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Author Topic: Getting adjusted to QRP  (Read 37673 times)
NU4B
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« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2012, 05:17:44 PM »

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.


   
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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

Great stories!
 I got my license in 1978. I was in college and could only afford a HW-8. I built that waiting for my license. I made bunches around the US and Canada with my sickly novice dipole. I did 100 watts from 1980 to 1984 when I built my HW-9. I've been QRP ever since. Just got my E40VB QSL in last week. Its great fun. Building kits like the Rock-Mite and making QSOs with it can really blow you away. One of my memorable QSOs with my Rock-Mite was a 2 way Rock-Mite 500mW QSO with HK3CQ on 20 meters. My antenna was a HF5B - but WOW!
 I know its not for everybody, but if your so inclined, you won't be disappointed.
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K4LCM
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Posts: 2




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« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2012, 08:47:27 PM »

Just do it. I use an FT-817 very successfully with a G5RV, OCFD and MP1 vertical.  With the right conditions you can do a lot.  Just a few weeks ago I had an amazing late afternoon working Europe using the MP1 and all with great reports. Even got through a pileup with a Dubai station and was even more more surprised when a New Zealand station heard my call and had a good QSO, all with 5 watts SSB and a MP1 antenna just about 2 feet off the ground from Virginia Beach.

Since you say you are competitive, compete against yourself by understanding band conditions, operator patterns and rhythms for a pileup and as you know.... listen listen listen. 

Have fun and catch you on the air.
73 K4LCM
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N2RRA
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« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2012, 05:29:35 AM »

Just do it. I use an FT-817 very successfully with a G5RV, OCFD and MP1 vertical.  With the right conditions you can do a lot.  Just a few weeks ago I had an amazing late afternoon working Europe using the MP1 and all with great reports. Even got through a pileup with a Dubai station and was even more more surprised when a New Zealand station heard my call and had a good QSO, all with 5 watts SSB and a MP1 antenna just about 2 feet off the ground from Virginia Beach.

Since you say you are competitive, compete against yourself by understanding band conditions, operator patterns and rhythms for a pileup and as you know.... listen listen listen. 

Have fun and catch you on the air.
73 K4LCM

Dubai is a nice one! That's a hard part of the world to get into with QRP. I'm jealous! LOL! Wink

All well said by the way!

73,
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2012, 10:20:44 AM »

Re QRP: It's unfortunate that some (perhaps many) QRP ops are using rigs that actually don't receive as well as they transmit.  Possibly some of that has to do with noisy environments.

When I'm on the air on HF, I often reduce power to be the same as what the other station says he's running.  I might start out at a kilowatt, and get answered by a "5 watt" station, so my very next transmission, I reply with 5 watts.  And most of the time the other station reports, "Lost you completely, where did you go?" Tongue
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K4LCM
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« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2012, 11:31:58 AM »

Re QRP: It's unfortunate that some (perhaps many) QRP ops are using rigs that actually don't receive as well as they transmit.  Possibly some of that has to do with noisy environments.

When I'm on the air on HF, I often reduce power to be the same as what the other station says he's running.  I might start out at a kilowatt, and get answered by a "5 watt" station, so my very next transmission, I reply with 5 watts.  And most of the time the other station reports, "Lost you completely, where did you go?" Tongue

I don't think the problem is with the rigs, it's with the antenna.  When I go out with my rig I usually only take my MP1 and a dipole, I try not to us a tuner.  My antenna gain is pretty much nonexistent, and I really do appreciate the ops that don't mind having a quick chat. 

Something to consider is that if you are able to communicate with a QRP station you are prepared to render assistance to those that might be trying to conserve power during an emergency.
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GILGSN
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Posts: 208




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« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2012, 10:01:15 PM »

I started with QRP right from the start, never ran more than 15W. I don't have any radio than can. My antenna is a PAR End-Fed dipole attached to a tree branch 40ft. up. My house is 28ft. above sea level. I am running 50ft. of RG-174, not the least lossy coax, but my SWR is 1:1 without a tuner. Most of the time I run 12W out of my K2, or 6W with my K1. I also have a Buddistick, which I use with the K1. Since the beginning, I've had no trouble contacting station all over Europe and the States. I get decent reports. I also had my first Rock-Mite QSO a couple days ago, 625 miles on 1W. I have experienced zero frustration, only great fun doing so. I didn't spend $2K on an amp, instead I invested in radios with very good receivers. That doesn't help me being heard of course, but  I can hear more people. The PAR set me back $75, plus $10 for a slingshot.. I'm making contacts every night on 40m..

