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eHam Forums => Misc => Topic started by: K3UIM on December 09, 2018, 10:35:59 PM



Title: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: K3UIM on December 09, 2018, 10:35:59 PM
I am having one heck of a time trying to get an answer to my CQ's. I'm wondering if it's my slow sending speed or the 40 meter band.
I've been "away" for about 25 years and just trying to get back into it again.
Back in the early 90's I was working at about 20 to 25 wpm and I'm beginning to think I'll not get "back up to speed" by working on the air but by copying taped(?) etc code. Yuck! I'd much rather make QSO contacts. (RCC member from those days.)
Any suggestions??
Charlie, K3UIM


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: DJ1YFK on December 09, 2018, 11:13:47 PM
Hi Charlie,

40m is probably one of the best places to operate with QRP, and with QRS.
With the Reverse Beacon Network you can check where your signal can be heard by simply sending CQ a few times... but as it seems you have not been heard by the RBN yet:

http://reversebeacon.net/dxsd1/dxsd1.php?f=0&c=k3ium&t=dx
https://foc.dj1yfk.de/activity/K3IUM

If you're slow and looking for sparring partners, maybe the SKCC (http://skccgroup.com/) is for you. They also have a online sked page which may be helpful in arranging your first contacts: https://sked.skccgroup.com/

73
Fabian


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: DJ1YFK on December 10, 2018, 12:35:49 AM
http://reversebeacon.net/dxsd1/dxsd1.php?f=0&c=k3ium&t=dx
https://foc.dj1yfk.de/activity/K3IUM

My apologies, I was clearly not fully awake yet, so I mixed up two letters in your call (K3IUM vs K3UIM). This looks better:

https://foc.dj1yfk.de/activity/K3UIM


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: W4FID on December 10, 2018, 04:37:47 AM
We are at the bottom of the sun cycle. Yes there are QSOs going on but QRP is even harder with weak propagation. The better your antenna is the better your odds are but QRP will still be less QSOs per hour than bigger signal. That's part of the fun of it -- that's one reason people do it -- seeing what you can do with minimalist stuff. You value each QSO even more. But set your expectations realistic.

CW isn't as popular as it once was. There are still lots who enjoy it but maybe they tend to be the "hard core" guys who do have higher speed skills. 20 meters has higher speed CW most of the time the band is open. Or the QRP/portable guys who also have lessor signals and will be harder for you to work. Many have gone digital. FT8 is thriving and suitable for QRP. I prefer the old fashioned QSO -- bee a ham 57+ years -- but QRP and portable with simple antennas I do have lots of QSOs on that mode and few on CW.


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: K3UIM on December 10, 2018, 06:18:31 AM
YFK: It's Usless…. I mean; United In Marriage! Hi.

RBN? Judas Priest! What in the world has happened to CW?? (I have to look that up!)
(Boy! You leave hamming for a few years and they turn it upside down! Life was so simple when you only needed to know things like how to properly neutralize your amplifier without killing yourself with RF burns and now you need computerized radios to see if there's someone out there to hear your signal!! HI) I shoudda took the Extra test back when I knew what I was doing! Whooyee!!

And I thought, (at my advanced age,) that just getting to tomorrow was my greatest hope! giggle, snort, guffaw!

Charlie


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: K3UIM on December 10, 2018, 06:40:11 AM
Holy crap! It looks like I have to hook up the computer to the xcvr somehow. Can anyone tell me, in as few words as possible, where to look to find info on setting up for it?? Or is it much too complicated to be starting at age 85? Hi.
Is there already a thread on it in this forum?
Charlie, K3UIM


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: KM1H on December 10, 2018, 01:49:56 PM
Try a couple of CW contests to get your speed up and most will work anyone they can copy at any speed.

Carl
Ham since 1955
30 wpm ARRL certficate in 56
Extra in 68


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: K3UIM on December 10, 2018, 03:36:29 PM
Carl
Ham since 1955
30 wpm ARRL certficate in 56
Extra in 68
Sure, sure! Rub it in! Hi.& Congrats!
Charlie, K3UIM



Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: KE6EE on December 10, 2018, 04:25:45 PM
I'm wondering if it's my slow sending speed or the 40 meter band.

QRP can be a challenge. I think it's most appropriate for portable operation where a tiny rig is all that one wants to carry. And RFI is most likely to be at a very low level.

Your antenna is critical. Put up a dipole as high as you can. Even if it's very low you will be able to make many contacts although DX may not be easy. If your current antenna is very inefficient, it is no doubt a barrier.

Last, get yourself at least 30 to 50 watts. That's all the power I usually use with my not-very-high doublet. I can usually get a response from any station I can hear.

Many, if not most, CW ops are happy to communicate at slower speeds. After all we are, as brass pounders, soon to go extinct.


