ready to give up on QRP

Discussion in 'QRP Corner' started by KI4QYI, Jul 24, 2019.

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  1. KI4QYI

    KI4QYI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Does 5 or 10 watts (K1 or KX2) really have much chance with dipoles on 20,30,40M and 200 foot runs of rg8x nowadays? I am a senior citizen who may not be around for the next solar cycle. It was fun while it lasted but I have never heard the bands in such bad shape as they are now. Maybe the success stories I read here are due to using directional antennas at good height, something I will never have. Congrats to those who persevere and have some degree of satisfaction. But my patience is about gone and I am sure I can sell these nice little QRP radios and get a nice base station with decent filters and 100 watts. Or is that even enough with modest antennas?

  2. KG7WGX

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    In my opinion, much of the problem is that there are very few hams listening for a CQ, unless it is a contest or some other scheduled event (like SKCC or a SOTA activation). Then the bands show activity. Much of the time my panadapter display is flat.

    With SKCC, there is a Sked Page which helps members announce what frequency they are on. There are a lot of "I couldn't hear you" and "Bad noise - I'll try again later" to go along with the "Tnx for NV - 73" messages. This is an excellent tool, and I will use it now that I have discovered it.

    With SOTA, I believe the Activators are encouraged to post their planned activity, so Chasers will know what band/time to monitor.

    It's not just band conditions. It is a problem of getting other operators to be on the same frequency/time so a QSO might be successful.

    I have some degree of satisfaction with the few contacts I made at QRP level, using a 35 ft random wire rigged as a sloper at 20 ft. However, I will admit that adding a 130 ft OCFD at 30 ft and a 100w amp to my KX3 has made a difference in the number of stations which can hear me now.

    I still enjoy taking my KX3 out "barefoot" to local parks as it lets me experiment with different antennas, and it is an excuse to go on a picnic. If I get 2 or 3 contacts, I'm happy.

    I have read several questions on various forums which are along the lines of, "I'm a new ham and I want to use QRP with a xxx (compromise) antenna. Will this work?" The answers are almost always to get a 100w transceiver and rig the best antenna you can devise, because QRP poses a challenge for experts and almost always results in frustration for newcomers.

    I will admit that this information was largely responsible for my addition of a 100w amp.

    I have read many, many stories of hams with "100 watts and a wire" who are quite happy with their setups. Of course, if you are determined to get a high score in a contest, there is no such thing as too much power or an antenna which is too high. So, 100 w is "better". Only the individual can decide what is "enough". ;)
    W9FL, KA0USE, KU3X and 3 others like this.
  3. KM4DYX

    KM4DYX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Conditions sure aren't optimal, but CW and digital modes are still viable.

    I'm doing okay with my end fed up 40 ft and my 20 watt SGC. I mostly just chase a couple of SOTA activators per operating day, mostly on 20 meters, and since they are invariably running QRP more power at my end wouldn't really help us complete the QSO.

    Hope you get something that works good for you and you can enjoy. If that means more power then go for it.

    KU3X and KI4QYI like this.
  4. VA3VF

    VA3VF Ham Member QRZ Page

    No matter how much I like QRP and QRPp, this is not what I would recommend anybody to rely on, specially with the propagation being what it is currently.
    W5ESE, KC8YLT, K0UO and 3 others like this.
  5. KD9CKB

    KD9CKB Ham Member QRZ Page

    to me qrp is fun,, I set up my 891 on 10 watts and a alex loop antenna and a 12v jump pack just last week and made a handful of contacts with no problems on 40 and 20m even with the bad band conditions. its whatever you have fun doing
    W1SDR, KC8YLT, KU3X and 1 other person like this.
  6. WN1MB

    WN1MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Tom,

    It sounds to this senior (and avid QRPer) that you've pretty much had it with operating QRP through this trough in the solar cycle. Your equipment is up to the task, your antennas and feeds are up to the task. It sounds like you need more action than you're getting.

    Selling those fine rigs to finance a decently equipped 100 watt rig will most certainly increase the number of contacts you'll make. Decibels matter and even more so during punk propagation. And if you get the urge to operate QRP, you can simply crank down the power of the new rig.

    72/73, Jeff
    NQ1B, WD0BCT, NH6RF and 6 others like this.
  7. VA3VF

    VA3VF Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is one angle that most people, even QRPers, miss. If you are not mostly portable, in the woods, etc., to purchase a QRP rig as one's only rig is very limiting. Also, QRP does not mean portable operations only. It's at home at home.
    W5ESE, KC3MIO, K0UO and 2 others like this.
  8. N0WBA

    N0WBA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I started with a kx2 qrp and was not having much luck so I sold my gear and went with a 100w rig and have made several contacts with 20-80w with a random wire about 35ft into a tree , I kinda miss having the kx2 now so I may return to it and get the 100w amp along with an outdoors person and miss going out and atleast trying to make contacts while camping and there is some major satisfaction making contacts with 5w
    KI4QYI likes this.
  9. KI4QYI

    KI4QYI Ham Member QRZ Page

    I appreciate all of the thoughtful replies. I started off with QRP with just my K1 and a Parr Elect. End Fedz 40/20. Lots of satisfaction gained in the previous solar cycle and the K1 is still my favorite CW receiver to listen to. What an amazing design! The KX2 is more difficult to learn to use efficiently but also a fantastic piece of gear, though pricey. I used to love the challenge of QRP but the combined challenge of cw operation at my age and the lousy band conditions just make it a not-so-fun experience. Has any QRPer been heard calling CQ on the Reverse Beacon Network outside of the USA recently? Certainly not me. Thanks for not calling me a quitter. Maybe I am just re-accessing the fun to frustration ratio. I wish you all great success, it is a great hobby, especially QRP! Tom
    WN1MB likes this.
  10. WN1MB

    WN1MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    You obviously have strong sentimental feelings about that K1. I strongly advise NOT selling it! Many of us, myself included, regret selling special rigs we once owned. Keep the K1 and use it when portable or when the mood otherwise hits you.

    The KX2 will command a higher price, which can be put towards that 100 W transceiver and filters you spoke of.

    As for the RBN, I've got their site bookmarked but very rarely use it. That last time I did use it was about three weeks ago. It was late afternoon here on the east coast. I fired up the HW-8 and banged out a CQ on 40 meters into the 60' of magnet wire antenna. Bingo. An F5 station heard me.

    Yeah, QRP still works. As another poster suggested, maybe not to rely on ... but this ham relies on it and is seldom disappointed.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
    DV6XCY and KI4QYI like this.

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