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First QRP setup. What do you recommend?

Discussion in 'QRP Corner' started by K7NNR, Apr 15, 2021.

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  1. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Except it's heavier and uses more power even turned down. These things are important to those of us who take our radios and batteries into the back country under our own power.

    Been doing the portable QRP thing for 15 years and I haven't outgrown it yet. :)

    N1RBD, W4KYR, W4ZNG and 1 other person like this.
  2. US7IGN

    US7IGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    For me QRP = portable. Really portable. Not those huge Pelican cases or metal frames, big external batteries.
    N1RBD, W5ESE, KI4POT and 1 other person like this.
  3. K1CWB

    K1CWB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Your list looks like a great start and I wouldn't try to change your mind on the FT-818 as it's a great rig as is and it's actually my main rig at home or on the go. I also use the LDG Z-817 and it's never disappointed me and it can be used with other QRP rigs up to 20 watts SSB/CW. The LDG uses little power too as I'm going on two years with the same set of Energizer lithium AA batteries. If I recall correctly the 818 still comes with the AA case standard and it can be handy for an emergency backup as AA batteries are very common. Or fill the AA case with your favorite high capacity rechargeable AA batteries. An external battery is needed for any long portable operations but I actually find the internal packs perfect while I'm out for an hour or two with the kids while they play on the playground or at a park when I just want to get outside for a bit.

    For HF, in addition to the 1899T you might want to add a dipole or two or even an end fed wire for the times you can get an antenna up in the air. For 2 meters and 70 cm bands I've found a roll up j-pole useful to get you extra distance you might need if the included rubber duck antennas don't get out far enough for you. I would also think about an extra coax cable at a longer length for more options, depending on how you plan to operate. I don't have any optional filters in my FT-818s and so far I've been fine without them, but if you do any contesting they are probably a good option I just haven't found it necessary for my needs yet. If you are going to travel with the 818 a power supply would be a good addition. If you see yourself using it in your hotel room, cabin, or camper. If there is power available why not take advantage of it. I've heard the Pro Audio PAE-KX33 power supply is nice travel option but I don't yet own one myself.

    Personally (not knowing how you plan to operate) I would start with the least amount of equipment and/or test out what you have already listed first as you may find it's all you need for your particular QRP application. Set it all up in the back yard or at a local park a few times and start operating. You'll find out quickly enough what works for you and what doesn't. It's easy to go overboard and spend money on a bunch of stuff that you may not need or not find very useful once you start operating. Whatever you end up with I hope you get as much enjoyment out of your QRP operations as I have. I've had a blast making contacts with just a few watts.
  4. W4ZNG

    W4ZNG XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Bingo. When I do the "luggage scales challenge," in round numbers it comes out to 8 vs. 15 lbs. for the FT-817nd and FT-857d, respectively. If I swap out the laptop & SignaLink for a bluetooth keyboard & iPhone interface box (much easier to do with the '817, for a variety of reasons), this gets the QRP weight down to 5 lbs.

    Now, the 10 extra pounds is no particular problem when going car camping, and the extra 13 dB of output is a fine thing to have when the propagation is weak. OTOH for a weekend backpacking trip, the extra 10 lbs would be a deal-breaker. It's a funny thing, for two radios that are virtually identical in layout and operation, how different they are in actual field use.
  5. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    True, but we don't ALL go outdoors to play radio now do we? QRP is hardly exclusive to field operating. Ask K3WWP.
    My point is for a new op to not hamstring himself with just a peanut whistle for a first and maybe long time rig.
    Some things for a first time buyer to consider.
  6. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I never got the point of running QRP on a QRO machine in the comfort of your own home. Depending on your goals, it doesn't have to be "hamstringing" yourself. Speaking only for myself, my goal was never to fill a logbook, so running QRP never felt like a handicap. That aside, this doesn't appear to be the OP's first HF radio, but his first QRP radio. Check out his profile page, he has an 897.

    Yup. The smaller, the better. I take mine hiking, biking, it goes on camping trips with me, etc. I don't want to know it's there until I pull it out out. Once I know CW enough to rely on it as a primary mode, I may get myself a QCX-Mini or similar radio so I can carry my station in my pocket. :D

    W5ESE, N8AFT and US7IGN like this.
  7. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    All True, However Please Consider; Many cannot even go outside let alone go hiking in the wilderness...
    As I say, QRP is not and should not be regarded by the masses exclusive to those who can hike, climb and venture outdoors. Good for all of you if that's what you like and are able to do so!

    My advice was for anyone reading this thread, not exclusive to the OP who never indicated how many of what HF rigs he had and if is considering a QRP only rig for his first attempts on HF.
    F8WBD and W5ESE like this.
  8. K1CWB

    K1CWB Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is true, QRP means low power and it can be enjoyed by anyone anywhere. I'm an avid QRPer currently running QRP exclusively and although I enjoy operating portable I actually operate from my kitchen table more than anywhere else. I also enjoy backyard portable with a beer and a fire going. Although I don't feel hamstrung with the lower power output, I can see where someone might if they don't first really understand what QRP is all about before getting into it.
    F8WBD, W4ZNG, KU3X and 1 other person like this.
  9. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

  10. KI5WW

    KI5WW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Think dipole, think resonant. End fed is what I take. But I don’t go much.
    KU3X likes this.

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