Friday, January 14, 2011

It doesn't have to be complicated.

A theme or idea that I have expressed over and over throughout the existence of this blog, is how I look fondly, back on my time spent as a Novice.  Truth be told, technically I was a Novice for only about 6 or 7 months.  In reality, even though I earned my General ticket and had the privileges, I was a Novice for a lot longer than that.

And I look back on some of the things I did and some of the things I used and wonder how I made any contacts at all.  But I made a lot and each one of them was fun.  It was nice to be fresh and new.  But the longer I stuck with the hobby and the more "experience" that I got, the more complicated (and more expensive) things started to become.  Bigger rigs, "better" antennas, more and more accessories.  At some point, it got to be a bit overwhelming.

When I got married and moved the station from my house in East Brunswick to the house here in South Plainfield is just about the time the QRP bug bit really hard. As I've stated before, I was always a QRP dabbler.  I joined QRP-ARCI back in the early 80s, when QRP was considered to be 100 Watts or less.  I've had in the past, a HW-8 and a HW-9.  But the desire for a simpler way of Ham Radio life manifested itself in my psyche; and I went full time "QRP only" back in 2003.

For a lot, simpler is not better.  The more complex, the more sophisticated the better - and that's OK.  It's just not for me. Heck, maybe in my case it's more of a case that "ignorance is bliss".  For a lot of years, when I was living at my parents' house I used a random length variant of this antenna, exclusively.  I remember a Ham friend coming over to the garage, which had been converted into my shack.  He looked at my antenna and laughed.  "How can you make any contacts with that thing?", I was asked.  I just shrugged my shoulders and pointed to the QSL cards hanging on the wall.  It might not have been expensive, it might not have been shiny, it might not have been commercial or complicated - but it worked.

And that may have been due to my radio enthusiasm starting out as an SWL.  You learn fast that all you need as short wave listening antenna is just some wire running around the perimeter of a room, tacked up high near the ceiling.  I guess when I transitioned to Amateur Radio, that simplistic approach stayed with me.  Also, I was licensed close enough to the "Golden Age" of Ham Radio to be enthralled by the stories of a lot of grizzled old veterans who relished in describing the stations that they cobbled together in their teen years from old radio and TV parts and such.  It doesn't have to be fancy and high tech to work - and maybe that, right there, is part of the magic of it all.

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

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