry all the extra gear to make it all happen?

...Make it happen?

:)

72
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by KC8VWM on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
WB9NJB,

KC8VWM- In addition, even if you crank down the power on a 100 watt radio, the rig is still drawing far more battery power than the 817.

-----

Another excellent point from another like minded "efficiency conscious" QRP'er.

Thanks! I didn't realize that myself.

72
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W5JON on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"As for W5JON and W9OY, go pound sand."

It is nice to know you are respectful of a differing point of view.

For the 47 years that have been licensed I have always gone by the premise that "I will always try to put the best signal on the air POSSIBLE, for ME" (antenna and power), as it will generally ALWAYS make it easier on the other operator, and I know that I have done my part for a solid contact, and/or new country (for me AND/OR you). And no I do not care if you are QRP or not, I only ask for the pleasure of the contact.

This is also the case when I operate out of the country (G0AOH, P40DX, V31FB). Needless to say when out of the county, I do not have the Yagis and KW, but "I will always try to put the best signal on the air possible" (antenna and power)for ME, as it will ALWAYS make it easier on the other operator.

If you can honestly say that 5 watts (or less) is the "best signal" possible for YOU, and it is not "possible" to run more, then fine. But YOU can not honestly say, it will ALWAYS make it easier on the other operator.

No matter how you try and spin it, the contact (QSO)is only as good as the receiving capability of the "other operator", and I choose to make it as easy as possible, not as difficult as possible to make the contact.

BTW Aruba (P40DX), and Belize(V31FB), both have plenty of sand to "pound", "butt" I prefer to try and have a solid QSO with your QRP station.

73,

John W5JON






 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by W6DXO on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I Have worked over 150 countries with my FT 817.

In addition to the thoughtful comments of others I would add that contests offer a fantastic opportunity for success with QRP, regardless of the mode you are operating.

At least 100 of my 150+ QRP DCXX contacts were made at THE END of major contests. When major contests start to wind down the casual contesters have usually packed it in and so have most of the big guns. Those still operating are the serious Ops. for which every single QSO meeans at least one additional contest point.

This is when the DX stations start calling CQ and really listening.

I found it amazing how well these satations hear QRP signals at the end of a contest.

Don't even try to mix it up during the first half of a big contest unless you hear someone else calling CQ and not getting an answer.

I love getting a "new one", and it's even more fun when you bag one QRP.

73 de harry, W6DXO
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by KT6K on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Posted By W6DXO

"Don't even try to mix it up during the first half of a big contest unless you hear someone else calling CQ and not getting an answer."

I know somebody that knows how to fish when I see him...best advice so far!
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by WI2Q on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Exactly. I worked DXCC with the FT-817. Although I would not consider the G5RV the best antenna even if it is up 70'. Patience, Patience, Patience.
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by N0AH on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I think running QRP is great. I don't have to talk to anyone and my neighbors have no idea I run an HF walkie talkie toy in my basement-

QRO FOREVER
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W2RDD on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
As, essentially, a QRPer and never more than 15 watt operator, I appreciate the copying efforts of any QRO operator that may be on the other end of the QSO.

To level the playing field, I tend to search out other weak signal stations that may possibly be at QRP levels. In fact that has become my favorite on-the-air activity, weak signal work on 17 and 30 meters cw, preferably DX.

The antenna is undeniably the most important factor. But, I am amazed with my successes using my Argonaut V or SG-2020 to a Buddistick out the window...if the gosh-darn power-line noise is not overwhelming.

I have found QRP operators to be a friendly and considerate group. Very likely because we are all facing the same operating challenges.

73 and hope to hear you QRPers on 17 or 30.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by KASSY on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
No, you should not sign /QRP when trying to work DX. While it may help with some DX, there is a growing portion of DX stations who will actually avoid working those who sign /QRP, because they're seeking special treatment.

QRP CW is a piece of cake. I'm only a few years ticketed. Last year, worked a contest...forget the name, it's on Thanksgiving weekend, a CW DX contest. Using a K2 set for 5W and just wires in trees, I worked 80 countries that weekend. My CW speed was no better than 12 or so at the start of the weekend and closer to 20 at the end. This year, I'm going to try to get 100 countries in that contest. I never even think of signing /QRP and I don't seem to have trouble being heard.

I agree, it seems to be easier near the end of the contest. But it was a fun test of endurance to try to operate as many hours as I could.

- k
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by NI0C on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"there is a growing portion of DX stations who will actually avoid working those who sign /QRP, because they're seeking special treatment."

It's not because they're looking for special treatment-- rather it's because sending /QRP is a big waste of time, and extremely annoying when one is trying to dig out the callsign. I can send my callsign twice in the time it takes to send my callsign/QRP.

Put yourself in the place of the person on the other end who may be trying to copy a signal 20 dB weaker than what you have to deal with.

73,
Chuck NI0C
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by N0AH on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Just read the latest QRP contest result. Average power used in the QRP category was around 550 watts- Worked All States awards average around 100 watts. QRP is in the mind of the reader, not the operator who convinces himself he is QRP when his amp lights stay just below the red MAX OUT reading.

It's nothing personal about QRP'ers, but most of you lay claim to this and that using 1/2 a watt.

Go right now to any international DX band on any HF band with 5 watts or less, (yes, I'm giving you 4 watts to your so claimed one watt for status...."I never run the full 5 watts!") and start logging.

