Foundations of Amateur Radio - Episode 94

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by VK6FLAB, Mar 25, 2017.

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  1. KI8W

    KI8W Ham Member QRZ Page

    The thing I like about QRP is the fact that in a hour I can sit down and build a low power radio from scratch on my breadboard, sit down and make a few contacts then tear it all down and put it back in the parts bins.
    WA2DZO and AD5KO like this.
  2. WN1MB

    WN1MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've enjoyed building and operating QRP gear since my novice days in the late 1960's, but I've also operated at higher power levels on various modes. Personally and from an enjoyment standpoint, I've found that QRP CW to be the most fun. Your mileage may vary.

    My key takeaways from this excellent podcast:

    " might need to review your assumptions..."

    This reminds me of an oft heard quote of a deceased friend of mine: "Unrealistic expectations are premeditated resentments." Thanks, Mike. I miss your wit and wisdom.

    "...while not for everyone, QRP is a perfectly valid way of enjoying the hobby..."

    If anything under 1,000 watts output is a waste of time for you - fine. Enjoy your monthly electric bill. If installing as much equipment as possible between you, the licensee (and kinda/sorta operator) and the keying or modulating circuitry of your transmitter - fine. Send "your" DXCC sheepskin to Joe Taylor. There are more than enough hobbies within this hobby for everyone to find their niche. There's no need to disparage what others find enjoyable.

    "yes, I was wearing a grin from ear to ear after making my contact..."

    I remember wearing a similar Cheshire Cat grin one dark, cool September night while camping in the Adirondack Mountains. It was during a SKCC Weekend Sprintathon after working KH6ZM on 20M CW. And he didn't do all the "heavy lifting", as it was work for me to pull him through the headphones. WN1MB/2 was running all of 2W out of an old Argonaut 505, through an L-network tuner, to 60' of wire haphazardly thrown up in the trees and a 30' counterpoise wire laid on the ground.

    After that contact, I leaned back, closed my eyes, and took an imaginary trip from my primitive campsite operating position across the great expanse of the north American continent, out over the waters of the Pacific Ocean, and finally to some manner of metallic conductor that KH6ZM had put up at his place in Hawaii. That's that's a long trip and that's where the marvel and magic and mystique come from.

    Life isn't too short for QRP. Life is simply too short period. 72/73!
    KJ4HRM, N4CCB, JF1UCX and 3 others like this.
  3. KM6CQ

    KM6CQ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It is fun to build a low power cw kit and make contacts with it. Or purchase something like a Mountian Topper, through out a simple wire antenna and enjoy some Q's from a new location. I hear lots of ops talk about how fun it is using only one watt. I have never heard anyone say how much fun it is receiving a qrp signal. I always advise new hams to purchase a 100 watt transiever to limit thier level of frustration so they don't give up on the hobby.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017
  4. KT5MR

    KT5MR Ham Member QRZ Page

    As someone who is getting a little burnt out on the DX chasing, contest score incrementing, and random award pursuit, what you wrote sounds like the most fulfilling and fun thing I could ever do in this hobby. I think I just found a new direction. Thank you.
    AD5KO likes this.
  5. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    SO running 100w JT65 on 5357 KHz is like being the VOA ?! :D

    Gee, I still can't "work everything that I hear", so what are those other ops running ??? :eek:
  6. KM6CQ

    KM6CQ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think you just might since you are open to it. Sometimes the most simple things in this hobby are the most gratifying and peaceful.

    AD5KO likes this.
  7. OH2FFY

    OH2FFY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't desire to deviate too far away from the topic of the message thread but I did want to reply to your comment.
    The things that you described , contesting , chasing awards and so on ,. are activities in the hobby that are consumption orientated.
    In other words these things don't give back to the hobby or add to the education side which is really the main point of Ham radio.

    If you do a survey of Hams that merely participate in activities that consume you will find many get bored , disillusioned , or perhaps totally lose interest in Ham Radio altogether.
    Very often these guys only come on their air for contest days , and besides that are rarely heard on the air.
    Some even set up stations purely for the contest days , and for the rest of the year these stations are silent.

