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Dust Off the Old Amplifier

Created by on 2011-10-06

I know the conventional wisdom is if you can't hear them you can't work them but there is a corollary to that saying and it is; "If they can't hear you they won't call you." This is a call for those of you who own an amplifier to use them when you call CQ. For those of you that have never tried to call CQ, CQ is what you do when you don't hang around a net all day to make a contact. It is more honest than asking for a radio check.

At this point I expect the replays descend into a class warfare battle between the QRO crowd and the QRP minimalist group. Let's skip the replays who have worked 100 countries with 5 watts for even a blind squirrel will find an acorn if they look long enough.

Case in point. Having a late lunch I turned on the radio and pointed the beam East to find a dead band on ten meters. Pushed the CQ button and nothing came back. I did this several times and then warmed up the amplifier. Running 1500 watts, a F4 from the South of France came back to me. I turned the beam north east and worked several French, German and Spanish stations.

I then turned the beam east again and called CQ with the amp on. Several South Africa stations and one Zimbabwe answered my CQ. On the spectrum scope the rest of the ten meter band was quiet as a church mouse. When I dropped the amplifier off line, the stations could not hear me. Don't forget many stations have a high receive noise level.

I live in a very quiet location in the high planes of Colorado but the case I point is without the amplifier during the CQ phase of the operation I would have walked away thinking the band was dead for the day.

Moral of this story is the more noise you make the greater the chance of getting a reply.

STRAIGHTKEY 2011-11-14
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
"I am very thankful we don't live in one of those third world country's that diminishes our hobby with unnecessary restrictions.
And that I am the one who decides when I turn on the amp. "

Which third world "country's" would that be? Italy, which has a 300 watt limit or England which has a 400 watt limit?

Usually it's not the government in real third world countries limiting amplifier usage, it's the lack of electricity and the need to eat.
K0KNX 2011-11-13
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
I wouldn't know, UPS destroyed my AL-80A and wouldn't honor the insurance claim
K0UA 2011-11-12
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
I don't have an amp and in over 40 years of operating I have never owned one. BUT what is everyone getting so vocal about? Mike said he called first with 100 watts and could not raise an answer. So he switched to 1500 and made some nice contacts, so what is wrong with that? That was the entire point of his article. I am pretty sure that is what Mike wanted to say, make some noise and open up the "dead" band. Come on, cut him some slack.

James K0UA
KM6CQ 2011-11-08
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Lots of good reads on this thread. I enjoy seeing passion even when I know it is incorrect.
This topic has reaffirmed for us that, Gain antennas and amplifiers make for great signals as needed.
I am very thankful we don't live in one of those third world country's that diminishes our hobby with unnecessary restrictions.
And that I am the one who decides when I turn on the amp.
Not the ARRL or a group of amateurs with good intentions.
Liberty is wonderful.

Best Regards, Dan
KJ4NOO 2011-11-05
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
While I have an amplifier I rarely use it. That being said it does come in handy when I do need it to make the contact. If used properly amplifiers can be a great help without causing interference.
N4UED 2011-11-04
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
I CAN UNDERSTAND WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO USE AN AMPLIFIER .
I PURCHASED ONE BACK IN 1991 AT THE SHELBY , NC HAMFEST .
I HAVE ALWAYS BUILT MY OWN HF ANTENNAS .
I LEARNED HOW TO BUILD WIRE ANTENNAS THAT WOULD GIVE ME GAIN IN THE DIRECTION I WANTED .
NOW IT IS VERY EASY TO PICK THE TELEPHONE UP AND ORDER A WIRE ANTENNA .
I UNDERSTAND THIS .
SOME HAMS HAVE NEVER BOUGHT AS MANY ANTENNA BOOKS AS I HAVE .
THE HAM MAY ALSO NOT HAVE AN ELMER TO HELP THEM UNDERSTAND THE BASICS OF SIMPLE ANTENNA BUILDING .
I HAVE LEARNED A LOT FROM OTHERS IN THE PAST 23 YRS AS A HAM .
THE ONE THING IS ANTENNA FIRST .
I HAVE SEVERAL ANTENNAS LISTED ON MY "QRZ" PAGE THAT I HAVE BUILT AND USED OVER THE YEARS .
IN AUGUST OF THIS YEAR HURRICANE IRENE CAME THROUGH NC .
THE STORM BLEW ALL OF MY HF ANTENNAS DOWN .
I HAVE ONLY ONE ANTENNA UP AT THIS TIME .
IT IS A 171FT LONG 40M EXTENDED DOUBLE ZEPP FED IN THE CENTER WITH OPEN WIRE LINE .
THIS IS A VERY GOOD ANTENNA .
I JUST GOT ALL OF MY DOWNED TRESS OUT OF THE WAY.
I AM GOING TO GET THE ZEPP UP HIGHER IN THE TREES .
THE NEXT THING IS TO REBUILD THE OTHER ANTENNAS I LOST IN THE HURRICANE .
I USE AN AMERITRON AL-1200 AMPLIFIER .
THE GOOD THING ABOUT USING A AMP WITH WELL BUILT GAIN ANTENNAS ARE MANY .
YOU CAN HEAR THE QRP GUYS AS WELL AS THOSE WITH VERY LIMITED ANTENNAS .
THE AMP DOES HELP THOSE FELLAS WITH LIMITED ANTENNAS HEAR YOU WELL .
NOT EVERONE THAT USES AN AMP IS A BAND HOG .
AJUST YOUR MICROPHONE GAIN AND LIMIT YOUR ALC .
I ADJUST MY MICROPHONE WITH A LOCAL HAM THAT KNOWS HOW I SOUND IN PERSON .
AMPLIFIERS HAVE THEIR PLACE IN OUR HOBBY AS WELL AS WELL BUILT WIRE ANTENNAS .
GOOD DX TO ALL .
AF4RK 2011-11-03
RE: Dust off your brains.
Absolutely!
VE3FAX 2011-11-01
Dust Off the Old Amplifier- a Canadian perspective
While low power and QRP is fun, there is one unfortunate growing reason to encourage the use of an AMP; increased digital hash, noise floor increase from all the unlicensed and unintentional radiators and increased power line noise from a failing infrastructure.

Canada's regulatory agency "Industry Canada" (I.C.) has officially abandoned protecting the RF environment from RFI EMI caused TO radio spectrum users -EXCEPT emergency services and Air Navigation (Don't believe me? Check out their website under RFI) The result is every man for himself. Have a neighbour that spews RFI? Tough luck- he will tell you its YOUR problem and to get lost. Have power line noise that power company won't fix? They don't care. Who can you complain to? Not I.C.! Seems you have to personally bring a court action to enforce the Radio Regulations on your own and IC mantra is "...you Hams are suppose to be self policing now.. don't bother us". IC wont help you find the problem and won't help you deal with it.

Only those stations running HIGH POWER are now heard over the growing RF smog- at BOTH my operating locations. I tired going mobile. That was a joke. Most towns and cities I drive through have complete radio HF blackouts from all the RFI digital hash, new LED traffic lights, equipment and power-line noise. Country-side is OK however. If you are not over S-8, I will NOT hear you. Many fellow hams are leaving the hobby in Canada for this reason. Forget weak signal work!!! Go QRO. It is a very unfortunate sign of the times but a new necessity.

Naturally when neighbours start bitching about RFI to THEIR systems from QRO overload, Industry Canada will get swamped with complaints- who knows, maybe when the general population of NON-radio users complain, something will get done(likely the HAM will be banned off the air...but hey, more for Industry Canada spectrum to sell !)

A no win situation for HAMS in Canada, so enjoy it while you can and help me have a few last QSO's before I pack it all in. Go QRO!
STRAIGHTKEY 2011-10-29
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
"I still cant believe the people in this hobby that have been here for decades and still don't even know the difference between rules and laws in regards to Amateur Radio."

They're just as dumb as the people who don't know the difference between megahertz and megacycles!
W1MSG 2011-10-29
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
When I turn on my Radio I turn on the Amp. I use it most of the time to make it easier on the person I am in QSO with to hear me. It my report is anything over 59 I turn the fire down, that simple. I cant count the times I struggle to make a QSO because the other station is so weak only to have them tell me they have an amp that is turned off.

In regards to Part 97, My intended communication is I want the person I am in QSO with to hear me easily without having to strain. Oh and BTW Part 97 is not a LAW, its the rules.

I still cant believe the people in this hobby that have been here for decades and still don't even know the difference between rules and laws in regards to Amateur Radio.
KA5KAB 2011-10-23
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
"Rush is the last person he should be listening to. That's who created this breed of mindless conservatives who want to blame all their fears and problems, political or otherwise, on liberals."

You're absolutely right. It just irks me when the one place that should be about non political discussion gets twisted into a soapbox for right wing idiots to spout their garbage.

I apologize if I offended anyone but I see this stuff time and time again on eHam and it just gets my dander up. He is more than welcome to believe in what he wants to, along with the rest of those who share his convictions, but I just don't think this is the place to be beating everyone over the head with their political ideology.

This is supposed to be a discussion about using an amplifier to communicate with fellow hams, not a propaganda piece on the vast left wing conspiracy to confiscate equipment from the rich hams so they can give it to the poor hams thus ensuring equality on the bands.

73,
Carl KA5KAB

STRAIGHTKEY 2011-10-23
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Rush is the last person he should be listening to. That's who created this breed of mindless conservatives who want to blame all their fears and problems, political or otherwise, on liberals.
KA5KAB 2011-10-22
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
"W8MW: Very well said!Ham radio is generally a conservative bunch of folks with a few liberals trying to dictate how to equip&operate our stations..Jim..K7RDX.."

In case I wasn't clear in my last post, this is the post I was referring to. OM, no one is trying to tell you how to equip your station. Man, come off of it with the conservatism vs. liberalism stuff, most people on here are just saying "do what you think is right as far as power is concerned". At least, that is my take on it. If you want an amplifier then run your amplifier. No one is trying to take your toys away dude. Get off of eHam and go listen to some of Rush's podcasts, maybe that'll calm you down a notch. Go back to conservative land and think small government thoughts. Sheesh!

73,
Carl KA5KAB
KA5KAB 2011-10-22
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Wasn't there something in the Ham radio code of conduct or at least a guide to polite on air conversation that stated talking about religion and POLITICS was in bad taste? Who determined that most hams were conservative and not liberal? Not that I'm either one but I'm personally sick of the "conservative" hams turning every thread into a battle of conservatism vs. liberalism. Screw both camps. This is about amateur radio not tea party vs. occupy whatever city. Give it a rest, not everything is about politics.

