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Author Topic: How do you QRP?  (Read 17005 times)
K0EWS
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Posts: 38


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« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2013, 10:38:30 PM »

I have re-discovered my love of QRP this Summer and it's been great. For me, my QRP experiences have been sitting on my back patio with a K1 that I built, powered by a battery, feeding a wire antenna that I built, working stations near and far. It's GREAT! Just tonight, I had a wonderful QSO while sitting on the patio cooking dinner on the grill. It's the feeling of getting out of the shack, but still enjoying radio. It's also that feeling of wonder of seeing an antenna that you built working well, making contacts hundreds or thousands of miles away, on very little power and a rig you made yourself. More than anything, it's that sense of wonder of making a QSO with another ham thousands of miles away with the same amount of power that it takes to run an HT, or less. That's what gives ham radio its magic.
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KA0HVE
Member

Posts: 117




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« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2013, 08:05:22 AM »

K0EWS,

That sounds great!  I have a fairly large back porch raised above ground level that has a view that goes on for at least a couple miles out over the tree tops and farm land.  I need to get set up to work there.
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WA9CFK
Member

Posts: 116




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« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2013, 11:18:22 AM »

I have built a couple of QRP rigs because I like to build radios. One of my rigs was just a kit assembly the other was from scratch using 40 plus years of accumulated parts. Others are hybrids modifying commercial kits by adding homebrew vfo’s, filters and etc.

My current rig is a couple of modified 80 m Howe kits I picked up years ago. One Rx and one Tx with about 5 watts. I use my 80 m loop and my QRO power supply.

Definitely no ego thing here, if the band is good I use QRP of not I switch to QRO.
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K7RNO
Member

Posts: 279




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« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2013, 04:19:12 PM »

So I am the oddball here: green-pea ham with a remaining short life expectancy but the longing for getting "back" on the air (I was a radio mate in the German Navy in the late 60s). No time to experiment with rig options, but determined to stay within QRP and CW, I went with an Elecraft KX3 and am still in the finishing touches (for now) with portable antennas. I cannot TX from home, only RX, and no real chance to get some copper up high. So I have scouted out some tall trees in a nearby park where I can launch my multiband dipole. This is in northern Utah, landlocked and in a valley. Last Sunday I was excited to receive three German stations on 20m. I didn't even try to contact them, it was chaos on that band.

I hope to find an optimal antenna setup, a place in the shade, and a full battery to be able to reach out there, and the further I can make it, the wider my grin will be. It would be nice to have a functioning shack at home, but it would be even nicer to be 40 years younger and healthy. Oh well, I can enjoy what I have.
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73,
aRNO
NAQCC #6870, SKCC #11131
W8GP
Member

Posts: 224




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« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2013, 11:58:03 AM »

CQWW 160M contest, using what ever rig I have, turned down to 5W.Currently using a Yaesu FT-950 and a 1/4 wave vertical.
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ZENKI
Member

Posts: 997




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« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2013, 04:41:09 AM »

I do it  with a HF military HF Manpack  radios. Either pedestrian mobile, laying on the front car seat with a mobile whip, mobile with a low dipole or portable vertical, seawater pedestrian mobile and  aeronautical mobile. 40 meters I like CW for DX and local work. 20 meters is mostly SSB or CW during contests. I dont believe in 5 watt QRP. My ideal QRP power on SSB is 20 to 30 watts and 5 to 10 watts on CW is more than enough.

The main question I ask is that if I was in trouble can I get the message through effectively without struggling. With a HF manpack radio and 20 watts, the answer to the question is absolutely! If I was running low power like 5 watts, the answer is always dependent on distance. 20 watts can get a message through on any mode on any continent and at any time when the propagation is there. I know its ham radio and its only a hobby, but its nice to know that whatever the circumstances that I have an effective setup. Very few QRP operators can safely say  this without relying on a super stations to pickup their ineffective signal out of the noise.

