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Author Topic: QRP and SSB  (Read 33877 times)

Posts: 1513

« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2013, 05:11:00 PM »

Thats the problem with this QRP syndrome. Everyone cherry picks the big guns, and does not give credit to the big guns antennas  for helping them  out.

You never hear a QRP station say. " I heard this good strong station with a attic G5RV and I called him and he gave me 5/7" Its very simple these kind of QRP QSO's with average ham stations are rare depending on what you call DX.
Its easy between certain locations. Examples are the East USA towards Europe. Signals routinely peg the S-meter on the short path. Try and the same QRP trick from  California or the Mid West, different story. The long path is even harder. If you running a decent level of power like 20 to 30 watts  which in signal to noise ratio  terms  is similar to a 5 watt CW  you will have  great success.

If you like setting  and breaking records QRP at any low power is fine. However from a practical communication perspective, where you require reliable communications not pot luck communications 5 watts SSB is not a realistic power level. The low power contesting power level should be raised to something like 20 to 25 watts. Even with average antennas you can have consistent reliable communications. If you look at commercial HF radio systems  over the world you will find that  in many places the so called "jungle radio phones" operated  at this power level It was a good choice  for reliability on battery power. The same goes for HF military manpack communications.

Ham manufacturers could easily design  30 watts SSB battery/portable radios. Yes of course if you like QRP and conditions allow it nobody is stopping you from turning the power down and having some fun. I cant see
that picking a arbitrary power level such as 5 watts and just accept that you will fail 90% of the time. I prefer to have success 90% of the time and reliable communications. If I wanted a challenge  that challenges the laws of physics,
I would go on top of the mountain and scream and then see if my voice reached South America. Under some circumstances operating with QRP power is just as ridiculous.

To WX7G and all...
You are absolutely correct on what you stated in your previous posting about 2 db stronger. I find that to be a good "rule of thumb" and I've used that for decades now....honestly, that really works. However, something I've found recently,especially on 40 meters night-time propagation-at least here at my Qth is to call stations who are well over S9 too. A good example of this was last night and last Thursday night on 7.163 Mhz. Tom-DF2BO--Yes! Tom the owner of Opti-Beam in Germany was 5by9 +30 to 40 Db here on my vertical array. He kept asking for DX from North America..."DELTA FOX TWO BLUE OCEAN With Company calling Cq Dx North America"....the usual kilo-watt stations were answering but the longer I listened to Tom stating that it was already daylight there in Germany and had been for an hour or so....I kept hearing stations farther West of me here in Upstate NY answering him and Tom giving them 5 by 6...7 reports. after hearing DF2BO for over a half hour here at my Qth  I decided to give him a call. Tom came right back to me giving me a 5 by 7...8...he was still 5by9 +20....Tom was totally shocked to work a 5 watt Qrp station on 40 meter LSB. On frequency he had I5ZSS- Pat near Florence and GM2YSN-Ian in Scottland. I had worked Pat and Ian many times B4 and they both knew of my Qrp exploits. Pat gave me a 5by7 and Ian gave me a 5by8....Again, this 3 way with DF2BO, I5ZSS and GM2YSN happened last night and last Thursday night with the same conditions being well after sunrise in Germany and Italy.
And NO!! NO!! NO!! I AM NOT BRAGGING ABOUT MAKING THESE CONTACTS!!! SO DON'T TAKE IT THAT WAY PLEASE!!! PERIOD!! What I'm trying to put forth to ALL of you reading this QRP and SSB don't be afraid to call an S9+whatever station who's calling CQ DX outside of the country you live in. You may very well be pleasingly surprised that S9+++ station just might answer you because conditions are highly favorable between you two. The point I'm really trying to make is LISTEN to what the DX station is saying...I was TOTALLY SURPRISED when DF2BO- Tom stated that he had been in daylight there in Germany for well over an hour. I would have thought as in my past experiences on 40 meters that the DX Window usually closes shortly after sunrise for the DX station you might be working. Bottom-line far as I'm concerned to LISTEN to what the band conditions are currently when you're on the air. Propagation/conditions are NOT set in stone...I know I learned something from the 2 contacts with DF2BO and company ....LISTEN MORE.....OPEN YOUR MIND A BIT....THE SOLAR INDEX/NUMBERS DO NOT ALWAYS TELL WHAT BAND CONDITIONS TRULY ARE.
Anyway....I'm rambling....
My BEST regards with many 72...73...
Don sr. --WA2TPU --