73,
Carl KA5KAB
NZ5L 2011-10-21
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Wow - a LOT of posts on this one! I don't presently own one, but I'm not against QRO in principle. I have owned an AL-811 and found it useful at times, especially on the lower bands at night, where high ambient qrn is the rule, and the typical antenna is a dipole at 40'. That said, if I had to choose between a worldwide power output limit of 1000W or 50, I would choose the latter, in a heartbeat. And I don't honestly believe it would hinder the hobby in the least. One thing is certain - the big guns would, like now, have big antennas.
ZL4IV 2011-10-21
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
I cannot understand why in an international forum the FCC keep getting quoted! We talk about cross boarder communication. North America is but a small part of the jigsaw puzzle. I assure you the FCC is but a puppy compared to what some other governments are like. The common problem is 'LID's' with an amp.

ZL4IV.
K7RDX 2011-10-19
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
W8MW: Very well said!Ham radio is generally a conservative bunch of folks with a few liberals trying to dictate how to equip&operate our stations..Jim..K7RDX..
W8CVE 2011-10-19
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
To those who like to misquote Part 97 in favor of their anti-amplifier arguments, please consider the exact wording and the actual intent of 97.313 (a): "An amateur station must use the minimum transmitter power necessary to carry out the desired communications." Since you never remember those last words I'll repeat: "desired communications."

The communications you desire might be vastly different from what the next guy desires. We are fortunate FCC regulations offer flexibility to accommodate widely varying operating interests. If some of our fellow hams had written the regulations I suspect they would be more restrictive. There is no lack of know-it-all types who are pleased with their own preferences and know it would be a much better hobby if everybody else would do it their way.
KF7PCL 2011-10-19
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
I have heard people using legal limit calling and calling and calling and calling. On the other hand, I have heard QRP stations get in first call. Higher power is not always equal to faster through the pileup.
4S7NS 2011-10-18
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Yes 6db over a dipole at100w and one at 400 watts, desparation is not always a reason to crank up a linear but rather to compleat a qso begun at a 100 watts which 'was bearely readable leaving the other ham in trouble. and its not the ideal senario, you may get more you may get less at the recieving source.
as to calling and calling by 100watters pity them had conditions been good rare ones will work a pile up ave done so on larry,s net into a european pile up in the 90s 4S7NS
ZL4IV 2011-10-16
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Noise level is not reciprocal, sometimes you need to put out another 3-6db. Often if I have noise and the other station will say "hang on I will turn the amp on". Sometimes its the other way around. The problem seem to be when an amp is in the hands of a 'LID'.

ZL4IV
K1XT 2011-10-16
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
I kind of like these guys who don't believe in amps. It makes it much easier for me to work the DX. The 100 watters are actually the ones who make a mess of things when working DX. They call and call and call. I get through in one or two calls and then I'm out of it. They are also of the mind set of 'I don't have one, so you shouldn't have one either.' Where have I heard that before? And do you need a kilowatt on ten meters? You do if you want to work JA's on the long path in the mornings from the states. Good luck with 100 watts and a G5RV.
KR6DJ 2011-10-12
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
There is also a requirement to use only as much power as you need for a contact. Best practice is to reduce power once contact is established. The difference between 100W and 400W is only 6db (one S-unit).

If you are 599 at 100W then 25W will get you a perfectly readable 589. If you're marginal say a 429 at 25W then 100W might get you up to 539 depending on band conditions.

I really cringe at the idea that there are folks out there that are cranking on the amp and lighting up the airwaves because they are that desperate for a QSO.
4S7NS 2011-10-12
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Of course there is the other side of the coin. When condixns were ecellent on 20m I once used 3 watts on CW
using a kit built Cigarbox TX into a dipole & worked a EUROPEAN pileup on 14.020MHZ XTAL CNTRL & AN SP600 JX88 QRP PLUS PLUS BUT CONDITIONS IS A MUST.4S7NS
4S7NS 2011-10-12
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier FLIP SIDE COIN
Of course there is the other side of the coin. When condixns were ecellent on 20m I once used 3 watts on CW
using a kit built Cigarbox TX into a dipole & worked a EUROPEAN pileup on 14.020MHZ XTAL CNTRL & AN SP600 JX88 QRP PLUS PLUS BUT CONDITIONS IS A MUST.4S7NS
4S7NS 2011-10-12
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier FLIP SIDE COIN
Of course there is the other side of the coin. When condixns were ecellent on 20m I once used 3 watts on CW
using a kit built Cigarbox TX into a dipole & worked a EUROPEAN pileup on 14.020MHZ XTAL CNTRL & AN SP600 JX88 QRP PLUS PLUS BUT CONDITIONS IS A MUST.4S7NS
4S7NS 2011-10-12
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
This experience of a QRO VS 100Watts I would like to share with you.Around 2007/8 I HEARD W6CCP callinG asia over the long path FROM west coast ABOUT 0100 UTC 20M. VU2DVP & VU2CVP WORKED Symour on their beams & qro GEAR. I HAD ALL MY ANT ON THE GROUND SAVE A INFERRIOR 20m dI POLE ONLY AT 15 FT UP. iT WAS JUST AFTER MY XYL FOR 30YEARS HAD JUST GONE SILENT KEY YOU SEE.
SO I WAITED TILL HE WAS NEAR 59 WHEN I CALLED Symour, on 100 W He came back with artic flutter but said I was about 4/3. I switched on my SB200 & WITH 400 WATTS ICAME UP TO 58+ & HAD A GOOD QSO. SO, OFTEN QRO IS NEEDED TO SUSTAIN QSOS.
4S7NS 2011-10-12
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
This experience of a QRO VS 100Watts I would like to share with you.Around 2007/8 I HEARD W6CCP callinG asia over the long path FROM west coast ABOUT 0100 UTC 20M. VU2DVP & VU2CVP WORKED Symour on their beams & qro GEAR. i HAD ALL MY ANT ON THE GROUND SAVE A INFERRIOR 20m dI POLE ONLY AT 15 FT UP. iT WAS JUST AFTER MY XYL FOR 39YEARS WAS SILENT KEY YOU SEE.
sO i WAITED TILL HE WAS NEAR 59 WHEN I CALLED Symour, on 100 W He came back with artic flutter but said I was about 4/3. I switched on my SB200 & WITH 400 WATTS ICAME UP TO 58+ & HAD A GOOD QSO. SO OFTEN QRO IS NEEDED TO SUSTAIN QSOS.
AH6RR 2011-10-11
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
KK2DOG wrote
15,20,40 Meters: AL-80B
10,12,17 Meters: AL811
6 Meters: Converted SB-200

Three calls or less in a Pile-Up...PRICELESS.
Ain't that the truth. I use a Kenwood TS-850S and 3 element SteppIR and a SB-220. I run High Power in contests (except the 10M ones)because I want a good score. For those of you who run Low power in contests with a dipole let me tell you that the guy with the big signal you are trying to work and never answers is because the Louder signal always gets through first. After the big stations are gone and I am running a frequency then I can copy the weak ones but not all of them.
I can not tell how many times I strain my ears to pick out a light one if they only had 200W more it would be less strain. I always try to work everyone that calls me but some times it is hard to copy the weak ones.
Roland AH6RR
AK2B 2011-10-11
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Heavy lifting? What a phrase! Isn’t someone always the Heavy Lifter? Are all QSO’s equal? Doesn’t someone always have a better station? If you give a worse report than you received – congrats – declare yourself the Heavy Lifter. I’m not sure of a reward for all this, however. Maybe there is a ham retirement home for heavy lifters – for hams whose shoulders droop more than usual.
DF315 2011-10-11
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
It does make a difference running power but in the
location my station is in up on a hill in Central Victoria. If I was use power stations will hear me but I have trouble having a QSO as they are up and down in the conditions and fade to under the QRN.
Does not cut the mustard as a QSO. Yes I could run
power and I'll be heard but even now running QRP I have
stations who hear me Q5 but I have trouble hearing them.
e.g readability 2-3 signal 1-3.. In my opinion it defeats the purpose of a QSO.

Maybe CW might be a good tool.
KM6CQ 2011-10-10
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
One thing I do not like about running a amp. When you call CQ in the CW mode with 1500 watts, A lot of the time a 100 watt station will come back to you. Then you end up with a QSO that the other stations fades in and out and you cant copy well. But the other stations enjoys perfect copy while your station does all the work. So I like to call CQ with only 50 watts. Then generally I can hear the other station better then he can hear me. I have very low noise here.
Of course to flip this around. You could say, when you run QRO and the other station does not, he is not doing his part for the QSO.

73, Dan
KF7PCL 2011-10-10
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Just earlier today, I heard someone calling CQ with about a 55 signal on 10m SSB while scanning the band. I usually don't have much luck with 10 watts on the weaker signals but I tried it anyway.
I called and he came back right away. It turns out he was running 3 watts! He had an excellent signal and I was amazed. Those who say that one side has to run high power in a QRP contact are wrong. Digital and CW are even better for low power operation. After I worked him, another station called him! so QRP really works, even for CQ.
K9RQ 2011-10-10
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
I sold my amp. It was just to easy and not much fun. Been happily running 100 watts or less for over two decades now and doing just fine when I call cq, thank-you.
KM6CQ 2011-10-10
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
I use my amp all the time on 75 in the mornings. What a differences it makes for my friends and myself. It goes from a struggle to hear with cranking all the knobs and filters. To 10 db gain which makes a very pleasant copy and solid communication.
For those of you who do not want to operate on the same band with higher power stations I would suggest the WARC bands or 60 Meters. I use 60 all the time at around 25 watts out of my radio and it works just fine. Sometimes the band is not in good shape and I cant work the regulars. But most of the time it is good enough.
I don't think a person is any more holy running QRP or wearing a bicycle helmet.
This seems like a religious war at times, Mac versus PC sort of a thing.
Buying a amp is money well spent. I love QRP CW operation with kit radios. Its is not one way or the other. You can enjoy both. One way of operating does not have to loose so the other side can win. Use as much or as little power as you need.

