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Author Topic: Starting HF with QRP?  (Read 32750 times)
KE5JPP
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« Reply #30 on: September 03, 2012, 05:21:03 AM »

to AA4GA......What an honest and sincere reply you made above in this forum. Truly I tip my hat to you and hope that someday we will run across each other on the bands. I know Qrp isn't for everyone but I really enjoy it. 5 watts or less is all I ever use.
Best regards and many 73.
Don sr. - WA2TPU. A REAL QRP GREEN STATION.

What the heck is a "REAL QRP GREEN STATION"?

Gene
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NU4B
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« Reply #31 on: September 03, 2012, 06:14:13 AM »

Quote
You never read about QRP too QRP contacts  running with powers less than 5 watts and simple antennas.

Maybe YOU don't. And besides many hams use 100, 500, or 1000+ watts with more than simple antennas - why would QRP'ers limit themselves to 2 way QRP QSO with just simple antennas if something better was available? Here's a hint for QRP'ers: Raise the best antenna you can! Wait - that works for everybody!

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QRP power and the antenna systems that most hams use are really ineffective
for enjoyable consistent ham radio fun.

Maybe YOU can't. I've had a blast for the last 34 years!

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You also maximizing your success because contesters  are using big gun stations that can copy QRP stations.

Maybe that's all YOU can do. And I haven't seen any big gun DX'ers turn down a new one because the other station was a big gun. You should read "The Complete DX'er" by W9KNI. Chapter 11 is on working contests.

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5 watts is a ridiculous  QRP legal limit power for modes like SSB, its OK for CW. SSB QRP power legal limit should be set at greater than  10 watts, because CW is roughly 3db more effective. In the real world of signal to noise ratio, a 5 watt SSB signal is really a 2.5watt signal. QRP power legal limit should be be set by the effective bandwidth of the signal rather than a one size fits all modes.

There is no legal QRP definition. 5 watts (10 W PEP) is the generally accepted definition of QRP. Just like 100W or below is the generally accepted definition of low power (especially in contests). If you find you don't like using QRP power levels - don't. Anyone can use whatever legal power they feel they need to make a QSO  - although you should use the minimum power necessary. There are many SSB QRP'ers that would disagree with you. But if you find it difficult, use whatever power you find that works for you.
A couple years ago I got an email from a French station requesting a QSO on 10 meters for his 10 meter WAS. I started out with 5 watts and he didn't hear me. I went up to 12 watts and all was fine. It doesn't mean I'm any less a QRP'er - it was using the power needed to complete the QSO.

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Endless bragging about what DX you worked on one set of solar numbers in  1 year tells us nothing about the effectiveness of low power.

Why not? If somebody can DX with QRP that sort of indicates some kind of effectiveness.
Here's some more endless bragging:
From Jan.1 2007 - Dec 31, 2009, the last solar min (SFI 80 or below) I've worked 170 countries in 32 zones with 3120 (mostly DX) QSOs running no more than 5 watts to a windom antenna.
I've made over 16,500 mostly DX QSOs since June 2001 - about 1500/year running 5 watts into a less than impressive antenna farm - a windom and a HF5B on the roof and have 286 countries in 39 zones and 8 band DXCC. Nothing I do is special - I just operate. And others have done far better than me.

I will add this - if you expect you can't make a QSO running 5 watts - you probably won't. I certainly don't work them all, but I expect I can if I do a good job of operating.
My first rig was a HW-8 I built waiting for my novice license in 1978 (and I made hundreds of novice contacts) - so running 5 watts is doubling my power. I ran 100 watts for 4 years in the early 80's and literally got bored - no challenge. I did work everything I heard.

I'm into DX'ing probably alot more than most QRP'ers - and running at QRP levels hasn't hindered me. I will have a big smile on my face when my 7O6T QSL card comes in.  Grin

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AC4RD
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« Reply #32 on: September 03, 2012, 07:33:48 AM »

You should read "The Complete DX'er" by W9KNI.

