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“QRO CLUB” OFFERS FREE DXPEDITION TRAVEL AMPS

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by W1YW, Sep 20, 2015.

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  1. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Bedford, MA--(20 Sept 2015)--Dxpeditioners take note, there’s a new club to help you out: the “QRO CLUB”. Supported by W1YW and the Fractal Amateur Radio Club (W1FRX), the QRO CLUB has one objective--to keep DX on the bands active.

    The contemporary Dxpedition has broken into two camps: 1) the mega-class, ‘big deals’ and 2) the extended weekend low power/QRP operations. Notes W1YW: ”Low power/QRP is an exciting challenge. But if you are going anyplace that’s even remotely rare, you have to be loud. Many DX’ers would like to encourage the third camp (which used to be common)--low cost, high power operations, with a minimum of gear but plenty of signal”.

    Added W1YW: ”Everyone is grateful for the ‘big deal’ dxpeditions, which cost ½ million dollars and take years of preparation. But there are plenty of juicy DX locations that you can reach hopping on a jet, with a full station in a single bag, including amp. Modern rigs are great for travel, but designs have been pulling back power in the last 20 years. Clubs used to help by providing amps but as DX clubs consolidated, they’ve concentrated on providing money to the bigger DXpeditions. It’s time to bring back the suitcase KW station for smaller DXpeditions. ”

    Over the two years, W1YW has quietly gathered almost two dozen amplifiers, organizing the QRO CLUB loaners. “Some of these have been/will be sold to facilitate repair costs , others will be on-loan to actual DX, still others will be travel amps. The QRO CLUB’s initial offering is Dentron MLA-2500’s as free travel amps.”

    “The MLA-2500 is a great travel amp, and can be used with a 1KW inverter off 12V if needed. Two of these will be immediately available as DXpedition loaners to modest US- initiated DXpeditions. Traveler insurance must be purchased to cover baggage loss/destruction, otherwise the amps will be free for use. The amps will be returned to the QRO CLUB and sent to the next DXpedition. If they break during use, the Dxpeditions won’t be responsible; Murphy happens. With the withering sunspots, we just want to encourage more activity on the bands, and lots of great DX.”

    Preference will be given to US- initiated small dxpeditions to rare and semi-rare DX countries, with previous dxpeditioner success. Contact W1YW for details at W1YW@aol.com.
     
    W6YYZ likes this.
  2. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just so its clear...there are no 'membership' dues or any other costs. If you are doing a small dxpedition and need an amp, here's the option. You just buy the traveler insurance so the airlines don't lose the gear and the amp option disappears.

    W1FRX and I pay the shipping cost of the amp, you pay to ship it back to QRO CLUB for the next user.

    The amps are used. If you wish to compare 'free' vs. a kilobuck or more for a kit, that's a comparison that's up to you.

    Just tired of weak DXpedition signals on top of crappy band conditions. Trying to fix that is my agenda.

    73
    Chip W1YW
     
    K1XS likes this.
  3. WK3B

    WK3B Ham Member QRZ Page

    We appreciate your efforts.
     
  4. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am earmarking a (non-travel) amp especially for some club in CO-land, when that becomes possible. While I am at the opposite end of the spectrum politically, those guys are so incredibly resourceful that you can't help but admire their positive attitide and pluck! Somehow I think they deserve better than a Hallicrafters Loudenboomer or Heath Chippewa...

    73
    Chip W1YW
     
  5. W7UUU

    W7UUU Super Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I think this is a pretty cool (and generous!) idea

    Dave
    W7UUU
     
    W5BIB likes this.
  6. KJ4VTH

    KJ4VTH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nice plan.
     
  7. KJ6OJL

    KJ6OJL Ham Member QRZ Page

    are you guys also taking donations?.,granted 5 bucks may not be much. But id like to drop a donation to the cause. I'm not general yet. But plan to upgrade and some day in the future maybe ill be doing own mini expedition.
     
  8. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Lotsa e-mails...some FAQ's as response:

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Q: Can I donate $$$ to the QRO Club?

