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Author Topic: Is there hope for QRP during declining sunspot cycle and minimum?  (Read 24620 times)
KE7TMA
Member

Posts: 472




Ignore
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2014, 11:39:03 PM »

And really who cares how low or high you go with QRP.  The Q code for QRP means "Shall I decrease my power?Huh??" It does not mean I must run 5 watts  because a contest committee made a silly rule for contests.

  If you run 100 watts and you reduce your power to 50 watts,  you have  reduced power and that is sufficient  to claim legitimate QRP status. So really if you can effectively increase the efficiency of your station  effectiveness by increasing power  to the 25 or or even 50 watts  you are QRP legal in the spirit of what QRP really means especially if you constantly adjusting your power limit up or down. It will also make your low power ham life more enjoyable.

 5 watt QRP is  a contest rule and was not meant to  one of the ten commandments of ham radio carved into rock. It was also meant to be the minimum power suitable for battery operation. I can tuck a  LIPO battery pack and Yaesu FT857 in my jacket and operate at 100 watts SSB for a short period of time. This is legal QRP as well because its in the spirit  of what is possible with technology for what is considered  possible with portable or low power operation.

It would be nice to have a real QRP contest thats truly based on science and actually being able to copy a low power station  A contest that is limited to 100 watts of power. You can exchange a report of 5XX00 or 5XTT or 5Xt. This would indicate you running 100 watts. You can then make  a series of power reduction in 6db steps. So 25 watts would 596. The 6  indicating  6db less power. You get  a few extra points for the -6db QSO. The next report would be 59(12) indicating -12db less power or 6 watts.  You keep on reducing power by 6db and the reports keep on going -18, -24 etc You also get more points the lower you go in power. The power could  be reduced by a automatic step attenuator. It would also be a good check for your S-meter. 6db is a reasonable step for  accuracy when considering  fading and other factors. +-2db is considered acceptable in a EMC lab for example and this is using  100 thousand dollar EMC  calibrated receivers.  So 6db would be nice noticeable step even on the junk ham radios with the typical guess meter.

This kind of contest would truly assess the effectiveness of low power communications on all modes.  After years of doing this exact thing I have come to the conclusion that 25 watts of power  from a perception point of view.  When considering the lousy S_meters on most transceivers, t 25 watts is just as good as 100 watts in real effectiveness since most stations cant spot the difference.  Those who can tell the difference exaggerate the real difference  mostly because they have  a lousy S_meter, AGC or a high signal to noise ratio. So the effect can be dramatic  for some  hams. Using a quality SDR receiver that has a very accurate S_meter the differences between 100 watts
and 25 watts is barely perceptible.

Bottom line is change bands and increase or decrease power where applicable. There is little point being a stubborn  QRP hero by being stuck on 1 band , 1 power level  and making no QSO's by trying to fight the MUF by being on the wrong frequency or using insufficient power. QRP shall I reduce power?!

Not to piss in your corn flakes but I have had fun at QRP power levels as low as 100 milliwatts with people 200 miles away, they were reporting s5.  This is not an enormous accomplishment but with my limited antenna situation it was pretty good.

And 25 watts, or 50, is not QRP.  QRP is 5 watts or less.  By the way, when I was sending at 100 mills it was from a low ocf dipole and the receiving station was in an automobile with a mobile antenna.

We had fun, that's what this is all about.  But you ain't doing QRP at 50 watts.
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W1VT
Member

Posts: 860




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« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2014, 07:35:33 AM »

I got my 6M VUCC running 3 watts to an HF dipole--summers of 87 and 88.  
There weren't a whole lot of sunspots in 1987.  Grin
Most of the contacts were on voice, though I also made a few CW contacts as well.

Zack W1VT
« Last Edit: June 02, 2014, 07:43:25 AM by W1VT » Logged
WT1J
Member

Posts: 11




Ignore
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2014, 02:08:58 PM »

I looked back at my log through the past solar min. I check from the beginning of 2008  to towards the end of 2010. This was a period when the solar flux was around 70 or below and sunspots were rare if not zero. I worked 182 countries running 5 watts with my K2 or my HW-9 running 4 watts.

Results may vary depending on antennas, I used a windom and Butternut HF5B.

You may not be that interested in DX, but the point is there should be no problem making contacts at QRP levels during a solar min.

40 and 80 will be enhanced. 30 and 20 will offer some great openings. Even 17 will be available much of the time. 15 meters will have some decent openings. 10 and 12 meters will be rough with a capital "R", but there will be trans equatorial openings and decent openings to the Caribbean.

So as long as your realistic in your antenna selection you should be in good shape. You should have no problem making stateside and NA QSO's.   

Antennas, antennas, antennas!

Good Luck!