73, Dan KM6CQ
DF315 2011-10-10
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Well, I'm operating on 11 meters and running QRP ( 15
Watts ). Making good signals all over the South Pacific
region in the past 3 weeks. I'm in Australia. I agree if no one calls CQ and people sit waiting for a CQ then nobody hears anything and the band is 'dead'. Or so it seems. Making a CQ announces the band is active and I
find it effective to make a CQ now and then. I might make a CQ 4 to 5 times a day in daylight hours during this time of low sunspot activity.

73 and good DX
KB2FCV 2011-10-09
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
I own a few amplifiers but I almost never use them unless propagation is iffy and I'm trying to work a 'new one'. Most of the time, they remain powered off.

I feel its far more beneficial to make improvements to your antenna system vs the amount of power you are putting out. Antenna improvements will yield far better results.

NA6D 2011-10-09
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
The recent posts after mine support my position about CHOICE! The original article indicated that QRO produced results, not otherwise enjoyed by lesser power. Good for him, it works for him and that's all good.Similary, there are some compelling arguments on the QRP side.

Philosophy and actual practice are most times not good bed fellows. There are extremes demonstrated on this article, and as one poster said, it is descending into "class warfare", singling out the "haves" versus the "have nots." That is not what the author of the article was implying. If you can afford a Cadillac instead of a Chevy, good for you! I hold no ill will towards them. It works for him, and it might not work for you! Again, it is about choice. Is a good antenna a requsite for good operation? You bet! Whether to QRO depends on the individuals' situation/choice. The "battle" between QRO v. QRP is largely specious. It is about WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOU!!
KD5SFK 2011-10-09
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
1.5KW on 10m just to call CQ? Good thing you live out in the sticks or your neighbors would hear you calling CQ through their light bulbs.
STRAIGHTKEY 2011-10-09
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
"At this point I expect the replays descend into a class warfare battle between the QRO crowd and the QRP minimalist group. Let’s skip the replays who have worked 100 countries with 5 watts for even a blind squirrel will find an acorn if they look long enough."

And likewise, even an unskilled squirrel can crack any nut by purchasing and operating a steamroller.

Congratulations on condemning class warfare and then turning around and engaging in it yourself.

Eham editors, you can do better. Not only is this a lousy chip-on-a-shoulder article, the quote above alone contains three errors.
K1CJS 2011-10-09
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
To each their own. I don't use an amp, I don't see the need to have one for this HOBBY. Also, seeing that the rules in the US call for using the minimal amount of power needed to communicate, using a linear amp all the time seems like overkill.

It is far better to have a good ANTENNA system than it is to flood the airwaves with excessive power, and a good antenna system doesn't not have to cost an arm and a leg. Granted, sometimes an amp is needed, but NOT ALL THE TIME!

One or two hundred watts out is all that ANYONE needs. The only reason that amps are made is to entice the gullible--and collect their money.
NA6D 2011-10-09
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
The post has generated a lot of diverse opinions. I live in an area where 20KV power lines are right behind my back yard. The noise level is atrocious, hovering around S9, especially on 80 M. I use an amp for that band and ocasionally on 40. from 20 up to 10M, I don't use the amp. To me, it all comes down to the conditions presented when you are on the air. As is the case in medical practice, the Doc goes from the least invasive treatment, and ramps it up to more invasive modalities to cure or relieve from the illness or injury. Ham radio should be similar, in that you respond to the situation. The arguments regarding QRP v. QRO have valid points on either side. Rather than be locked into a certain philosophy either way, I prefer to make a choice depending on what is presented, i.e, band conditions, making DX contacts. The real point is you have a choice! That is why Ham Radio is such a great hobby. An old song by the Isley Brothers says it all: " It's your thing, do what you wanna do, I can't tell who to sock it to." Am re-posting this to correct a couple of typograhical errors.

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AI2IA 2011-10-09
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
What I have posted above speaks for itself. If anyone can pass a license test, then they can understand it.

RF exposure is directly related to RF power output levels. This is easy to understand.

When you use a linear amplifier, you take that into consideration.

I know what I know and I know that I know it.

As Paul Segal, W9EEA, encouraged, I never knowingly operate in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others. What I posted above was for informational purposes. It was for the benefit of those who might have forgotten, not for those who don't care. When I post on eHam I try to be helpful.
NA6D 2011-10-09
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
The post has generated a lot of diverse opinions. I live in an area where 20KV power lines are right behind my back yard. The noise level is atrocious, hovering around S9, especially on 80 M. I use an amp for that band and ocasionally on 40. from 20 up to 10M, I don't use the amp. To me, it all comes down to the conditions presented when you are on the air. As is the case in medical practice, the Doc goes from the least invasive treatment, and ramps it up to more invasive modalities to cure or relieve from the illness or injury. Ham radio should be similar, in that you respond to the situation. The arguments regarding QRP v. QRO have valid points on either side. Rather than be locked into a certain philosophy either way, I prefer to make a choice depending on what is presented, i.e, band conditions, making DX contacts. The real point is you have a choice! That is what Ham Radio is such a great hobby. An old song by the Isley Brothers says it all: " It's your thing, do what you wanna go, I can't tell who to sock it to"
AE6RV 2011-10-09
RE: Dust Off the FCC Rules an Regulations
AI2IA, you do know that your little chart is related to RF Exposure levels, and not part of the regulation regarding using the minimum power necessary, right?

Speaking of which, have you done an RF Exposure Evaluation at your QTH. I have at mine.
K0IZ 2011-10-09
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Good post, Mike. With so many responders, bands are less crowded. Keep it up.
AI2IA 2011-10-09
Dust Off the FCC Rules an Regulations
Just so everyone knows:

Section 97.313:
(a) An amateur station must use the minimum transmitter power necessary to carry out the desired communications.

Section 97.13:

In part:

Wavelength Band Evaluatiion Required if Power Exceeds

160m 500 Watts PEP input to the antenna
80m 500
75m 500
30m 425
20m 225
17m 125
15m 100
12m 075
10m 050

Look at Part 97 yourself and verify these to your satisfaction.

The FCC is "the boss."
KF7PCL 2011-10-09
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
@K6YE
Very sensible.
It seems many are missing the point.
K6YE 2011-10-09
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Mike,

Congrats on a fine and concise article. There is a time and place for everything. Sensible people only use enough power to communicate (generally 100 to 200 watts). I run all of my radios barefoot and I only dial up more power when it is really needed. After fifty years of hamming, nothing has really changed.
W8JI 2011-10-09
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
<<<
I don't think you understood this point. What I said in that point had nothing to do with signal purity. >>>

As long as we all know an agree the difference between a good properly operated radio and amplifier and just the radio alone, so far as bandwidth goes, means next to nothing.

The most complaints we hear are invalid.

The largest differences are with antennas and propagation, and about another 10-13 dB is available for power. That come without any more problems that poor operating at any power levels. No big deal.

<<<Let me re-phrase it yet again: Even if you have a super clean signal, if you have a bad antenna with high power drive you will cause QRM due to not hearing that the frequency you're on is already in use, due to your poor reception.>>>

That's a myth.

On receive, gain is unimportant once the system limits on external noises. Pattern is important for receive, and the direction of noise compared to the signal. On transmit, gain in the desired direction means everything.

I can install a -10dB gain antenna and improve receiving, conversely I can install a +10 dB gain antenna and not improve receiving while making my transmitter stronger.

The situation varies and has to be looked at.

>>I was thinking of putting a filter between my radio and amplifier input, or inside the amplifier itself. Is that a bad idea? (I'm probably going to build the amplifier from a kit.)>>>

Most kits are not finished production kits, because most kits never went through FCC and other testing. The CCI kits are intended only as engineering starting points. You need to check whatever is done properly when it is finished.

HF filters like you are thinking of cannot improve bandwidth, either before or after the amplifier. Bandwidth problems both on CW and SSB come from the transfer function, and how the drive vs. output power ratio changes with power level under varying signal amplitude conditions.

Now if you used a 4-pole crystal filter with 3 kHz bandwidth cut for one frequency in the 20 meter band, it would work on one frequency, but it would only handle a few milliwatts.

<<
OK, can you explain in layman's terms why a radio interferometer placed in Earth orbit or in the Lagrangian points is supposed to be better than a couple of dishes in my back yard, besides being outside the atmosphere and away from QRM?>>

An interferometer removes one signal or one direction at a time. What does that have to do with S/N, unless the noise is from one fixed source or one fixed direction?

<<Is it because I said size by itself, because size never is independent of gain or signal/noise ratio?>>

Most people think capture area relates to size, and more capture area "catches" more signal. That is not how it works, unless the system is limited by internal noise.

First, capture area relates to gain and operating wavelength (operating frequency). I can have an antenna 10 kilometers long with less "capture area" than an antenna one foot long. Not that it matters what it is, because gain doesn't directly determine S/N ratio anyway once the system limits on external noise.

If the signal comes from space and the noise also comes from that direction of space and we increase gain, signal-to-noise will not change. If noise comes from other directions than the signal, then it is the ratio of those responses that determines S/N when limited by external noise. This is the antenna pattern, NOT the gain.

Many radios, QRP and 100 watt, are not good either for receiving and /or transmitting. Many antennas are not good. Many locations are not good. Many operators don't use equipment correctly. Propagation is always different. This has far more to do with problems than 10-15 dB ever does.

If everyone vocally dictating what everyone else in the world should do actually understood how the little thing on their desk connected to the little things 5,000 miles away, we would be talking about more meaningful things than a paltry 10-15 dB of signal level.

Most problems with people getting along and improving our fun as a group come from the things turning the knobs. It's not the radio that is stupid.
KK2DOG 2011-10-09
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Quote:
"Although this is somewhat off topic, Technicians and Generals have been known to operate outside of their HF frequency privileges and (in the case of Techs) HF power privileges. I am convinced that a lack of Elmers has brought about an ignorance of proper equipment maintenance and operation, proper on the air procedure, and respect of ticket privileges which include restrictions on mode and amplifier use at the Technician level. I am somewhat unsettled by the combination of out-of-privilege operation by new hams "armed" with powerful amps capable of significant interference."

Poppycock. For ten years I was a Tech, and none of us ever violated the bandplan nor did we run power outside of the FCC limits. As a matter of fact, most of us ran 50 watts or less on 2-meters, and maybe 100 watts on 6-meters. As a Tech, I was always "Brainwashed" into thinking that the FCC is constantly monitoring us and therefore the language on the machines from Techs was pretty regimented, like...AFFIRMATIVE, NEGATIVE, What is your QTH, please ID after 10 minutes, or less etc.