    Check it out , , how many contesters can you name that have been full on at it for 50 years and love it just as much today as they did the first day .. you probably can't name many.
    I can't name ANY !!!

    I am not saying that contesting is bad , or that contesters are bad ,, I am just saying that its ultimately not the most satisfying part of Ham Radio.

    Now check out the Hams that build their own RX and TX gear , and do hands on Radio electronics , you will find guys that have been going for decades and never plan to stop.
    The only thing will stop these guys is when they stop breathing.

    Building and hands on construction projects of all sorts , is SATISFYING , and not only that , but builders invariably give back to the hobby by sharing their construction knowledge either to fellow Hams that they personally know , or they write informational web pages or books.

    Constructors contribute to Ham Radio , not consume it.

    gregW:) OH2FFY
  8. W4HM

    W4HM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've been an avid QRPer since 1989. QRP can be allot of fun if you know what you are doing.

    I got my first 100 DXCC entity 5 watt QSO's on CW many years ago. I built and operated a Ramsey QRP40 40 meter QRP CW transmitter and their HR-40 receiver. They were fun to build too.

    This was accomplished with a two simple dipoles up 40 feet in 4 palm trees and oriented broadside SW-NE and NW-SE in Cupertino, CA.

    In the past three years I've also gotten 100 DXCC entity QSO's on 5 watts via JT65A on 160 meters.

    JT65A easily get's through lightning static on 160 meter summer nights here in central Florida, it's an amazing mode. JT9 get's through summer night lightning static even better but there are not as many hamateurs on JT9 as JT65A.

    But I do use QRO (usually 400 watts) via an Ameritron AL-80B regularly on the RTTY and SSB phone modes when necessary, rag chewing, DXing and contesting. I don't call CQ with a /QRP because some ham's will not respond because they have such an aversion to low power operating.

    The 160 meter antenna is a 130 foot long #14 stranded wire with a 60 foot vertical section over 26 1/8 wave radials and other metal in the ground. The feedline is 100 feet of RG-213U.

    Really good antennas are needed for successful QRP work.
    AD5KO likes this.
  9. W9EBE

    W9EBE Subscriber QRZ Page

    FWIW, I participated in the 2017 SKCC K3Y event QRP. Thank-you to all the stations whose antennas and receivers (and operator skills) were able to copy my flea power.

    I decided to do this year's K3Y QRP for a personal challenge. Been there, done that with K3Y QRO. Although I have dabbled with QRP throughout the years, I found that operating QRP for this event truly honed my almost 50-years CW skills, too.

    I learned how to better adjust my XMIT frequency to be heard through the pile-ups, how to time my transmissions to be heard, how to closely follow the propagation reports to my advantage, and to improve my lack of patience -- hi.

    Say what you will about the folly of QRP during any given solar cycle stage; isn't challenge what's ham radio's all about?
    AD5KO likes this.
  10. KT5MR

    KT5MR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Greg, I like your consumption/contribution distinction. Gives me something to think about.

    It's interesting that one of the reasons I got into ham radio five years ago was a desire to understand radio. I was installing and maintaining wireless (802.11x) networking equipment, but was frustrated that I really had little idea of how radio worked. The other reason was to better understand something my late grandfather enjoyed. He was a DXer. In fact, I thought ham radio was just DX chasing. I remember being perplexed that people actually talked across town on VHF when I was studying for my initial license!

    While, of course, DXing and contesting are a great deal of fun, for me after a time began to feel as if I was always "chasing the dragon" as it were; that is, it became all about my DXCC total, how long since I worked a new one, or my last contest score.

    To bring this all back to QRP, one thing that I admire about the QRP community is that it is much more than just a power level. It almost seems like an approach to ham radio. From my perspective, QRPers, especially those that build and experiment with their own radios, sure seem to know what it going on with them. They seem very focused on the doing of ham radio over measures (DXCC, scores, etc) of having done ham radio.
    OH2FFY and AD5KO like this.

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