You think I'm full of solder?? Then why do amps, 99% of them, have a 30 meter setting?????? Gee Wiz- It's human nature to always want more than you're allowed-

Oh here's a good one from Bubba in LA, "If I can't see my RF setting or my power reading, I must be running QRP!!!!!!!". Barney (2006)

Yes, I am going to invest $20,000 in towers to run my $30 home built QRP rig from Walmart-..........Donald Trump

QRP operator profile:

Single

Average weight 140 lbs (We all know you come in at 280!!!!!)

Wears glasses even if he does not need them-

Carries bottle of water-

Hangs out at Computer World looking for Ms. Right!

Has MFJ tuner(s)

Using high grade Radio Shack Boom BOXER stereo strainded copper wire at around 5 gauge lined throughout the attic

Or

Spider web cast in bronze for stealth operation

Prefers plastic wrapped turkey for lunch-

Has a pet bird-

Uses weight scale with adjustable dial-

Has shirt pocket protector full of pens and slide-rulers in short sleve collared shirt for hamming it up!

Has no idea what 6 watts means-

Enjoys yachts, scuba diving and Stratego-

Not t0o bright if you think about what he pays per watt for a high end QRP radio vs people using their brains running an RF control on a stock 100W rig to go to the so called QRP zone-

Sponge Bob fans-

Metaphysics is not in their vocabulary-

Favorite movie: Willie Wonka and the Chocalate Factory or Email Me to Heaven.

Use 100lb test line for fishing trout steams-

Only one double whopper? Bring on ten for a new record! It counts if I only eat the pickles, right????


(-: Har!
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by K0CBA on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"""So you're saying that in your entire Ham career, you've never ever heard a QRP station that was 579 or better?I can't even keep track of how many times, I've worked N9NE in QRP contests, only to have him blow the cans off my head with a 599+ signal from WI to NJ.

Your idea that QRP signals always have to be dug out of the noise floor is ill conceived. Many times, it might be true; but not always and that's the point.

Again, this holds true to ALL amateur radio QSOs; not just QRP ones - if you don't want to listen, if the incoming signal is too weak for you - then just move on. I guarantee that you won't hurt anyone's feelings by not working them. But please don't try to make QRP operators feel somehow guilty that we're making all of you "stick your heads in your speakers" to copy us. Just ain't true."""

I usually dismiss people like you out of hand and I may be sorry for this but you have actually pushed my button.

I was just making the observation that the receiving station deserves some credit too. But being the true NJ jerk you appear to be, you had to make it a personal attack.

So, you were licensed in '78? well bully for you sonny. I had 18 years under my belt by then. BTW, I had done my 20wpm at the FCC 3 years by then so I guess I'm just not impressed with your credentials....AND I didn't need to BUY a vanity call to try to wow people.

Agree of not, if you can't respect someone elses' opinion maybe you should 'belt up' and take a deep breath of that fine New Jersey air.

 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by WA8MEA on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
QRP is alive and well! Not only from my own personal operating experience, but from the reaction of our customers. Over the summer, we offered a free 40 meter QRP transmitter with the purchase of certain antennas. We sold antennas like hot cakes! In fact, we've decided to continue the promotion through the fall and probably the entire winter since the campaign has been so popular. Dave Ingram of CQ magazine is going to do a piece on our free QRP transmitter promotion just in time for the holiday season.

The MUF is lower. So you have to move down in frequency. The static levels have dropped lately here in Michigan on 80 meters. So I've been having fun collecting counties on 80 meters as I work towards Five Band Worked All Counties QRP. I use homebrew xmtr's with a Sangean 818 rcvr. I also own an MFJ Cub 80 meter xcvr. And I have two converted CB's: one for CW and one for sideband when ten meters is open.

40 meters is ALWAYS open QRP, night and day. I stay away from 30 during the "gray line" periods. Too many high speed maximum wattage ops. And when the snow flies, I head up to 160 meters to work some QRP, both CW and LSB.

Don't forget the County Hunter's Net and the Century Club Net! They gladly welcome QRP'ers.

73, Bill - WA8MEA
http://HamRadioFun.com
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by KT6K on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Someone said don't sign '/qrp' in a contest. Who ever heard a station refuse a contact in a contest?

That's the best time for qrp'rs to make contacts, the big boys get real hungry during the final hours...they'll talk to you, because the frequency is 'real' quiet.

lol
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by NI0C on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"Someone said don't sign '/qrp' in a contest. Who ever heard a station refuse a contact in a contest? "

As I (and others) tried to get across in earlier postings, nobody wants to hear the stupid appendage /qrp to a callsign-- what they want is your callsign. It's as dumb and annoying as giving only the last two letters of your call. You will likely be passed over. This is especially true if your signal is down near the noise level.
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by AE6CP on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Man this thread is a breath of fresh air!!
I love qrp, and just wanted to throw my two best <5watt stories out there.

-I had just received my general ticket and ran down to HRO Sunnyvale to buy my first HF rig. I got the 817 because it was the cheapest thing in the store. (I hadn't found e-bay yet) That night I went camping on the top of a hill in Castro Valley, Ca, I had my 817 and a B&W AP10 antenna.... This antenna is about four feet long with a loading coil and wonder lead... I had a single counterpoise. I tuned the antenna for 20m SSB and started scanning, at 14.255 I heard "ok now let's open it up for QRP.. Any QRP stations go ahead" I had no idea who this was or where he was but I threw out my call "Kilo Golf Six Charlie Kilo India" I listened.. "Ok KG6CKI your 55 into McMurdo Station, Welcome to the ice from KC4USV"!!!!! Antarctica!!! 5 watts into a glorified dummy load on 20 meters SSB at night!!!! WOW!!! My first HF contact. I framed the QSL card.