Now that I've become a General, I've heard things on HF that would make a Nun blush, not to mention the massive power, profanity, jamming, music playing, cliques, and other DRAMA that we were never told would exist amongst us "fellow" hams. Geez-Louise...sometimes you'd think we were listening to a soap opera in the EXTRA portion of 40 & 80 meters. In closing, I've found that TECHS are more afraid of breaking the rules,and Generals seem to relax a bit more after time and may tend to 'bend' them. Many Extras on the other hand are quick to chastise this, even though the'ye not afraid to stop by 3910 et al. at night.
KW4JX 2011-10-09
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Have you guys no patriotism? Boat anchors make good business for chiropractors.
LA9XSA 2011-10-09
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
>>That is a common myth. Physical size does not help anything by itself. Not capture area, not anything.

OK, can you explain in layman's terms why a radio interferometer placed in Earth orbit or in the Lagrangian points is supposed to be better than a couple of dishes in my back yard, besides being outside the atmosphere and away from QRM? Is it because I said size by itself, because size never is independent of gain or signal/noise ratio?
LA9XSA 2011-10-09
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
>>W8JI
>>That is another false, but common, idea. If I have 1000 watts ERP, and if I use a radio with -33 dB 3rd order and -45 fifth order into a typical better quality grounded-grid amplifier, the signal purity is essential identical with the radio barefoot and a high gain antenna or an amplifier and a low gain antenna.

I don't think you understood this point. What I said in that point had nothing to do with signal purity.

Let me re-phrase it yet again: Even if you have a super clean signal, if you have a bad antenna with high power drive you will cause QRM due to not hearing that the frequency you're on is already in use, due to your poor reception.

You would agree that transmitting without listening is a bad idea, right?

I don't think that a high gain antenna cleans up your signal, if that's what you thought.

>>There isn't a filter in the world that fits the output of an HF amplifier and reduces splatter.
I was thinking of putting a filter between my radio and amplifier input, or inside the amplifier itself. Is that a bad idea? (I'm probably going to build the amplifier from a kit.)
KF7PCL 2011-10-09
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Honestly, the arguments on both the QRP side and the QRO side are pretty weak (amps causing QRM vs QRP and lots of calls causing QRM). Does it really matter what others prefer? I prefer QRP/Lower power but I won't fault someone for running QRO. But it does bug me when people run an amp when its obviously not needed.
W4HV 2011-10-09
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
What makes more qrm old man, calling one time with 1500 watts or calling 1500 times with one watt?
N0AH 2011-10-08
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
No doubt that an amp adds a good deal difference to the signal being heard. I always seem to notice an average of 1-5 S-unit differences between 100 vs 1,500 watts and a significant increase in audio dynamics. This when I help other stations looking for remarks on running LP vs HP. QRP stations are typically weak in most decent conditions whereas you have average signals doing well. I believe that the antenna, and not the amp, is the real difference in working stations in competitive settings and pile ups.
W8JI 2011-10-08
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
The following comments are all good reasons to have a dialog like this, because they are very common misconceptions.

<<Just plain physical size might be an advantage in itself for receiving.>>

That is a common myth. Physical size does not help anything by itself. Not capture area, not anything.

Capture area is related exclusively to antenna system gain and the operating wavelength, but neither gain nor capture area determines S/N ratio once the system can hear external noise.

Size has no relationship to capture area or digging out weak signals, unless the size improves directivity in a useful way. Receiving is all about pattern, once the system hears external noise.

<<I've used legal limit power at multi class contest stations, and I'll eventually get a PA for myself, but it will be paired with an antenna and receiver good enough to hear the station at the other end, and any extra filters needed to prevent splatter. >>

There isn't a filter in the world that fits the output of an HF amplifier and reduces splatter. Splatter is caused by non-linear transfer function with a slope that creates odd-order products. A filter cannot correct that.

As I pointed out, some low power rigs have 10 dB or worse IMD than high power amp and rigs. Low power is not assurance of clean signals.

<<<What the posters you replied to complain about, is people who use maximum power without being able to hear those who hear them, due to bad antennas for reception.>>>

If you read back, you will see people complain without even understanding how the system works. The real complaint is they don't like people to run power because they don't run power, so they basically make up reasons to be critical of others.


<<< If your 1000 watts ERP are due to running 100 watts into a high gain antenna, you're more likely to hear the other side of the contact, and less likely to cause QRM, than somebody blasting 1.10 jiggawatts into a dummy load.>>>

That is another false, but common, idea. If I have 1000 watts ERP, and if I use a radio with -33 dB 3rd order and -45 fifth order into a typical better quality grounded-grid amplifier, the signal purity is essential identical with the radio barefoot and a high gain antenna or an amplifier and a low gain antenna.

As someone else said, 1000 watts ERP is 1000 watts ERP.

Most of the problems we have are people either not knowing how to tune an amplifier, or bad radios.

If you look on Internet you will find many mods to make radios run more power than designed. Virtually all of those changes are very bad for bandwidth. There is one ICOM modification that tells people to adjust a 100 watt ICOM radio to 150-200 watts because the FET's are the same as used in a 200 watt radio. The stupid idiots who write or do the modification don't look to see the 200 watt radio has a 28 volt power supply, and the 100 watt radio has 13 volts!!!!!

I know local radio service people in Atlanta who adjust FT1000MP radios to 130-150 watts. They are barely good enough at 100 watts.

If people make sense, they will be listened to. Not too many people arguing the world should all run QRP to cure all problems make sense. As a matter of fact, many of them do not seem to understand radio very well at all.

Before telling others what is best to do with their radios, people should learn how radio systems actually work. Hopefully we can all learn something by looking at very common mistakes.

73 Tom
KF7PCL 2011-10-08
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
It is still limited to 400w in the UK.
W6UXB 2011-10-08
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
In my day in the UK during the 60's and 70's (now live in QRO country CA) we were limited to 400 watts that to me seems a good compromise between 10 watts and 1500 watts, I myself run an Ameritron 811 at about 350 watts can't get awy from my roots! BTW I think license regulations stipulate using the least amount of power with consistant communication ....
KW6LA 2011-10-08
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
[[ I love the way some low power operators assume the credit for work and effort of stations who can hear them. The bulk of required skills are at the receiving end. It always has been this way. ]]

Tom @#$%^&* I really can’t understand why this is soooo hard to understand ? Maybe never using other antennas to compare to ……… WOW ! How about just good headphones / speaker.
AE6RV 2011-10-08
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
LA9XSA says: "I'll eventually get a PA for myself, but it will be paired with an antenna and receiver good enough to hear the station at the other end, and any extra filters needed to prevent splatter. "

It would be a very special filter, indeed, that could prevent splatter. Too much drive is usually all it takes; along with the misguided prejudice against using ALC.

Also said: "If your 1000 watts ERP are due to running 100 watts into a high gain antenna, you're more likely to hear the other side of the contact, and less likely to cause QRM, than somebody blasting 1.10 jiggawatts into a dummy load."

The unfortunate side-effect of so many maladjusted amps on the band is the growing idea that QRO equates to QRM. It's not so. Take a listen down around the DX window on 80M. You will find some very nice and clean QRO signals on both sides of the pond that you wouldn't notice unless you tuned them in, or you were so close that the front end on your receiver is overloaded. Unfortunately, there are a (very) few well known "Top Guns" who overdrive their amp and can be heard 20KC or more up and down the band. I won't even mention the issues that WideBand SideBand (or whatever these LIDS call it now) causes.

Yes, I will have an almost omnidirectional signal pattern with my doublet. There are no regulations against that. If my signal is splatter free, where's the problem? How often is it really the case where two different QSOs are conducted on the same frequency due to nothing more than antenna directivity?

I suggest that the actual power level causes fewer problems than maladjusted amps or deliberately wide signals cause.
K8MLM 2011-10-08
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
I normally run 100 watts, but it sure is nice to crank the ole boat anchor amplifier and be heard.

Bob
LA9XSA 2011-10-08
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
AE6RV >>"My point was that whichever way you use, 1000 Watts ERP is still 1000 Watts ERP. "

What the posters you replied to complain about, is people who use maximum power without being able to hear those who hear them, due to bad antennas for reception. If your 1000 watts ERP are due to running 100 watts into a high gain antenna, you're more likely to hear the other side of the contact, and less likely to cause QRM, than somebody blasting 1.10 jiggawatts into a dummy load.

On the other hand, say you're only able to have an inefficient vertical for 160 meters, but are able to have a high gain Beverage antenna for reception. In that case, CQ'ing with legal limit power could very well be acceptable, because you can hear those who hear you.

Speaking for myself, I do turn my radio down to minimum RF drive when sufficient for an extended conversation.
LA9XSA 2011-10-08
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
>>On receiving directivity (toward signal and away from noise), receiver bandwidth, and noise floor determine signal-to-noise.

Yes, rejecting unwanted noise (QRN and QRM) is a desired feature of a receiving antenna, whether that be a stacked Yagi array, a Beverage, or a log periodic. Just plain physical size might be an advantage in itself for receiving.
I've agreed from the beginning that a good operator, good receiver and good antenna system is needed to pick out a low power signal - what I can't understand is how some people think having a power amplifier will somehow improve their reception and do the "heavy lifting" in a contact with a QRP station. Huh?
QRO is fun too. I've used legal limit power at multi class contest stations, and I'll eventually get a PA for myself, but it will be paired with an antenna and receiver good enough to hear the station at the other end, and any extra filters needed to prevent splatter.
ZENKI 2011-10-08
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
100 watts or 10kw. Its really time that all commercially manufactured transceivers and amplifiers be forced by law to have minimum professional IMD standards. I dont hear splatter from 5kw and 10kw aeronautical HF control stations, yet their IMD required standards are not that onerous.

I dont know what you do about the technical incompetent hams who think that using CB equipment is Ok on the ham bands. 10 meters has been opening nicely the last few days. Its disgusting hearing the CB like crud from ham stations who you know are using class C amps. It would be so easy for the FCC/whoever to issue these stations with citations because they stand out like sore thumbs.




WB2WIK 2011-10-08
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
[RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier Reply
by W4VR on October 8, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I'm not sure if it still exists but there used to be an FCC rule that said to use a power level necessary to carry on a QSO...]

