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Author Topic: QRP Awards Chasing  (Read 10455 times)
NU4B
Member

Posts: 2284




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« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2013, 03:05:20 AM »

I kinda forgot about this thread.

I now have the ARRL QRP DXCC.

I got my KX3 and went on a QRP binge. I worked 100 countries in 57 days (all CW). Obviously I spent a lot of time on the air.

As a result, I have pretty much become a 100% QRP op. I didn't really find it any more difficult to work DX while QRP on CW as opposed to 100 watts. So, I figured, why run 100 watts if it doesn't make any noticeable difference ? So, I have now worked another 10 or so additional countries QRP, but I quit counting since you can't get an endorsement on the award.

I think (you need to check) that the QRP ARCI endorses their DX Award for additional countries.

You will find working DX QRP that many times its not that you can't put a readable signal into a wanted country, but the competition is using power usually way beyond what they need because they want to be louder than the next guy who is using power way beyond needed to out gun the next guy who is using way more power than needed, etc.., etc.., etc...

It will get harder as the number of available new countries dwindle and they are rarer and farther away. But don't let failure discourage you. Sometimes it just isn't going to happen. Pay attention to propagation, use the best antenna you can, plan your "attack", listen, and you will end up with some dramatic DX QSOs. One of mine was VQ9LA on 80 meters worked during the grey line (and before it was spotted on the "cluster"). I really didn't believe it until the QSO QSL showed up on LoTW.

There are QRPers on the DXCC Honor Roll. (unfortunately I'm not one of them..yet) Remember anybody can key an amp. Now go have some fun and good luck!
« Last Edit: March 14, 2013, 03:23:37 AM by NU4B » Logged
LA9XSA
Member

Posts: 376




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« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2013, 03:40:14 AM »

There are QRPers on the DXCC Honor Roll. (unfortunately I'm not one of them..yet) Remember anybody can key an amp. Now go have some fun and good luck!
There's skill involved in tuning up an amplifier too. Let's not forget that, even as we marvel at how well low power actually works in the hands of a skilled operator with a good antenna system.
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AB7KT
Member

Posts: 155




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« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2013, 08:05:16 AM »

NU4B:

Very wise post. You bring up one point that I think needs to be repeated: a five watt signal, on CW, can be heard and copied anywhere in the world if the band is open. If you can hear the other station, he can hear you. The catch is that you typically have to compete with other stations calling on the same frequency. Most of whom are running more power and in my case, using much better antennas.  And of course when working split, you have to be on the frequency where the DX is listening. This is where operating skill comes into play and this is the fun part of QRP to me. You arn't just trying to have the loudest signal, but you are using your wits to figure out where to put your signal. If it's in the right place at the right time, he will hear you.

By the same token, if a DX station is working simplex, I usually don't spend much time calling him if there is any kind of pileup at all. At this point you are going head to head with a bunch of other stations, all of which probably have a bigger signal than you do. You arn't going to be heard most of the time under those conditions. By operating simplex, the DX station has taken wits and skill out of the equation; it's now just a question of raw power to make your signal heard on top of many others. It's just a slug fest.

I have read a few times in discussions of QRP operating the idea that having confidence is critical. When I first read this I thought it was ridiculous. You can have the best mental attitude in the world and that isn't going to make the DX station hear your signal. But, I was wrong. If you realize that your signal absolutely CAN be heard anywhere in the world, you will then seriously try to work the other station. You will put forth your best effort and use every trick you can to put your signal in the right place at the right time. When the DX station doesn't answer your call the first 20 times, you keep trying because you know that it isn't your signal and it's strength that are the problem, it is simply that you were not transmitting in the right place at the right time. Confidence makes you stick with it and keep calling and keep evaluating the situation to make your signal heard. And a lot of the time, you will eventually be heard. This is no different than operating QRO. How many times have you been operating QRO and you call and call and call a DX station but the DX station keeps answering someone else ? But, in that case you believe that you have enough signal and you keep trying. When operating QRP, you have to know and believe that your signal can be heard and keep trying.

