Monday, September 20, 2010

They can't all be 599

nor should they be!

As a QRPer, there have been many times when a QSO has gone very well until I mentioned my output power.  Then all of a sudden, I become very difficult copy and the QSO comes to an abrupt halt as I have gone from 599 to 339 in a mere matter of seconds.  I am sure that this is legit, sometimes, as we've all had QSOs abruptly close like that due to changing band conditions.  But other times, I think it's psychological.

If you work stations that are only 599 and never weaker than that, you are going to miss a world of good contacts.  I got on 40 Meters tonight and started calling CQ without much luck.  I took a break for a bit and heard a less than optimal signal calling CQ.  The station was K2HYD/1 in Maine.

As it turns out, Ray K2YHD and I have QSOed several times before; but mostly in QRP Sprints.  Tonight we had a nice ragchew.  Ray is up in Maine doing some work in a state park, helping the park Rangers.  He was in his tent, using his KX1 and was sending out a 4 Watts signal out to a wire antenna up in the trees.  Ray was 559 with some QSB at times; but between the K2's filters and the gray filter between the ears, I was able to get 99 & 44/100th's % of what Ray was sending.  By the way, another "trick" I use is to make judicious use of the RIT knob to bring the CW pitch to a tone these tired ears can handle better.  I lost a lot of high end hearing as a result of photographing concerts back in a younger lifetime and different line of work.  Ear protection wasn't thought of back then like it is today.

But I digress.

If I hadn't bothered answering Ray because his signal wasn't blowing me out of the water, I would have missed out on a wonderful QSO.  Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper for those gems, you know?  And when you do, you will have found how worthwhile the effort was!

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


  1. hello Larry,
    "By the way, another "trick" I use is to make judicious use of the RIT knob to bring the CW pitch to a tone these tired ears can handle better."
    Absolutely, I did the same thing, it truly helps. Good luck, 73 Paul

  2. I had a chance to talk to Ray on a 70cm repeater on his way from NC to VA (and eventually ME) a few days ago. My first chat with him. Enjoyed meeting him, and hope he makes it to a club meeting (in NC) sometime. Nice to hear that he made it to ME alright and is enjoying his "vacation".

  3. Well put, Larry. The "599" mania is most pronounced in digital modes where it seems few people are capable of doing anything beyond pushing a few function keys. And as "599" is the macro default ... During my recent trip to SM7 land, I had about 120 contacts in digital modes, and more than 80% were "599". All with 5W and improvised antennas. RST has lost all meaning.
    73, Hermann, DF2DR

  4. There IS some psychology with these contacts. I was shocked recently with the same response.

    Funny isn't it?