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Author Topic: when i pass my ticket  (Read 2604 times)
JASONC
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« on: February 10, 2013, 10:32:44 AM »

One of my questions I have is when i pass my test,Is it worth getting set up to transmit QRP,or is it a waist of time.I want to start out on a small buget first.
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N0YXB
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2013, 10:50:13 AM »

It depends on your goals and what modes you are interested in.  Most would not recommend QRP for a newbie, particularly if you're interested in SSB operation.  However, there are many amateurs having success operating QRP on the digital modes.  You may want to peruse the the Digital forum to see if this is something that might interest you.
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Vince
AC2EU
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2013, 11:00:35 AM »

QRP works fine with a decent antenna and location.
By decent antenna, I mean something better than a hamstick!
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W4HIJ
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2013, 11:08:03 AM »

SSB and QRP can get frustrating quick, especially for a newcomer. I prefer digital over anything else these days anyway and JT-65 and PSK31 are great QRP modes.
Michael, W4HIJ
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K8AXW
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2013, 11:20:12 AM »

JASONIC:  I got into a terrible argument (discussion, whatever) about this very subject on the QRP forum because I have a difference of opinion that those who frequent that forum.

I have been around long enough to try HF, QRP and QRO, the "birds", VHF, UHF and digital.

I have built three QRP rigs.  One for 20m CW and two for 40m, one CW and the other CW, SSB and digital.

If you go to the QRP forum here on eHam.com and read through the posts there you will be tempted to start with QRP.  No doubt in my mind.  They're a very persuasive group.

However, based on my experience, I sincerely and with an open mind to QRP capabilities and your finances, cannot recommend starting out your ham career using QRP.  QRP is for the advanced operator and usually one who simply wants a change or challenge.

QRP can be a very exasperating mode by not producing the results and overall fun that a new ham wants and expects.  

My advice is to buy a used all mode transceiver from someone you know or a reputable dealer. (read NOT eBay here) Used transceivers can be obtained at a very reasonable cost and then you can usually work QRP or QRO (100w), CW, SSB and digital.  

You'll have it all and with that kind of rig and power you can work the world even with a simple wire antenna.

Al - K8AXW
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G3RZP
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« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2013, 11:52:26 AM »

Sometimes, it's amazing what you can do with QRP, but if you want to get, for example,  into low band DXing, it will be frustrating, even with a good antenna. It can be hard enough with QRO!

So I go along 100% with Al, K8AXW.
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WB6BYU
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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2013, 12:41:52 PM »

I agree.  I'm a great advocate of QRP operation, but I don't recommend it for
a newcomer as their only option.

I started with QRP (unintentionally it turned out, due to the antenna not
matching the transmitter) and made 4 contacts in the first 5 months.  Things got
better with time, and I actually managed 3 contacts in one day!  Needless to
say, it was rather frustrating, and I had pages of unanswered calls in my logbook
(which we had to log back in the day.)

That's not to say that it need be that difficult:  I still run QRP (by choice now)
and can work over 200 contacts over a Field Day weekend with simple wire
antennas.  (CW is much more efficient for QRP operation than SSB.)  But having
100W available will allow you to overcome antenna problems, and QRP rigs often
carry a premium price compared to full power rigs with similar features.

I've seen rigs such as the TS-520 or similar go for less than $200 at ham swap
meets.  You want someone knowledgeable to accompany you who is willing
to help you make sure it is in good working order, and, as others have recommended,
getting one from a local ham who will let you test it out ahead of time is the
best method.  Many commercial dealers also sell used ham gear, and while you
aren't likely to get a really great deal, they should at least guarantee that it is
in good working order and give some sort of a warranty.

Because there are a lot more 100W rigs available, prices are comparable to QRP
equipment, and often lower.  You can always turn down the power to QRP levels,
but you can't crank up a QRP rig to 100W (unless you add an amplifier) when
conditions are difficult.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2013, 01:21:54 PM »

One thing to consider is that the antenna is the most important part of the station. I can put out a better signal using 5W and a 3el Yagi at 60 feet than I could running 100W and a Hamstick inside an apartment. In addition, the antenna works both ways - transmit and receive.

I'd give due consideration to the antenna before deciding on the transceiver. The antenna doesn't have to be expensive in order to work well. A half-wave wire dipole stung between a couple of trees can often be had for a few dollars.
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W8JX
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« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2013, 01:38:17 PM »

One of my questions I have is when i pass my test,Is it worth getting set up to transmit QRP,or is it a waist of time.I want to start out on a small buget first.

If you want to focus on CW, QRP can be very viable. In SSB you can have mixed results.
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WD4CHP
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Posts: 144




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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2013, 03:10:19 PM »

As a novice my first rig was a Heathkit HW8.

I do not recomend QRP as a first rig.