    A: No, but many thanks for offering! Right now the objective is to get the ball rolling and see what the ‘failure features’ of the process are. Most have been anticipated.

    Q: What do you expect to be the biggest problem?

    A: An inexperienced dxpeditioner bringing an amp into a DX country but not knowing how to get it out. That and DX deciding they want to mess with the amplifier. That’s how V31BB died many years ago.

    Q: I think the MLA-2500 is crappy. Why are you using it?

    A: The transformers do, indeed, go south. But most of the dying ones are already dead. The amp is fine if you don’t strap it. Also it is the LIGHTEST 1KW+ amp(160m included) with a built-in power supply.

    Q: I have an extra amp for the QRO Club.

    A: Thanks! PLEASE wait. After the process is rolling QRO Club will be happy to send you a list of needy DX/DXpeditioners for you to send an amp. The QRO Club closet looks like an amp store right now---no more amps need be physically here. Also, kindly appreciate that we take no responsibility for what happens to your amp. We can recommend but can’t control your amplifier’s logistics and use.

    Q: Why not solid state amps?

    A: If someone offers you a KPA-500, for example, then take it! Excellent amp. But if someone gave me a free amp loaner, I would personally throw the money into travelling --more DX for us! Also, a KPA-500 plus power supply weighs more and takes up more room in a suitcase than a MLA -2500, for example.

    Q: Can I run an MLA-2500 on batteries?

    A: You will be drawing a lot of current! Don’t run anywhere near 1KW. But yes, I have 1KW+ inverters, and they are small.

    Q: Why are you doing this?

    A: Because it needs to be done. If we get a hundred plus amps out there you’ll have more active DX and more DXpeditions. I am tired and appalled by the combination of sky noise hiss (low sunspots) and empty bands-- this is a fatal combination for ham radio. Go listen to the 17m phone band on a typical day…vacuous.

    Q: I think you are running a scam.

    A: Sorry Charlie. I’m not taking anyone’s money or amps. I am donating loaners. This is not one of those ‘give us your radio for needy children’ scams, where donated rigs are sold for cash to pay for ‘expenses’.

    Q: Are you a 501C?

    A: Nope. Not a Martian either. I haven't explored the possibility of tax breaks yet. I might. But not a big break in any case.

    Q: What amp do you use?

    A: In use---An Alpha 91b is up right now. I also have a no tune 2 tube 8877 Alpha (mod) I use. Finally I just bought an LK-800C TNY from a well known DX’er/DX.

    Q: What are your next DX-help frontiers?

    A: You can buy an FT-450D now for $690. I think many of us should buy them and loan some out for smaller DXpeditions. Also, I am working on converting a porrtable antenna system into a wideband one.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2015
    W6YYZ and K1HC like this.
  9. K1HC

    K1HC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Nice work, Chip!
     
  10. KM1H

    KM1H Ham Member QRZ Page

    How are you going to keep users from blowing up near unobtainium and very expensive 8875's, there is no grid protection circuitry? Will they be forced to pay for replacements if they blow them? Or will these amps be retubed with a single 3CX800A7 or some IMD dirty Russian tube?
    There are 3 versions of the MLA-2500, who will train the ops in those subtle differences?

    Also it is a pre 1500W FCC regulations amp and those who push them WILL blow transformers and tubes. Run at 700-800W out on CW, 500W on digi and RTTY, and 1200W PEP on SSB they will survive. Run a bit less in 50 Hz locations. I have one thats been all over the Pacific as a one person DXpedition amp and finally wound up here with a blown transformer due to shorted/leaky filter caps; even with a lot of salt spray corrosion it never faltered otherwise. ALL those caps should be replaced before going into the field.

    Id also suggest replacing the fan with an EBM Papst 4600Z or 4600X which has better air flow and handles back pressure well.

    OTOH I feel the MLA-2500 is a great amp that packs a lot of power in a compact package that fits well in a suitcase; a beefed up/modified Samsonite was the most used. They were very popular in their day.

    I also hope none of the users will go on the lists and operate as real DXpeditions.

    Carl
     
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