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: N1RND on December 16, 2018, 05:44:28 AM
Charlie
You never what power level, rig, and antenna.  That info would help.
I kind of have the same problem you have. I was off the air for a while and now my CW speed is down also.  I haven't had the ambition to work it.
I'm just curious about your set up.
Dave


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: N5CM on December 16, 2018, 12:04:19 PM
Charlie, I too will recommend the Straight Key Century Club (SKCC).  Back in the day, I operated mostly CW, but I was QRT for a little over 10 years.  Got back on the air in February of this year.  I signed up with SKCC, and I'm glad I did.  They're a very welcoming and friendly bunch.  It helped help me to get my speed, such as it was and is, on the way back up.

KM1H has a good point about contests.  Exchanges are typically short and have predictable content.  They will help you get your copy speed back up.

Welcome back and good luck.

73,

John KA5GEX



Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: K3UIM on December 16, 2018, 12:34:12 PM
Charlie
You never said what power level, rig, and antenna.  That info would help.
Dave, I have 2 QRP rigs and love both of them. The Ten-Tec R4020 and the KD1JV Tri-Bander on 40, 20 and 17.

The antenna is a multi band dipole that has pre-measured marks (color coded) that you open up at whichever band you're wanting to work.

I use a trans-match to couple the antenna to the rig. I get an almost perfect SWR match across 40.

I believe the bulk of my night time operating problem may be a sodium street light about 100 yards from my QTH. I get a "timed" (intermittent) buzzing that just about blocks out any signals I might be receiving.

As far as the transmitting goes, I'm thinking that I may be in the market for a low power amplifier, in the area of 30 to 50 watts. Time will tell. (And perhaps a BB gun for the receiving. Hi) I will check further on the sodium light with the city department as soon as I can. Both rigs are portable so I can go to the light pole and see what happens to the noise problem.

Charlie, K3UIM


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: N1RND on December 21, 2018, 07:43:23 AM
R on the rigs. From the description of the antenna it sounds like you need access to it regularly? If so is really low to the ground?  If so that would be making things have d for you, especially on 40.
How much of that noise is on the S meter?  2 or 3 units or

 10db over S 9?


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: N1RND on December 21, 2018, 07:49:45 AM
You said you have a perfect match across all of 40 because of the tuner, but what is the antenna's swr without the tuner?  If it's real high your basically transmitting into a random piece of wire instead of a resonant antenna.


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: K3UIM on December 21, 2018, 08:08:02 AM
RND: I unrolled it to the 40 meter tags and will leave it there. (My favorite band.) I have no s meter so can't tell.
I'll have to check the swr w/o the transmatch to see. (Never thought of that.) I'll get back to you on it. Thanks.
Charlie, K3UIM


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: K3UIM on December 21, 2018, 01:08:27 PM
RND: I connected the antenna directly to the SWR meter and was shocked at the readings!
7 .050 = 0.0
7.290 = 1.1
I cannot recall ever running a rig without a trans-match connected! Probably because I worked other bands on occasion with a long wire. Guess I'm about to get a lil bit of extra space around the rig from now on! Hi. (Well, maybe check out 20 with this dipole antenna while it's set to the 40 meter tabs and maybe hook up the trans-match for that. I don't know.)
Charlie, K3UIM


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: N1RND on December 21, 2018, 01:40:37 PM
Well that could be "good" news.  Next thing, how high is your antenna off of the ground?


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: K0UA on December 21, 2018, 02:41:05 PM
RND: I connected the antenna directly to the SWR meter and was shocked at the readings!
7 .050 = 0.0
7.290 = 1.1
I cannot recall ever running a rig without a trans-match connected! Probably because I worked other bands on occasion with a long wire. Guess I'm about to get a lil bit of extra space around the rig from now on! Hi. (Well, maybe check out 20 with this dipole antenna while it's set to the 40 meter tabs and maybe hook up the trans-match for that. I don't know.)
Charlie, K3UIM


That SWR plot seem extremely low.  As in dummy load low.  That doesn't  look like any 40 meter antenna I have ever seen or used.   I assume you mean at 7.050 Mhz the SWR is 1:1  and at 7.290 Mhz the SWR is 1.1:1  If so, my statement above stands.  Something is very very wrong.


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: K3UIM on December 21, 2018, 03:10:45 PM
UA: No! At 7.050 = 1.0 (Needle just slightly nudges) and at 7.290 = 1.1 (Needle goes to the first line)
The meter starts at 1 and 4 lines later is 1.5 and 5 lines later it's 2, etc.
I get those readings with or without the trans-match connected in the antenna line.
Charlie, K3UIM


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: WB8VLC on December 21, 2018, 03:17:33 PM
if you want a nice  amp for your qrp rig for a decent price then check the following links.

http://qrp-labs.com/linear


A qrp friend of mine has 2 of the above amps combined with coaxial inline homebrew low pass filters to get ~ 40 watts for 40 or 20 meters.

He is running the amps from a 25 dollar e-bay  ~ 20 volt power supply and using a home brew Lumped element Wilkinson power splitter on the input and the same on the output  of the 2 combined power amps and he is measuring 42 watts output on 40M and 38 watts on 20M.