I'm getting a little off-topic here, but I'd like to second that recommendation.  Bob's book is mainly focused at DXing, but it is GREAT reading for anyone interested in HF fun.  And he talks a good bit about how he hit Honor Roll with an amp, then built a QRP rig and started in again working them QRP.   _The Complete DXer_ is easy and fun to read, with great examples and clear writing.  I re-read it every couple of years, and always enjoy it. 
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WA2TPU
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« Reply #33 on: September 03, 2012, 08:41:31 AM »

to KE5JPP-- A "green" station is one who uses some form  of alternate energy( solar, water,wind, etc) to power his or her station. In my case I use a home brewed 12 volt permanent magnet alternator wind generator to completely power my Qrp station. A photo of my wind machine can be seen referencing my call on Qrz.com.
Its great to see there's so much interest in Qrp on this outstanding site.
May all who's reading this forum have a nice Labor Day.
Be well.....stay healthy.
Best regards and many 73.
Don sr. - WA2TPU- A TRUE GREEN QRP STATION
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K8AXW
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« Reply #34 on: September 03, 2012, 10:12:30 AM »

I've tried QRP...... and have some misgivings.....I'm really not happy or satisfied running QRP.... for these reasons.

The first QRP rig was a 4W CW only transceiver for 20m.  I hung it on my TH7DX beam and was able to work just about anyone I could hear.  I was never able to "bust pileups" but nevertheless was able to work a lot of stations.  However, I felt that I was cheating by using the beam which gave me an approximate ERP of 32W minus the usual feedline losses.  I haven't been able to satisfy the "What am I accomplishing here" question.

My next foray was a 40m rig running 8W and with it I use a half-sloper wire antenna which I consider a "not cheating" antenna. This is all I can get up on my small lot with the tower, guys and trees eating up space.  My success here has been dismal.  It's been very disappointing with the time expended to number of contacts ratio very large.  The time expended for DX contacts ratio is off scale! 

During contests I can bang out contact after contact the whole time the band is open.  If you want to call "K8AXW 59" a contact.  If there is no contest then it's back to maybe a 300 mile contact....maybe not.... go to bed.  I often feel like a beggar holding a hat out hoping someone with infinite patience will throw me a penny. 

What am I missing here.  I no doubt need an attitude change.  Perhaps QRP just isn't for me.  Comments??
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N2RRA
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« Reply #35 on: September 03, 2012, 02:03:36 PM »

I've tried QRP...... and have some misgivings.....I'm really not happy or satisfied running QRP.... for these reasons.

The first QRP rig was a 4W CW only transceiver for 20m.  I hung it on my TH7DX beam and was able to work just about anyone I could hear.  I was never able to "bust pileups" but nevertheless was able to work a lot of stations.  However, I felt that I was cheating by using the beam which gave me an approximate ERP of 32W minus the usual feedline losses.  I haven't been able to satisfy the "What am I accomplishing here" question.

My next foray was a 40m rig running 8W and with it I use a half-sloper wire antenna which I consider a "not cheating" antenna. This is all I can get up on my small lot with the tower, guys and trees eating up space.  My success here has been dismal.  It's been very disappointing with the time expended to number of contacts ratio very large.  The time expended for DX contacts ratio is off scale! 

During contests I can bang out contact after contact the whole time the band is open.  If you want to call "K8AXW 59" a contact.  If there is no contest then it's back to maybe a 300 mile contact....maybe not.... go to bed.  I often feel like a beggar holding a hat out hoping someone with infinite patience will throw me a penny. 

What am I missing here.  I no doubt need an attitude change.  Perhaps QRP just isn't for me.  Comments??

QRP has a specific intended purposes and applies to a certain demographic. QRP is a means of operating under constraint ,or restricted conditions. If you fall into this demographic then and only then would you appreciate operating QRP.

Your demographic only experiments with it as per curiosity. You probably don't hike, travel, camp, hunt or anything that requires you to be active out doors. As well as not being restricted by HOA ,land lords, or complaining and threatening neighbors. If you don't fall in this category ,or appreciate the challenge and science behind the power of 1 watt and what it can manage then QRP is not for you.

If You suffered a life threatening situation and needed to know what QRP setup would yield you best results you'd be screwed. LOL!

QRP is not just about the challenge and fun ,but portability and being marveled at its simplicity to get the job done. For some it's an alternative to do the best they can when restricted and for some other that and preparedness for what ever.