A great advantage, as some have pointed out, is that I can operate for days on a tiny battery. My entire station fits into a small backpack, and that includes a Pelican 1400 case. I can use a smaller bag even without the case. I take it sometimes to the coffee shop and clamp the Buddistick to my table.. It's a great conversation starter. I get many questions from other customers, and I tell them about Ham radio and how fun it is. There is no better way to promote our hobby.

So, to the people who think QRP doesn't work, or that you need 1500W, I'd say try it. You might be selling a few items on Ebay soon... If you're a contester and absolutely want to score, sure, power helps.. Otherwise, it is absolutely superfluous. 5W for CW will get you anywhere. I'm sure it doesn't take much more on SSB (I've never used SSB..).

There are different facets to Ham radio, which makes it a great hobby. If someone feels frustrated running low power even though they have a decent antenna, it's because they have different needs. If you don't care when someone doesn't hear you (for me 25% of the time), you will enjoy QRP.

Gil.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2012, 10:04:22 PM by GILGSN » Logged
N2RRA
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« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2012, 10:15:17 PM »

Re QRP: It's unfortunate that some (perhaps many) QRP ops are using rigs that actually don't receive as well as they transmit.  Possibly some of that has to do with noisy environments.

When I'm on the air on HF, I often reduce power to be the same as what the other station says he's running.  I might start out at a kilowatt, and get answered by a "5 watt" station, so my very next transmission, I reply with 5 watts.  And most of the time the other station reports, "Lost you completely, where did you go?" Tongue

Maybe it's your antenna! Thats why you need the kilowatt to be heard.  Tongue

Newbies!  Roll Eyes
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W7ASA
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« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2012, 07:07:59 AM »

There is only general reciprocity between two stations, but that is not an absolute reciprocity, in that a station is not necessarily heard as well as they ARE heard & vice versa.

1.   Antenna variations: including take-off angle and main lobe direction as well as losses/general efficiency make a large difference in delivered signal strength. Variation in both near & far field terrain and physical surroundings also effect an antenna's radiation efficiency to specific directions, for example.

2.   Local noise:  I now live on a rural peninsula with VERY low RF noise, few neighbors and all of them at a distance.  I keep my own RFI low by eliminating noise makers like computers, flourescent lighting, dimmer switches and just about anything that has a processor or non-analog power supply in it. If I cannot tear it apart to make more radios, it is unplugged. My antenna is as far as practical from the house, to eliminate any house noise that I might have missed. I tend to prefer open wire line, due to it's VERY low losses, when properly installed. I can only work a station in the noise at S-1, if my local noise is very low...

3.  Propagation:  The QRP station might be getting a great path to a distant station via a very efficient chordal hop while his reply might be returning via a multi-hop or other variation, which is less efficient, due to entry angle of his signal to the ionosphere or his local conditions.  http://www.qsl.net/sv1uy/chordal-hop.html  

4.  Hand Strength: The QRO operator may not be used to PRESSING the key as hard as I am when I am QRP, because many Ops 'know', that the harder you press the key, the further the signal goes...   Roll Eyes   Shocked   Undecided     //I have no evidence to support this idea, but it's always good for a laugh at the local ham bar.//

As for a question of receiver insensitivity, there were a very few QRP rigs with known poor receivers.  QRP'ers generally will not tolerate that - because to work other QRP'ers we have to hear them & be able to seperate their signals from the pack either through filters or simple concentration.  Many QRP'ers are technomaniacs and despize poor design... In side-by-side testing, I've found my Wilderness Sierra, Elecraft K2 (<= 15W) & KX-1 and other QRP rigs to actually have VERY good & selective receivers, at the very least, better than some of the expensive, store bought transceivers, though in all fairness, my QRP rigs ARE optimized for CW, not SSB.  Most commercial manufacturers of ham gear are really designing for the SSB market with CW as an after thought because SSB is where the market is - in general -  so that makes a large difference.  Ten-Tec has been an exception, in my opinion, being excellent for CW.

Lab data generally supports what I am hearing as well.  Even the tiny RockMite, though it's a WIDE-OPEN DC receiver is very, very sensitive.  I am amazed what I hear with it!   Grin  In all fairness though, one cannot expect something like an SW40+ RX to compete with the superb receiver in a TS-590s.  OTOH, I can fit my SW40+ into a coat pocket and run it on AA cells for a week of skeds in the woods...