Posts: 244

« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2013, 12:08:54 AM »

They are still available used if you look at the SGC-2020; runs 20W. Those rigs are out there. I like the Elecraft "ears" but I wish their "QRP" rigs could reach that 20W level.

73, Paul

Posts: 223

« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2013, 01:30:22 AM »

QRP/contest rules could be ERP based for fairness : so 2W with a beam, 5W with a dipole or 25W with a whip.

I'm also surprised this Amateur manpack market has not been addressed:
There is currently a fashion for pseudo military outdoor equipment, clothing, Molle backpacks, knifes, SUVs etc.
The Yaesu handhelds e.g. FT270R are marketed as tough as nails waterproof radios. The IC-7200 is dressed to look the part.
A more macho portable HF radio should fit right in and sell well as an alternative to the current picnic table offerings.

For a grab and go setup, the Yaesu VX1210 - their current commercial grade manpack seems close to where I would like them to take the MkIII FT-817 ( due next year ?)
It has 20/5W, a reasonable sized Lithium battery pack, the built in ATU and a case robust enough to support a whip antenna.
What it needs to make it more ham friendly is a VFO dial, CW and general DSP filtering.

Keeping the weight down is still very important so 6m,2m and higher could be omitted - after all everyone has a 2m HH (and how much VHF DX activity especially hilltop, was driven by the, no more, morse test license restricting HF access).
Likewise carrying around the heat-sinking for a 100W PA seems unnecessary - i.e. a targeted use radio (there are already good mobile, home and contest sets)

Yaesu also made the 10W FT-70G manpack. In the early '90s, quite a few of the radios made it into amateur hands in the UK, but far fewer of the battery packs, ATUs and whips : making it no more complete than a FT-817.  I've still got mime ( radio only ), but never use it as the push button decade tuning is no fun.

One also could get very close by taking the boards from the 10W KX3 and putting them into a manpack style case along with a simplified remote display head and 4Ah batteries.
Anyone up for a kickstarter project to make a conversion kit ?

Posts: 884

« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2013, 07:49:39 PM »

Keeping the weight down is still very important so 6m,2m and higher could be omitted - after all everyone has a 2m HH (and how much VHF DX activity especially hilltop, was driven by the, no more, morse test license restricting HF access).

Actually the main reason I have bit on the KX3 is the lack of 2M and 70CM, but I like working satellite and the FT817 is good for linear transponders. And one of these years I'll get my act together and work the VHF contest on a mountaintop...

But I realize I'm an exception and most hams spend their time and money down in the HF bands.

Posts: 15

« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2013, 12:14:44 PM »

 i love qrp too i am using a end feed resonant dipole  for 15m,10m made from g4icd geoff hes sold almost 10,000 already.

 i managed to get these on my 15m dipole last weekend all at 10w  P43A, PT2CM, 8P5A, vy2tt, ve3jm  see what you can do with 10w

   73s de ei9gmb Anthony in ireland

Posts: 212

« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2013, 10:50:49 AM »

With my bare foot Elecraft K2  at 10 to 12 watts out, I routinely work stations from 75 meters to 10 meters on SSB. Band noise, propagation, and qrm are the  limiting factors.

Posts: 91

« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2013, 01:21:15 PM »

Hey  All,

FWIW, using SSB I work 40 M at 1.5 W, 15 M at around .75 W and 10 M at around  .5 W. Rig is an IC 735 and my only HF antenna is a  40m 1/2 wave  dipole which is LOW/"NVIS"  for 7 Mhz  (anyways).