I'm prepared! Are you? Wink

73!
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WA2TPU
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« Reply #36 on: September 03, 2012, 02:33:32 PM »

to N2RRA.....Indeed! Your post was dead-on and sincerely expressed in a way that everyone( I think) can truly understand and hopefully relate to. Qrp is just another facet/avenue/path to take in ham radio if you choose to pursue it. Thank you for post. I'm tipping my hat...my BEST to you.
Sincerely yours with many 73.
Don sr. - WA2TPU-- A GREEN QRP STATION.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #37 on: September 03, 2012, 09:31:39 PM »

RRA  - TPU - Thanks for the "Cut and Paste" answers from the thread before this one.  I was hoping for a better answer.... although I won't lose any sleep if I don't get it.

Do I understand that QRP is only for backpackers, those who live in a HOA or those who appreciate simplicity? 

Quote
If You suffered a life threatening situation and needed to know what QRP setup would yield you best results you'd be screwed. LOL!

I don't know what that means.  If I was in a life threatening situation and QRP was all I had to summon help, then I would be thankful I had it.  However, I'd be maintaining a pucker factor off scale.  Then again, hams will always answer an SOS or QRRR regardless of how poor the signal is.

But gentlemen, your answers doesn't deal with my disillusionment with QRP.  As I said I need an attitude adjustment at the very least.  Can you help me understand what I should be looking for using this mode?
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LA9XSA
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« Reply #38 on: September 04, 2012, 12:16:30 AM »

Do I understand that QRP is only for backpackers, those who live in a HOA or those who appreciate simplicity?  
Or those who enjoy the challenge even though they could run kilowatt signals. Or those who can't afford more power. Or, well, technically if you're ragchewing with somebody you could easily work on 5 watts, the FCC rules actually requires you to QRP.  Grin

Amateur radio is a hobby with many niches. QRP and QRPp is one of them. If you don't enjoy the challenge, try another niche like satellites, fox hunting, moon bounce, packet, ALE, kit building (build a JUMA PA100 amplifier  Wink ), etc.

When I first got into amateur radio, I would sometimes come across hams online who treated their niche of amateur radio as the only niche, advising everyone to get a single-band morse-only radio, or advising everyone that life's too short for QRP so get a kilowatt radio and ragchew on 80 meters all day; some of them would even say that you can't be a real ham unless you're in their niche. Nonsense! Amateur radio is about exploring, enjoying what you like, challenging yourself, and maybe some public service on the side to thank the community for our frequencies. If you're challenging yourself to the point of frustration, maybe it's time to try another niche and come back to QRP later.
I don't know what that means.  If I was in a life threatening situation and QRP was all I had to summon help, then I would be thankful I had it.  However, I'd be maintaining a pucker factor off scale.  
Well yeah exactly; if your emergency happened during a geomagnetic storm you might be screwed with QRP, but if conditions were favorable you could summon help. My QRP radio is part of my personal communication plan, but it comes after the cell phone and Personal Locator Beacon.

But gentlemen, your answers doesn't deal with my disillusionment with QRP.  As I said I need an attitude adjustment at the very least.  Can you help me understand what I should be looking for using this mode?
Well, one thing is that QRP doesn't necessarily mean compromised antennas. You can certainly run big arrays and get a kick out of only using 5 watts from the radio and getting as good a signal as a 100 watt radio with a compromised antenna.
In fact, starting out with a QRP radio was the right choice for me because I have some space for experimenting with antennas, and I enjoy experiementing with and reading about antennas.
If you feel you're "cheating" versus the backpackers, just don't identify as /QRP. I don't have any contacts logged as /QRP even though all contacts under my home call have been QRP so far (some CW and PSK-31, but mostly SSB).

Maybe one thing you could do was chase for portable low power stations, like by trying to conact as many SOTA operators as possible.
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N2RRA
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« Reply #39 on: September 04, 2012, 08:39:45 AM »

RRA  - TPU - Thanks for the "Cut and Paste" answers from the thread before this one.  I was hoping for a better answer.... although I won't lose any sleep if I don't get it.

Do I understand that QRP is only for backpackers, those who live in a HOA or those who appreciate simplicity?  

Quote
If You suffered a life threatening situation and needed to know what QRP setup would yield you best results you'd be screwed. LOL!

I don't know what that means.  If I was in a life threatening situation and QRP was all I had to summon help, then I would be thankful I had it.  However, I'd be maintaining a pucker factor off scale.  Then again, hams will always answer an SOS or QRRR regardless of how poor the signal is.