Yes there is doubt that portable low power operation is fun, but its nice when your setup is effective. Miracle whips  and 5 watts and under is not in my logic for QRP operation.
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NU4B
Member

Posts: 2345




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« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2013, 07:19:48 AM »

and 5 to 10 watts on CW is more than enough.



I have to ask (just to be a smarta**  Grin), if 5 to 10 watts on CW is more than enough, wouldn't, say, 4 watts be enough?
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ZENKI
Member

Posts: 997




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« Reply #22 on: August 17, 2013, 08:19:14 PM »

Yeah it probably is based on the signal to noise advantage of CW or the band used.   However this does not address the issue that in many places of the world the noise pollution is rendering  even  QRP CW ineffective. Under these circumstances even something as little as 3db can make huge difference.. So rather that picking some arbitrary power level and being bloody minded about that level, we should really ask ourselves what power level will get the message through. If that means going from 4 watts to 6 watts so be it. If it means you can go from 4 watts to 1 watt and get the message through so be it.

I just dont buy the argument that 5 watts is QRP because some contest committee decided that it is going to be their QRP power limit. Many people defend this power level like its the holy grail. None of them asked with technical reasoning how and why this random power level was selected.  These days with modern propagation software we can easily determine what the minimum effective power will be when using simple antennas for a given signal to noise ratio. This is the more intelligent way of doing things rather than reaching down in a grab bag of qrp power levels and mistakenly grabbing the power short straw.

QRP on CW or SSB does not have to be about banging your head struggling keying or shouting if the right power level is used. Simple dipole and verticals are good reference antennas whose performance limitations based on height or ground loss can be quantified. What we need is  the ability to adjust for the vagaries  of the ionosphere  and other variables by adjusting our power output. Just like a carpenter does not take a screwdriver to hammer in 6 inch nails hams should not prance around bragging about communicating to the world  and then carry and use tools that cant do the job effectively.

Power is just like  a hammer whose force  can be used  selectively. Who can argue about sensibly adjusting ones power that suits conditions rather than some ideal make believe contest power QRP rule that has no basis in science. The fact is that most ham regulations state that we should use the minimum power necessary  for communications. It does not say use one power for all conditions  because the contest committee said QRP power was 5 watts.  These days with modern battery technology its feasible to run even a 50 to 100 watt transmitter portable for an extended period and still be portable.  This is not 1953 where a 100 watt transmitter took up a the whole back of a army truck!  If technology some day enables us to carry some sort of battery in our pocket that will allows us to run  a 100 watt transmitter that will be my future QRP power limit because  thats what technology is enabling us to do. Ham QRP was always about equipment weight, power availability and  cost. None of these are issue these days for most ham equipment so why not use the power level that  balances all these factors out and gets the message through. I cant see the point of going out portable and talking to nobody because my power level is too low. Thats the bottom line for my QRP operation, I use the right power level consistent with enabling me to communicate effectively.

Anyway its hobby and we all enjoy doing things differently. There are guys now experimenting with light and laser communications using flea power. But even they know they need a  minimum of power to make this mode  effective.  I bet even they know that turning down the power to the point where it is ineffectual  is pointless. We just need to have the same attitude on HF rather than drawing a line in the sand because a contest rule told you to use 5 watts or less.  Bend with the wind!



and 5 to 10 watts on CW is more than enough.



I have to ask (just to be a smarta**  Grin), if 5 to 10 watts on CW is more than enough, wouldn't, say, 4 watts be enough?
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NU4B
Member

Posts: 2345




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« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2013, 09:19:02 PM »

Yeah it probably is based on the signal to noise advantage of CW or the band used.   However this does not address the issue that in many places of the world the noise pollution is rendering  even  QRP CW ineffective. Under these circumstances even something as little as 3db can make huge difference.. So rather that picking some arbitrary power level and being bloody minded about that level, we should really ask ourselves what power level will get the message through. If that means going from 4 watts to 6 watts so be it. If it means you can go from 4 watts to 1 watt and get the message through so be it.

