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Author Topic: Getting adjusted to QRP  (Read 38723 times)
K0YHV
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Posts: 179




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« on: September 18, 2012, 06:36:09 PM »

I may be soon going to QRP (or maybe 10 to 15 watts) for low profile reasons.  This is after spending the past 31 years chasing DX, other awards, and casual contesting. I have always had a little pistol station-100 watts to fairly simple antennas, which included some small beams from time to time.  Right now I am running 100 watts from an Icom 706 original to a G5RV type homebrew dipole. I have gotten used to people not hearing me from time to time, but have worked 200 countries since March of 2011.

I am assuming at QRP power levels I will not be heard even more often, and DXing will be much tougher, especially with a compromise antenna like I have.  How does one as competitive as myself make this transition?  How did others get used to QRP operating after chasing DX and contesting for a long time?

73 John AF5CC
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N2RRA
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« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2012, 08:54:45 PM »

Don't know why you sound like you're selling your self short, but shouldn't be as bad as you think. I alway have to direct people new to QRP ,or just doubters to my YouTube videos. There are many people who say you'll never make 3,000, 6,000, or 12,000 mile QSO's running QRP. Hell...I've done it mobile with a Ham Stick. I've done it at the park and even on vacation at the beach.

That's the best part about a QRP rig. You can take it any where and power it up many ways unlike higher power rigs. I've even broken pile ups and held QSO's longer with DX because their astonished my QRP signal was as good as the many base stations calling in the pile up. That's no B.S.!

That's why I posted videos!  Wink

My suggestion to you is improve on your antenna installation. Can't have a tower with mono bander's on it? No Problem.

Can't buy a stepp-ir vertical, or Zero Five? No Problem!

There are many antenna's you can make of wire and other materials that work as good and in some cases better. Don't home brew? Then deal with what you got! Just enjoy what QSO's you make if all options are not gonna work.

Next step is take your QRP rig and get out and enjoy life out doors with it. Can't really do that with a 706, FT-857 or others with out carrying a car battery, or generator. Grab a 12 7ah battery ,or solar panel to the beach, park, or mountain peak and have fun making up for the tower and QRO amplifier.

73!
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WA2TPU
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Posts: 224




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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2012, 09:43:34 PM »

N2RRA- Eric--
SUPERB videos! Thanks for your efforts to sincerely show others what can be done out and about trekking/rovering via Qrp.

Also you always put forth honest and straight-forward postings here that are easily understood. Thanks.
Best regards and many 73.
Don sr. - WA2TPU-  A REAL 5 WATT GREEN QRP STATION.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2012, 10:05:03 PM »

Quote
How did others get used to QRP operating after chasing DX and contesting for a long time?

They might be on some good stuff?Huh   Wink
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N2RRA
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2012, 10:13:02 PM »

N2RRA- Eric--
SUPERB videos! Thanks for your efforts to sincerely show others what can be done out and about trekking/rovering via Qrp.

Also you always put forth honest and straight-forward postings here that are easily understood. Thanks.
Best regards and many 73.
Don sr. - WA2TPU-  A REAL 5 WATT GREEN QRP STATION.

Thanks Don!  Grin

I just believe in honesty and skipping the B.S.

Don't forget to sub ,or hit the "Like" button. LOL!

I enjoying sharing and if the vids don't give him ,or anyone else some confidence that many things are possible with QRP...Don't know what will!

73!
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N2RRA
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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2012, 10:15:01 PM »

Quote
How did others get used to QRP operating after chasing DX and contesting for a long time?

They might be on some good stuff?Huh   Wink

LOL!

Maybe!  Cheesy
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N2RRA
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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2012, 10:18:01 PM »

BTW!

I've even entered contests on 10 meters and still rocked it with 5 watts peak power. Check out my vid on the ARRL 10 meter contest this year. That should answer your question about DX AND Contests.  Smiley

73!
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AA4GA
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« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2012, 12:16:31 PM »

Right now I am running 100 watts from an Icom 706 original to a G5RV type homebrew dipole. I have gotten used to people not hearing me from time to time, but have worked 200 countries since March of 2011.

In about the same time frame, I'm at just over 140 countries running 5 watts to an 80m doublet or smaller.  So, a similar setup except for the power level.  I have not been very active, and sometimes go several weeks without turning on the radio.

