Being a 5 watt QRP nazi is like going to a gun fight with a slingshot because you think but are not sure if it will kill a man. We dont find QRP hunters going out shooting elephant and wild boars with a BB gun because they might get lucky. They go out with the tools to get the job done. Power output is a tool that compensates for things like antenna losses, propagation losses and any other vagaries of propagation. You guys are only arguing about QRP power because you have some Pavlovian preconditioned belief set by some contest power limit that low power QRP is gods ruling at 5 watts. Why not make it 1 watt if you so tough and can do so well.
Any reasonable operator knows that on some bands even 100 watts and dipole is struggle. These stations are in the majority so they know what reality is. Then you have QRP diehards arrogantly suggesting that 5 watts or 10 watts on SSB is good enough. It is very far from the reality of the vast majority of hams in the world. Reality is is just not on your side of the argument. I like low power operation and after 40 years of operation through extensive testing I am confident that if I go to any part of the planet with a reasonable antenna I can make contacts, exchange names and report and have some chit chat with the majority of hams. I dont have to confine myself to some magazine contest rule power limit. Thats why I use 25 watts. Its the best bang for the buck versus power output that can be achieved with battery power. Its also the power limit that can practically carried without needing a pack mule carrying batteries fuel and other accessories that spiral out of control catering for higher power.
This 5 watt QRP limit is just some imaginary power level made to make life hard and unpractical under most circumstances. If this power limit was arrived through technical analysis by doing extensive HF link calculations I would accept it. But where the argument falls apart badly about the contest 5 watt power limit is the non consideration of effective radiated power. If I use a 5 watts into a 20dbi stacked array with X Erp I am legal. If I run 5 watts into a Magnetic loop I am legal despite the station with the stacked yagi running the equivalent of 500 watts of power before we consider the takeoff angle gain. Who is kidding who here with this moronic technical argument about 5 watt QRP power being an absolute when this rule legalizes gain cheating if you dont run an amp to equal the ERP of the antenna cheat. You can clearly see how moronic the contest rules are. Then to have stations cling to this power level and argue about the supposed righteousness of this 5 watt limit exposes the flaws in their arguments. You can be an antenna gain cheat but you cant obtain the same gain equivalence with an amplifier. This is the line of argument that has been run here and its a nonsense argument about religious belief not about fairness or about effectiveness. The whole objective is to produce an effective station. That can be antenna gain, QTH gain or more gain from running something like 25 watts. Its the principle that is used by every normal QRO ham in the world. Cant have a 60ft boom monobander why not use a 1kw amplifier to give myself some advantage? Why is it such a criminal thing to do in the QRP community when saying going from 5 watts to 25 watts is still in the spirit of intention of low power and portability? Besides the overarching principle should be about communicating and getting the message through. Its not about your battle and failure because of your insistence about believing in what the tooth fairy contest committee who tells you that you a bad boy if you dont run 5 watts. This is the only argument we getting about the 5 watt power limit. Its not about science its about religious belief and what the grand poobah's told them to say and do not to do whats best for them.
What other stations do for enjoyment thats there business. But when your argument take on a religious fervor that has no basis in science then I cant accept those arguments. This is especially so when you and others try and push the QRP operating with something like 5 watts as a successful endeavor that can be achieved 24/7 every day of the year. Next we will have government officials believing this BS and telling hams that other hams can do it with 5 watts thats what the legal power level should be.