Thanks, this certainly cheered me up. Frankly as long as I can make stateside contacts QRP I'm happy and any DX is a bonus, so nice to hear you had so much success DX'ing.
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W4WNT
Member

Posts: 30




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« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2014, 07:25:19 AM »

A new transceiver is your choice, but limiting yourself to a QRP rig may not be the best answer.  Today's rigs can be brought down to 5 watts if that is where you want to go. Serious DX can be worked on the digital modes with very low power.  The WSJT modes JT65 and JT9 are very good for DX operation, and the PSK and new SIM31 PSK modes are very active.  SIM31 PSK is usually done at 5-10 watts across the Atlantic.  Check out PSKReporter and Hamspots.net to see where you are being heard.   
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WA2TPU
Member

Posts: 218




Ignore
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2014, 12:38:10 PM »

The subject-- Is there hope for QRP during declining sunspot cycle and minimum?

Yes there is more than hope during the declining sunspot cycle and the minimum.  Granted 10 and 15 meters will suffer the most during the bottom of a cycle but there still be openings on these bands. However, 20,30,40,80 and 160 can be stellar in performance during these declining years and at the minimum of a cycle.

About 90% of my contacts over the last 3 plus decades have been with DX and not just in the CW mode. Looking back thru my logs of many,many years  I still managed to work DX on a regular daily basis at 5 watts or less. Yes indeed, it helps to have high gain antennas to use during the "lows" and  I always put-up the best antenna(s) I can make ....but what I think many over-look is getting to know the specific band(s) you want to operate on. Getting to know and trying to understand what the band conditions are takes a TON of steadfast diligence,listening, and patience on your part. Over a long period of time just listening and then repeatedly calling CQ when the band was suppose to be  "dead" has yielded some pretty rare and interesting DX contacts for me during the minimum of cycles.. And NO I'm NOT BRAGGING....JUST SHARING.PERIOD!!
My BEST regards to all with many 72....73.
Don sr.- WA2TPU/Qrp --
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K8JD
Member

Posts: 51




Ignore
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2014, 11:29:48 AM »

If you want to keep making contacts with QRP during the lowest subnspot years you have to move out of the apartment and get some room for full sized antennas for the 160, 80, 60 meter bands.
That's where the action will be, even more-so in the cold months when thunderstorm QRN is minimum.
Logged

73...John
SKCC 1395T, FISTS 3853
Official US Taxpayer
W9ALD
Member

Posts: 25




Ignore
« Reply #21 on: June 18, 2014, 06:13:46 AM »

The mere fact that a signal exists is more important than it's magnitude!

No matter what part of the sunspot cycle we are in, the MUF still needs to be above the operating frequncy, except in the case of ground wave communications!

Absorption is a killer that perserverance and technique will conquer!

In other words:  Just turn the radio on and find out.  If no one calls CQ the band always sounds dead!
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WA2TPU
Member

Posts: 218




Ignore
« Reply #22 on: June 19, 2014, 02:42:19 PM »

To Hairy and everyone reading this posting.....

Hairy.....
that was a nice posting.... honest logical words that should be seriously  considered by ALL hams not just us Qrpers.
For me,working DX with 5 watts or less during the "low" of a cycle can be quite challenging but any/all DX contacts are special and rewarding no matter when it is in my book of thoughts. The thrill of working DX has never left me...I TRULY LOVE TALKING TO DX. Its taken me just shy of 37 years to accomplish(confirmed Qsls)  talking to at least 100 countries per band from 160 thru 6 meters via mixed modes. Some of these Qso's were at the very bottom of these many cycles and on supposed "dead bands".
Yes indeed Hairy....turn on your radio fellow hams....check the bands out....call Cq...someone is bound to be listening somewhere on the planet....with a little luck and patience you'll work DX even at the bottom of a cycle. This current cycle isn't over with just yet......conditions will be declining but there's still time to work some pretty nice and RARE DX. GOOD LUCK and HAPPY HUNTING....

Always my BEST  regards with many 72...73.
Don sr. -- WA2TPU/Qrp- A TRUE 5 WATT QRP GREEN STATION.
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ZS6DX
Member

Posts: 21


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #23 on: June 20, 2014, 10:54:06 AM »

And really who cares how low or high you go with QRP.  The Q code for QRP means "Shall I decrease my power?Huh??" It does not mean I must run 5 watts  because a contest committee made a silly rule for contests.

  If you run 100 watts and you reduce your power to 50 watts,  you have  reduced power and that is sufficient  to claim legitimate QRP status. So really if you can effectively increase the efficiency of your station  effectiveness by increasing power  to the 25 or or even 50 watts  you are QRP legal in the spirit of what QRP really means especially if you constantly adjusting your power limit up or down. It will also make your low power ham life more enjoyable.

 5 watt QRP is  a contest rule and was not meant to  one of the ten commandments of ham radio carved into rock. It was also meant to be the minimum power suitable for battery operation. I can tuck a  LIPO battery pack and Yaesu FT857 in my jacket and operate at 100 watts SSB for a short period of time. This is legal QRP as well because its in the spirit  of what is possible with technology for what is considered  possible with portable or low power operation.