Quote
I am assuming at QRP power levels I will not be heard even more often, and DXing will be much tougher, especially with a compromise antenna like I have.  How does one as competitive as myself make this transition?  How did others get used to QRP operating after chasing DX and contesting for a long time?

I have been a fairly competitive operator over the years as well (primarily a contester), usually with a TH7/402CD up around 80' - largely at the 100 watt level, but I've also had the ability to run about 800 watts out before.  I've also done a fair bit of operating at larger, multi-tower/stacked Yagi, contest stations running "full" power.  For me, it really took no "getting used to" at all.  Sure, I don't bust pileups like I used to, but OTOH I'm still having a lot of fun on the radio - I actually think I'm having more fun now than when I was operating at bigger stations.

I've mentioned it in other posts here at eHam, but your attitude toward QRP operating has a lot to do with the satisfaction you derive from it - but such is life in general!

With regard to contesting, many contests have QRP categories, so your only limitation there would be antenna limitations:  you're at no more a disadvantage within your class as you would be at the 100 or 1500 watt levels with the same antennas.  And since many folks that run QRP also run smaller antennas, you may actually be at less of a disadvantage within your class!

As far as operating at 10 or 15 watts out goes, there's nothing wrong with that - the exception being if you want to compete in "QRP" categories, which limit you to a lower power. 

I'm not saying QRP is for everyone, but I (along with a lot of other folks) am content operating at the 5 watt level!
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K0YHV
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Posts: 179




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« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2012, 08:01:48 PM »

Thanks for the replies so far.  Sounds like lots of you are having fun with QRP. I have done a bit of QRP operating in the past.  I have around 86 countries towards my QRP DXCC, and entered the sweepstakes (CW version) QRP last year and was surprised at how well I did. 

Still, there are times I get frustrated when I can't break a pileup or get a station to hear me when I am running 100 watts.  I know that is going to happen more often with 5 watts, or even 10 or 15 watts.  Guess that is something you get used to.  I will agree that making a QSO with lower power is more satisfying, I have found that in doing the QRP work I have so far.

Guess I will see how things turn out and if I need to cut my power or not (it is kind of a long story).  What is the maximum power you can generally run and be sure that you are not causing any TVI or RFI?

John AF5CC
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N2RRA
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« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2012, 07:53:54 AM »

Thanks for the replies so far.  Sounds like lots of you are having fun with QRP. I have done a bit of QRP operating in the past.  I have around 86 countries towards my QRP DXCC, and entered the sweepstakes (CW version) QRP last year and was surprised at how well I did. 

Still, there are times I get frustrated when I can't break a pileup or get a station to hear me when I am running 100 watts.  I know that is going to happen more often with 5 watts, or even 10 or 15 watts.  Guess that is something you get used to.  I will agree that making a QSO with lower power is more satisfying, I have found that in doing the QRP work I have so far.

Guess I will see how things turn out and if I need to cut my power or not (it is kind of a long story).  What is the maximum power you can generally run and be sure that you are not causing any TVI or RFI?

John AF5CC

Operating skill level has a lot to do with making contacts. Yes, it is a skill when trying to get through pile ups. I've never seen you operate before so I don't know at what skill your at ,but when working QRP it can be bit more difficult.

I have a couple ham buds that ask the same question you do and when I've seen them operate I gotta turn my head away and go...."OHH BOY!"

So again, It's all up to how much work and skill you put into it especially the correct antenna your using. I find it difficult to understand how much trouble you have breaking pile ups ,or making contacts even with 100 watts. The way your making it sound anyway. You gotta be doing something wrong and again if my earlier videos don't prove what can be done with QRP with the most inefficient antennas then you gotta be doing something wrong. Question is...what is it?

As far as not causing any TVI I'd say depending on what band. For the most part 5 watts on pretty much any band should be completely fine. Maybe even at 10 watts, but once you go over that your bound to run into trouble. That is if your situation is a condo complex of sorts or alike.

The other thing is if your able to work with your neighbors that are complaining you can insert Ferrite Terroids into their TV and radio lines where ever their having the problem. This can even eliminate the problem at higher wattages, but you have to slowly experiment with this.

Good Luck!
 