I am in no way trying to imply that I am a skilled operator. I am a fledgling DXer. So don't take this the wrong way. But I have done enough of it to realize some of the ins and outs of DXing. This was but one revelation that I had along the way. It only takes cracking a couple pileups to realize that you can be heard. Once you realize that, a whole new world opens up for you. I only recently started operating QRP seriously. In the past I might call a DX station a couple times and if he didn't answer me, I threw in the towel. However, after I got my KX3, I really wanted to use it. So, I kept plugging away. And eventually a DX station would hear me. And a light went on in my head that I could be heard. And this realization now keeps me in there calling despite previous failure.

Years ago, I was having a discussion with a ham friend. We got onto the subject of: If we were rich, or if we hit the lottery....... what kind of station would we have ? We had many such discussions over the years. They always involved huge towers with massive antennas and monster amplifiers. One day it occured to me that I didn't really want that kind of stuff and told my friend this. He couldn't believe it. He didn't understand. So, I explained that if I was running a couple stacked monobanders on a 150 ft. tower with 1500 watts from a fantastic location, and I worked a DX station.......so what ? No big deal, of course I worked him. If I didn't work him, I would be majorly disappointed. It wouldn't be anything worth bragging about or being proud of. So the best senario is that I did what was expected of me and the worst part of the senario might be that I didn't work him and was deeply disappointed that all my money couldn't buy me a DX contact. On the other hand, if I worked this same rare DX station running 2 watts and a wire antenna, now I have something that I can be proud of. Something worth bragging about. Something noteworthy. It wasn't my money that made this possible, it was my own skill that made it possible. It would be like bench pressing a barbell with 300 pounds on it vs. lifting 300 pounds with a crane. One took a lot of serious effort and training and the other one was easy. The machine did all the work and it did far less than what was expected of it.
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I thought you said this was a weak signal mode ? I HAVE a weak signal and he still didn't hear me.

FWIW: My callsign is AB8KT
NU4B
Member

Posts: 2284




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« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2013, 10:32:57 AM »

NU4B:

Very wise post. You bring up one point that I think needs to be repeated: a five watt signal, on CW, can be heard and copied anywhere in the world if the band is open. If you can hear the other station, he can hear you. The catch is that you typically have to compete with other stations calling on the same frequency. Most of whom are running more power and in my case, using much better antennas.  And of course when working split, you have to be on the frequency where the DX is listening. This is where operating skill comes into play and this is the fun part of QRP to me. You arn't just trying to have the loudest signal, but you are using your wits to figure out where to put your signal. If it's in the right place at the right time, he will hear you.

By the same token, if a DX station is working simplex, I usually don't spend much time calling him if there is any kind of pileup at all. At this point you are going head to head with a bunch of other stations, all of which probably have a bigger signal than you do. You arn't going to be heard most of the time under those conditions. By operating simplex, the DX station has taken wits and skill out of the equation; it's now just a question of raw power to make your signal heard on top of many others. It's just a slug fest.

I have read a few times in discussions of QRP operating the idea that having confidence is critical. When I first read this I thought it was ridiculous. You can have the best mental attitude in the world and that isn't going to make the DX station hear your signal. But, I was wrong. If you realize that your signal absolutely CAN be heard anywhere in the world, you will then seriously try to work the other station. You will put forth your best effort and use every trick you can to put your signal in the right place at the right time. When the DX station doesn't answer your call the first 20 times, you keep trying because you know that it isn't your signal and it's strength that are the problem, it is simply that you were not transmitting in the right place at the right time. Confidence makes you stick with it and keep calling and keep evaluating the situation to make your signal heard. And a lot of the time, you will eventually be heard. This is no different than operating QRO. How many times have you been operating QRO and you call and call and call a DX station but the DX station keeps answering someone else ? But, in that case you believe that you have enough signal and you keep trying. When operating QRP, you have to know and believe that your signal can be heard and keep trying.

I am in no way trying to imply that I am a skilled operator. I am a fledgling DXer. So don't take this the wrong way. But I have done enough of it to realize some of the ins and outs of DXing. This was but one revelation that I had along the way. It only takes cracking a couple pileups to realize that you can be heard. Once you realize that, a whole new world opens up for you. I only recently started operating QRP seriously. In the past I might call a DX station a couple times and if he didn't answer me, I threw in the towel. However, after I got my KX3, I really wanted to use it. So, I kept plugging away. And eventually a DX station would hear me. And a light went on in my head that I could be heard. And this realization now keeps me in there calling despite previous failure.