It's still in effect. But how do you know how much power is necessary when you call CQ?

If I call CQ with 100W and don't get any answers, is it okay to call with 1500W next time to see if I do?

This is an unenforceable rule, and as far as I know (47 years licensed) I've never heard of any attempt to enforce it. It's really a suggestion, and one that is sensible.

Because I have what is normally a quiet location (although that varies), I hear a lot of stuff and often answer other stations with 100W, only to hear them call CQ again. So, I answer with 100W again, and they call CQ again. So, I answer with a kilowatt and they come right back.

Is that following the "minimum power rule?" Who knows? Who cares?

There's more noise on the bands today than ever before, due to man-made sources. Even people living way out in the country have noise, generated within their own homes.

Not like in the 50s. Or even the 60s.
AE6RV 2011-10-08
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
AI2IA says: "This is real ham radio."

You're not the boss of me. 'nuff said.
AE6RV 2011-10-08
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
LA9XSA says: "Antenna gain improves both reception and transmission power. A power amplifier only improves transmission power. Sometimes you need both."

My point was that whichever way you use, 1000 Watts ERP is still 1000 Watts ERP. I see a bunch of anti-amplifier posts from hams that probably have 100 Watts running a 3 element beam at 50 feet or so. But I don't see any understanding that they are actually running more ERP than I do with my doublet at 23 feet driven by a 30L-1. Do they even understand what ERP means? Do they turn the gain down on their rigs so that their ERP is 100 Watts instead of 1000 Watts when it's "appropriate"? Do they start out with 10 Watts indicated and then work their way up as necessary? I'd say that's rather unlikely. In their self-righteous minds they're running only 100 Watts and are free to criticize anyone who runs more.
AI2IA 2011-10-08
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Credit and work and effort of stations who receive them? Among radio operator skill is the ability to tune in, adjust, filter, etc., to detect and understand a received signal. With today's transceivers with all their bells and whistles, some hams are just too darn lazy and/or too darn unfamiliar with the features on their own rigs to bother with weak signals. This is not real ham radio operation.

A skillful ham will seek to understand the relationship between his RF power output and the received signal strength of the ham on the other end. He will seek to understand this under varying conditions. He will then use the minimum power necessary to effectively communicate. In this way, he knows when a linear amplifier may be needed, and when it is unnecessary.

This is real ham radio.
W8JI 2011-10-08
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Someone said:

>>Why is it so important for some of you that that 10db comes from a few pounds of aluminum rather than an amp? It's still the same ERP, isn't it? >>

Someone relied:

<<<
Antenna gain improves both reception and transmission power. >>>

Correct on absolute level, but incorrect for signal-to-noise.

On receiving directivity (toward signal and away from noise), receiver bandwidth, and noise floor determine signal-to-noise.

On transmitting, it is just ERP in the desired direction and angle (for a given type of transmission).

I can install a -10 dBd gain antenna that improves receiving 40 dB over a +7 dBd gain antenna.

Once a good basic, simple antenna is installed, it is much cheaper over most HF bands to use an amplifier with a basic antenna and a cheap receive-only antenna than to invest only in a bigger antenna.

I love the way some low power operators assume the credit for work and effort of stations who can hear them. :-)

The bulk of required skills are at the receiving end. It always has been this way.

73 Tom
KF7PCL 2011-10-08
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
It still does exist and its very true.
97.313(a): "An amateur station must use the minimum transmitter power necessary to carry out the desired communications."
I know of way too many operators that use their amps all the time when 100w or even less will be more then enough. Many ragchew locally and give each-other S9+40 signal reports.
Most of the time I operate at around 10w but I will go up to 100w if they cannot copy me clearly or the pileup is large. Sometimes 10w will get through a small pileup within 2 calls! I prefer to answer CQs but I have got responses to CQs on 10w. Note that 80m in many cases does need an amp due to high noise level but the upper bands rarely do. I have made many contacts on low power with somewhat simple antennas with stations ranging from 5 watts to 1500 watts on the other end.
W4VR 2011-10-08
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
I bought my first amplifier in 1963. The only time I can remember not using an amplifier every day is when I had the FT-1000D which ran 200 watts. I'm not sure if it still exists but there used to be an FCC rule that said to use a power level necessary to carry on a QSO...I don't think too many hams knew what that meant. I think most hams that have amplifiers use them most of the time...this is pretty obvious by listening to the ham bands. Furthermore, if I go out and spend $5K on an amplifier (PW1) you had better believe I will use it.
K9CTB 2011-10-08
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
I don't know how many MARS ops there are in here, but something Alan said reminded me of something that has gotten out of hand. And I don't mean to turn this into a complaint thread.

It used to be -- in the old days on MARS freqs, that on-air tuning was strictly verboten. Only Army MARS recognized the occasional LID by allowing a 50 second period before a net starts for "adjustment of equipment". Nowadays, you can listen before a net and hear all the beeps and boops and whistling, along with the occasional windows sounds ... even a "Haaalooooo".

Sometimes I want to say something when my turn comes for comments, but I always bite my tongue.

73,
K9CTB
K0BG 2011-10-08
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
I don't care how much power any one runs. Or whether they have a stacked array, or a lowly attic dipole. What I get angry with, are all of the LIDs who don't know how to tune one and/or have an all-knobs-right mentality.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
KT4EP 2011-10-08
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
I'm having a lot of fun making many contacts with 5 watts psk31 and 100 watts phone. With the price of an amp&tuner&electrical upgrades, I'd rather spend money on another radio or beam antenna. (I was off the air for 15 years, like getting started new). If someone doesn't hear me, that's fine, I can move on and make a contact somewhere else. Just an observation; amp users seem to have a chip on their shoulder. Why is that?
AB2T 2011-10-08
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Although this is somewhat off topic, Technicians and Generals have been known to operate outside of their HF frequency privileges and (in the case of Techs) HF power privileges. I am convinced that a lack of Elmers has brought about an ignorance of proper equipment maintenance and operation, proper on the air procedure, and respect of ticket privileges which include restrictions on mode and amplifier use at the Technician level. I am somewhat unsettled by the combination of out-of-privilege operation by new hams "armed" with powerful amps capable of significant interference.

As many have said here, skilled operation is just as significant, if even more significant, than mere amplification. Yet even more distressing are those newly minted hams who are convinced that their signal must be amplified, even if the resultant signal is poor. It is better to gain a ticket that will permit wider HF band and power privileges than operate out of band and without guidance about proper station operation. In fact, a ham who rises through the ranks alongside a patient Elmer might realize that an amp is not necessary in many situations.
K4PP 2011-10-08
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
That's a good point about the other guy doing the work when QRP, so true.

You can tell the ones with the good antenna's when your at QRP. Often though, there are those amp pumping thumping signals that couldn't hear a mouse f*** if it blew in their ear.

K4PP
N9AMI 2011-10-08
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
If you got the power use it. And I use it. Swing baby your platinum!
K8YZK 2011-10-08
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Class Warfare? That sounds like what you wanted to start with the article (my opinion only).

I run 100 watts, simple wire antenna and I have no problem making contacts. Do I need a amp, nope, do I want a amp no.

Oh one thing I didn't notice in the article, yes you will make noise but make sure that noise isn't interference with the neighbors, because they can be more of a problem then trying to work Peter in Never-Neverland..


Enjoy the power(RF), but don't fault those that don't use it either.

KK2DOG 2011-10-08
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
15,20,40 Meters: AL-80B
10,12,17 Meters: AL811
6 Meters: Converted SB-200

Three calls or less in a Pile-Up...PRICELESS.


Mike KK2DOG
Owner: www.hamwave.com
KW4JX 2011-10-07
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Could we have a repeat of all amplifier-critical subscribers to this thread, but including the mpg of their QRP Smartcars please?
K9CTB 2011-10-07
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Addendum ...

For most hams, on 10, 15, and 20 meters, it's very practical to put up one heckuva antenna that would outperform any legal amplifier. But on 40 and 80 (or 160), there is only so much one can do with a wire dipole. Sure, if you have the space, you can go with a full wave loop, but most of us only have dipoles for the bottom (in frequency) bands. With all the noise on those bands, and limited antenna configurations, an amplifier really makes sense for 40 and 80.

That said, I really agree with some of the antenna experts here: Put everything you can into your antenna and ground system before you ever buy an amplifier.

73,
K9CTB
KW6LA 2011-10-07
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
On camping trips I take a Ten Tec Argosy for fun and a sked contact with a friend in Texas. I am to lazy to put up a dipole, so my Bugcatcher is already mounted on my
SUV. This is a QRP rig with the switch in the back for 50 watts pep. If 5 won’t do it, I flip the switch. 50 pep sometime works but not always. Last resort the linear behind
the seat is turn on. Sometimes this does work, but not always. Whole point is an Amp can be useful to make contacts DX or others. I have had plenty of experience on
my Oakhills / QRP and loads of fun ! Just don’t have the time to be throttled back on a bad day or band. If you think you consistently get great reports on your QRP piower
wonderful, but a little foolish or dam lucky. Better to be lucky than smart !

KW6LA
KC9STY 2011-10-07
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Hello I am new to the hobby. It seems that amp are the hidden little secret of the hobby. when we are studding we are told many times never to use more power than we need. How eve since it seem that there a log of people using amps
AE6RV 2011-10-07
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
K3LUE asks: "Wonder what would happen if the legal limit was changed to 100 watts on ALL bands?"

Even more important, what would happen if the ERP was changed to 100W on all bands. Do what you can. Have fun. Don't assume that your way is the only way.
K1DA 2011-10-07
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
The "gotta run it" killerwatt crowd doesn't like to talk about what you can do on 60 meters very much. And PLEASE, layoff the killerwatts on SIX when the path only requires ten (10) watts.
K3LUE 2011-10-07
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Wonder what would happen if the legal limit was changed to 100 watts on ALL bands? Oh, let's forget about the economics of "who would buy all those linears sitting on the shelves and what happens to all the high power output tubes but just what would happen to the ham bands. Would this really work? Does it work now on some of the "new" freqs or are we naive to think that everyone is only running 100 watts on these bands? Just wondering.
WB2WIK 2011-10-07
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
[quote]
Ummmmm...I operate QRP on 160 all the time (during the fall/winter/spring months) and have lots of fun! As others have alluded to - it's 20% the rig and 80% the antenna. I had 220+ QSOs on 160, QRP, during the 2010 CQ 160 meter contest with a "shortened 160 meter antenna" and just a couple of radials. Actually, 160 meters is fairly easy, QRP...did I mention I had three QSOs with JAs during that CQ 160 contest??[/quote]

How many do you make when there's not a contest?