Second story, this past summer I was out in the desert West of my home in Albuquerque, I had the old 817 and a 33 foot Par EndFedz end fed 20m dipole on one of those 33 foot telescoping poles. The pole was on a large camera tripod which works fine if there's no wind.
Anyway, I'm talking to an old friend KC9IDK in Illinois and I'm right in the middle of a sentence when I watch my entire antenna fall over in a gust of wind. The whole thing just slammed down into the loose sand and actually sort of buried itself. Without thinking I said "Oh my gosh my antenna just fell over" I un-keyed the mic thinking how stupid it was for me to say that into the mic when I heard him come back "your antenna fell over??" !!!!! 20m SSB 5 watts into a buried wire!!!! New Mexico to Illinois!!!! QRP is great!!
73
-Larry

 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by KC8VWM on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"Ok KG6CKI your 55 into McMurdo Station, Welcome to the ice from KC4USV"!!!!! Antarctica!!!

--------

You lucky dog..

Great stories. :)

72 de KC8VWM
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W9OY on October 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!


Now I get this QRP thing, it's kind of a race to see who can have the crummiest signal, and one actually takes pride in that. The thing I haven't figured out yet is why one would want a good antenna if the point is to have a crummy signal. Seems counter intuitive. Seems to me a 817 and a Miracle Whip antenna is about optimum for a QRP setup.

Well I'm off to pound some sand!

72 W9OY
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by W2LJ on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
To K0CBA:

"I usually dismiss people like you out of hand and I may be sorry for this but you have actually pushed my button.

I was just making the observation that the receiving station deserves some credit too. But being the true NJ jerk you appear to be, you had to make it a personal attack.

So, you were licensed in '78? well bully for you sonny. I had 18 years under my belt by then. BTW, I had done my 20wpm at the FCC 3 years by then so I guess I'm just not impressed with your credentials....AND I didn't need to BUY a vanity call to try to wow people.

Agree of not, if you can't respect someone elses' opinion maybe you should 'belt up' and take a deep breath of that fine New Jersey air."

All I asked was if you ever heard a QRP signal that was 579 or better. And I stated that I had. That is a personal attack?

Your response is a personal attack. Using words like "jerk" using the derogatory "sonny" and belittling my callsign is a personal attack.

OK - so you dislike QRP and QRPers - I respect your opinion. Different strokes for different folks ... relax, take a deep breath - it's okay.

Very best regards to you sir - have a wonderful day.
Larry W2LJ

BTW - I didn't "buy" the Vanity call to "wow" people. I got it because "L" and "J" are my first two initials. I apologize if that offends you.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by AB9LZ on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
W9OY

"Now I get this QRP thing, it's kind of a race to see who can have the crummiest signal, and one actually takes pride in that. The thing I haven't figured out yet is why one would want a good antenna if the point is to have a crummy signal. Seems counter intuitive. Seems to me a 817 and a Miracle Whip antenna is about optimum for a QRP setup. "

Well coming from someone who seems to enjoy sniffing his own farts (per your website) I'll have to take any advice or opinion or yours concerning QRP with a grain of salt, and maybe a little air freshener too.

I do see why some folks like QRO, no need to accuratly zero someone, just get within a khz and blast away, the other guy will hear your keyclicks and rit on over ; )
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by NG9D on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I forgot to mention that I have met the nicest people working 3W into wire antennas.

I think the CW roundtables and ragchews are really fun.

RST reports are helpful, but I can usually tell from the conversation topics if the other stations are receiving my QRP transmission.

When the stations in the QSO are communicating, exchanging ideas without requests for repeats, then the power level is appropriate.

Just my opinion. Nice people on CW QRP. In fact, CW ops are nice people in general.

73/72

NG9D
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by KC0QXU on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I've really had my fill of reading posts based on ignorance from power mongers. You people just don't, or can't get it!?

I know ham's who have it all. They've got ten's of thousands of dollars just in towers, not counting everything else. They look at all that and just say: "Been there, done that, ho hum....boring". They've had their fill of buying black boxes, plugging them in, and working bands. No effort. Nothing interesting whatsoever. These people have gone to QRP because it is interesting. It's a return to classic ham radio. It's what ham radio is about.

Yes, a person should get excited over making a contact using 1/2 watt. It's interesting. It's a challenge. Geting excited over a challenge is what ham radio is about.

Without QRP and CW, I wouldn't have bothered to get a license. Nothing interesting in spending money on black boxes.

Even the title of this article saying; power-challenged. It is the challenge that makes it what it is. You power mongers either can't, or won't realize that a good signal is far more than power. Is it that you're just not too bright? Or are you bound to speak from your ego's? I feel sorry for you people. You've lost what ham radio is all about.

 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W5JON on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
KC0QXU:

Can you not read, I said:

"For the 47 years that have been licensed I have always gone by the premise that "I will always try to put the best signal on the air POSSIBLE, for ME" (antenna and power), as it will generally ALWAYS make it easier on the other operator, and I know that I have done my part for a solid contact, and/or new country (for me AND/OR you). And no I do not care if you are QRP or not, I only ask for the pleasure of the contact."

And I might add that I enjoy Amateur radio as much today.... no make that MORE today, then 47 years ago with my Heathkit AR3 Receiver and 15 watt "homebrew" transmitter, followed by a long procession of "homebrew" equipment. So please do not lecture me on Ham Radio traditions, as I was probably licensed and "got it" before you were born.

So no matter how hard you try, I will not be sorry for trying to have the "best signal I can have" with antenna and power.

Good luck and may you make you goal of making a contact with .00000001 watts and a Rhombic.