But gentlemen, your answers doesn't deal with my disillusionment with QRP.  As I said I need an attitude adjustment at the very least.  Can you help me understand what I should be looking for using this mode?

Actually, the new thread I posted was from my response here. It wasn't directed at you ,but could apply to your question.

LA9XSA makes some very good points, but QRP is "NOT" defined by the type of array you're using. It is and only is defined by the amount of power you are transmitting out. Keep in mind if you're doing the math between forward power, reflected power and decibals through your antenna then the actual QRP wattage will be shown. So even if your using a Yagi ,but your SWR is 2.1 then you're not putting out the wattage you probably presume.

Either way you can still think of it as your saving a lot on your next electricity bill, because with out a doubt your saving on current draw on a circuit by quite a bit between running a 100 watts and 5 watts let alone a kilo watt - 1,000 watts.

I don't have to leave my home to operate radio. I have a kilo watt amp paired with an ICOM 7600 ,but I prefer making videos and operating QRP on my walk or hikes. WHY? I think it's fun and I don't have to sit my fat ass home while I know I need the exercise and can still have fun operating while doing it.  Grin

No one has to convince you if already in your mind you don't want convincing. We all have a reason for doing it. You just have to find your owning reason.

73!
  
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K8AXW
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« Reply #40 on: September 04, 2012, 09:39:17 AM »

Quote
No one has to convince you if already in your mind you don't want convincing. We all have a reason for doing it. You just have to find your owning reason.


This probably makes more sense to me than all the rest of it.  I've been into ham radio since 1956, operated AM, CW and then SSB.....had a stint with the birds and then PSK-31.  I recently tried QRP with a 4W 20m CW transceiver as I said..... spent a great deal of money on the TAK-40 which took me 4 years and 6 times the projected costs to complete only to find that I'm having a difficult time getting my head into this mode.

I never sign "QRP."  I feel that if someone wants to answer my weak signal, fine.  If not, that's OK too.  Signing QRP sounds too much like begging to me.  I feel that not signing QRP  has a tendency to put QRP in a truer light.

I think you and XSA have answered my question.  I appreciate you both expressing your thoughts.  Thanks guys.
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N2RRA
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« Reply #41 on: September 04, 2012, 04:11:21 PM »

Quote
No one has to convince you if already in your mind you don't want convincing. We all have a reason for doing it. You just have to find your owning reason.


This probably makes more sense to me than all the rest of it.  I've been into ham radio since 1956, operated AM, CW and then SSB.....had a stint with the birds and then PSK-31.  I recently tried QRP with a 4W 20m CW transceiver as I said..... spent a great deal of money on the TAK-40 which took me 4 years and 6 times the projected costs to complete only to find that I'm having a difficult time getting my head into this mode.

I never sign "QRP."  I feel that if someone wants to answer my weak signal, fine.  If not, that's OK too.  Signing QRP sounds too much like begging to me.  I feel that not signing QRP  has a tendency to put QRP in a truer light.

I think you and XSA have answered my question.  I appreciate you both expressing your thoughts.  Thanks guys.

Your very welcome!
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #42 on: September 05, 2012, 03:32:43 AM »

to KE5JPP-- A "green" station is one who uses some form  of alternate energy( solar, water,wind, etc) to power his or her station. In my case I use a home brewed 12 volt permanent magnet alternator wind generator to completely power my Qrp station. A photo of my wind machine can be seen referencing my call on Qrz.com.
Its great to see there's so much interest in Qrp on this outstanding site.
May all who's reading this forum have a nice Labor Day.
Be well.....stay healthy.
Best regards and many 73.
Don sr. - WA2TPU- A TRUE GREEN QRP STATION

Why do you call it "GREEN" instead of "ALTERNATE ENERGY STATION".  GREEN makes it sound like some kind of environmentalist wacko station!  Grin

Gene
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AA4PB
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« Reply #43 on: September 05, 2012, 06:54:42 AM »

I had a "green" station years ago - it was made by Heathkit  Grin
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #44 on: September 05, 2012, 07:38:54 AM »

I had a "green" station years ago - it was made by Heathkit  Grin


By GREEN, I thought that is what he meant.  I had some GREEN Heathkit stations too. 

Gene
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