Last December in the ARRL 160, I made 455 QSOs just fooling around giving out points (never intended to enter) and most were pretty easy. But looking up the stations I worked who were 3000 miles away or farther, they were all "big gun" stations -- every one of them was.

I was running a kW to a loaded inverted vee, not very effective. They were doing all the work. The JAs I worked were renown 160 DXers with big antennas. All of them.

So I give myself an "A" for effort, but about a "C-" for station effectiveness. I know who was responsible for all the longer contacts, and it wasn't me. :-)
AF3Y 2011-10-07
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
No dust on my trusty Tokyo Hy-Power HL-2.5Kfx. I use it almost every day and intend to keep on using it. 40 watts in from the Pro III gives me a KW out on most bands, and I dont bother the neighbors either. Even with a POS antenna (wire vertical), I still work as much DX as I want to. (Well, ALMOST as much.. hi)

For instance, No problems working Asians from here in Florida, especially with the great conditions we have now. I will admit though, that I worked the T32C the other day when the amp was off and I thought it was on. Maybe I am just lazy, but I still like to get em on the first few calls rather than pounding the brass until I am tired. (Gives me more beach time!)
73, de Gene AF3Y
K9JWV 2011-10-07
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
"160m is REAL hard without an amplifier....it's hard enough with, at times."

Ummmmm...I operate QRP on 160 all the time (during the fall/winter/spring months) and have lots of fun! As others have alluded to - it's 20% the rig and 80% the antenna. I had 220+ QSOs on 160, QRP, during the 2010 CQ 160 meter contest with a "shortened 160 meter antenna" and just a couple of radials. Actually, 160 meters is fairly easy, QRP...did I mention I had three QSOs with JAs during that CQ 160 contest??

Jim R. K9JWV
NY2H 2011-10-07
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
To K8NY -- right on -- dynamite -- groovy
K7LA 2011-10-07
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Tune the bands daily to hear regular ragchewers running 1000 or 1500 watts for absolutely no reason except that they can while at the same time QRMing the band.

Or someone in 4-land working a nearby Caribbean DX station at full throttle when 100-200 watts would be just fine.

Put your money into the antenna system, folks.

AE5X 2011-10-07
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
The more people who believe as you - that power makes up for a lack of skill - the better for those of us who know what we're doing. I operate from 5 watts to a kilowatt and know from experience that know-how counts more than power.

John AE5X
http://www.ae5x.com/blog
LA9XSA 2011-10-07
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
>>K9MHZ
>>That's the silliest, most overly-broad and generalized thing written on this thread.

If so I suspect you misinterpreted it. A power amplifier on your side doesn't help you hear the low power station on the other side, it helps the guy with the compromised antenna hear you. Did you mean a pre-amplifier for reception at the antenna?

In some conditions, an amplifier and high gain antenna are needed on both sides to make the contact. In other conditions, it's not.

>>AE6RV
>>Why is it so important for some of you that that 10db comes from a few pounds of aluminum rather than an amp? It's still the same ERP, isn't it?
Antenna gain improves both reception and transmission power. A power amplifier only improves transmission power. Sometimes you need both.
K9MHZ 2011-10-07
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Heath made the HW-7/8/9 and the SB-220.

Whatever blows your skirt up.

AE5J 2011-10-07
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Might I suggest a couple of thoughts for our consideration here? First, as has been said, there is plenty of room in ham radio for those who wish to run a big amp, no amp, big antenna, little antenna, SSB, CW, digital or whatever the heart desires. Thankfully there are no "operating police" with authority to insure conformity beyond the rules.

Second, and most important of all. We should all not focus so much on WHAT equipment we run, but focus more on HOW we run it. Might I respectfully suggest that skillful operation trumps QRO, QRP, or anything else, everytime. To be sure there are times when increasing or decreasing power is an integral part of the equation. But it is not, in the final analysis, a matter of how much power we run as it is how we run it.

I would gladly dust off the old amplifier, if I had one. But I continually dust off my operating skills. I think it is time better spent.
Respectfully,
Pete
VE3XQQ 2011-10-07
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
...a blind squirrel will find an acorn if they look long enough.

A blind squirrel can't look for anything as it can't see, but it can bump around aimlessly.

If one does run an amp, run it at 50% of its nominal maximum, this will reduce your splatter and watching your drive will help further reduce RF pollution. We need to take care of the resources allocated to us and be good neighbors to those operating on either side of us.

W2LJ 2011-10-07
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
LA9SXA

Agreed! You have expressed some of the most common sense thoughts displayed here.

Ham radio is what it is. As I stated previously, there's room enough for everyone - it's a very big tent. There's no need for contentiousness or raining on anyone's parade.

Maybe old habits die hard, for some.

Larry W2LJ

N4KC 2011-10-07
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
As usual here, many misinterpret the author's point. I don't think K6AER was challenging QRP as a great facet of our hobby. Or advocating that we all buy a "gallon" and use it all the dang time. Like having more than one antenna, an amp is a good addition to a station and definitely has its place.

Here's a question: which causes the most QRM and prevents the most stations from getting the DX station in the logbook? Me screaming away for two hours with 100 watts or me flipping on the amp, pounding out my mighty 400 watts, and nabbing the guy within five or ten minutes?

As K6AER suggests, if I'm calling CQ, I typically start out at 100 watts (and I also give my general location, too, so beams can be properly aimed). Same with a DX station, even in a pile-up. There's a certain satisfaction in getting him with 100 watts, and I usually brag about it...in my own log.

But if it's a big old pile-up and I really need the guy, the amp's on from the first call. I was a ham for 47 years before I got my first amp, but I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have called a DX station for half an hour at 100W with no luck, then took the amp off standby and got him on the next few calls.

Only a few DB difference? Maybe so, but it is definitely enough of a difference to get the station in the log...quicker, easier, and, ultimately, with less QRM for everybody else...including the guys running 5 watts or less.

Don N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com
http://n4kc.blogspot.com


AE6RV 2011-10-07
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
What does it really matter which method you use to get that 10db of gain? Why is it so important for some of you that that 10db comes from a few pounds of aluminum rather than an amp? It's still the same ERP, isn't it? Or do you somehow think that amplifier power is different from parasitic element power?

I'll do it my way and you do it yours. If you can hear a few more stations than I do, then work them. I won't stop you. I'm not the guy with 100 watts and a dipole who calls nonstop over the DX station working split.

K9MHZ 2011-10-07
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
>>>>by LA9XSA on October 7, 2011 High transmitting power doesn't do heavy lifting for low power operators - it does heavy lifting for people who have compromised antennas, high local noise levels or insensitive receivers.<<<<

That's the silliest, most overly-broad and generalized thing written on this thread. There are many, many magnificent station setups around, and yes....you'll also see an amplifier more times than not. Oh, the horror. You don't get out much, do you?
K7RDX 2011-10-07
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Always errect the best antenna you can afford and then compliment that radiator with a good amplifier...All too many operators have the mindset that raw power makes up for a sub-standard antenna..NO WAY!.Then keep the exciter drive low to produce clean,powerful signals that don`t interfere with other op`s..I enjoy DXing the low bands where good antennas as well as power are a must have for efficient communications..Jim..K7RDX..
LA9XSA 2011-10-07
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
W2LJ: It's the usual complaint from some: "Unless it's MY favorite niche, it's not REAL ham radio." Whether that be QRP, QRO, CW, ragchewing, kitbuilding, contesting or DX - most of us are happy with what we do, or try a lot of different things, but a few people look down on any aspect of amateur radio that they don't do themselves.
As long as you follow the rules and don't cause interference to each other, I say live and let live.

High transmitting power doesn't do heavy lifting for low power operators - it does heavy lifting for people who have compromised antennas, high local noise levels or insensitive receivers. It's high gain antennas and patient operators who do heavy lifting for low power operators.
Sometimes, QRP operators have compromised antennas, but sometimes not. If a QRO operator with an indoor zipline antenna has a contact with a QRP operator with an enormous stacked array, there's heavy lifting taking place at both sides.
W6CAW 2011-10-07
RE: Dust off your brains.
Boy do I agree with most of these posts. There is way to much power used on the HF bands and a large % of it is way miss adjusted. We should have a no more than 100 watts day every week just to show everyone how easy it is to communicate in the sub KW level
W2LJ 2011-10-07
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
WB2WIK:

"Those who believe the op on the other end of a QRP contact isn't doing the heavy lifting are kidding themselves. Of course they are."

Respectfully, but that's a load of ........

As a QRPer, I spend a ton of time on the air with other QRPers. More often than not, the signals are not a strain to listen to. Sometimes they are; but lots of times they're 579 or better.

QRPers are Hams, just like the QRO advocates. No better, no worse. I don't understand all the putdowns, on either side.

How would you like it if the mantra were that "Anyone who doesn't believe that anyone who uses an amp is a selfish SOB who doesn't care about wasting energy and the environment is kidding himself. Of course they are."

I've heard that said - and disagree with it. It's a ludicrous statement - as ludicrous as the one at the top.

Larry W2LJ
IZ4KBS 2011-10-07
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
@WB2WIK

> Those who believe the op on the other end of a QRP
> contact isn't doing the heavy lifting are kidding
> themselves. Of course they are.