73,

John W5JON


 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by K3ESE on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
W9OY: thanks for the humor! I get it now...you're pretending to be a stupid-assed troll! Ha ha ha...you really had me going there, for a while!

73/72
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by NI0C on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Gosh, the noble QRP'ers versus the "power mongers." It's just not that simple. As a sometimes QRP operator, I think both sides have much to learn from each other.

QRP operation can be fun, that's for sure. QRP operation also helps us define the limits of what is possible-- it is incredibly amazing what can be accomplished with five watts or five milliwatts. In many cases, QRP power is what enables a ham to operate at all-- from a campsite on a backpacking or kayak trip, or from a solar-powered cabin in the mountains, or from a condo or apartment where stealth operation is important.

What QRP'ers tend to forget in their enthusiasm, is that many, if not most, most of the DX contacts we brag about are asymetrical; that is the station on the other end may be employing considerable more power and/or using a superior antenna than ours. Power makes it easier for us to copy them, while the better antenna helps enable them to pull us out. Thus, our DX achievements are frequently leveraged by the "power monger" on the other end. How many QRP operators who worked 3Y0X would have been able to do so if the expedition were running QRP power, or even a barefoot rig at 100 watts?

QRP'ers can brag all they want to about strong signals made possible by good propagation, but there's no denying that 5 watts is 13 dB weaker than 100 watts, and 25 dB weaker than 1500 watts. It's not being a "power monger" to use that full legal limit amplifier when the conditions require it.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W9OY on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
AB9LZ

Well I guess you sure told me. Thank you for your most cogent analysis.

W2LJ

<I was just making the observation that the receiving station deserves some credit too....>

By jove that's my point!!! I would just emphasize "most" of the credit.

vy 72

W9OY


 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W9OY on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
K3ESE

Stupid assed troll? Naw just a mild mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper.

72
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by K5UJ on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I can appreciate the fun and interesting aspects of QRP, even though I have no interest in it myself. I see why building a tuna tin type rig and using it to make dx contacts would be cool for some people, but as in anything, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about qrp.

Right: Mostly cw, or some digital mode, short qsos, mostly on the higher bands and whenever possible, with gain antennas (yagis, quads, phased towers with lots of radials).

Wrong: Low bands, 20 db over 9 QRN, operating phone with 5 w. and a mobile antenna on 75 m., then launching into a 10 m. transmission as if I'm sitting back cooling out with armchair copy. Trying to convert all hamdom to qrp, calling for a fcc ban on amps, telling me I never need to tx more than 100 w.

I politely attempt to answer all who call me (I operate the low bands 95% of the time) and at least give a signal report, but there are times on the low bands when 100 or 200 w. isn't enough, and getting on there on phone with an IC703 and whip antenna....please, get a reality check.

There are things to appreciate about QRO too by the way. 3-500s, heliax, vac. variables, dahl transformers, Cardwell roller inductors, ceramic silver contact rotary switches...these are beautiful things also.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W6TH on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
.
Hee is my favorite true story of qrp:

When I was first licensed in 1938, I had a "TNT" oscillator, which is called a self excited oscillator.

I heard this XU2 call sign which was from China call cq on the lower part of the 80 meter band at 3.499 Mhz, he was out of the band. I called him at 3.502 Mhz, he gave me a 579, I in return gave him a 579. My antenna was a half wave single wire fed tapped on the tank coil, no tuners of any kind.

We both had nothing elaborate in those days and yet with our low power had a fine solid qso, this sold me on qrp from that day forward.

This contact was from New York to China, not bad for a few dollars rig.
.:
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by AB9LZ on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
K5UJ

"There are things to appreciate about QRO too by the way. 3-500s, heliax, vac. variables, dahl transformers, Cardwell roller inductors, ceramic silver contact rotary switches...these are beautiful things also."

Those very things are what got me hooked on ham radio when I was a kid*. My neighbor had a massive rackmount homebrew amp driven by a full boat collins setup. It was a thing of beauty to any ham, much less a ten year old. He gave me an old 1963 handbook,.. spent many hours drooling over the photo's of the all of the cool stuff you could make... including the big amps.

In many ways qrp homebrew brings me closer to those times than any modern pre-built rig could ever hope to... on a budget that I can afford.

And yes, I always appreciate the stations that can hear me when times are tough, ....always good to hear "rig hr is tt orion"...

73 m.

*although hooked, didn't get ticket for another 35 years.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by NA6Z on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
John W5JON raises a good point. The question I remember hearing is "is 1 watt into a 4x4 curtain array still QRP?" Why not just be completely honest and define QRP in terms of EIRP!
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by NA6Z on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
And yes, I walk the talk. Rockmite and indoor 5M wire antenna.
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by VK4DGG on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I must say that I don't have a dog in the fight about pro or con, high power, low power. I use both. I love QRP for a number of reasons. Obviously it is not the mode for people who take pleasure in full log book pages. It is not the mode for keeping scheds unless it is with other QRP stations. However, I have a great deal of pleasure with my QRP station. I have spent a ton of my disposable income on all the prettys that can be used with my FT817. I have several types of portable antennas, tuners, little amplifiers. I have two setups, grab and go, Hamstations in a box. Everything needed to operate a portable setup in one small container. I take one of my boxes and head off down to the beach on nice days, and set up my buddipole and a flexible solar panel and operate for a few hours enjoying the weather. I have nice conversations with passersby who show interest in what I am doing. When The family goes off for a visit with friends I can throw a briefcase into the car that has complete Ham station inside, and when things get a little slow, out on the veranda I go or to the picnic table under the tree and I can play Ham radio with a minimum of setup time and hassle.