It would be nice to have a real QRP contest thats truly based on science and actually being able to copy a low power station  A contest that is limited to 100 watts of power. You can exchange a report of 5XX00 or 5XTT or 5Xt. This would indicate you running 100 watts. You can then make  a series of power reduction in 6db steps. So 25 watts would 596. The 6  indicating  6db less power. You get  a few extra points for the -6db QSO. The next report would be 59(12) indicating -12db less power or 6 watts.  You keep on reducing power by 6db and the reports keep on going -18, -24 etc You also get more points the lower you go in power. The power could  be reduced by a automatic step attenuator. It would also be a good check for your S-meter. 6db is a reasonable step for  accuracy when considering  fading and other factors. +-2db is considered acceptable in a EMC lab for example and this is using  100 thousand dollar EMC  calibrated receivers.  So 6db would be nice noticeable step even on the junk ham radios with the typical guess meter.

This kind of contest would truly assess the effectiveness of low power communications on all modes.  After years of doing this exact thing I have come to the conclusion that 25 watts of power  from a perception point of view.  When considering the lousy S_meters on most transceivers, t 25 watts is just as good as 100 watts in real effectiveness since most stations cant spot the difference.  Those who can tell the difference exaggerate the real difference  mostly because they have  a lousy S_meter, AGC or a high signal to noise ratio. So the effect can be dramatic  for some  hams. Using a quality SDR receiver that has a very accurate S_meter the differences between 100 watts
and 25 watts is barely perceptible.

Bottom line is change bands and increase or decrease power where applicable. There is little point being a stubborn  QRP hero by being stuck on 1 band , 1 power level  and making no QSO's by trying to fight the MUF by being on the wrong frequency or using insufficient power. QRP shall I reduce power?!

Hmmm, so 100W is QRP? Me thinks not.... You are either operating QRP or not, your 25-100w is simply "Low power" and far less of a challenge than true QRP........

I wonder what your call sign is?

Rudi de ZS6DX/V51VE
Logged
W9ALD
Member

Posts: 25




Ignore
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2014, 06:23:10 AM »

To Hairy and everyone reading this posting.....

Hairy.....
that was a nice posting.... honest logical words that should be seriously  considered by ALL hams not just us Qrpers.
For me,working DX with 5 watts or less during the "low" of a cycle can be quite challenging but any/all DX contacts are special and rewarding no matter when it is in my book of thoughts. The thrill of working DX has never left me...I TRULY LOVE TALKING TO DX. Its taken me just shy of 37 years to accomplish(confirmed Qsls)  talking to at least 100 countries per band from 160 thru 6 meters via mixed modes. Some of these Qso's were at the very bottom of these many cycles and on supposed "dead bands".
Yes indeed Hairy....turn on your radio fellow hams....check the bands out....call Cq...someone is bound to be listening somewhere on the planet....with a little luck and patience you'll work DX even at the bottom of a cycle. This current cycle isn't over with just yet......conditions will be declining but there's still time to work some pretty nice and RARE DX. GOOD LUCK and HAPPY HUNTING....

Always my BEST  regards with many 72...73.
Don sr. -- WA2TPU/Qrp- A TRUE 5 WATT QRP GREEN STATION.

Don,

After forty some years of playing with radio gear those statements have become self-evident.  With a 5BWAS and 6 meter WAS under my belt and nearly there on 160 & 2 meters, utilizing the many modes of propagation are very important as is understanding when to look for them.

I think my most memorable QSO was back in my novice days working VE7CEE on 40 meters using my trusty Heathkit HW-16 around midnight local time in Waterville, MN.  We worked well into the night and did a number of repeats because there was some cyclical fading taking place.  The cycling got to the point where it was two minutes between peaks that the path was there.  Finally the signals faded into the noise, not to be heard again.  The QSL arrived a few days later and he was as excited about the QSO as I was.  Some fun!

Weak signal work on any band is what trips my trigger.

W9ALD
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VK6IS
Member

Posts: 98




Ignore
« Reply #25 on: June 21, 2014, 11:07:34 PM »

Quote
Easiest thing is to get on the radio and call CQ.  If nobody's calling you might think a very lively band is quite dead.

+1.
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KB1GMX
Member

Posts: 810




Ignore
« Reply #26 on: June 22, 2014, 06:07:07 AM »

I'm with the last few.

Sunspot minima means you need frequency agility more than power.  The ability
to switch bands is much more valuable than mega power.  High power [or even
moderate power] on a truly dead band is pointless.  This means also some form
of antenna that can be made to work on many bands.

Sunspots are only one dimension in propagation.

The most important thing is to turn on the radio, tune around and call.
The biggest thing is if you don't try it can't happen.


Allison
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