Just as you know what antenna is a bad or good antenna I and many others know what a poor power level is on SSB. You dont have to be a engineer to figure out how a modest increase in power from 5 watts to something like 25 watts can be. The problem is that most QRP operators dont have SSB portable QRP equipment that can run 5 watts or greater so they have never even tried say running 25 watts portable. So then its no surprise that they react like you burning their bibles and stomping on it. Besides what have I got to gain by also sticking to some arbitary power level like 25 watts? if it was not effective, is 25 my lucky number? No its not, the point is that it works and you can enjoy ham radio. It does not matter whether you on a park bench, boat, hotel cruise boat, a student in a dorm, its a power level that can work well with any antenna that a ham can imagine and come with. Thats the advantage it just works. Ham radio is about making things work and communicating not smashing your head into brick wall trying to reach mars by raising your voice into the mic. Oh I hear them religous 5 watt QRP operators screaming and behaving like CB'er with their FT817s cranking knobs to the right because they dont have enough power. Shameful ignorant behaviour when all they had to do is go out portable with station that at least ran 25 watts. You would not have to cause splatter or start behaving like CB'er thinking that turning up the mic gain is turning your 5 watts into 25 watts. What the most popular accessory that everyone is looking for their FT817? Of course its a small portable amplifier that boosts it power to something like 25 to 50 watts. Again more evidence based examples of the hard realities of 5 watt QRP operation that proves that for most users its largely a painful and unrewarding experience.
Back a long time ago, when ham radio was just evolving and starting. Most hams were running around 25 watts of power in doublet antennas. I used to listen to them when I was SWL'er. Even when moving over to AM this was still a popular power. Back then dreaming about 25 to 40 watts on phone was liking dreaming about 1500 watts from your Alpha. So the tradition of ham radio was almost founded on this power level which worked well for many station. A bit of nostalgia but this 25 watt experiment is nothing new. Those who are not into QRP or throwing wires up a tree from a park bench, please try it. During a DX QSO call with 100 watts. Turn your power down to 25 watts and see who comments! So far in the hundreds of regular DX stations worked none ever said, wow you gone down into the noise. They just carried on as if all my knobs and power output was normal. The case rests when the vast majority of hams cant notice the difference and it works so well from a portable location. Why would you want anything less than close to 100% reliability and effectiveness? Of course I respect your right to carry a .22 and run 5 watts thats your busines. I feel happier with my .45acp and my 25 watt manpack radio. I think I can do the job better without carrying a barret light 50cal, 1kw amp and a ton of gas on a trailer. Its all a matter of practicality and reality. KISS 25 watts!
Again the QRP 5 watt argument fails purely when you consider the effectiveness of different communications modes. Those who dont understand the effectiveness of one mode versus another would be advised to read the excellent article in December's QST by KE4PT. He is a diehard QRP fanatic and in a unbiased technical article discusses the advantage of one mode versus another. Failing to consider the superiority of CW over SSB is technical ignorance at its best. Sure nothing prevents you from trying and achieving pot luck. If you want an advantage over CW just turn your power up to 25 watts job done! Got a really crap antenna turn the power up to 25 watts. Amazing how the world changes when you can get heard. Life is too short not to be heard, what good is talking if people cant understand the message. Life is long enough for operation at the 25 watt portable level.
Ham companies please make more 25 watt radios that can also be operated from modern battery packs. I dont need a radio that runs off watch batteries or batteries mean to run kids toys. I need a battery pack that can run my radio for a day at 25 watts. I just got a new HF manpack radio, and its just superb.
This Codan HF radio is just such a perfect radio for HF portable QRP operation. The DSP noise reduction just puts so many radios to shame. The battery packs are excellent and the whole package is just so convenient. The magic part about this radio is its power output, its 25 watts and works very well. I wonder why they chose 25 watts of output. Someone tell CODAN they should have listened to the 5 watt QRP contest committee because they know about these things. The military and all the professional HF users dont know what they talking about! Now look at this nice Codan radio and compared it to the Ft817, external battery back, amplifier. Or even worst compare the Codan to a KX3 with amplifier and its huge mess of cables and accessories. Hams must like radios that are impractical and a holy mess when compared to the practical design effectiveness of a HFmanpack radio with 25 watts of output power. Please open your minds, and use the tools and equipment that work rather than have narrow minded views of equipment and techniques that work.
Sounds as though you may be having problems with your rig or antenna system. Myself and a few others have found out above 25 watts and below 20 watts anything is possible also.