Inequalities among stations begin with the antenna and work their way downward to it's environment and electronics, of these though , the antenna is usually the most important!


73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._
« Last Edit: October 04, 2012, 07:23:16 AM by W7ASA » Logged
N2RRA
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« Reply #23 on: October 04, 2012, 11:11:43 AM »

There is only general reciprocity between two stations, but that is not an absolute reciprocity, in that a station is not necessarily heard as well as they ARE heard & vice versa.

1.   Antenna variations: including take-off angle and main lobe direction as well as losses/general efficiency make a large difference in delivered signal strength. Variation in both near & far field terrain and physical surroundings also effect an antenna's radiation efficiency to specific directions, for example.

2.   Local noise:  I now live on a rural peninsula with VERY low RF noise, few neighbors and all of them at a distance.  I keep my own RFI low by eliminating noise makers like computers, flourescent lighting, dimmer switches and just about anything that has a processor or non-analog power supply in it. If I cannot tear it apart to make more radios, it is unplugged. My antenna is as far as practical from the house, to eliminate any house noise that I might have missed. I tend to prefer open wire line, due to it's VERY low losses, when properly installed. I can only work a station in the noise at S-1, if my local noise is very low...

3.  Propagation:  The QRP station might be getting a great path to a distant station via a very efficient chordal hop while his reply might be returning via a multi-hop or other variation, which is less efficient, due to entry angle of his signal to the ionosphere or his local conditions.  http://www.qsl.net/sv1uy/chordal-hop.html  

4.  Hand Strength: The QRO operator may not be used to PRESSING the key as hard as I am when I am QRP, because many Ops 'know', that the harder you press the key, the further the signal goes...   Roll Eyes   Shocked   Undecided     //I have no evidence to support this idea, but it's always good for a laugh at the local ham bar.//

As for a question of receiver insensitivity, there were a very few QRP rigs with known poor receivers.  QRP'ers generally will not tolerate that - because to work other QRP'ers we have to hear them & be able to seperate their signals from the pack either through filters or simple concentration.  Many QRP'ers are technomaniacs and despize poor design... In side-by-side testing, I've found my Wilderness Sierra, Elecraft K2 (<= 15W) & KX-1 and other QRP rigs to actually have VERY good & selective receivers, at the very least, better than some of the expensive, store bought transceivers, though in all fairness, my QRP rigs ARE optimized for CW, not SSB.  Most commercial manufacturers of ham gear are really designing for the SSB market with CW as an after thought because SSB is where the market is - in general -  so that makes a large difference.  Ten-Tec has been an exception, in my opinion, being excellent for CW.

Lab data generally supports what I am hearing as well.  Even the tiny RockMite, though it's a WIDE-OPEN DC receiver is very, very sensitive.  I am amazed what I hear with it!   Grin  In all fairness though, one cannot expect something like an SW40+ RX to compete with the superb receiver in a TS-590s.  OTOH, I can fit my SW40+ into a coat pocket and run it on AA cells for a week of skeds in the woods...

Inequalities among stations begin with the antenna and work their way downward to it's environment and electronics, of these though , the antenna is usually the most important!


73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._

LMAO! Ray that was great and well said.
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KF4LXB
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Posts: 36




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« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2012, 12:46:42 PM »

I got hooked on QRP on my first SOTA (Summits On The Air) activation. Due to a technical difficulty we were only able to operate with my step-father's ATS-3 which I'm pretty sure puts out less than 5w. I worked a station in Eastern Europe and was like "Okay, this is for me." Then the addiction really took over when I built my Hendrick's Weber Tri-bander a little over a month ago. Putting this whole thing together and then turning it on and actually hearing something was amazing! Now on those nice days I look at the Kenwood in the shack (not mine but on loan) look at the Tri-bander, look back to the Kenwood and then grab the tri-bander and head for the outdoors and listen to dots and dashes caressing my eardrums like a sweet sonnet.

I will freely admit that part of the draw to QRP for me is the $$. I can buy two kits, put them together and be ready to rock for somewhere around $400, a little more when you throw in antenna parts, tuner, etc. I don't even think they'll let you touch a commercially built HF rig for that kind of money. "No sir, maybe you should consider our dual-band VHF/UHF handy talkie."