I just dont buy the argument that 5 watts is QRP because some contest committee decided that it is going to be their QRP power limit. Many people defend this power level like its the holy grail. None of them asked with technical reasoning how and why this random power level was selected.  These days with modern propagation software we can easily determine what the minimum effective power will be when using simple antennas for a given signal to noise ratio. This is the more intelligent way of doing things rather than reaching down in a grab bag of qrp power levels and mistakenly grabbing the power short straw.

QRP on CW or SSB does not have to be about banging your head struggling keying or shouting if the right power level is used. Simple dipole and verticals are good reference antennas whose performance limitations based on height or ground loss can be quantified. What we need is  the ability to adjust for the vagaries  of the ionosphere  and other variables by adjusting our power output. Just like a carpenter does not take a screwdriver to hammer in 6 inch nails hams should not prance around bragging about communicating to the world  and then carry and use tools that cant do the job effectively.

Power is just like  a hammer whose force  can be used  selectively. Who can argue about sensibly adjusting ones power that suits conditions rather than some ideal make believe contest power QRP rule that has no basis in science. The fact is that most ham regulations state that we should use the minimum power necessary  for communications. It does not say use one power for all conditions  because the contest committee said QRP power was 5 watts.  These days with modern battery technology its feasible to run even a 50 to 100 watt transmitter portable for an extended period and still be portable.  This is not 1953 where a 100 watt transmitter took up a the whole back of a army truck!  If technology some day enables us to carry some sort of battery in our pocket that will allows us to run  a 100 watt transmitter that will be my future QRP power limit because  thats what technology is enabling us to do. Ham QRP was always about equipment weight, power availability and  cost. None of these are issue these days for most ham equipment so why not use the power level that  balances all these factors out and gets the message through. I cant see the point of going out portable and talking to nobody because my power level is too low. Thats the bottom line for my QRP operation, I use the right power level consistent with enabling me to communicate effectively.

Anyway its hobby and we all enjoy doing things differently. There are guys now experimenting with light and laser communications using flea power. But even they know they need a  minimum of power to make this mode  effective.  I bet even they know that turning down the power to the point where it is ineffectual  is pointless. We just need to have the same attitude on HF rather than drawing a line in the sand because a contest rule told you to use 5 watts or less.  Bend with the wind!



and 5 to 10 watts on CW is more than enough.



I have to ask (just to be a smarta**  Grin), if 5 to 10 watts on CW is more than enough, wouldn't, say, 4 watts be enough?

Well...sorry.... I don't get what your problem is. You can operate at whatever power level you want as long as its legal. You can call it whatever you want. Why you want everybody else to buy in is beyond me.
You can join in a contest and follow the rules ----or not. Just like any other contest, game, or whatever. It sounds like you want everybody else to recognize you as a QRP operator when your not. If you don't, I'm not sure why you bother with this forum.
Life is full of arbitrary rules, regs, etc... It seems the vast majority of hams are happy with the current definition of QRP. I think a million people have said  - if you want to run 25 watts or 50 watts or 100 watts , go for it. You can measure input power, output power, ERP, or whatever you want. I don't know why you would need our recognition.
Anyway, most everybody has been through this with you over and over and over and over....
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W1JKA
Member

Posts: 1821




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« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2013, 03:35:19 AM »

Re: NU4B reply #23

  Maybe ZENKI is taking an adult education course in in English grammar and composition along with practicing his typing skills, he would be hell on wheels in the REPEATERS forum. Wink
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WY4J
Member

Posts: 115




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« Reply #25 on: August 24, 2013, 12:38:21 PM »

Not much of a QRPer here but I do get a thrill when making a contact with my little two bander Ten-Tec R2040. Even though the little guy is hooked up to a 2 element SteppIR.
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AD6KA
Member

Posts: 2238




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« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2013, 01:59:00 AM »

Quote
Even though I'm very, very new at it sometimes I feel like I'm cheating
by using a rig that weighs more than a pound.
 


Don't feel like that!
Don't let others dictate your style.
Find the style of operating you like and just do it..
I hate it when these self appointed purists say:
"This is 'Real QRP' or that is 'Real QRP' ".

Baloney!
The whole idea of ham radio is to have fun!