Years ago, I was having a discussion with a ham friend. We got onto the subject of: If we were rich, or if we hit the lottery....... what kind of station would we have ? We had many such discussions over the years. They always involved huge towers with massive antennas and monster amplifiers. One day it occured to me that I didn't really want that kind of stuff and told my friend this. He couldn't believe it. He didn't understand. So, I explained that if I was running a couple stacked monobanders on a 150 ft. tower with 1500 watts from a fantastic location, and I worked a DX station.......so what ? No big deal, of course I worked him. If I didn't work him, I would be majorly disappointed. It wouldn't be anything worth bragging about or being proud of. So the best senario is that I did what was expected of me and the worst part of the senario might be that I didn't work him and was deeply disappointed that all my money couldn't buy me a DX contact. On the other hand, if I worked this same rare DX station running 2 watts and a wire antenna, now I have something that I can be proud of. Something worth bragging about. Something noteworthy. It wasn't my money that made this possible, it was my own skill that made it possible. It would be like bench pressing a barbell with 300 pounds on it vs. lifting 300 pounds with a crane. One took a lot of serious effort and training and the other one was easy. The machine did all the work and it did far less than what was expected of it.

 Grin

And I would add - confident, but not cocky. I've been "put in my place" many times. The recent ZL9 expedition was one of those times.  Smiley

Quote
There's skill involved in tuning up an amplifier too.

Yes, and its too bad so many aren't skilled in tuning an amp as they continue to do it on top on the DX's transmit frequency.  Huh
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KA1PPV
Member

Posts: 4




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« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2013, 05:03:18 AM »

Ken,

The VK QRP Club from Australia has some nice awards that may interest you.  They have one for PSK at various levels.(KM/MW)

GL 73
Joe
KA1PPV
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KB9BVN
Member

Posts: 116




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« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2013, 03:30:05 PM »

100 countries in 57 days all QRP is very cool!  I know you said you have a KX-3, buit what kind of antenna were you using?  What was the most productive band, and were they all CW?

73 de KB9BVN
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NU4B
Member

Posts: 2284




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« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2013, 12:46:26 PM »

100 countries in 57 days all QRP is very cool!  I know you said you have a KX-3, buit what kind of antenna were you using?  What was the most productive band, and were they all CW?

73 de KB9BVN


Very cool, but not surprising. If you read AB7KT's great post above, he has discovered the trick - "When operating QRP, you have to know and believe that your signal can be heard and keep trying." As QRPers we have to fill in the rest of the blanks - like right time, propagation, season, skill, ant, etc.., but once we discover that a 5 watt signal will travel the world under the right conditions, the rest is east street.
As far as an antenna, I don't know what AB7KT was using, but a well thought out dipole will work much DX.

The other day I was trying to work 5U9AMO on 17 meters. The ant was a HF5B, basically a rotatable dipole on 17 meters. I couldn't get through and I couldn't make a contact when nobody else was calling. I was getting a bit upset because I couldn't figure out what was wrong. 5U should be an easy shot for me. I thought my antenna wasn't working. I finally made it, but was disappointed at how hard it was. Later I found that the K index went through the roof along with the A and the noise level. In addition I read that the DX station was using a low hanging long wire I believe. Given the conditions, my ant actually performed rather well. But what kept me calling was I knew and believed that my 5 watts should get through. Had I thought otherwise and just given up I would have missed out on a new 17 meter country. (Actually had I known the conditions had deteriorated so bad, I might have given up anyway.  Grin Fortunately I didn't have that information at the time). 
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AA4GA
Member

Posts: 120


WWW

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« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2013, 12:09:10 PM »

Unfortunately, I missed 5U9AMO...he seemed loud enough to work, but I suppose the competition was too high - and I didn't have much time to try for him - next time though!

Mainly, I wanted to point out that my unofficial QRP DXCC standings page has changed to www.qrpdx.com - drop by and submit your country totals!

73 de Lee
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