A lot of my fun is derived from just trying new portable setups to reduce the size of the package. I don't use CW though I know the code and I have two miniature keys that would fit in the box no problem.

The thing about QRP is you have to adjust your thinking. It is like years ago, if you bought a VW Beetle after years of driving big V8s, entering the freeway required a different strategy. With a V8 you just stuffed your foot in it and moved on in. With the VW it took a little more finesse, a little more planning, QRP operating is something like that.

Once again, I have a regular Hamshack, I have a IC706 mobile, but I think I have more fun with the 817 and all its operating possibilities than either of my full power stations.

That's my 5watts worth.
73's
Mark
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W7ETA on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
For some strange reason, I thought I was allowed to run the Novice input as output on 30 meters. Most of my rigs only do around 100 watts on 30 meters.
Bob
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by N3OX on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
As far as QRP and crummy signals go:

Station 1: 100W into a 20 foot high 40m dipole on 75m with 100 feet of RG-58 to the tuner in the radio.

Station 2: 5W into a 60 foot high resonant 75m dipole on 75m fed with 100 feet of good coax.

Given that we're supposed to run the minimum power necessary to make the contact, shouldn't we be Station 2??

QRP can be fun. Maybe you need to give the credit where credit is due for DX contacts where you're low power + crummy antenna. On the other hand, most DXers brag about making contacts that are largely due to the skills, equipment, and location of the DX station... many DXpeditions are that way. 3Y0X is a good example. I worked 3Y0X on 40m SSB from an apartment with an invisible magnet wire antenna. I think it's great and amazing that I got through... but it didn't have much to do with MY station. Few of us have the kind of station that could contact Peter I if the guys on Peter I had only been able to put up a G5RV Jr. and were running 20W to conserve battery power.

Anyway, day-to-day, hour-to-hour differences in propagation can EASILY swing signals 13 or 25dB in either direction... so worrying about whether QRP'ers are putting out weak signals kind of ignores the role that chance plays in ALL of our contacts, from 50mW to full legal limit.

Dan
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by KC8VWM on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Station 1: 100W into a 20 foot high 40m dipole on 75m with 100 feet of RG-58 to the tuner in the radio.

Station 2: 5W into a 60 foot high resonant 75m dipole on 75m fed with 100 feet of good coax.

-------

The better coax and resonate antenna wins hands down...

It funny how many people put $5,000 bucks into a 200 watt rig only to connect it to a hamstick stuck on an air conditioning unit and then somehow they expect to do better than a 5 watt rig with a full length resonate antenna raised in the clear.

Good comparison you raise Dan.

73
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by KX0R on October 6, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Wow, what a long and interesting set of responses this has turned into!

I love the FT-817 - it's cute, and it's an amazing piece of engineering. It's no wonder that it, the Elecraft rigs, and many other QRP radios have become so popular. It's kind of a big, heavy, power-greedy radio though - the KX1 and now that ATS-3 have redefined things. QRP is getting really small, like cel phones!

The part of QRP operating that I'm still working on, and I think more of us should consider trying, is what I call "true portable". This means taking the radio out on hikes, away from a vehicle, with a minimum of weight and gear. It's at least 10 times harder to do this successfully than to take a radio car-camping or to a hotel room.

I recently got hold of some lithium ion batteries, and a pound will run the FT-817 for many hours. Three 18650 cells, which weigh less than 6 ounces, will put out about 11 volts and will run a KX1 at 3 watts for longer than I plan to operate portable! No, they are not Sony batteries; and yes, I know they are dangerous if abused. They look like little sticks of dynamite sitting on my workbench right now... This is where the technology is pulling me. Lead gel cels are no fun to carry up a mountain where there is no trail.

I want to operate from mountains and hilltops, beautiful wild places around here where there is little RF noise and where the scenery competes with the QSO. You can put out a really good signal from a hilltop with a low antenna that you can get up in minutes. All that stuff about weak signals is bull, unless the band's dead, if you put up at least a quarter wave radiator in a good place with ground that slopes down in the direction you want to go.

For the "true portable" operation to be fun, total rig weight must be only a few pounds, and setup must be easy. If you try it you will discover that it is not always as easy as it seems. I plan to keep working on my act until it gets easy. I know I have a lot to learn.

I totally disagree with the few people here who think you need resonant antennas for good QRP operation. If you do some modelling you'll find that resonance is affected by height of antenna, capacitance to trees, etc., which you can't control in the field. If you want to operate on more than one band, and you don't want to carry more than one antenna, you may have to use a tuner. Many QRP rigs are actually unstable if operated into a reactive load, so a tuner is almost a requirement with these radios, like it or not.

My favorite car-camping QRP antenna is a 40-meter dipole fed with Radio Shack 300-ohm foam TV balanced line. It works well with a tuner on 40, 30, and 20, and it can be hung in various configurations to suit the available trees or whatever. It has standing waves on all three bands, and it gets out great!

No, don't sign /QRP in contests - it takes too long - and do sign /QRP when rag-chewing if you want other folks to know you're QRP. When I go camping sometimes I get a run of QSO's, as stations call me when I sign with one station, and I'm sure it's because I'm operating in the QRP part of the band and because I'm signing /QRP. Many of the "new callers" are QRP also. This is a lot of fun, and I don't thing I would have these runs if my signal was way down in the noise.

