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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Does it get any better?

I suppose it can.  I suppose one could make DXCC Honor Roll, or perhaps get elected to the QRP Hall of Fame, or perhaps invent some cool, new piece of QRP equipment that the world will beat a path to your door for (and make you some $$$ in the process!).

But for a Ham an' Egger like me, the best is just getting on the air making contacts - ANY kind of contacts.  DX quickies, ragchews - whatever.  It's all good. And today was another comparatively good lunchtime QRP session.  I worked RZ1OA, Vlad in Russia, and I worked XE1XR, David in Mexico. Two good, solid DX contacts.

The best QSO was the last one, and it was not a DX contact. In fact, the miles covered were only about 650. But it was exciting, fun and satisfying nonetheless.

After working the two DX stations, I decided to go to on down to 20 Meters to listen perhaps for some SOTA stations.  That's when I heard a weak, but very copyable KC8JNL calling CQ right at the QRP Watering Hole.  I answered and hooked up with Pat who lives in Rothbury, MI.  Not as distant as Russia or Mexico - definitely.  But this QSO was exciting in and of itself, because Pat was using a Rockmite at QRPp power levels.  There was some vicious QSB, and I didn't quite copy Pat's power output level. Having my own 20 Meter Rockmite, I knew it had to be under 1 Watt.  Pat gave me a 559 and I gave him a 459 in turn.  The QSO would have been Q5 copy both ways if it weren't for the QSB.  But even with the fading, I knew what Pat was saying to me, and from his answers, I had a good idea that he was making me out just as well.

QRP to QRP, or QRP to QRPp, or even QRPp to QRPp QSOs get my wonderment juices all fired up.  That we can effectively hold a conversation using such little power is still an amazement to me after 36 years in this hobby.  It's truly like .... can it get ANY better than this?  (My apologies for speaking like a teen - having two, it tends to rub off). I talked with Pat and Vlad and David today, all while enjoying the sunshine and the 80F (27C) temperatures that we are having here today. No wires, no cell towers, no infrastructure of any real sort ..... not much more than two guys shooting a bunch of electrons out of some wire or aluminum - hoping that they'll bounce around to and fro, and eventually be picked up by a like minded enthusiast - somewhere.

Magic. Pure magic.

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


Edward Haddock said...

FB! It is truly amazing when you make a QRP contact. I have an FT-817ND that I use and have hit California and Australia from Hawaii. I also took your advice on the length of the wire for the EARCHI UNUN at 53 Feet and it works like a champ. I checked into the interisland 40M Net and got good copy all around. It was using the FT-817ND to the EARCHI UNUN through an MFJ-902 Tuner. The wire itself was only up at about 10 feet using a mop handle and a rake stuck in my chain link fence HI HI! It truly shows that you do not need a whole lot to get on the air. Keep up the blogging as it does provide encouragement and information.

Larry Makoski said...

So .... the answer to my question is that it CAN and DOES get better - when you hear of your friend's success with and enjoyment of QRP. Thanks for sharing, Ed! May your Qs be plentiful and enjoyable!

Larry W2LJ

Edward Haddock said...

It can and does for sure. I got a funny for you. Yesterday I checked into the 40M Net again here in Hawaii using a 40M Inverted Vee on my roof and the FT-817ND at 5W LSB. I got all 59+ or 5 - 10 over reports. Funny part is, I was not to be out done. One fellow ham decided to reduce power to 2 watts after I checked in first. LOL Then later in the net another ham got his soap box out and discussed how QRP on SSB is pretty pointless because radios are linear up to 100W. I laughed for quite a while over all the QRP hubbub.