Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I guess it's just me .......

Maybe I'm stupid ...... maybe I'm blissfully ignorant ..... maybe I just missed the bus.

I received an e-mail today from a Ham I've known for a while; but never had the chance to meet face to face - opposite ends of the country and all that. He was writing to me to tell me that he finally had QRP all figured out; and how really, really difficult it actually is!

Sigh - heavy sigh.

It really isn't. At least I don't think it is.

I never seem to lack for QSOs. I don't always have one; but I do more often than not. There are times my CQ's go unanswered (more on this in a bit) ; but there are more often times that I get a response. There are times I get a 339 or 449 report; but then there are just as many times that I get a 589 or 599 report. In fact, a few minutes ago, I worked Yuri RW3QO in Russia on 40 Meters. He gave me a 589.

Maybe it's all in the attitude. My attitude is not so much that it's QRP. My attitude is that it's Amateur Radio and I just happen to be using 5 Watts. Geez, if I got discouraged about my power out and became obsessed with always using 100 Watts or better, I would have never gotten through my Novice days. I guess I didn't know any better then; and I still don't know any better now!

And by the way ..... I'm sick and tired of hearing the QRP "rules". You know, the ones the "experts" tout:

NEVER call CQ while operating QRP.
ALWAYS expect that your signal will be weak on the receiving end.
ALWAYS use a slower code speed to make yourself understood.
ALWAYS keep your QSOs short, NEVER expect to be able to have a rag chew.
NEVER start out your Ham career using QRP.

Sheesh - I think I've broken all those rules about a million times over! I call CQ a lot; and I get a lot of answers. Look, odds are your signal is going to be loud somewhere. Why not call CQ? Even if you end up working the guy across town; it's still a QSO.

Always weak on the receiving end? What a bunch of baloney! I can't tell you how many times I've worked Todd N9NE only to have my earphones blown clear off my head! I wrote him once that I felt like the radio studio engineer in that episode of "The Little Rascals" who always had his headphones blown off when Spanky would drop a lightbulb near the microphone. And Todd is not the only 599+++++++ QRP signal that I've had the pleasure to receive - not by a long shot.

Slow code speed to be understood better? That just doesn't make sense to me. I don't think code speed has anything to do with being understood just because you're QRP. The only time code speed enters into the picture is when the receiving station can't copy as fast as you're sending.

Short QSOs? Criminy - I've had plenty of rag chews that have lasted an hour or more while running QRP. Another bit of hogwash.

Never start your Ham career using QRP. I laugh at this one the most. Back in the day, most of us Novices had flea power radios and crappy antennas. We might have put out 35 Watts or so; but by the time we loaded up the bed springs we were probably only putting out 2 or 3 Watts. Of course I'm exaggerating here; but you get the idea. The idea that you HAVE to run 100 Watts to get your instant gratifications is immature and idiotic.

Well. so much for my evening rant - probably just another sign of my ignorance of how "it really is".

73 de Larry W2LJ

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