Confession time - often I run my FT-817 and homebrew QRP radios through my 4 X 1625 amp, which is almost QRO at 250 watts out. I built the amp in about 1982; only last year did I find that it works nicely in Class AB1 with the FT-817 running 1W on SSB, and it's so easy to tune that it seems like I made it for that radio... I like my silver-plated coils, ceramic switches, the glowing filaments, the meters, the rack, the big knobs, and the way a neon bulb lights up 2 or 3 inches from the ladder line. What makes our hobby great is that we choose the parts of it we want. QRP isn't for everyone, but it is great fun for many of us. Likewise, there are times when my FT-817 works a whole lot better with four 1625's connected to it!
 
RE: How to QRP -- Just do it !  
by N4QA on October 7, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Lofty, resonant antennas work well too, but...

There's no big hairy deal about using random lengths and heights of antenna wire and a 'tuner'.

For example, my primary antenna for 1.8 - 50 MHz is just an 80m span of 17 AWG solid aluminum electric fencewire up 5m and 'tuned' via an Icom AH-4 remote autotuner. Plus, with the AH-4 in bypass mode the same antenna works well for receiving on down to VLF.

On twenty meters, I've worked Venezuela on PSK31, running ten milliwatts from the IC-703 while the driver FET was totally removed from the rig.

Also on twenty, I've worked Martinique Island on RTTY, again running 10 milliwatts, this time from the NorCal FCC-2 DDS VFO barefoot.

And, when running a whopping QRP gallon (or less), I've worked the world on CW, RTTY and PSK31...all bands.

All using the above-mentioned antenna and tuner, located here in Pulaski County, Virginia.

None of it was anywhere near miles-per-watt records floating around out there.

All of it occurred here near the bottom of the current solar cycle.

Use a monster antenna and a big rig, turned down to QRP (or below) levels if you choose... It's all good!

See you out there!

72.
Bill, N4QA
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by WA4DOU on October 7, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
" John W5JON raises a good point. The question I remember hearing is "is 1 watt into a 4x4 curtain array still QRP?" Why not just be completely honest and define QRP in terms of EIRP! "

QRP remains QRP regardless of whether the definition of QRP is power output from a transmitter or E.R.P.

If one ran a transmitter at the following power levels into an antenna with 10 db gain, neglecting feedline losses, the following E.R.P.'s result:

1500 watts = 15,000 ERP
1000 watts = 10,000 ERP
500 watts = 5,000 ERP
100 watts = 1,000 ERP
50 watts = 500 ERP
10 watts = 100 ERP
5 watts = 50 ERP
1 watt = 10 ERP
100 mw. = 1 ERP


QRP is QRP regardless of what antenna is employed. If you wish to have reasonable results with QRP, you need a reasonable and efficient antenna. Its your choice!
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by KC8VWM on October 7, 2006 Mail this to a friend!

When playing QRP, my line of thinking was always the idea that using an antenna designed with gain, is typically much lighter to carry along than the idea of using an amplifier to achieve the same power output end result.

Squeezing every last decible while minimizing every possilbe loss in the antenna system has always been the name of the game for me.

73
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by K8QV on October 7, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
How dare you people use the least amount of power necessary to achieve the contact. Wait until the FCC hears of this!
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by N3OX on October 7, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
N4QA mentions:

"There's no big hairy deal about using random lengths and heights of antenna wire and a 'tuner'.

For example, my primary antenna for 1.8 - 50 MHz is just an 80m span of 17 AWG solid aluminum electric fencewire up 5m and 'tuned' via an Icom AH-4 remote autotuner."

Yeah, no problem with that... my example with the 100 feet of RG-58 and the half-length dipole was cooked up to evoke a fairly typical situation where someone dumps a huge amount of their transmitter power in feedline losses.

In my example, using a 40m dipole on 80m leads to a feed impedance of something like 10-j1000 ohms. The loss in 100 feet of RG-58 at 3.5MHz with this mismatch is 22dB ! ! ! ! Some hams do this *all* the time. Having in-rig autotuners makes it easy.

So someone, at 100W, using their 40m dipole on 80 through 100 feet of RG-58, is going to be 9dB weaker than a 5 watt station with a highly efficient antenna. At a kilowatt, they won't put out any signal because their coax will arc over and/or melt :-)

Resonance isn't necessary... having a good, low loss way to match into whatever random hunk of wire you're using is. An autotuner will do that, so will a manual tuner and open wire... but not 100 feet of RG-58 operated at 560:1 SWR ;-)

Dan
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by WA4DOU on October 7, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
NI0C wrote:
"Gosh, the noble QRP'ers versus the "power mongers." It's just not that simple. As a sometimes QRP operator, I think both sides have much to learn from each other.

QRP operation can be fun, that's for sure. QRP operation also helps us define the limits of what is possible-- it is incredibly amazing what can be accomplished with five watts or five milliwatts. In many cases, QRP power is what enables a ham to operate at all-- from a campsite on a backpacking or kayak trip, or from a solar-powered cabin in the mountains, or from a condo or apartment where stealth operation is important.

What QRP'ers tend to forget in their enthusiasm, is that many, if not most, most of the DX contacts we brag about are asymetrical; that is the station on the other end may be employing considerable more power and/or using a superior antenna than ours. Power makes it easier for us to copy them, while the better antenna helps enable them to pull us out. Thus, our DX achievements are frequently leveraged by the "power monger" on the other end. How many QRP operators who worked 3Y0X would have been able to do so if the expedition were running QRP power, or even a barefoot rig at 100 watts?

QRP'ers can brag all they want to about strong signals made possible by good propagation, but there's no denying that 5 watts is 13 dB weaker than 100 watts, and 25 dB weaker than 1500 watts. It's not being a "power monger" to use that full legal limit amplifier when the conditions require it."

