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Zero SSB contacts in 8 hours - Is it me, the rig, or the continuum?

Discussion in 'QRP Corner' started by N1RBD, Aug 16, 2019.

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  1. KC7JNJ

    KC7JNJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I run a endfed wire, a ultimax DX100 I run it vertical. It sits at 16 feet in the clear. I have run the LNR tribander tossed vertical into tree and that worked pretty good.
  2. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    So the average height was ten (10) Feet.

    Not great. That is one of the drawbacks of end fed antennas. The feed is generally at ground level.
  3. KD8ZM

    KD8ZM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Don't give up HF just because of this. You can't call CQ on SSB with 5 watts and expect an answer, even if the conditions didn't suck (as they currently do). You can only do that with CW or digital. With SSB,you can hunt, wait, and then pounce at the end of someone else's QSO.
    HF QRP is fun, but you have to find a mode that works for what you're trying to do. For me, that was CW and it made all the difference in the world.
    W5BIB and KF9VV like this.
  4. W1AJO

    W1AJO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've been doing QRP since 1980ish. Started with a US Army backpack HF radio with burst Morse and maybe 10 watts. 1200 miles no issues (in the Army on active duty). In 2002 I got my General. Bought a Tokyo Hy Power HL-50B amp for 5 watts in, 50watts out direct from Japan. In 2004 bought an FT-817ND. Lots of times I'd call CQ SSB nothing. Turn on the 50 watt amp and bang! QSO. The issue was not the radio or the conditions - it was my antenna. The amp gave just enough to be heard. I estimated that I was getting 25 watts out.

    As others have said, try a different antenna. The best piece of HAM gear I ever bought is my MFJ-259B antenna analyzer.

    QRP is all about the antenna, not the radio. An antenna analyzer will be the best tool you can have for QRP work.

    When I got my MFJ-259B, EVERY antenna I checked was off - the ones I built & the ones I bought. All needed tuning. My home-made portable 20m dipole antenna is tuned to 14.285 and it has a perfect SWR of 1:1.0. Is it a perfect antenna? No, but it has a much better chance of getting MOST of the signal out. At Field Day we check every antenna with an analyzer, period.

    I have a 20m/40m end fed portable antenna. I've never made a QSO with it. The ham I got it from made hundreds of QSOs with it. It needs a good counterpoise. I guess he must have had a fantastic counterpoise. Dipoles have always worked well for me.

    Consider learning Morse code. Bob Chapman, W9JOP worked all states with a Tuna Tin II at 1/4 watt. He used CW Morse not SSB, Hang in there, you will make a QSO with a better antenna.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
    K5VZD, KC9YGN and KF9VV like this.
  5. KG7VLX

    KG7VLX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Same setup 817nd /Z817 tunner. I also have an HP Packer amp that gets some use. Its a steep learning curve ...... As has been pointed out make a better antenna, a dipole or a ground plane are both easy and effective for 20 meters. Find an easy SOTA summit and post an alert and then a spot when you are on summit and you should get some people willing to put some effort into working you. Parks on the Air operators and the Marine Net control operators are also used to dealing with QRP / weak signal stations.

  6. KW6LA

    KW6LA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Was on 20 meters yesterday with a kilowatt and a 3 element Mosley @ 45 ft. Station in Texas ( friend with new radio ) 1.5 kw and a stepper beam @ 50ft. Both of our signals
    were in and out of copy. And you wonder why you cant get someone to make contact with ? This is easy ... conditions suck right now!! Yes, I like QRP when the the flux is over
    80, but right now its QRO or clean out the garage. I know here it comes ( but I still make QRP contacts ), yes but time can be precious for some of us. Come on guys, turn on the
    Brick and enjoy! The flux will get better in years to come..... I hope ?
  7. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Timing... antenna height, and at QRP it's a lot harder.

    In the past week, at least a dozen contact over 4,000 miles.

    Learn how to use VOACAP, and get your antenna up high.

    I'm also not a fan of end-feds, but that's opening a can of worms. I mostly homebrew everything, and have building height (and not working QRP, currently). Furthest contact out was 12,000 miles at 100w from Seoul to Argentina, longpath. You have to use VOACAP and learn how to use the sun to work for you.
  8. KC3MIO

    KC3MIO XML Subscriber QRZ Page


    I read your post and the replies and have a couple of dumb questions:

    1.Are you hearing any stations?
    2.As I understand your rig, it does not have a built in antenna tuner, so unless you have an antenna that doesn’t need tuning, you may have too high an SWR. I scanned the manual for the 818 and I assume that it reduces power if the SWR is too high, but I could not determine that for sure.
    3. You probably need an antenna tuner.
    4. As many have noted, QRP operation can be tough and without an effective matched antenna, SSB is going to be very difficult- if you can learn some code that will be very helpful in conjunction with a good antenna.
    5. I am willing to schedule a call to do some testing, to see if you can copy me at 100W and down to 5W, SSB and CW. I am in NE PA maybe 750 miles away.

  9. WW2PT

    WW2PT Ham Member QRZ Page

    ^^ New ops need to read this twice. Operating skill is the most overlooked part of the equation. QRO operators often substitute skill with an amplifier because it’s easier. Being proficient in all modes, especially CW, is a big part of the skill set needed to be a successful QRP op.
  10. KC3MIO

    KC3MIO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I’m a new op and I agree wholeheartedly. Success is a function of station equipment, propagation and operator skill. QRP ops choose to limit power but can still perfect their antennas and radios. There is virtually no ceiling to increasing operator skill and CW proficiency is probably the single most valuable skill the QRP operator can develop.
    WW2PT likes this.

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