I regularly make QRP to QRP contacts, with simple wire antennas at both ends. Whoever says it can only work if one of the parties has got either big ears or big power obviously has never given QRP a serious try. Sometimes you do need some patience to achieve the goal, but not even all that much after all. Yes, it occurred to me that I made a contact from Italy to North Carolina on my Rockmite @ 0.5 watts, and then indeed it may have accounted to the other guy having big ears, which I don't know as we didn't get past the exchange of RSTs, but, hey! Still with a Rockmite, last nite I talked for quite a while with G3MJX nr London (abt 800 miles from me), and he was using 8 watts into an indoor dipole. I was 569 on him, and he wasn't much weaker than that on this side. Plus, there was one QRO chap that insisted with tuning his weaponry nearby, yet we managed, thanks to a bit of skill and patience on both ends. What must have sounded as band noise to his uneducated ears was rather a long and fruitful exchange of interesting information between us two QRPers. Again with the Rockmite, this morning I had a long QSO with OK1NR, some 400-500 miles away. He was with 100 watts into a G5RV and was 599+ here, while I got a true 599 from him (with my meager 750 mW!). Whenever the game turns into who shouts louder I usually turn away and come back when things have cooled down. Finally, to those who ask what's the point with QRP, since it obviously takes more effort (but much less if you are used to it), I reply with what's the point with go fishing when you can go to a restaurant and have the fish ready cooked and served at the table ? On the same tune, I do like homebrewing my own equipment, which is another attitude that often sets QRO and QRP types apart. There's nothing evil with using some more power when needed, it's just that it is needed *much* less often that most QRO-only types may think. And those few times when it is needed, it's probably not the best time to use the band, so better turn to email instead :-)
W8JI 2011-10-07
RE: Dust off your brains.
Actually there is usually a sweet spot for radios at about 1/2 or 3/4 rated power. Above that or below that things can get worse, so far as ratio of mean power to mean IMD product levels.

All the QRP fellows need to understand what WB2WIK pointed out. All the real work is on the receiving end.

Also, as I pointed out, 13 dB is only 13 dB. It doesn't suddenly ruin the band. What ruins the band is not knowing how to tune and load amplifiers, or using cheap CB junk or minimal performance radios.

Ten and twenty meters are a mess of unnecessary splatter not because of power levels, but because of the type of gear and how the gear is operated. If we scan 20 meter SSB with a GOOD receiver used properly from any location with low background noise, we will find about 1 in 5 signals is far too wide. It is even worse on ten meters. This is because of the proliferation of inexperienced operators and cheap CB gear used on ten meters.

None of this has anything to do with power level, because the difference between a 100 watt station and 1000 watt station is only 10 dB. That's barely noticeable unless the signal is getting close to noise floor. Of course at noise floor, even 1 or 2 dB change can be significant.

K0IZ 2011-10-07
RE: Dust off your brains.
About 2/3 of time, I run on 20M SSB with my amp. When doing so and calling CQ, I get quite a few QRPers to respond (MANY more than when barefoot). Since my signal is stronger (than barefoot), the QRPers might figure conditions between us are favorable, and they will be heard. My location in mountains of Colorado has very low noise, so most all of the time I can hear QRPers running even below l/10 watt when they call me. Makes for a lot of QRP contacts, which I enjoy.

So the combination of running high power, and low noise, works to the advantage of the QRPers.

John.
KW6LA 2011-10-07
RE: Dust off your brains.
Ask a Golfer if a set of Ben Hogan’s and the shoes are really worth the money and maintenance to hit a little white ball on the weekends ?
No difference for Hams, a hobby worth the money to some and others don’t care. Not the end of the world if you like a Hamstick over a
cookie sheet with 5 watts . Thanks Steve for your uncommon sense on QRP/QRO.

KW6LA
ZS5WC 2011-10-07
Dust off Old Amplifier
I think there are huge misconceptions about amplifiers, and a HUGE lack of understanding of how to drive them--this is the problem plain and simple.

A Properly Tuned and loaded Amplifier, running way below it's max. PEP capability, Exited by a clean transciever running low power, both Rig and Amp below ALC action limits-will be CLEANER , and have BETTER IMD figures than the Rig ALONE maxed out at 100w, with plenty ALC action.

Problem is with stations where averything is driven to the MAX.
Try it for yourself--!.

73 de William
ZS4L / ZS5WC
G3RZP 2011-10-07
RE: Dust off your brains.
Now consider that the path is marginal and with the full gallon (whatever that is in your country), you are 6dB above noise. Enough on CW, probably just enough for exchanging callsigns and reports on SSB.

Going from 1500 watts to 100 watts means you just don't get through.


But it's mainly on 40, 80 and 160 for DX that it really shows - and on VHF/UHF for EME and weak signal DX.
AI2IA 2011-10-06
Dust off your brains.
Pardon me for dragging this into the thread, but maybe some folks need to think long and hard about this:

I am quoting Paul Harden, NA5N, here. I hope you don't mind, Paul, but you say it better than I can.

"You have to QUADRUPLE (X4) your signal to DOUBLE your signal strength at the receiver end.
Likewise, if you drop your power by one-fourth, your received signal strength will be one-half
less, or 1 S-unit. You are working a station running 100W and he is S8. If he drops his power
to 1/4th, or 25W, his signal strength should drop about 1 S-unit, or to S7.
If he drops another 1/4th, to about 6W, he should drop another S unit, or to about S6.
Therefore, the difference between 100W and 5W QRP is about 2 S-units. Big deal. Dropping to
1W is about another S-unit, then to 250mW another S-unit, etc. OK, now you’re getting down
into the S4 noise level on 40M. Now you’re hoping the guy on the other end has only a S3
noise level on his end :-)"

To those considering linear amplifiers and more linear amplifiers and bigger more powerful linear amplifiers, ask yourself, really, is it worth the cost, the installation, the maintenance?

- Ray Mullin, ai2ia
K9CTB 2011-10-06
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Nice post, Mike!!

Just sharing, but when I wuzza young pup, my mentor pointed to his amp one day and said, "yanno, son ... I could tape over the 15 and 10 meter positions ... heck maybe even 20, cuz a barefoot 100 watt rig is all you'll ever need on those bands!". I sorta took a short memory inventory of myself since then for this post. IMHO, CW operation almost never (my own bad English) needs an amplifier. At least I've never used an amp for a CW contact in my life! SSB and especially AM absolutely NEEDS an amplifier on 75 and 40. And it's not because of all the lids out there crowding each other off the bands because they think they "own" the frequency, either. It's just a natural requirement because of the heavy spherics on those two bands. Perhaps in the winter here in the northern hemisphere, someone might force me to eat my words, but even then, an amp is necessary just for the local ragchews on 75 meters. If you're in the DX window on 80 or 40 without an amp .... you're on your own.

Just my 2 cents adjusted for inflation, but I agree with many others here. There's a time and definitely a place for an amplifier on the HF bands.

73,
K9CTB
WB8ROL 2011-10-06
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
I agree with making noise - no matter how much power you are using. I run a max of 100w and usually a lot less BUT making noise is the key point - not the power.

The folks who spend most of the time just listening are short changing themselves AND the rest of us.

Every month I put out 4 watt CQ's and every month I am surprised how many QSO's I get. I usually run 50 - 100w though so I can have longer ragchews under less than optimal conditions.

So I agree with the concept of making noise though I don't think it takes a KW all the time to do it - which doesn't mean I am against folks that do. It's just not necessary for me.
K8NY 2011-10-06
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Replying to Steve, WB2WIK's comment "Those who believe the op on the other end of a QRP contact isn't doing the heavy lifting are kidding themselves. Of course they are.
I work QRP sometimes and it's great fun but I have no delusions that the contacts I make have anything to do with my station, most of the time; usually, the credit goes to the "other" station, unless the one I'm working is also QRP and using exactly the same antenna I am."



Ain't that the truth Steve. Thanks for pointing out the not so obvious. Right on!!
K8NY 2011-10-06
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Ain't that the truth Steve. Thanks for pointing out the not so obvious. Right on!!

NI0C 2011-10-06
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
WB2WIK's comment above (which I agree with) reminded me of Suke, JM7OLW near Fukushima, who runs 1KW to 3 elements on 40m and 4 elements on 20m. I'm sure that Suke has given many North American hams their first JA contact. He is very easy to work because he is so loud, and he hears so well.

In 2005, I worked him running 4 watts from my KX1 to a vertical antenna. I followed up our QSO with an e-mail thanking him for the QSO, congratulating him for copying my signal, and promising him I'd call him with more power the next time! (I kept my promise!)

Maybe those who seem morally opposed to running a P.A. should refrain from calling any DX stations who use amplifiers?

73,
Chuck NI0C


ONAIR 2011-10-06
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
"It's not the size of the wand, it's the magic of the conductor!" That doesn't only apply to music and sex.
NO9E 2011-10-06
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Thanks QRO for letting me work you when I am QRP. Especially in RFI infested areas where QRP is not heard.

I reciprocate when calling CQ from home with QRO and a beam or high dipoles. Many QRP stations work me. Most of them have no chance working among themselves.
WB2WIK 2011-10-06
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Those who believe the op on the other end of a QRP contact isn't doing the heavy lifting are kidding themselves. Of course they are.

I work QRP sometimes and it's great fun but I have no delusions that the contacts I make have anything to do with my station, most of the time; usually, the credit goes to the "other" station, unless the one I'm working is also QRP and using exactly the same antenna I am.

K9WJL 2011-10-06
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
QRO is the way to go,
#1) Im running a couple of wire antennas here, and sometimes the ol' lobes on these guys dont exactly line up where I want to be heard.
#2) Gotta be heard in the pileups eventually. Even when the station I would like to converse with is within the favored direction of my antenna, there's always stations calling with a bit more than I have. I cant afford 200' of tower or the real estate to put it up like those other guys, I can afford my AL-1200 though.
#3) Radio really sucks when you have a crappy signal. Noone wants to pull a station from Illinois out of the noise.
I could go on but no point in that. Mike has a good point, I've run pile ups to Japan on 15M on the 80m dipole running 1200 watts, and had lots of fun, but I dont think they would have spotted me there if I was at the noise level.

73 all.
Bill K9WJL
AB2T 2011-10-06
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
The art of ham radio is in the operation and not brute force. Anyone can shout into a microphone and peak the modulation to 1500 W. A well-trained fist, however, is a lifetime achievement akin to the mastery of a musical instrument.

I'm often saddened when the first words of a newly minted General on a ham forum are "how can I buy an amp?" Why not, "where can I buy a new key?" The use of CW and not voice because of financial or residence restrictions is also not a privation. Rather, this circumstance should be viewed as a chance to learn a new language and master a new skill.

No need to crank up the power. Merely plug in the key and use simple resources to achieve great success in the hobby.

73, Jordan
K9MHZ 2011-10-06
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
That's because all of those Italian-made linears are poorly designed splatter boxes....I wouldn't listen to them either.

