Sorry, I have to admit that I'm not much of a QRPer. Not because I don't like it or not interested, it is just that I haven't had much luck at it. I have a hard enough time trying to make a contact with 100W out of my Kenwood something-or-other. Part of the problem (well, probably all of the problem) is my QTH. Very urban in the middle of Ankara, the capital city of 6 - 8 million. S7 background noise on 20 on a good nite. And my apartment is on the bottom floor of a 6 story concrete building surrounding on all sides by equally tall solid concrete buildings. I have tried all sorts of antennas out the window and in the small garden, but they all seem to work equally poorly. I currently have an end-fed "zepp" sort of thing strung between two street lights. It seems to work the best until a big truck takes it out.
Anyway, I have two MFJ QRP rigs I bought second hand a few years ago. One is 20M CW and SSB, 5W, the other is 40M CW only, 5W. I did make a few contacts with them when I lived in the U.S., so at one time I know they worked.
My family (wife and 11 year old son) have started doing some camping around Turkey (not a popular activity here). So I thought it would be a good idea to try some portable QRP operating in the forests. Never done it before. The first time a tried, I had all sorts of problems, nothing seemed to work. Back to drawing board.
Last weekend I tried again, took more parts, two antennas (a new 20M dipole), two batteries, etc. tuner with SWR, dummy load, and a good supply of 807's (youngsters probably not familiar with "807s").
This time everything seemed to work, but I could only get 1 watt out of the MFJ 20M rig (SSB and CW). OK, 1.2 watts. Also the key input didn't work. I figured a no-go again.
Also it was a contest weekend. No surprise, there is some sort of contest every weekend here. _____ "QSO party" (fill in the blank with any european or eastern european country…they are not QSO's, and not a party). I am not a contester but I have to admit they are good for testing antennas/rigs.
BUT, I got a big shock (emotional kind)!
First of course, zero background noise. Those little rigs have a nice receiver. I could even hear myself think with headphones on.
Second (and this is the SHOCK), if the calling station was S5+, I could work em. EVERY TIME.
I have no idea what contest I was working (the usual call sign, phony 5/9, and a sequence number), but I worked over 80 stations in a 2000 km radius over a 2-3 hr time. I haven't had time to look up all the screwy prefixes ("DX" to you is the norm here of course), but I recognized Romania, Central Russia, Slovenia, Poland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Slovakia, Slodowneya, etc. etc.
AND, when I mentioned I was actually running 1 Watt, I got a few stations to give me a real signal report. and they were never less than S4. I got a few S8 and S9's. how could this be?
I am impressed. This RF stuff is amazing.
I gotta try this again!
Photo is here:http://s838.photobucket.com/user/WA4GVM/media/Misc/qrpin_zpsb02e80f4.jpg.html
73, Grayson TA2ZGE/KJ7UM
(sorry this rambled)
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Thanks, Grayson, for sharing. You'll find out that most QRPers are happier for their fellow QRP'ers success, rather than their own! I hope you'll be doing this again, and often! (Hint! I still need Turkey via QRP!)
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!