He's using a T/R relay switch that he  obtained from this link
http://www.w6pql.com/using_inexpensive_relays.htm

total parts cost and he is still under 175 dollars for everything he purchased along with using a junkbox case and some connectors etc for the amp.


This was still considerably cheaper than any of the other aftermarket amps that are marketed to qrp users.


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: K3UIM on December 21, 2018, 03:55:58 PM
VLC: Looks like something I'd like! Thanks.
Charlie, K3UIM


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: K3UIM on December 21, 2018, 04:28:49 PM
RND: About 25 feet. Being Friday night, the 40 meter band seems to be jumping and lots of cw activity. I may try my luck after a while.
Charlie, K3UIM


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: N1RND on December 22, 2018, 10:09:48 AM
Although 25 feet considered too low on 40, my 40 meter vee is only 35 feet at the apex and ends are at 15 feet, but I do well with it.  I can even work into Europe with it.
As the other poster commented, the swr are curve is way too broad.  There is some kind of loss going on somewhere.  What's your coax situation?


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: K3UIM on December 22, 2018, 01:26:37 PM
RND: I'll check my coax to see if I have a mismatch in the line or something. I love how it seems to work (SWR) bit if it's a matter of just "tuning up my coax"??? I'll get back to you on it.
Charlie, K3UIM


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: W0BKR on December 22, 2018, 05:26:52 PM
Rough conditions even with 100W.  Good luck though, admire your gusto...


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: K3UIM on December 22, 2018, 10:50:59 PM
RND: Oops! Looking at my SWR meter, of which I have 2, one a Siltronix and the other a Monarch, both giving identical readings, I find there is a "percentage Ref power" under the scale. According to that scale, I would still be getting only a 1 percent reflected reading when it registers on what I called the 1.1 reading.
I cannot find the cable number on the antenna lead-in. I will check further in the am, though.
Charlie, K3UIM
 


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: G4AON on December 23, 2018, 12:30:15 AM
Here on the “other side of the pond”, there is a lot of CW activity during weekday mornings. Typically between sunrise and 2 hours later (0800 - 1000 local time). I monitor several bands simultaneously using a small home brew PA0RDT type active antenna in the corner of the garden connected to a QS1R receiver, in turn it connects to my shack computer running CW Skimmer Server. This is the same setup as many of those connected to the RBN (Reverse Beacon Network), although in my case it only feeds the Cluster page of my logging program (Log4OM).

I see a lot of hams complaining the HF bands are “dead” and they are giving up. There is tons of activity, it’s just inexperienced operators picking the wrong time/band. I usually monitor the CW segments (obviously) of 160/80/40/30/20/17m between 0800 and 1000 local and often see a hundred or so CQ calls. Those are not phantom signals and the antenna is only 7 feet above ground. I monitor while taking part in a daily 160m SSB net, so am not in a position to reply to callers, but often before and after the net I will reply to one or two CQs.

Ham activity maybe different across in the US, but in Europe there is plenty of CW around. If I am leaving the main shack RX on a frequency, I tend to listen on 7.028 during the mornings and 3.558 in the evening, these are the frequencies used by FISTS members. You don’t need to be a member to be there and we are all happy to work non members and to QRS. FISTS is all about encouraging CW activity. Beware that we like to ragchew...

73 Dave
https://www.qsl.net/g4aon/pa0rdt_aa/
https://fists.co.uk


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: N1RND on December 23, 2018, 06:42:06 AM
Charlie
How long is the coax?


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: K3UIM on December 23, 2018, 10:21:52 AM
UA: I found the pouch the antenna came in. It is a "Windcamp".
Charlie, K3UIM


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: K3UIM on December 23, 2018, 10:24:18 AM
RND: About 40 feet, but I have a piece about 18 inches coupling the antenna to the SWR meter with no telling what ohmage it is.
Charlie, K3UIM


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: K3UIM on December 23, 2018, 03:26:30 PM
I couldn't find a cable ID number on the "link" to the SWR bridge, so I cut about 18 inches off of the feed line, gave both lines a new connector and tried for SWR. Same result so the "link" must have matched impedance.
Charlie, K3UIM


Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: K3UIM on December 25, 2018, 06:54:06 PM
I might be reading the SWR scale wrong.
Above the top scale it starts at 1.
4 small lines and then 1.5,
4 small lines and then 2,
1 small line half way to 3,
Then a red thick line to "SET."

Under the top scale line it's 1.
Under the 1.5 it's 4,
Under the 2 it's 11,
Under the 3 it's 25,
Then the red thick line goes to the end. ("SET")
 
Am I reading the SWR correctly? (I may have to invest in a two needle unit.) Hi.

Charlie, K3UIM



Title: RE: QRP?? Maybe not much longer.
Post by: K3UIM on December 28, 2018, 10:40:55 AM
Am I reading the SWR correctly? (I may have to invest in a two needle unit.) Hi.
Using a 2 meter unit I get the same results. I am stumped!
Any ideas??
Charlie, K3UIM