My first antenna was an inverted V made out of 2 rolls of Radio Shack antenna wire.

My second rig was a Heathkit HW 101.

I built both.

Get an older rig with out all the menus and learn to operate.
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K0ZN
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Posts: 1544




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« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2013, 03:27:18 PM »

Count me in with the "QRP is NOT recommended" for a first rig.

The cold reality is that most of the time, you will find it quite challenging to make contacts and it is not easy to have a longer QSO with QRP.
You need to get on the air and have some QSO's to get a feel of the hobby and what happens. HARD to do with QRP, especially on the
lower bands and in summer when the QRN level is higher, even on the upper bands noise levels come up in the summer.

Hint:  try to put up the best and highest antenna you reasonably can.  

There are a LOT of good, reliable, and fully functional "older" rigs out there. You can get a 100 W tranceiver for a pretty reasonable amount; well worth the effort and cost.

A cold fact is that, especially on voice modes, most hams don't want to try to pull some weak signal out of the noise; it is just not fun nor pleasant to listen to.
Remember; often the QRP operator is asking the other station to listen to a signal that is hard to copy.....that is not most people's definition of fun. Translation: your
popularity on the band WILL be related to your signal strength. With a QRP only station, you are going to spend a LOT of time on the radio NOT working other stations.

QRP is fun and a challenge, but is not the way to start out.  QRP is best for CW or digital modes.

73,  K0ZN
« Last Edit: February 10, 2013, 03:31:01 PM by K0ZN » Logged
WD4CHP
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Posts: 144




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« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2013, 03:54:56 PM »

Well said

Count me in with the "QRP is NOT recommended" for a first rig.

The cold reality is that most of the time, you will find it quite challenging to make contacts and it is not easy to have a longer QSO with QRP.
You need to get on the air and have some QSO's to get a feel of the hobby and what happens. HARD to do with QRP, especially on the
lower bands and in summer when the QRN level is higher, even on the upper bands noise levels come up in the summer.

Hint:  try to put up the best and highest antenna you reasonably can. 

There are a LOT of good, reliable, and fully functional "older" rigs out there. You can get a 100 W tranceiver for a pretty reasonable amount; well worth the effort and cost.

A cold fact is that, especially on voice modes, most hams don't want to try to pull some weak signal out of the noise; it is just not fun nor pleasant to listen to.
Remember; often the QRP operator is asking the other station to listen to a signal that is hard to copy.....that is not most people's definition of fun. Translation: your
popularity on the band WILL be related to your signal strength. With a QRP only station, you are going to spend a LOT of time on the radio NOT working other stations.

QRP is fun and a challenge, but is not the way to start out.  QRP is best for CW or digital modes.

73,  K0ZN

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N8NSN
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« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2013, 04:07:02 PM »

All very sensible replies. I must suggest that though QRP is indeed a LOT of fun... one needs to be "seeking that type of challenge" to have it be enjoyable. A good number of the QRP / CW operators which I am familiar with are in to building antennas, transmitters, receivers, and transceivers. To me, that is loads (intended pun) of fun. Then there is the remote/portable ops fun. Camping, back packing... Just FUN!
QRP, to me is part of a function to test antennas I build. When I work a station 900 or so miles away, when I'm running as low as 50 miliwatts, it's certainly a great accolade to the transmitter and/or more importantly an antenna built, and the associated efforts of the build.
BUT- had I pursued this endeavor from the beginning as a QRP practitioner- surely there is a question whether I would have stuck with it... Likely so as I love building stuff, but that's by far not the norm of the hobby's majority- today.
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AC2EU
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« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2013, 04:31:26 PM »

Yes, i can see the argument against starting with QRP because it takes more skill and patience. Most newbies will want to make contacts quickly to get their feet wet ( I was guilty as well...) and SSB does not fair as well in QRP, but it is possible.
Any mode fairs better with a decent antenna, so that is a primary consideration even more so than the rig!

However, a carefully chosen used 100w rig ( ask around, read reviews) probably would be more fun to start with.
Try to find an old solid state transceiver.  The tube hybrids are more complicated to operate, but those are fun too like QRP and good to know about once you are more comfortable with the hobby.

Good luck on the exam!
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AA4HA
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Posts: 1386




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« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2013, 04:45:36 AM »

Assuming that this is your first ticket it will be a technician class license where most of your privileges will be >VHF it would not be an issue there. If you are going to jump to general by passing two elements then you pick up most of the HF allocations as well.
I agree that running a bit more power while getting started will minimize your frustrations on HF.
Also, even without a license or even with a tech class license there is nothing stopping you from getting a good antenna up in the air. Your ability to receive is more important than your transmitter power and having a good set of "ears" (antenna/receiver) is invaluable before you make your first transmission.
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
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