Chuck is to be commended for this post. There is a great deal of merit in these words and only a person who has looked at the situation from both perspectives will likely recognize that merit.

There is nothing to prevent a QRP'er from employing the highest gain antenna possible (and the greatest directivity) and the lowest feedline loss in an effort to maximize station performance. In doing so they maximize their receiving capability and the ability to "pull out" even lower levels of signals. Only a masochist would deliberately handicap themselves by choosing to employ an inferior antenna when they have the means and circumstances to do better.


 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by KC8VWM on October 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
QRP'ers can brag all they want to about strong signals made possible by good propagation, but there's no denying that 5 watts is 13 dB weaker than 100 watts, and 25 dB weaker than 1500 watts

----------------

Pumping 100 watts into a miracle whip antenna is still nothing compared to pumping 5 watts into a full sized resonate half wave dipole.

Debate Db and power output level if you will, but it still comes down to the idea of the actual antenna used that propogates the signal.

73
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by W8VHO on October 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
LIfe is too short for QRP!
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by WA4DOU on October 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
In the QRP world, there are two (2) major events per year, the Spring and Fall QSO Parties, sponsored by the QRP Amateur Radio Club International. The Fall QSO Party is but 2 weekends away from now. It runs from 1200Z on Oct. 21 thru 2400Z on Oct. 22. You may operate up to 24 hours during this period. More information is available at www.qrparci.org. All are invited and encouraged to participate and if you don't have the ability to reduce your power to 5 watts or less, you're still welcome. Hope to see you there.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by WA4DOU on October 8, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
There are two diverse philosophies at work in amateur radio, especially in the MF/HF/lower VHF range. One is a reflection of a culture that often engages in wretched excess, the QRO camp if you will. The other comes at its objectives via the minimalist route, "how little can we achieve our objectives with?" There can be no denying that the QRO camp often engages in the use of more power than necessary. In fact, the proliferation of higher power amplifiers out there often becomes the justification for running higher power more often than necessary. Years back, maybe in the '90's the FCC had a program in which they were visiting amateur stations and asking the ops to make some contacts and then reduce their power with the objective of demonstrating that power reductions weren't as fatal as the amateurs may have previously believed. There is a lot to be said for approaching things via the minimalist route. There is virtue and satisfaction in having a desire to maximize efficiency and in reducing consumption accordingly. In America we have the most liberal laws and the most minimal restrictions on amateur power levels, and even then we have amateurs who cheat and run up to several KW beyond legal limits. But even recognizing all of these factors, there really are times when propagation and conditions dictate that higher power levels are appropriate. As QRP'ers, some of us easily accept that and respond accordingly. Others may not, prefering instead to wait for another day when conditions are more favorable to the use of QRP. There is no single right or wrong way to look at this. The average amateur station in the world today is probably running 100 watts and has an antenna with anywhere from -5 or -6 dbi gain to +12 or +14 dbi gain. Those with the lesser gain figures are stations with indoor or low efficiency antennas. Those with the greater figures are the stations with pretty efficient triband yagis or smaller monobanders. Naturally the results achieved with the better antenna gains will be greater using QRP than 100 watts into the lesser antennas. Pity the person who chooses to use QRP with such antennas, yet they are there and do often achieve remarkable results anyway. Perseverance and tenacity go a very long distance. With the 10-13 db performance edge that cw enjoys over ssb, is it any wonder that the favorite mode of the QRP'er is cw?
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by W2LJ on October 9, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
WA4DOU

"With the 10-13 db performance edge that cw enjoys over ssb, is it any wonder that the favorite mode of the QRP'er is cw?"

Great post! And it is very true; there are many times that QRP just won't do the trick. That's why the experienced QRPer will admit (like someone else posted), that you have to "Know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em.

Whether your a QROer or a QRPer (but especially if you're a QRPer) a good knowledge of propagation and at the very least, decent antennas are a must. This just makes sense for ALL amateur radio ops, regardless fo how much power you use.

Funny, when I joined QRP-ARCI back in the early 80s - the goal was to keep transmitter output to 100 Watts or less. That it was changed to 5 makes no matter. The true initiative was to make the most out of your equipment and operating skills. And part of that is knowing that when you may or may not be putting out a "mondo" signal that CW is the best way to go.

73 de Larry W2LJ
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W2RDD on October 9, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
When my 5-to-15 watts doesn't do the job, I just pick up the book I had been reading or go for a hike. Any number of other diversions are available.

It is rare that a cw contact isn't made. But like the man said, you have to know when to fold'em.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W2RDD on October 9, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
But, I will tell you, the QRN from all sources is hellish when trying to copy QRP signals. My own signal is, no doubt, no exception.
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by K0EX on October 10, 2006 Mail this to a friend!

We (W0KV - Alan, Terry, Jay, and Mark) ran QRP this year in Field Day and did well. Concurring with another guy, try the monthly 1st-Monday Spartan Sprints (www.arsqrp.com). Hang around the QRP calling frequencies (7040, 14060, etc), too.


-Mark K0EX
Rocky Mtn Telegraphers - W0KV
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by VK2TXB on October 12, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
well I hooked up my 817 to my 20 mtr hamstick, with 40 ft of coax, and spoke to New Zealand from las Vegas last week,... I was impressed. Anyone can pump 1000 watts into their beams and make contacts! I mean really, wow what a thrill he heard my 1000 watts??? I mean really, so he bloody well should hear it! But, 4-5 watts into a (tuned) 20$ hamstick, in crappy conditions, IS something to be proud of I think. There has to be some element of challenge in anything you do in life, to make the payback worthwhile .
Cheers
Andrew
VK2TXB portable W7
PS- I like power too, but variety is definately the spice of life...it's a big world out there guys!
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W5JON on October 12, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
VK2TXB:

If you want some challange while in Las Vegas, try Black Jack, or Texas Hold em. Life is too short for QRP otherwise.

