Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1] 2 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Am I crazy?  (Read 1613 times)
KC8JDI
Member

Posts: 4




Ignore
« on: October 16, 2003, 05:13:17 PM »

Fellow Hams, I need guidance.  I am a no-code technician who is becoming disenchanted with the hobby.  VHF/UHF is starting to be boring to me.  I want to learn the code and am not afraid to do so.  But I also want to get into QRP.  Something about using my new code skills (once I get them) on a kit built TXCVR seems really cool to me.  But I have actually been discouraged by some from going this route.  Many have said that it will be too hard or that I should have more experience with code, etc before I delve into QRP.  I need your input.  I'm excited, I'm pumped up, but I also want to be realistic.  I have a REEEEAAAALLLYYYY long commute, so the code part will be easy.

Thanks a ton,


John
Logged
WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20574




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2003, 05:45:27 PM »

Why in the world would anyone discourage you??  That's nutty.

It is true that QRP is a challenge, and is easier for experienced ops who know the ropes well, but when I think about it, my first few hundred contacts as a ham (age 13, in the mid-60's) were all made using QRP, whether I liked it or not.  Didn't have anything else!

CW is a "great equalizer," anyway.  It's a universal language that has no accents, and 5W of CW power usually does about as well as 20W PEP of SSB power, or 100W of AM or FM power, all else being equal.  I've worked into Spain from Los Angeles, using 100mW on 17m CW -- that's about "60,000 miles per Watt" or so.  Which is nothing even close to a record -- hams have worked a "million miles per Watt" (I haven't, but some have).

And kit building is one of the most fun aspects of the hobby -- nobody should ever discourage that!!

73 & good luck to you!

WB2WIK/6
Logged
KD7RQH
Member

Posts: 24




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2003, 11:08:14 PM »

I was in your exact same position 8 months ago and went ahead and purchased the Yaesu Ft-817.  I have not looked back since.  QRP is not half as hard as some folks would have you believe.  If the band is open, 5 watts usually works just as well as 500.  I don't operate much CW, but quite a bit of digital and SSB and have never had much trouble making contacts.  Furthermore, without advocating any particular piece of equipment, my 817 with a Tokyo Hi Power amplifier (5 watts in, 50 watts out) gets me on the lower bands (80, and sometimes 40 when conditions are poor) without a problem.  If you are looking to go the kit built option, there are quite a few out there, the one I hear about the most is the K1 or K2.  I would not get a CW only rig as that pretty much limits your options.  The Yaesu FT-817 or Icom 703 are great QRP rigs, or even go for one of the higher powered Yaesu 857 or Icom 706 rigs.

     For portable, you probably want to stick with one of the lower powered radios as they have a lower current draw on receive.  Furthermore, you get more options on 2 meters and 440 (with the exception of the Elecraft and Icom 703) with USB and CW for that trip up the mountains...  I hear you on getting "burned out on the repeaters...", and the surest way to get past it is finish your code now (if I can do it, I suppose anyone can, took me three tries...) and get on the lower bands.  Also, remember, more than the radio, antenna, antenna, antenna.  I tune a 66 foot long dipole and 40 meters is no problem at all, with 25/50 watts I regularly check into nets on 75 and have no trouble getting copied.  Go for it, you won't regret it....
Logged
BIRDDOG
Member

Posts: 11




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2003, 06:51:50 AM »

Go for it. There will always be people trying to discourage you. There will always be people trying to hold you down at their level.

Code is not too hard. Don't allow that thought to dwell in your mind. When it does seem hard; you're trying too hard. Just do it. Quit thinking. If you had to think about walking; you'd never stand up. Here's a neat Koch trainer to help you.... http://www.g4fon.co.uk/

What you want to do is in the spirit of good old fashioned ham radio. Building things yourself that you also operate is what it's all about. Using that antiquated old morse code is fun and what it's all about....It's kinda like riding a Harley instead of a 200mph Kawasaki. Fiddling with neat toys is what it's all about. Not plug and talk.

I got a similar idea as you a couple months back. I walked into a testing session last week and walked out with my license. The tests aren't hard. Some think it's a big deal to walk in there a non Ham, and walk out with a General license. It isn't. Go ahead and get the General license. You need it to access the HF bands.

RonP
KC0QXU
FP-682
Logged
AK2A
Member

Posts: 16




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2003, 10:34:16 AM »

It aint true! My credentials for saying so...42 years on cw. When I started out as a 5wpm novice in Oct of 1961, the band was MUCH more crowded, We had to compete with Radio Moscow and a crystal filter was a rarity. It is MUCH easier to make a QSO today with 5W or less. Just one precautionary word, Use a good antenna. That would be a Dipole as high and in the clar as is pracicalVertical antennas are great for DX, but need more knowledge and effort to get them to play correctly. Good hunting!
Logged
W3JJH
Member

Posts: 1422


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2003, 12:59:05 PM »

There is no greater pleasure than busting a pileup with a QRP rig when a neighbor running a full-power amp can't.
Logged
ON4MGY
Member

Posts: 214


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2003, 02:51:01 PM »

Just learn your code and enjoy QRP.
It's true it will give you a hard time breaking a pile-up when the conditions aren't good. When the band you're using is open 5W will work just as good as 100W, but you'll have much more fun.
It's nice to say you've worked a 10.000 Km away station with 100W, but it's much nicer to say you've worked it with 5 Watts, or even 2 Watts, or perhaps 0.5 or 0.1 Watt. Yes, it's possible. Just use the best  antenna you can. That's what I've learned using QRP. Use a good antenna and low-loss coax cable, and just have fun.

Hope to work you once on QRP!!

