Balance of Power

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KF9VV, Feb 11, 2019.

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  1. KF9VV

    KF9VV Ham Member QRZ Page

    As I keep learning, one of the thoughts that finally came clear to me is there is a balance point between a station's ability to receive and transmit. If you hear a lot better than you will be received, you torture the other guy and get rewarded with AGN constantly. If your station is way better at transmitting than receiving, you will get tortured trying to copy calls that are down in the noise.

    Fortunately, I have finally chased the noise gremlins away for now, so my evening noise floor (with a 500Hz filter) is S1 to S2. I am finding 100W is working very well. If anything, I could see going up in power to give the guys in noisier situations a bit more signal.

    I'm curious; where have others found their balance point, and how did you find it?
  2. WB5WPA

    WB5WPA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Through several years of operating 160 - I hear nothing and think the band is 'empty', but the guys in the northeast hear my signal and I didn't know it ... tada - alligator station. Only after working the Top Band Hams net then I got the reports of "over talking" and "under listening".
  3. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    100W on CW usually works well.

    I run a kW on CW sometimes, but mostly to call CQ on a fairly dead band (trying to wake it up!) or calling DX that simply didn't seem to hear me with 100W.
  4. KE6EE

    KE6EE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Wondering what this has to do, specifically, with straight keys or CW.

    I most often use the same antenna for transmitting and receiving and, for the most part, reciprocity gives me the ability to
    contact almost every station I can hear. On lower-frequency bands (160M and a 60M channel for me) noise can be several
    S units up to S9 plus. In some cases my receive-only loop improves S/N sufficiently to allow me to hear others that can hear
    me. I have noticed on higher bands (e.g. 20M) that nulls in my antenna pattern can keep me from being able to contact stations
    that I can hear well.

    Yes, narrow filters help: improving S/N greatly. I have a 250Hz filter which I often use. Also having IF shift on your rig can produce
    similar benefit. And audio peaking and audio DSP can help to a lesser degree.

    Regarding power: I seldom use more than 30W unless an op gives me a marginal signal report, then I will go QRO (to about 100W).

    I belong to a couple of CW groups which focus on the ham commitment to use the minimum-required power to make a contact.
    W5BIB likes this.
  5. KF9VV

    KF9VV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I started this wondering what other CW operators far more experienced than I am have learned.

    So far, I am learning just that!
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  6. KD0CAC

    KD0CAC Ham Member QRZ Page

    " one of these days " Ma & Pa Kettle , I want to pickup CW ;)
    Why try to balance out a fault of either , I may be wrong , again , but it seems to me that Tx & Rx are not necessarily tied together reciprocal , not that is not a issue sometimes .
    To me the idea of addressing each independently Tx & Rx and optimizing both - rather than make one the same as the other , optimizing both generally require separate antennas .
    Again seems to me , that even propagation may or may not be - with both being optimized at you station , propagation can be one way .
  7. N2SUB

    N2SUB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's an iterative process. The spirit of the advancement of the radio art is experimentation and constant improvement through learning. The answer to the balance of power could be different from band to band and from day to day. People who live with antenna restrictions are limited in their choice of antennas, but can use the same amount of power as any other ham in their license class. So, should I use less power than the guy with a mono band yagi at 80ft because I am using a 40m OCF between 2 small trees? Would that balance the power?

    Today, I put up my Buddipole configured as a dipole for 20m at about 10ft on a tripod in my back yard. With my FT-818 on battery power, I had a CW ragchew with a station over 800 miles away using only 3.5 watts. ;) 200+ miles per watt. TX power is overrated. ;)
    W5BIB likes this.
  8. KE6EE

    KE6EE Ham Member QRZ Page

    "seems to me that Tx & Rx are not necessarily tied together reciprocal."

    I was referring to the common experience, and assumption, that if one is using the same antenna
    for transmitting and receiving, then the performance of the station, both transmitting and receiving,
    has a reciprocal quality. If one can hear a certain station, reciprocality suggests that one should be able
    to contact that station.

    Of course there are ways in which antennas do not perform both receiving and transmitting in reciprocal
    fashion. Among the factors involved are antenna efficiency (receivers aren't so fussy about impedance
    matching for adequate energy delivery), noise and operating skill.

    "I had a CW ragchew with a station over 800 miles away using only 3.5 watts."

    There you go! Now you're having fun!

    Just because your rig can put out 100 watts doesn't mandate that you always
    use those 100 watts. Or that you buy a linear.

    I recall an SSB contact several years ago on 40M. The other station
    was 400-500 miles away. We were both S9 plus running our rigs at the usual 75-90W. We
    dialed down to 3W and continued our 59 conversation. And our personal energy levels
  9. KD0CAC

    KD0CAC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'l stick with just one concept in this situation - propagation , I think I've seen that propagation can limit either Tx or Rx / not necessarily both / reciprocal .
    I think - if you can hear em / you can work em is general / common occurrence , and a exception is that one station because of propagation may only allow for Tx or Rx or only one way , either Tx or Rx .
  10. N8AFT

    N8AFT Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's fun to enjoy 2x CW QRP QSO's at 800mi at 3-5watts on 20m when propagation is good.
    It is hardly repeatable on a consistent basis however.
    Propagation is fickle es comes as it wills.
    With poor band condx on 40m the past few months I am finding it necessary to QRO more during the day
    than in the past and almost on a regular basis.
    Has anyone experienced lower RX sensitivity when using an end-fed antenna?
    They TX ok but maybe a tad deaf?
    Would be nice to find independent A-B test results of receive sensitivity/noise of these popular compact EFHW antennas
    vs a simple dipole at same height and polarity.
    With that said, it seems more common to get poor RST reports from those using the EFHW vs dipoles.
    Can of worms is now open... enjoy.

    Learn Morse.
    Do CW.

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