New to QRP, what else should I get?

Discussion in 'QRP Corner' started by W1SRR, Dec 14, 2017.

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  1. W1SRR

    W1SRR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Howdy, so I like the challenge of trying to reach out and touch someone with only 5 watts or less and I have to say that it is truly a challenge! One of my contacts even scolded me because my signal (which he heard and responded to) was weak! (Wow, really?)

    Anyways I am in the floodplains of Orlando Florida so that in itself is a challenge as there is no real natural high ground to use. My setup is an FT-817ND (no filters yet), running straight off the internal battery and if needed an LDG Z817 Tuner. My antenna choice includes an HFedz end fed antenna cut for 10-160m, a miracle whip, and the Model HF-315 Portable Magnetic Loop Antenna. I also have a Buddipole deluxe that I sometimes use if I go the field. My number one problem is time hacks- I can never get enough time to run out and have some fun so can only do it in blocks of 2 hours or less :(

    I have not tried any contesting yet as I am fairly new ham, but would like to try that. I also want to take my setup traveling so I can key from a mountaintop. The plan is to learn code! I think that helps much more to get a contact. I also want to learn about RF spots etc. If anyone can pass me info that would be awesome. Thanks and have a happy holiday season!
  2. KM4DYX

    KM4DYX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hey Mike, I think we might have spoke before?

    I'm an 817 guy, too. I'd suggest an external battery as a primary and let the internal battery serve as a back-up. That way you can get the full 5 watts out, and on SSB you really need it.

    I'm a big fan of dipoles for QRP because you just can't beat the efficiency. I've used plenty of homebrew antennas, but my favorite antenna is the SOTABEAMS linked dipole for 80/40/30/20. You can build the same thing yourself, but it'll be hard to beat their engineering. Some kind of fiberglass push up pole makes life easy. I have a carbon fiber fishing pole...don't remember the brand.

    I've started CW ops myself. No time like the present to start learning. You'll need the CW filter.

    Digital modes are a cake walk with QRP, but I burned out on JT 65 and I'm not going back. You'll need a Signalink USB or similar.

    W1SRR likes this.
  3. AF7ON

    AF7ON Ham Member QRZ Page

    Although I own and use a couple of small transmitting loops, be aware that they, and other small antennas, are less efficient than full-size ones. With low power, use a big antenna whenever possible!

    Yep, you don’t have any hills, but plenty of salt water nearby. Easily-deployed vertical antennas work surprisingly well for DX near the sea.

    Most of my QRP work is on CW, so definitely agree it’s a worthwhile skill.

    Good luck, and have fun.

    W1SRR likes this.
  4. W1SRR

    W1SRR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks AL and Mike for the responses. So far, it looks like I will have to go CW and find a filter for the 817ND. As far as the beach- the closest is about 1.25 hours away and as I said I am usually too busy to go out that far and QRP. I guess I might have to find an excuse to visit the beaches ;)
  5. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    By all means take the time to learn Morse.
    End fed ants work well, are super popular, lets you op from indoors at home in your spare time, drape up into tree.
    No one on CW will poo poo anyone's signals, I've worked a few guys running 100 - 250 milliwatts
    KC3RN and W1SRR like this.
  6. AF7ON

    AF7ON Ham Member QRZ Page

    I used to live in nearby Gainesville and had some fantastic high pine trees, which are the tallest and cheapest antenna supports you will find in Florida! The ham who helped me get my licence many years ago used only wire antennas about 75 feet up a tree - switchable quads fed by open wire line! Figuring out your antennas can be as much (or more) fun than actually operating.

  7. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Mike KN4EMY; Check out W4POT's past postings in this QRP forum under "what QRP operating today?"
    He is in FL and runs his FT817 SSB portable same as you do, he's learning Morse next also.
    Maybe you two can have a fone QSO.
    W4POT and W1SRR like this.
  8. WN1MB

    WN1MB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Welcome to QRP and CW! Stick with 'em both and you'll have the time of your life!

    My antenna of choice for portable operations is a simple end-fed halfwave fed against a quarter-wave counterpoise: basically a 60' hunk of wire from the operating position up as high as I can manage to get it. The counterpoise is similarly basic: just a 30' hunk of wire stretched out on the ground. Nothing fancy at all. Scrap/salvaged wire works fine.

    I tune this "antenna system" with a simple, homebrew L-network tuner. Your LDG should be able to, as well.

    My initial plans were to go with either a horizontal dipole or inverted V. But after much thought (read as over analyzing) the matter, I decided on the more simple approach. YMMV.

    The results of using this system when operating portable continue to amaze me. It tunes on the bands I have available to me - 80, 40, 20, and 15 meters - and provides all the contacts, both stateside and DX, that I want.

    Pine trees are your friend...

    Oh yes - GET THE CW FILTER! You'll be delighted with the improved performance of that rig.

    Good luck and 72/73,

    Jeff WN1MB
    Winsted CT
    W1SRR likes this.
  9. W1SRR

    W1SRR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I will shoot him an email, thanks for the heads up :)
  10. US7IGN

    US7IGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    It were said enough about antennas, I still like delta loop with one suspension point and maximum efficiency. I will say about time managment. I have very hard work and family needs attention too, but I always find time to go out to the park for 2-3 hours on weekends and relax with radio. And it is not difficult to find one hour of time per day to study the CW.
    N8SMG and W1SRR like this.

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