Today I worked Norway on 15 M  and the other day Puerto Rico on 10 M.

I have had a good luck working quite a few Euros on 15 M during  our mornings over the last 2 months  or so.I've even done a FEW  Euros  on 10 M (again at 1/2  watt !)

I'm a MONSTER on 40 M CW (at 3 watts,hi).


Posts: 537

« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2013, 07:55:16 PM »

Don't you guys having fun while working the world QRP SSB understand?



Posts: 21

« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2013, 10:48:41 PM »

 Under some circumstances operating with QRP power is just as ridiculous.

Its the challenge, if you don't want to take the challenge then don't, its that simple.  I have a couple linear amps, an Alpha that can go well above legal limits, I choose QRP because of the challenge and its fun!  To make a contact thousands of miles away on 5 or 10 watts with a wire antenna made of stainless steel fishing leader slung up in a tree is very satisfying, more so than running 1500 watts into a beam up 90'. 

You have a manpack and love it, that's awesome, slinging 15lbs of radio on my back and walking around is not my cuppa, glad you like it.  I am sure if you start a thread on manpack you might 3 or 4 others that have one to reply.  You are a rare and exotic beast.

Posts: 179

« Reply #24 on: December 09, 2013, 07:23:19 AM »


You nailed it. "It's the challenge".

I have a nice 100 watt radio that has hardly any mileage at all. Like most hams I've found that 100 watts to any average, decent antenna will net you all the contacts you could ever want. Frankly I found it almost boring. When you venture out into QRP land things are very different but not necessarily more "difficult".

For a lot of us it's the challenge that keeps our interest in ham radio. If one is not up to it, hey it's a big world, go do your thing.....


Posts: 2100

« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2013, 08:25:13 AM »

To be fair I gave QRP/SSB a fair chance for about 2 months and personally found it to be a no brainer and boring right up there with using a cell phone, press a few buttons turn a knob an and yap away both local and dx with no physical activity and minimum mental stimulation.On the other hand with the CW side of QRP I look forward to experimenting/building antennas then getting outside to put them up along with the CW aspect which gives my ever decreasing brain cells much needed exercise.I never could see QRP as a challenge, just fun and interesting.

Posts: 491

« Reply #26 on: December 09, 2013, 10:35:41 AM »

Involvement -

The world of HF radio tinkering is very accessible via QRP, because low power levels usually mean being able to do much with inexpensive (or scrounged) parts, understandable circuits (as opposed to corporate built hardware/software combinations in cutting edge rigs) and also - frankly -  not taking a significant part of my family budget for ham radio.  Due to the small size of most QRP rigs, they are very easy to take on trips or even a walk in the park.

I appreciate the amazing rigs made today - but it just would not be the same for me, operating something that I had never opened and modified and which I have only the vaguest idea of how it actually works.

de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._

Posts: 233

« Reply #27 on: December 09, 2013, 06:23:33 PM »

Ray, at age 49 I am seriously considering getting into kit building.  My eyes are not so great and my hands not so steady, but I am learning to be patient and looking for a new frontier in ham radio.  What is a good beginner QRP kit for me?

Posts: 14492

« Reply #28 on: December 09, 2013, 06:36:53 PM »

On the other hand with the CW side of QRP I look forward to experimenting/building antennas then getting outside to put them up ...

I don't understand how SSB limits your ability to experiment/build antennas. I can understand how you might enjoy CW more than SSB however.

Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA

Posts: 2100

« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2013, 03:46:26 AM »


I knew that question would come up after I posted it  Huh. You're correct it doesn't. My incorrect phrasing of the antenna statement was alluding to QRP in GENERAL where it is necessary to get the most out of any antenna especially pertaining to weak, near noise level CW signals, of course the same holds true for QRP/SSB side.
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