Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sometimes you can just feel your HBP climbing.

Saw this on Facebook, on the ARRL National Parks on the Air page.  The original post was a question:
"How much power (wattage) do you use for NPOTA QSO's? (Question is for both activators and chasers)?"

I answered with:
"Worked Bill AB4BJ in Utah today from NJ. 5W SSB. When activating, 5W CW."

My comment was immediately followed by someone who said:  
"100W - 95% of the time for chasing. 50 to 100W activating. QRP is unfair to chasers."


"QRP is unfair to chasers?" How the heck can QRP be unfair to chasers?

If you understand propagation, then a QRP signal will be loud to someone, somewhere.  As I've stated SO many times before, QRP does NOT automatically equal "weak signal".  I gave, as an example, just last Sunday, when I worked that N7 station from Seattle, WA in the Peanut Power Sprint.  His 5 Watts almost blew my earbuds out.  He was 20 over 9, if he was anything. And there were quite a few times that I got the comment "FB SIGS" during a QSO when I was using 5 Watts (but not mentioning that fact).  Heck, I'm sure you have, too.  In fact, I'm sure every QRPer has heard that at least once - probably many, many times more.

So, if QRP is unfair to chasers, how about the times that I can't hear the activators running 100 Watts?  Do I blame them for running "low power"? Should everyone run the full 1.5 kW?  Would that be fair and satisfy everyone?

Bottom line - It is what it is. If you can hear 'em then try to work 'em. If you can't hear 'em - what are you worrying about?

Or maybe it might be better if certain people went back to the ol' study manual and brushed up on that chapter about propagation.

I just don't understand comments like that..

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


  1. I've successfully validated 79 activations in 17 NPS units using CW at 5w into simple wire antennas. I have had no failed activations. This means I've made at least 10 Chasers happy during each of my 79 operations so I don't see how that can be unfair to Chasers. Additionally, if I had had to lug a 75Ah battery or a generator to a National Scenic Trail, then 30 of those 79 activations wouldn't have happened, a situation that might considered unfair to Chasers.

    I don't do Facebook so I can't comment there in response to Stuart's query but I did look through the comments.

  2. Wisest words I ever read. I've lost count of how many people - even seasoned hams - have no idea about basic propagation mechanisms, especially long path and its timing to best use. It's a shame that folks have no patience to sit, learn, and let things go sometimes.

  3. Heck, 1 watt was sufficient to work you from Texas in the Peanut Power Sprint. Preach it, brother!

    Dave K5IX

  4. I don't know about chasers or activators or NPS units. All I know is that twice in the past two years I've worked north-west CONUS from Mooroopna, Victoria on 7 MHz with 2.5 W SSB into a highish dipole (~60' agl). The FT-817 running from its own small battery pack.

    Watching a field-strength meter move through 20+ dB peaks & troughs ("QSB") on long HF circuits soon tells you how irrelevant absolute power is wrt making a contact if you match frequency with periods of lowest pathloss and have an efficient radiator.

    Nige VK3DZ