K8QV 2011-10-06
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier

<<< by IZ4KBS on October 6, 2011

If you absolutely need to be heard, then you had better using email or a telephone instead of a radio. But if you want to have fun then just go QRP or close to. Easy on your pockets, easy on QRM and easy on your neighbors' TV sets. Whenever I hear big guns splattering all over the band I usually go do something else and come back when they are gone. Oh, and I don't do phone either, only CW. Again, if I need to talk to someone I rather pick up the phone. >>>



Bravo!


IZ4KBS 2011-10-06
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
If you absolutely need to be heard, then you had better using email or a telephone instead of a radio. But if you want to have fun then just go QRP or close to. Easy on your pockets, easy on QRM and easy on your neighbors' TV sets. Whenever I hear big guns splattering all over the band I usually go do something else and come back when they are gone. Oh, and I don't do phone either, only CW. Again, if I need to talk to someone I rather pick up the phone.
W8JI 2011-10-06
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
It amazes me how little those telling others what they need to do seem to know about how radio systems work. All this whining over 13 dB or less is just silly:

1.) A pile up with 50 weak signals calling is just as frustrating, if not more frustrating, as a pileup that is only 13 dB louder.

2.) 20 times the power is only 13 dB. If you are S9, you will be 13 over nine on a good meter. It isn't 40-50 dB. The only time extra power ever makes a huge difference in the apparent signal level is when the signal is near noise.

3.) If someone is in a quiet location, they can have 20 dB or more receiving signal-to-noise advantage over the same antenna and equipment in an urban or noisy environment. The biggest antennas in the world cannot equalize that disparity. Only an amplifier can.

4.) Some of the widest signals I hear these days on ten meters are people hammering low-power radios, especially some of the illegal CB pirate radios disguised as "ham" radios. The same goes for 100-300 watt CB amps. The real problem with ten meters isn't QRP or amps, it is the equipment and user quality. I can show you ten meter amps and radios that, at 50 watts, put out stronger off-channel trash than an old FT1000MP or ICOM 756 driving a 1500 watt amp.

5.) If you want some entertainment, look at the SSB 3rd or 5th order specs of some low power rigs.

How many people come out of the woodwork to point any of this out?

73 Tom
N6AJR 2011-10-06
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier



Well, I have several amps in the shack. I have 7 hf rigs in here and each has its own amp. My main squeeze is the orion into the Alpha 87 a.


I have as much antenna up as is legal here so I got what I got for antennas . I have found many times that I can run up the band working dx or especially Dxpeditions, and I always start at 100 watts in to the frey.


I have a minimum 3 minute warm up on the alpha and so I call and and I call on 100 watts and then the amp times in and I call a couple of times and often make the contact after the amp times in. I also use the tricks like being he last caller, and tail ending and any other way to make myself stand out , but The Amp usually does help.


Have a friend with an amp call you and set up on a hf frequency. Now have him run at 5 watts, then 100 watts then 400 watts then 1000 watts and finally at legal limit. you will notice an increase in each step and a more readable signal. but the difference between qrp, to qro is more noticible than the difference between any 2 steps.



Remember in the US you can run what you have up to 1500 watts, so it is your choice. Some countries have limits of 400 watts, or others, depending on class. So use what you need. and mostly have fun.
G3RZP 2011-10-06
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
In my professional work, we reckon that if we can actaully radiate 50nW, we're doing well. Admittedly, anything over about 10 feet is DX!
K0RGR 2011-10-06
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
I think you make an excellent point here. There are propagation modes that only work with high power, such as backscatter. If nobody is running high power, you never hear it.

I run QRP much of the time, and rarely more than 100 watts. Indeed, my amplifier only puts out about 500 watts on a good day, and I really don't feel the need for more.

Decades ago, we QRPers were in the tiny minority. Low power ops back then were people who ran 100 watts. Now, however, we've become the majority.

Meanwhile, the typical suburban noise level has risen dramatically. As a result, the bands do sound dead, even when they aren't.

I think we need to try to change the 'norm'. Instead of everyone running 100 watts, let's aim for a bit more - perhaps 400 watts, particularly on SSB. We don't need higher power on the digital modes, and probably don't need it on CW, either. But a bit more suds would make the phone bands much easier on the ear.

And yes, there's no sin in running the legal limit on 75 meters or 160.
N5EP 2011-10-06
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
You followed good practice and began by calling CQ a few times running barefoot before resorting to the amp. But I suspect that many don't even make an attempt to use the minimum amount of power necessary, which, if I remember correctly, is required by law.

Steve, N5EP
AA5TB 2011-10-06
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
If you think that you need an amplifier, then you will.

73,
Steve - AA5TB
KT0DD 2011-10-06
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Life is too short. Always run QRP. Quite Respectable Power that is...:)
K8AXW 2011-10-06
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Let me tell you my story, my experience, with this antenna/amplifier thing.

When I moved into this house which is located in a former grass strip airfield there was nothing to hang antennas from.

I went to a 40m vertical with ground radials and ran barefoot with 100 watts. I worked some DX....but if anything even close to 'exotic' was on I found myself down around 30 on the pileup. Sometimes I got to work them, most of the time I didn't before they went QRT or the band dropped out.

Then I installed a tower and TH6DXX beam and I went from 30 to 15, maybe 10 on the pileup and I worked many, many more DX stations. The antenna indeed is a tremendous factor on making ham radio FUN.

I then built a 1500w linear and now with the beam I'm up there 'amoungst' them! One more thing.... when I call CQ, quite often I start a pileup of stations calling ME!

Dust off the amplifier and enjoy another facet of ham radio!!

WA7PVE 2011-10-06
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
I was told by a CB'er once that he needed 10kw to talk to his buddies 10 miles away across the valley. I told him I have WAS, WAC, and DXCC using 5 watts and if I needed that much power, I'd get a new hobby.
K0CBA 2011-10-06
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Same philosophy as CB.
KB3FEI 2011-10-06
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
DXCC and WAS from 100 watts and a ground mounted multi-band trap vertical or wire antennas--no amplifier, tower or beam antenna needed.

But you are right about the blind squirrel--a lot of skill and adaptation is needed for a blind squirrel to be successful: enhanced hearing to keep away from dogs, cats and cars; improved sense of smell to locate the previously buried acorns; and a great awareness of the local environment to insure finding the right tree which contains the nest. Like QRP operation which also needs enhanced skill and adaptation on the part of both operators: to locate the other station, to avoid QRM, QRN and intentional interference, to make clear and concise communication, and to log the result.

Limitations: a better squirrel, a better ham.

Dale, kb3fei.
W2LJ 2011-10-06
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
I'm a dedicated QRPer and I say, "To each his own". If you want to run QRO with the full gallon, hey, that's fine by me! There's room for all of us.

That said ......

"At this point I expect the replays descend into a class warfare battle between the QRO crowd and the QRP minimalist group. Let’s skip the replays who have worked 100 countries with 5 watts for even a blind squirrel will find an acorn if they look long enough."

A) Was there really any need for a comment like that?

B) And just who is starting the "class warfare battle"?

C) Did you really NOT expect some kind of reply to that or are you just baiting?

Best wishes to you, K6AER. Hope to see your name at the very top of the Honor Roll list, someday!

Larry W2LJ

M6GOM 2011-10-06
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
LA9XSA - "There's an old saying that you should spend at least as much on your antenna system as you do on your radio and amplifier. I'm building my own antennas, so it'll be a while before I've lived up to this "rule", but I'm aiming for it."


Judging by the amount of wire and ally tubing I've gone through over the past few years with my various mostly unsuccessful search of a 10dBd all band single wire antenna I reckon I'm not far off, lol.

G3RZP 2011-10-06
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
160m is REAL hard without an amplifier....it's hard enough with, at times.
NN4RH 2011-10-06
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Oh, I get it now. This is an advertisement.
NN4RH 2011-10-06
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
There are a lot of people out there with amplifiers who are stone deaf.

If you can't hear us, all that noise you're making is just peeving people off and probably interfering with someone.


If you "need" 1500 watts to make any contacts on 10 meters these past couple weeks, there's something else wrong.
LA9XSA 2011-10-06
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Don't worry, QRO is needed sometimes when conditions are bad, and I'm going to get an amplifier eventually; it's just that by making a good antenna system, I'll get gain both on receive and transmit. That's why I'm holding back on more power until I've got a better antenna system. I don't want to transmit over somebody I can't hear.
K4FX 2011-10-06
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
I kinda figured you would get this sort of response Mike.

But I agree with you. If no one needs amps? Why are so many companies building and selling them? I have 2 and wish I had three.

73 and nice article Mike

K4FX
G6NJR 2011-10-06
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
KW6LA .. ??

No heavy lifting needed thanks much cus no big amp needed , I do more that well enough with my half sized G5RV and a verticle for 17 & 10 with 100 watts and no amount of claims of doing the heavy lifting for them will ever change that
KW6LA 2011-10-06
RE: Dust Off the Old Amplifier
{ There's an old saying that you should spend at least as much on your antenna system as you do on your radio and amplifier }

Mike , I knew this was coming for they don’t know your antenna blows away about 95 percent of the average Hams. That said, yes 3 hops of DX with 100 watts and a G5RV might not be heard if the other hams are using less
for a antenna. ORO does make a difference for some DX contacts. For years I read and listen to the preachers about not needing a amplifier for HF. Now I understand you have to do the heavy lifting for the guys using the
low performance antennas with the amp / and or a beam like yours. I just hope the Flames don’t light you up early for all that ugly power , not understanding what you mean. Guys there is a time and place for POWER on HF.
Hope all is well Mike and I guess you got the news about KN6OK.. sad !

KW6LA
LA9XSA 2011-10-06
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
There's an old saying that you should spend at least as much on your antenna system as you do on your radio and amplifier. I'm building my own antennas, so it'll be a while before I've lived up to this "rule", but I'm aiming for it.
G6NJR 2011-10-06
Dust Off the Old Amplifier
Or do everyone else a favour and don't use more than 100 watts no need for it at all .

I was listening to a pile up on 40 meters last night you could hear the amps coming online and the adjacent crud level going thru the roof in the end no one won for the simple reason no one could hear a darn thing just the collective noise of thousands of watts squealing over each other the station they were trying to impress got fed up and moved 20 mins later they were all still wasting time and unneeded watts trying to get thru to someone that had long since GONE! the true stupidity of big amps (plus there is also the wasted energy side not that i am green i could care less but there are a lot that do)

Pete G6NJR