Actually, I run 100w or even QRO much more of the time than
I run QRP. But I still enjoy QRP....a lot.  I like to jump around in operating
styles, operating modes, bands, etc. I find it keeps things interesting to
have your fingers in more than one pie, so to speak. That's one
of the GREAT things about ham radio....there is SO MUCH to do and learn!


Sometimes I run QRP with monoband kit rigs from home
with my home QTH antennas. Other times I go to the local
park, tie a tennis ball to a piece of wire, and just fling it up in a tree as best I can.
(Not cool to take a 'wrist rocket' slingshot into a public park in an urban area!)
Sometimes I'll take my laptop and my SWL PSK-20 and operate QRP PSK-31.y
It *always* blows me away what you can work with QRP CW or PSK-31, always.
 
I LOVE going to Yosemite with my K2, a couple 7 mAH batteries, my key and mic,
and take the time to put up either a 20m-15m-10m fan dipole,
or a ladderline fed 66' dipole. But Yosemite is over 5 hours from my QTH
and camping reservations must be made well in advance.
(I never stay in Yosemite Valley, too many obnoxious tourists and,
and the valley is surrounded by steep tall mountains. I stay in Toulomne Meadows,
or on the South Fork of the Merced River by Wawona - near the South Entrance
to the park). Far fewer people.....

73, Ken AD6KA
« Last Edit: August 25, 2013, 02:26:15 AM by AD6KA » Logged
N1NQC
Member

Posts: 66




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« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2013, 11:25:59 AM »

Hey All,

I am kind of in an "involuntary" QRP situation right now , even though I LOVE the whole CONCEPT of QRP.

I had  severe   RFI issue with  frequently setting off the fire alarm system in my apt building. None of  the "standard" cures worked. I finally moved  and reconfigured the antenna and the issue seems to be solved ( at least to 7 W on CW, which is the lowest the IC -7235 will go).
 
My next  concern is "saturating" the apt.s immediately under the antenna (which is only 8' at  the feed point  sloping up to 15 ' at ends above a flat wood deck/rubber roof). FWIW current  ant is a classic   "T" dipole for 40 M. I'd LIKE to run more power,  but out of concern and consideration, won't.

All of you who have room to build "real" antennas, count your blessings and remember those of us   who  can't.

The ant radiates in an   NVIS pattern, so despite only running a 2.5 W or so SSB   average, I have  a number of contacts  in the Eastern US,especially at less than 200 to 300 Mi. My reports  are as high as +20 !!!! NO dx though (but  I don't mind, I am LUCKY to have what I have at this QTH).

Back when I was on V/UHF  I did some really   REALLY ultra QRP stuff : driving a  2M SSB rig at near zero audio,using a  roof mounted 50 ohm resistor ( 1 or 2 mW out on UHF- still able to trip a distant repeater) , etc, etc.

I haven't done any "VOLUNTARY" QRP on CW HF  (YET !). I'm still getting my act together on that,especially re portable antennas.  My lowest powered  HF rig is an SW-40 (which I love !) at 2.5 W.
 FWIW  years ago I built a  "Talking Pixie"  for the AM b'cast band . It's range is all of SIX inches (but with GREAT sounding audio , Hi ).

de K
« Last Edit: August 25, 2013, 11:30:19 AM by N1NQC » Logged
W1JKA
Member

Posts: 1821




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« Reply #28 on: August 26, 2013, 03:39:42 AM »

Re: N1NQC

  Is there a possible way to raise your center height another 8 ft. or higher for at least a flat top or some what inverted V ? Most hams consider a Dipole a REAL antenna even if qth set up conditions are less than ideal.
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N1NQC
Member

Posts: 66




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« Reply #29 on: August 26, 2013, 04:54:03 AM »

Hey JKA,

No way to raise anything , supports /tension won't  allow  it.

The reason I don't consider it a "real" antenna is it's VERY low height above the gnd plane ( re  the wiring inside ceiling of apts.  below).

The UP side is that it Is a true half wave long.

K
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