Max Legal Power

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W0DZ, Oct 30, 2002.

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  1. W0DZ

    W0DZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    There's a trivia question on QRZ that surprised me, and I'm wondering if it's correct. It asks (paraphrasing) "What power level is OK for Extras to use when they operate in the Novice/Tech subbands?" The answer is 200W PEP -- same as Novice/Techs. Is this right? I thought you can operate with full legal power anywhere your license allows you to operate once you upgrade beyond Novice/Tech.
  2. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    If you go to CFR 47, Part 97, you will see that on the 80, 40, and 15 meter CW bands that are available for Novice / Technician+ operation that the power restrictions for everyone IS 200 watts output.  On 10 meters, Novice and Technician+ are limited to 200 watts output, but General, Advanced, and Extra class are allowed the full 1500 watts output.  You will find this in 97.313( a )(1) which reads

    ( a ) No station may transmit with a transmitter power exceeding 200 W PEP on;

    (1) The 3.675 - 3.725 MHz, 7.10 - 7.15 MHz, 10.10 - 10.15 MHz, and 21.1 - 21.2 MHz segments;

    (2) The 28.1 - 28.5 MHz segment when the control operator is a Novice or Technician operator; or

    (3) The 7.050 - 70.75 MHz segment when the station is within ITU Regions 1 or 3.

    If you have been operating using more than 200 watts in the Novice bands, or on 30 meters, you have not been complying with the law!

    Glen, K9STH
  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Quote "On 10 meters, Novice and Technician+ are limited to 200 watts output, but General, Advanced, and Extra class are allowed the full 1500 watts output." End quote.

    Why the hell would anyone want to 220 watts let alone 1,500 !!! The UK M3's are working the world on 10 watts, most of us use 100 and often less. The struggle we have in pile ups is caused by stations (not just in the US) running "wipeout power".

    Its fine if you want heat the shack but on the air, absolutely daft.
  4. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    For JK:

    US regulations allow for 1500 watts PEP, but do NOT require that much power has to be run! Most stations do not run the full legal limit at any time. Others reserve it for when higher power is needed. A few do run full power whenever they operate. The same thing goes for other countries, the vast majority of which allow higher power than 200 watts.

    Depending on conditions, very low power will "work the world" and at other times it takes 1500 watts to even think of overcoming the noise level (i.e. 160 and 80 meters most of the time during the summer months). I personally have over 200 countries worked on 10 meter SSB mobile with a 25 watt PEP output rig running into a -3 dB gain antenna (e.r.p. about 12 watts). I also have capabilities of running up to 1400 watts (my linear won't quite make the full legal limit) which I sometimes use at my home station. It all depends on the situation.

    Also, your antenna has as much to do with your signal as your absolute power. With a good yagi, quad, or quagi you can work out very well with lower power. If you have a lousey antenna, then you can run the legal limit all day and not get out that well. During contests, you will find a number of stations with excellent antennas and running high power. But, you will also run into a lot of stations with good to excellent antennas who are running in the 100 to 200 watt output category that place well when it comes to the finish.

    Basically, stations do what they want to do in terms of power. There are those who never run more than 5 watts output. There are those who never run less than the legal limit. Then, there are the vast majority of stations that run somewhere in between.

    Glen, K9STH
  5. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The comments relating to hams running "too much power" or how "daft" it is are from someone obviously lacking experience in working the band absolutely dry and successfully making contacts when the band's closed, which I do all the time.

    Try 10 meters at 2[​IMG]0 AM local time. Find much on? There are signals to be worked, they're just very weak, and without a lot of power they cannot be worked at all -- it's other weak-signal enthusiasts taking advantage of tropospheric scatter, meteor scatter, T-E and other propagation modes the majority have never knowingly used.

    Ditto goes for making contacts 30 minutes after the band's officially "closed," and most have gone on to other bands or other activities. That's the fun time to operate for the rest of us, who keep on making contacts using high power and beam antennas.

    Fine, if you never want to do this, but there are times when large antennas and high power will continue to make contacts when 95% of the band users cannot.

    And I do feel sorry for my G-land friends who are limited to 400W PEP maximum, since I do hear them very weakly calling me when the band's past closed, and I know they hear my 1500W better than I'm hearing their 400W. That 5.74 dB is a very big 5.74 dB when signals are right in the noise.

  6. W5KRM

    W5KRM Guest

    Novice bands have always been restricted to 200 Watts PEP, one of the test questions on the exams, at least when I took mine way back when.

    Better question is, how many individuals adhere to that rule? Frankly, it seems whatever power you can run, whether it be legal or not, is often times what you hear.

    Haven't run into illegal power hogs in the novice bands in a long time. 20/75 and even WARC bands are another issue.
  7. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Actually, the 200 watt limit on the 80, 40, and 15 meter Novice bands is a fairly recent thing, I think from around 1979, or so. Back when the Novice limit was 75 watts input, there was no restriction requiring higher class licensees to run this amount when operating in the Novice bands. Anything up to, and including, 1000 watts input was allowed. I think that the 200 watt requirement came in about the same time as when the Technician class (now Technician+) was given the Novice class privileges.

