Monday, August 26, 2013

The excitement is palpable!

I saw this posted on QRP-L today and decided to share it here, for those of you who might not be subscribers.  This was a post by Grayson Evans, KJ7UM/TA2ZGE.  It describes his recent encounter with QRP.  You can almost feel his excitement and joy from his post!

Sorry, I have to admit that I'm not much of a QRPer.  Not because I don't like it or not interested, it is just that I haven't had much luck at it.  I have a hard enough time trying to make a contact with 100W out of my Kenwood something-or-other.  Part of the problem (well, probably all of the problem) is my QTH.  Very urban in the middle of Ankara, the capital city of 6 - 8 million.  S7 background noise on 20 on a good nite.  And my apartment is on the bottom floor of a 6 story concrete building surrounding on all sides by equally tall solid concrete buildings.  I have tried all sorts of antennas out the window and in the small garden, but they all seem to work equally poorly.  I currently have an end-fed "zepp" sort of thing strung between two street lights.  It seems to work the best until a big truck takes it out.

Anyway, I have two MFJ QRP rigs I bought second hand a few years ago.  One is 20M CW and SSB, 5W, the other is 40M CW only, 5W.  I did make a few contacts with them when I lived in the U.S., so at one time I know they worked.

My family (wife and 11 year old son) have started doing some camping around Turkey (not a popular activity here).  So I thought it would be a good idea to try some portable QRP operating in the forests. Never done it before. The first time a tried, I had all sorts of problems, nothing seemed to work.  Back to drawing board.

Last weekend I tried again, took more parts, two antennas (a new 20M dipole), two batteries, etc.  tuner with SWR, dummy load, and a good supply of 807's (youngsters probably not familiar with "807s").

This time everything seemed to work, but I could only get 1 watt out of the MFJ 20M rig (SSB and CW). OK, 1.2 watts.  Also the key input didn't work.  I figured a no-go again.

Also it was a contest weekend. No surprise, there is some sort of contest every weekend here.  _____ "QSO party" (fill in the blank with any european or eastern european country…they are not QSO's, and not a party).  I am not a contester but I have to admit they are good for testing antennas/rigs.

BUT, I got a big shock (emotional kind)! 

First of course, zero background noise.  Those little rigs have a nice receiver.  I could even hear myself think with headphones on.

Second (and this is the SHOCK), if the calling station was S5+, I could work em.  EVERY TIME.
I have no idea what contest I was working (the usual call sign, phony 5/9, and a sequence number), but I worked over 80 stations in a 2000 km radius over a 2-3 hr time.  I haven't had time to look up all the screwy prefixes ("DX" to you is the norm here of course), but I recognized Romania, Central Russia, Slovenia, Poland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Slovakia, Slodowneya, etc. etc.

AND, when I mentioned I was actually running 1 Watt, I got a few stations to give me a real signal report. and they were never less than S4.  I got a few S8 and S9's.  how could this be?

I am impressed.  This RF stuff is amazing.
I gotta try this again!

Photo is here:

73, Grayson TA2ZGE/KJ7UM
(sorry this rambled)

Follow my hollow-state blog at

Thanks, Grayson, for sharing.  You'll find out that most QRPers are happier for their fellow QRP'ers success, rather than their own!  I hope you'll be doing this again, and often!  (Hint! I still need Turkey via QRP!)

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

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