On top of that I enjoy the challenge and satisfaction of working the world on low power. Be careful though, as with so many other aspects of ham radio, QRP can be addictive.

Hope to catch on the air sometime!

72,
KF4LXB Christian 
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Christian
Albemarle, NC
EM95
http://kf4lxb.blogspot.com
K8AXW
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Posts: 3963




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« Reply #25 on: November 28, 2012, 10:11:03 AM »

Have any of you ever thrown a rock up against a chicken house?  Let me show you what it sounds like!

Is it me or does it seem that QRP operators feel the need for a cheerleading squad?  Reading through these posts I get the impression, that QRP operation is absolutely wonderful but there still seems to be the need to pound each other on the back and offer words and testimony of encouragement.

As one who has and is playing the QRP game, I can point out that a very large percentage of what I read here is nothing but bullshit and bluster!  Not by what is actually being said, but what isn't being said.

That is the many hours of listening and calling without results.  This is the hanging onto the short end of the stick when trying to work DX with competition.  This is the short QSOs because your signal is so weak that the operator gets tired of digging us out of the noise.

If a QRP rig and wire antenna is all you have then it is very exciting.  Ham radio is fun, at any power level.  But tell it like it is!  It's like walking with a broken leg.  You'll eventually get there but it's going to hurt!

Over

Al - K8AXW
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W1JKA
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« Reply #26 on: November 28, 2012, 02:05:11 PM »

     Al, while I respect your opinion we all know the non politically correct definition of the term,so here is mine." Tell it like it is"The truth for one is not necessarily the truth for all,as for me,"cheer leaders"need not apply,qrp is just plain simple fun and the terms challenge,life is to short,ect.don't even register with me. As soon as qrp gives me" leg pains" I will be first in line to jump ship and find another hobby. The fox killed all my chickens,so it's pretty quiet on my end.   73  Jim       
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K8AXW
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« Reply #27 on: November 29, 2012, 08:23:14 AM »

Jim,

Thank you for your comment and opinion.  What is going on is that I'm having a very difficult time wrapping my head around the glowing and enthusiastic comments about QRP operation. 

You see, I've been operating QRP off and on for quite some time.  My results differ quite a bit from what I read here.  While I do understand results can differ from location to location and from one antenna type to another, I get the impression from what I read day after day on this forum that QRP operating is not only a hoot but leads one to believe that there is no reason to run more than 5w of power! 

If a person, you or anyone else, wants to spend time seeing who they can work or how far they can work with low power, fine.  Frankly, I couldn't care less if any QRP operator NEVER works a station!

What I am concerned with is that with all of this "cheerleading" going on, new guys or guys with a limited amount of money to spend on a new rig are in for a rude awakening.  To offer glowing accounts of accomplishments without mentioning the amount of time required to do it or the frustrations of operating QRP is simply wrong.

QRP is a specialty facet of ham radio.  It is for the experienced ham; for the ham who had "done it all" with advanced technical ability and who understands good operating practices.

All I would ask is, tell it like it is.  QRP is NOT for the new ham, any more than legal limit is!

Al - K8AXW
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N2UGB
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« Reply #28 on: November 30, 2012, 01:55:14 AM »

Flash!  First (that I've observed)  used KX3 for sale on that "other" site.
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LA9XSA
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« Reply #29 on: November 30, 2012, 02:39:21 AM »

SSB QRP is like fly fishing - it's fun, and takes skill, luck and knowledge of the river, the fish, and insects, to be successful most of the time. If you just throw something in the water at a random place and time you're not likely to catch anything, but if you have some know-how you can raise your chances considerably. Even so one should not rely on fly fishing to feed ones family.

It is just as silly for an ocean going trawler deck hand to come in and declare that "life's too short for fly fishing" as it is for a fly fisher to say that "a 20 foot pole is all you need for effective fishing" in a forum where most people are happy with their 10 foot fly poles and are less concerned with catching a ton of fish per day as enjoying the act of fishing.

QRO has its annoyances too, like when the power goes out, when you get RFI issues, etc. Then there's portability - I wouldn't carry a net hauler from a commercial fishing boat with me up into the river to relax and catch a few trout. A trawler and a fly pole may both be meant for catching fish, but they are meant for different situations.

Each niche has its attractions, challenges and annoyances - that's what makes it fun.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2012, 02:41:38 AM by LA9XSA » Logged
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