    There have always been a very few amateurs who run illegal power (ever heard the term "California Kilowatt"?). I personally knew at least two amateurs in the Dallas area who used a 4-1000 in their driver stage! Fortunately, those type of amateurs are few, and far between. As an "aside", one of those who was running well over the legal limit traded me a brand new Tempo 2001 linear and a brand new CushCraft 3 element 20 meter beam for a length of 7/8 inch Andrew Heliax. He even helped me put the antenna up at 55 feet on my tower (still up today, almost 30 years later). Later that week, several locals were in a "round table" with a station on the Isle of Man (this particular individual had been to the Dallas area several times and was a personal friend of most of us in the round table). The amateur who was running the illegal power had a HyGain 204BA at 100 feet. He tried to "take" me by transmitting at the same time. He didn't make it! My signal running legal power was just as good as his. I couldn't "take him", but he couldn't "take me" as well even running about 5 KW.

    Several weeks later, the high power amateur bought several acres of land north of the DFW Metroplex and started installing a "real" antenna farm for contest operating (180 foot towers, stacked yagis for 20, 15, and 10, etc.). Even then, he had a hard time "taking me" on 20 meters, especially to Europe and Africa. My location is extremely favorable for r.f. I live about 1/2 block from the highest point in the city, just over the crest of the hill towards Europe and Africa. Frankly, location and antennas are more important than high power, although having all 3 is even better.

    Even when I was running only a HyGain TH-3 (3 element tri-band yagi) and using the Heath SB-Line (SB-301 receiver, SB-401 transmitter, SB-200 linear) with only about 550 watts output on 20 through 10, several locals accused me of running well over the legal limit since my signal was definitely better in all directions than what they had with taller towers and more power. One of these fellows actually came over to my house just to make sure that I was only running the SB-200 linear. He was amazed. This fellow also bought several acres of land and has installed a very complex antenna system over the years. He still doesn't have a better signal on 20 through 10 than I have. Now, on 40 and 80, that is a different matter. He even has a full sized 3 element 80 meter yagi that uses Rohn 45 as the boom! His signal on 40 and 80 is definitely better than mine (although when I use phased verticals on 40 I can get close).

    Many amateurs think that it takes a large amount of land to have a decent antenna farm. This is not true. My lot is 70 feet wide by 130 feet long. The house sits in almost exactly the middle of the lot, with less than 8 feet on each side to the property line. Only one wire antenna goes even to the front of the house, everything is located from the peak of the roof back. There are full sized antennas for all bands from 160 meters through 432 MHz. The two full sized 160 meter wire antennas definitely do not run in a straight line! But, they work very well. It has taken a number of years and experimentation to come up with antennas that work well from a suburban lot. But, by using "trial and error" along with theory, working antennas have been acquired that do a good job. By the way, my house is "rear entry" and there is a driveway on the west side. None of the antennas cross this driveway!

    I hear from amateurs who complain about not having enough land to do anything. Most of them have at least as much as I have, often more. If you start thinking "out of the box", and are willing to experiment, then you will be plesantly surprised at what you can do. To see some of my antennas, take a look at and "click" on the very first link. A photo is at the bottom of the page.

    High power does help. But, without the antennas to go with it having high power doesn't do the job. Remember that the antennas help on received signals, bringing them "out of the mud" so that the station can be worked. No matter what power you are running, if you can't hear them, you can't work them!

    Glen, K9STH
  8. W3SY

    W3SY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Helluva shack, Glen... But no pics of the op! Wassup wid dat?

    Regarding power, I've always been one of those pious Barefoot Boys -- Running 100 watts output and damn proud of it. With my beam and my decent location, I can crack most pileups in a reasonable amount of time, and get great signal reports. Even cranked out 1050 barefoot in last year's ARRL SSB Sweepstakes.

    But lately I've been borrowing a friend's Ameritron AL-80A amp. Sure, it's "only" 800 to 1000 watts, but it makes a difference. Ooooooh yes, yes.... that manly feeling of pumping some serious juice into the coax... Very seductive. Don't know if this means I'll actually go out and BUY my own amplifier, but it definitely has me thinking about it! As WB2WIK said, there are conditions when you really need to be running some power to get the job done.

    And speaking of power, what are the limits in Spain and Italy? Some of those doodz MUST be dimming the street lights on key-down, if you get my drift.

  9. kc4zgp

    kc4zgp Banned QRZ Page

    Aw heck. Don't worry how much power you use. Ain't no one gonna know. Reach out in what ever manner you must.
  10. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The guys with the amazing signals, head-and-shoulders over the crowd, are doing it with antennas, not with power.

    Take a look at some of the DX QSL cards...the big sigs from Spain, Italy and lots of other places all show their modest little antenna farms, like large beams and quads on "50 meter" (not feet) towers. Very commonplace all over the world.

    It's interesting, when you look at the JA cards, how many Japanese ops are running huge antennas from what we (in the States) would consider miniscule properties, including condominium-like housing. 7 elements up 60 meters (not feet&#33[​IMG] on 20 meters, stuff like that. Then, you follow the tower down to it base and see it's sitting on top of a tall building, and the ham lives in an apartment in that building.

    CC&Rs seem to have killed a lot of opportunities here in the States, and shame (double shame) on all the hams who have purchased such properties -- especially the ones who were already licensed before the sale.

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