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AA4PB
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Posts: 13032




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« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2012, 09:15:16 AM »

Not being a real serious DXer, I don't have the patience to attempt to bust a big pile up with a DX station with a weak signal when I'm running QRP. Although I have made it a few times by being lucky enough to call just at the right time. Normally I find DX stations with a strong signal (indicating that propogation is good) or I find a lonely station calling CQ and not getting a lot of response.
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K0YHV
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Posts: 179




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« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2012, 02:12:39 PM »

The pileups I haven't been able to break are usually for the really rare ones, like the 3C0 last fall, things like that.  Operating from Oklahoma is tough also as you aren't close to any DXCC countries other than Mexico.  Not like being on the east or west coast.  Operate mostly CW here, and been DXing for 30 years so I would like to think my operating skills are pretty refined. Did work 7O6T on 2 bands, and got NH8S for new band countries on 10 and 80m, plus worked them for the heck of it on 40 and 12.

John AF5CC
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WB0FDJ
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Posts: 153




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« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2012, 03:11:00 PM »

John

Glad to hear that another of the brethren is considering QRP operating.

I started doing QRP in 1979 when I really wanted to new radio and could only afford an Argonaut 509 and an end fed wire. Funny how when you only have about 3 watts out how it's suddenly "enough" I found that at the end of the first few weeks I had, without really thinking about it, changed my operating habits. It was all for the better. Listened more. Started understanding propagation. Cleaned up my sloppy operating. Built up my code speed a bit and started paying attention to sending better CW. Did a lot of hunting and pouncing. I've never regretted it for a minute.

And....for most die hard, old timey QRP guys and gals, 5 watts is plenty of power. Heck, last week I blew the dust off my 20 meter Rockmite and worked OK and CO (from MN) running 500 mW running off a small battery pack. If I can do it anyone can. My antenna is nothing special, just a Gap Challenger.

Have fun with it!

DOC WB0FDJ
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AC4RD
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Posts: 1235




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« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2012, 09:17:14 AM »

... changed my operating habits. It was all for the better. Listened more. Started understanding propagation. Cleaned up my sloppy operating. Built up my code speed a bit and started paying attention to sending better CW.

Doc, that's pretty good advice for ALL hams, QRP or QRO!  Wink   TNX 73!
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WA2TPU
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Posts: 224




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« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2012, 10:24:17 AM »

To Doc and All reading this post.....

Yep! I was in pure "ham heaven" when I got my Ten Tec Power Mite...PURE HEAVEN!! Like you, that's all I could afford for any/all ham radio equipment at that time in my life. I never considered that I was at any disadvantage being so low powered- I was just so happy and satisfied to be on the air with a quality rig when I compared it to my home-brewed 6L6 tube transmitter mounted on a board and at a fixed xtal frequency. My Uncle John-K2TEE (now SK) gave me my first receiver a SX-24 Hallicrafters which weighed nearly as much as I did. Still I made many contacts with this station and have fond memories of Uncle John. He taught me long ago-"its the antenna that's the most important piece of your station not power output."

I won't ramble.....thus, in closing this missive...I want to thank ALL of you for your wonderful sincere postings/comments on/about one of the most interesting and diversified facets of our hobby----BEING A QRP'er.

Best regards and many 73.
Don sr. - WA2TPU- A TRUE 5 WATT GREEN QRP STATION.


   
Reply with quoteQuote
John

Glad to hear that another of the brethren is considering QRP operating.

I started doing QRP in 1979 when I really wanted to new radio and could only afford an Argonaut 509 and an end fed wire. Funny how when you only have about 3 watts out how it's suddenly "enough" I found that at the end of the first few weeks I had, without really thinking about it, changed my operating habits. It was all for the better. Listened more. Started understanding propagation. Cleaned up my sloppy operating. Built up my code speed a bit and started paying attention to sending better CW. Did a lot of hunting and pouncing. I've never regretted it for a minute.

And....for most die hard, old timey QRP guys and gals, 5 watts is plenty of power. Heck, last week I blew the dust off my 20 meter Rockmite and worked OK and CO (from MN) running 500 mW running off a small battery pack. If I can do it anyone can. My antenna is nothing special, just a Gap Challenger.

Have fun with it!

DOC WB0FDJ
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