73,

John W5JON
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by W2LJ on October 13, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
'Life is too short for QRP otherwise."

I guess in that case, then, life is too short for QRO.
Life is too short for Phone.
Life is too short for RTTY.
Life is too short for code.
Life is too short for DX.
Life is too short for football.
Life is too short for NASCAR.
Life is too short for baseball.
And the list goes on and on and on and on .....

Life is too short .... period. So you might as well get some enjoyment in, doing what you like to do even if others don't quite understand or agree with it.

As long as it's legal! ;)

73 de Larry W2LJ
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by PETEMILLIS on October 14, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Larry, good last post - life is too short, full stop.

I enjoy QRP. QRP to QRP contacts can be easy, especially with CW. Sometimes I wish I could pump some more power out when I hear that DX but can't quite make it. But then I know that at another time I will make, so I just move on. Less than 5W has seen me with DX into Brazil, Venezuel, Belize, Puerto Rico, all over US, Europe etc from my QTH in south of England. Both SSB and CW. And that's at this low point in the sunspot cycle.

And QRP contacts don't have to be short RST exchanges - I've had half hour CW ragchews with other QRP stations. Last one was yesterday afternoon with a guy in Belgium on 80m - 40 minutes with our signals only just rising above the noise, 5W each way.

For me, the fun of it is making the contacts with as little power as possible, and experimenting with antennas to make the most of what I have, and being able to operate for hours on end from the beach using my NiMH packs and 20W solar panel with a total equipment weight of about 5kg - all of which fits confortably in my rucksack. Can't do that with 100W output!

If people prefer to run QRO, then fair dinkums. If people prefer QRP, then fair dinkums. Yeah there's more skill in trying to pick a weak signal out, but the signals aren't always weak (I get S8 or 9 reports often from the US when I'm on the beach in England). And my reports from home when running 5W last week were still S5 into Belize - and S5 is hardly a weak signal is it? And I enjoy picking out signals from other QRPers. That's all part of the fun. Fair to say the receiving station will need to make more effort to pull out a signal that's below S9+, but I see no reason to apologise for that. Either they want to try and pull me out or they don't. If they don't, then fair enough - it's no loss to me and they shouldn't feel obliged to make any extra effort if all they want is armchair copy QSOs or they don't have the patience/skill or whatever to hear me.

Life's too short to bitch about other people's preferences. This whole thread was supposed to be "How to QRP", and it seems to have turned into something else.

My tips on how to make successful QRP contacts:
- be patient
- use your brain
- think about what the bands are doing and where to operate
- think about location: can you get out /p to a more advantageous location? The beach can see you a good 6dB or so improvement in antenna gain with a vertical. Getting out of town will help get your signal out. And going /p all adds to the enjoyment anyway. Make it fun!
- think about antennas: if /p you need to look at ease of set up as well as ultimate performance. And no, you don't need a resonant antenna - sure you don't need a tuner with a resonant antenna, but often band changing agility is more important and for this there's nothing to beat a good tuner and an antenna that will work well on a range of bands. And in real life, the difference in efficiency is negligible - both will radiate the same and proving you can match the non-resonant antenna efficiently then what's the difference? Fraction of a dB maybe?
- listen
- know where to call (I often find that calling CQ is more effective close to where there is other activity in the band, and quite often this is nowhere near the QRP centres!)

There's so many more tips all covered above. But most of all, whether you are QRP or QRO or a bit of both, it's all supposed to be fun - else it's not worth bothering with. But for me - I just find it the QRP thing addictive, and I've learned CW as well which seems to have guaranteed me getting replies to my CQs and daily QSOs when SSB can't quite cut it.

Love and peace!
Pete M3KXZ
G-QRP 11767 QRP-ARCI 12560
Brighton UK


 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by NU4B on October 15, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Hi,
I've been QRP for over 20 years. I'm building a website at www.qrpdx.com. Not all is working yet, but I have a couple pages on QRP DX'ING TIPS that is up and running. There are some ideas on how to make QSO's that I've found successful over the years.
Good Luck
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by W2RDD on October 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Nice comments, Pete. I hope to work your UK QRP station on 30 or 40 meters CW when I get over to France in early November. The way things are now going on amateur radio-wise this side of the pond, QRP CW on or near the "official" CW calling frequencies is the only thing I am interested in these days. And, who knows how long the ability to pursue even that will last.
73
 
How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Power-C  
by AB7JK on October 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Listen for heterodynes on 20 meters in the late afternoon below 14025 khz. It's usually Euros tuning up. Get them on the first call.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by AB7JK on October 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
In 1996 at the bottom of the last sunspot cycle I worked a JA on 30 meters at 7:30 in the morning using a 1 watt Ramsey transmitter, Sangean ATS803A receiver, and a half wave end fed wire. At around the same time I had a 15 minute ragchew with a VK station using a 1 watt 20 meter Ramsey transmitter and an end fed wire.

It's all about patience, timing, and luck and less about propagation and equipment.
 
RE: How to QRP -- Operating Strategies for the Pow  
by WA4DOU on October 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
" It's all about patience, timing, and luck and less about propagation and equipment. "

It has everything to do with all those qualities, especially propagation. With qrp, you don't make propagation.
 
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