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Author Topic: QRP rig vs. turning the power down  (Read 6335 times)

Posts: 203

« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2009, 01:29:57 PM »

Like others, I agree there is nothing wrong with dialing down your "big rig" to 5 watts and making that QRP QSO.

But if you don't make a QRP QSO with a rig that you built yourself, even from a kit, you are missing one the most exciting experiences in ham radio.

My first kit rig was a PSK-20 from Small Wonder Labs, one of the earlist version, before the lowered part count and doing away with the serial cable connection.
I finished it at 10 PM and hooked it up. This was at my California QTH. When I heard those warbles coming through the speaker I was just thrilled. I DID it! I hooked it up to my laptop and multiband vertical and saw that one of the stations was VK2CA calling CQ. I called him, never in the world expecting he would hear me. He came right back to me and we had an almost %100 copy 10 minutes QSO. I later measuered the output of my rig at 3 watts.  It was a moment I will never forget. There I was with a small (then $90) circuit board that I HAD BUILT with my own two hand laying on the bench, and I was communicating with someone 7,000 miles away. THAT's QRP! I got the card and now have the "1,000 Miles Per Watt Club Certificate" framed and proudly displayed in my shack. It started a 9 year (so far) love affair with building QRP rigs, and the latest count is 11 different QRP rigs. I have the K1 & K2, and have build 5-6 K2's for others. But the most satisfying moment in all of that building, tuning, and operating was that late night finishing up that PSK-20 and making that California to Australia 3 watt QSO.

So by all means, please DO experiment with low power on your big rig. Enjoy it. But spend $100-$150 (or less!) and buy a monoband dedicated QRP kit rig and build it. They are available for pracically all bands and modes, CW, SSB, PSK31, and even SDR. Feel free to write to me if you want more kit info and opinions. My email is under AD6KA ar QTZ.
73, Ken AD6KA/5R8GQ

Posts: 68

« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2009, 08:09:12 AM »

My first station had a home brewed one tube transmitter , so I started out as a QRP operator.
Today I have returned to QRP Kit rigs.
 The most importaint factor is the small size and fairly good receivers in the rigs I have built.
 Going on summer camping trips with my ham gear packed into a small gym bag is great. Setting up in a field far away from power lines and city QRN , using a NiCd battery for power and an antenna wire strung up in nearby trees keeps me happy all day...
About 7 years ago I got a MFJ 9030 to get on 30M and was very pleased with its performance. worked 45 states and 18 DX countries in the first year.
Last year I built the 80 and 40M MFJ Cub kits and have been thinking this is the perfect single band rig ! Adequate power to get heard, good reciever selectivity and sensitivity to hear anybody who can hear me, and then some. Simple operation, full QSK and only $ 99.00 plus shipping. Who can beat that ?

SKCC 1395T, FISTS 3853
Official US Taxpayer

Posts: 68

« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2009, 08:15:12 AM »

I forgot to mention that when I operate my big rigs, turning down the power when I answer a CQ on the Qrp frequencies is easy to do.
 I  find that a lot of hams with newer rigs don't even know they can do that ! All the complicated menus on newer rigs are too much for some . I am afraid that when I Finally wear out my TS440s and TS520 I will not want to get one of those rigs that are actually just computers with a RF section as an afterthought !  

SKCC 1395T, FISTS 3853
Official US Taxpayer

Posts: 699

« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2009, 11:21:59 AM »

Like many others have said, I too have owned several QRP radios over the past many years -- HW-8, TenTec PM-2B, Argonaut, MFJ monobander for 20, FT-817 -- but I've also turned the power down to 5w on a bunch of 100 watt rigs. At present, I've dedicated one of my back-up rigs, the FT-450, to 5 watts out operation. There are pros and cons to both approaches.

I have to admit I felt a special sense of accomplishment from using the HW-8 that I built about 25 years and still kick myself for ever selling it -- particularly for the price I let it go at. These days, I keep telling myself that I'd like to have a "high-end" QRP rig in the shack. I have an FT-817ND and it works well but for at-home use, those knobs and switches and the LCD readout are all tiny. I keep thinking that a K2 or IC-703Plus would look nice on the desk. Or a late model Argo. But I have too many radios already and it's hard to justify. Decisions, decisions.

73, Dave, N4KZ

Posts: 14421

« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2009, 01:09:40 PM »

To me, a major draw of QRP is operating with a rig that I built myself. Just turning down the power on a store bought 100W transceiver doesn't do it. In that regard it is really hard to beat a basic K2, a K1, or a KX1.

Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA

Posts: 18


« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2009, 03:05:50 AM »

I have also several only QRP rigs (Elecraft, tentec, Swl ,Heathkit hw-9...) and a ICOM "big rig". I think , like has been said here, that the callenge and philosophy of QRP is to work with simple equipments. A rig, however, can be "simple", and at the same time to present a very inteligent electronic design for achieve the best performance. Really, working QRP with only QRP rigs, reminds always the old emotion of our first CW contact. In any case i donĀ“t like to be dogmatic and I can understand also the people who prefers the "standart" rigs to work QRP...But for me, the speciual feeling of QRP is not in these rigs.
73 dx!

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