For QRPers, it's the Holy Grail. It's the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, it's the end all and be all. It's the 1000 Miles Per Watt Award. I earned mine a few years ago and got the certificate, finally, last year for working the Kwajalein Islands with my K1. It ended up, at 5 Watts, being about 1477 miles per Watt. The certificate hangs proudly on the shack wall, in a more conspicuous and prominent place than my DXCC award.
A lot of QRPers never really try for the award, thinking it's too hard. That's what I thought, too .... for a while. Tonight, I decided to try a little experiment. This weekend is the CQ WPX contest, which is sponsored by CQ Magazine. WPX stands for Worked All Prefixes. The idea is to see how many different callsign prefixes you can work in 48 hours. To me, a non-contester, it's just a big cacophony of 40 wpm + Morse on the bands for the entire weekend. But tonight, it presented an opportunity. I decided to see how many miles per Watt I could work in about a half hour's worth of casual contesting.
I turned the K2 from its customary 5 Watt setting, down to 1 Watt out. I decided that I would try to work some DX on 20 Meters after the kids went to bed. This is what I worked, with no effort, really. One or two stations asked for repeats; but most got my transmission fine the first time. There's DX to be had in them thar hills when the DX is hungry for contest points!
So without breaking a sweat, this is what I worked. The distance computations are approximate, based on what QRZ and Win-EQF computed. I guess the actual results could vary a couple hundred miles, either way.
UW5W - Ukraine 4700 Miles per Watt
TM2Y - France - 3646 Miles per Watt
OK3RI - Czech Republic - 4101 Miles per Watt
4o3T - Yugoslavia - 4526 Miles per Watt
IU3X - Italy - 4301 Miles per Watt
SM3EVR - Sweden - 3947 Miles per Watt
OF6AA - Finland - 4131 Miles per Watt
DK3GI - Germany - 3987 Miles per Watt.
Of course, I realize that this is a testament to the fine DX stations who probably have superb antenna arrays; and are top-notch in every conceivable notion. My 1 Watt and G5RV are in no way the same class as these guys. I'm not nearly stupid enough not to realize that. Also, this is not conversational CW. You know going into the contest what the exchange is; so CW was being exchanged between my station and the DX at about 25 wpm. If these were regular ragchews; I'm sure I would have been asked for repeats and fills. But ... it is interesting to see what 1 Watt can do. Maybe next year, I turn it down to 500 mW.
73 de Larry W2LJ