Tuesday, August 16, 2005

1000 Miles per Watt

One of the grand awards in the QRP world is the "1000 Miles per Watt" Award. This award, which is sponsored by the QRP Amateur Radio Club International is given for accomplishing a QSO where the distance covered, divided by the power used, exceeds 1000 miles per Watt of power.

Experienced QRPers do this on a regular basis; and in fact, is probably no big deal anymore. However, the first time you do it, is a special event that you remember for the rest of your life.

I've exceeded the 1000 mile limit several times. In fact, just a few weeks ago, I had a QSO withTerry in Madison, Wisconsin. I was using my Rockmite at 500 mW out; so that QSO worked out to be over 1700 miles per Watt. As memorable as that was, my first or qualifying 1000 mile QSO was very special indeed; and it was with a far away and exotic place which made it all the more memorable.

Back in February 2004, Jeff Parker came onto the Elecraft e-mail reflector to announce that the following weekend, he would be operating from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean as V73GJ. That was all very exciting and I took note of his operating schedule. When time came, I plugged my recently completed K1 into my Butternut HF9V antenna and even though I didn't expect to, I was able to copy Jeff on 15 Meters quite well. He was calling CQ and I thought, "What the heck!". Much to my surprise, Jeff came back to me with a 559 report. I was estatic! Subsequent calculations revealed a distance of some 7000 miles seperated New Jersey from Kwajalein Atoll, where Jeff was operating. 5 Watts divided by the distance yielded a QSO that was about 1445 miles per Watt.

Not only was this my first 1000 mile per Watt QSO; but it was with a new DXCC entity that I had never worked before. Also, Kwajalein Atoll while distant and exotic, was at least a familiar name which I had heard while watching episodes of "Black Sheep Squadron" back in my youonger days. The DX in this case was not only exotic; but it also played an important part in the history of World War II.

I thought of all of this as I came across the QSL card commemorating the QSO. It was time to pony up my money and send in to the QRP-ARCI to apply for the Award and make it "official".

Thank you, Jeff!

73 de Larry W2LJ


  1. Anonymous10:46 PM

    Excellent post Larry - and glad to see you are blogging about QRP! 73 de Jeff-KE9V

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  3. Hey Larry - nice article! And very timely! (Even though it was written in 2005) I just found it and, like you, I just applied for my first 1000 Miles Per Watt Award. In fact, $ of them! Russia was on fire on June 12th and I picked off 3 Russia and one Ukraine in the several hours that I had to patienlty wait for a gap in the pileup! And well worth it.

    It would be appropriate to mention the setup that allowed me to accomplish this since, like so much in Ham Radio, was built on the advice and good will of those who have gone before me, not to mention current club members.

    The setup starts with one of Dave Benson's little gems - the PSK20, into an MFJ-971 QRP tuner, from there into 15 feet of Amphenol 21-467, to the 4:1 coax balun featured in QST earlier this year. From there it goes to 32 feet of ladderline 8 feet of which are perpendicular to the vertical dipole featured in the ARRL Antenna Book originally using aluminum tube but I used #12 poly-coated wire - which is cut for 20 meters. And MAN does that thing get out! I've contacted the West coast, Europe and now Russia with this, for all intents and purposes, portable rig. I think it says alot about the ingenuity that has been accrued by generations of hams that we can use such a (excuse the expression) "green" technology to communicate halfway round the world.

    Anyway that my two cents worth and I'll bet that when I get ready to press the "submit" button I'll find out one of two things::
    1) the post is no longer accepting comments, heh
    2) I've gone FAR beyond the 450 character max, hahah

    Let's see!