73 de ON4MGY Nic
Logged
K7VO
Member

Posts: 1010




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2003, 01:08:51 PM »

My elmer was an ardent QRPer and 6m op, so that's where I  started.  6m is still my favorite band and I still operate mainly QRP almost 20 years later.  Sure, I've done other things, but I always come back to the challenge of QRP and the unpredictability of 6m.  

My first HF/6m rig was a Kenwood TS-660 (10W max on 6, 10, 12, and 15 meters).  I have one again.  It was a great place for me to start.

Good luck!

72/73,
Caity
K7VO
Logged
W4TQI
Member

Posts: 8


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2003, 12:46:25 AM »

When I upgraded to General in March, I only had enough Morse to pass the test, no HF radio, and wasn't really sure if I would be able to afford one.  Some web-searching revealed a low-power PSK-31 kit for 20 meters from Small Wonder Labs, which was very reasonably priced.  Assembly is quick and easy, and there are only three toroids to wind, and one four-turn bifiliar transformer.  You can check out the assembly manual online to see if it is within your kit-building "comfort zone".  There is a little bit of a waiting list for shipment, but it isn't too long.

I operated QRP PSK on 20 meters for several months before I could afford a "big radio", and I still enjoy seeing how far I can go on just those 3 Watts of power.   PSK-31 is a very power-efficient mode, and using just an attic-mounted dipole oriented north-south, I have made contacts from Canada to the north, to Brazil to the south, and several contacts in Europe and Russia, as well as the western US off the sides of the dipole.

My PSK-20 is currently part of a project to build a portable PSK station, which should prove to be a lot of fun on the air.  I'm still working on bringing my Morse code up to snuff, but until then, CW isn't the only way to have fun with QRP!

(Note:  No affiliation with Small Wonder Labs - I'm just a satisfied customer.)

-- Patrick
   W4TQI
Logged
W9GB
Member

Posts: 2616




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2003, 12:40:23 AM »

John -

IF you would like to build your radio, you may wish to look at Elecraft.  www.elecraft.com
You can sign up for the e-mail reflector (usually over 30 postings each DAY) - to get an idea of the group and QRP.  You can also join the AMQRP organization -- www.amqrp.org

w9gb
NorCal/AmQRP
AMSAT
ARRL
... 30 years and still operating (good bunny battery)
Logged
N0XAS
Member

Posts: 71


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2003, 10:16:04 PM »

Ditto most of the above.  QRP is not that tough, and a long commute is a great way to learn Morse.  One trick: When the tapes get boring or repetitive, get a copy of WAVGEN or some other software to make Morse code WAV files from text, burn yourself a CD with whatever text you want at whatever speed you want.  Kind of a book on tape sort of thing!  

The world is chock full of QRP CW transceiver kits.  Rock-Mites are a quick build and can be a lot of fun, but I like a VFO personally.  My favorite QRP rigs so far are an OHR-400 and a Kenwood TS-903SAT with the drive cranked down to about 3-5 Watts.  I've heard fantastic things about Elecraft products if you want to spend a little (or a lot) more.

72,
Dale - N0XAS
http://www.hamgadgets.com
Logged
KC8Y
Member

Posts: 240




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2003, 10:27:34 PM »

Don't let anyone tell you about QRP power...that's how my 2-buddies & I started out in ham radio (back in the middle 60s)...we, each, home-brewed 80-40M xmtrs having only 3-watts of power-input from 1-50c5 tube & wound 1-coil...had a ball doing it, too...from there we home-brewed linear amps & built a 15M 2-element quad...but we had the greatest of times building different antennas (which is very-very important with QRP, than power)...by all means, get the highest radio-license that you can!
Logged
K5PU
Member

Posts: 54




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2003, 10:48:03 AM »

I heartly second W9GB recommendation to check out the kits available at Elecraft.com

You get to build your own (world class) HF Xceiver and upgrade/outfit it at the pace your desire/budget allows. Finally you'll become part of a very friendly (and helpful) cadre of Elecraft owners.

I would also seriously advise you to ignore those that are trying to discourage you. You cannot imagine the satisfaction that comes from making a contact with a xceiver you built, running a 'puny' 5-10 watts using a mode (CW) that apparently most cannot seem to fathom these days. Not to mention there is something 'extra special' if you do it while sitting under a tree in the middle of 'nowhere' Wink
Logged
K7VO
Member

Posts: 1010




Ignore
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2004, 08:10:43 PM »

Well... John, don't leave us hanging.  Did you take the plunge?  Are you a QRPer now?  How is it working out?

72/73,
Caity
K7VO
Logged
JN3XCV
Member

Posts: 15




Ignore
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2004, 12:37:35 AM »

 KC8JDI on October 16, 2003 "I am a no-code technician who is becoming disenchanted with the hobby. VHF/UHF is starting to be boring to me."

So you have tried meteor scatter, satellites, weak signal CW and SSB, microwave, VHF roving,  fast scan television, and jt44 weak signal work and you are still bored! I recomend you quit the hobby then.

Or did you mean you are tired of FM and repeaters?

There is a lot of stuff a tech can do above 50MHz, the really fun stuff does not happen on FM. It is too bad that is what most hams think VHF and higher is all about. You, as a tech, can operate every mode above 50MHZ, how many have you tried?

Think about it. ham radio does not end with HF. I am an extra class and have been a ham for 25 years. I have the most fun on VHF and almost never am on FM, but I am on the radio almost every day. Yesterday I worked a station in PA from my home in IL. I was using 20watts on 2m and got him on meteor scatter and that was not even unusual. Later that evening when Oscar 40 was overhead I worked another 3 stations in the eastern US with just 4 watts of uplink power.

With my modest station I have worked 41 states on 2m and 21 on 6m (I like satellites more than 6m!) in just over a year and I do not even have a tower.
 
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!