QRP set-up for a newbie

Discussion in 'QRP Corner' started by 4G1AOC, Jul 23, 2017.

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  1. VE7JBX

    VE7JBX Ham Member QRZ Page

    From experience, short answer - NO. Long answer, yes *if* you have an antenna analyzer. The 'stick can be finicky to set up on 40m in my experience, high Q / narrow bandwidth, and you will need to tweak the coil tap position and counterpoise depending on setup environment. Once set up and adjusted to acceptable VSWR with an analyzer, I've had this work pretty well with QRP direct to the radio.

    BUT - you indicated in a prior post, that you're looking for short-ish communications (500-2000 km). A vertical may not be your best bet. Someone more knowledgeable than myself can chime in here, but verticals have low take-off angles better suited for longer signal paths. An inverted-V or similar, even close to the ground at feedpoint, is a better way to get NVIS and shorter signal paths. And, added bonus, you shouldn't need a tuner or ant ananlyzer. An analyzer is helpful once to trim the antenna and find its bandwidth, then stick to that range. And it's easier to coil up and carry that the 'stick. You can make one of these out of an SO-239 connector and some speaker wire for about $5.

    I've used both for various QRP excursions, and if I were trying for 40m, 500-2000 km, I'd go with a simple DIY wire inv-V setup over a Buddiestick - assuming there will be tree limbs or similar readily accessible feedpoint supports available. For NVIS these don't need to be very high up - on 40m, I've gotten good ~1500 km signals at only 10' centre feed heights!
    WA7WJR likes this.
  2. 4G1AOC

    4G1AOC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Now I confused with a second hand ICOM IC-706MKII
  3. WA7WJR

    WA7WJR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes, but...

    Instead of the Buddistick I would recommend spending a bit more for the Buddipole kit. Also with or without an antenna tuner I would also recommend getting an antenna analyzer like the RigExpert AA-30). The Buddipole/Buddistick manuals will get you in the ballpark wrt VSWR, but some fine tuning of the coils may be required for optimum performance depending on your specific setup.

    I also highly recommend reading the free book Buddipole in the Field by B. Scott Andersen. It's a great field manual, and I am still experimenting with some of the configurations.

    On a personal note I am also new to QRP (and HAM in general) and having fun with it. While I certainly don't make as many QSOs with QRP as I do at my home shack setup, I have a lot of fun being able to operate from remote places and sometimes even from my back yard or a nearby park. I recently sailing up in British Colombia, Canada and took my dinghy out to a small islet and setup my Buddipole with an Elecraft K2. The top of the islet was about 20 feet above sea level and I was able to clearly work a station over 1500 km away with a reported RST of 559 on 20 meters.

    The best part of the experience was setting up on a remote islet (only reasonably accessible at low tide), watching the seals relax (and sometimes bellow in annoyance at my presence) on the smaller islet next to me, and waving at curious boaters as they occasionally passed by. The QSOs were the cherry on top! Not a lot of contacts, but it was a total blast setting up, and operating from a location where few people ever go. (There is a pic on my QRZ page. :))

    Band conditions will improve over time, but even now you will make contacts. IMHO, this is a great time to learn to operate under less than ideal conditions & pull out weak signals, learn new skills, start experimenting, and most importantly get out and enjoy the hobby.

    Have fun!

    BTW...if you are up and running by Sept., I will be operating (both QRP and +100 watts) from multiple locations in Vietnam (XV9WJR) and hope to catch you OTA since I'll be in your geographical neighborhood.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
    VE7JBX likes this.
  4. 4G1AOC

    4G1AOC Ham Member QRZ Page

    What you doing is what I want :D . it is bringing out my radio out there. Your post and time sharing your experiences is appreciated by newbies like me. I know I have a lot of things to learn and reading your post is one of them.

    WA7WJR likes this.

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