Maybe life ISN’T too short for QRP

I was tun­ing around my dilap­i­dated and totally neglected sta­tion (more on that later) and came across a bunch of slow­ish, hand-​sent, con­tin­u­ous wave sig­nals on 20M send­ing “CQ NA”. What?

A quick look over at the WA7BNM’s web­site (THE author­ity on con­tests hap­pen­ing regard­less of coun­try of ori­gin or spon­sor­ing entity) con­firmed I was hear­ing the monthly sprint of the North Amer­i­can QRP CW Club.

I did remem­ber that I was a mem­ber but I didn’t remem­ber my mem­ber num­ber (I looked on the site, I am #3333). Spe­cial points for mechan­i­cal morse (J-​38 hand key here), and even more spe­cial points for run­ning under a watt.

I don’t really have a lot of antenna choices since a) Ants were in my WX0B Six­pak and thus still sit­ting on my desk, refur­bished but SITTING ON MY DESK instead of out by my antenna tree. And wow, my sta­tion went from a nicely func­tion­ing SO2R setup per­form­ing very well last Sweep­stakes so a sin­gle G5RV, sin­gle radio, dilap­i­dated sys­tems. More about that later.

My IC-​7600 (won at Day­ton Con­test Din­ner 2010)IS run­ning very well (still) so I loaded up the antenna with the inter­nal tuner on 20M. The power shown on my LP-​100A wattmeter (won at Day­ton Con­test Din­ner 2013) was 840mW. IMG_0739[1]SWR shown is the actual that of the antenna on 20M since the wattmeter probe sits after the tuner. Not the most effi­cient load, and there is a cal­cu­la­tion to deter­mine how many mil­li­watts are actu­ally pre­sented to the antenna, but lets just agree it was well under 840mW.

I actu­ally made some con­tacts! 20M was loud too!

Shoot, why not try 40M as well. It was at sun­set and this time is usu­ally 40M is good for QRP om 40M. It was, but the noise level was bad due to local thun­der­storms. I made a few con­tacts and went back to 20M.

All I can say: When the bands are open QRP sig­nals can be loud as hell.

40M I was putting out about 900mW to a very poorly matched load. Although my tuner fixed it as far as the trans­mit­ter con­cerned, I am sure effi­ciency sucked at the antenna. (flash: An online SWR cal­cu­la­tor puts the loss at 54%, so power squirt­ing out the antenna

IMG_0738[1]

was around 600mW. On 20M, the loss was 30% giv­ing me a whop­ping 650mW into the ether.)

So, my point: QRP works just fine. Did I men­tion how I did really well in the Novem­ber Sweep­stakes run­ning 5W? Well enough to try it again.

That is, if I get my sta­tion put back together!

CQ Worldwide DX Contest, RTTY 2011

I will remem­ber to keep BIC (Butt in Chair, huge secret to doing well in a con­test) for next year since this one was so fun. Maybe, just maybe, I might have anten­nas with gain for the next go.

Call: WF7T
Operator(s): WF7T
Station: WF7T

Class: SOAB LP
QTH: TN
Operating Time (hrs):

Summary:
 Band  QSOs  Pts  State/Prov  DX  Zones
----------------------------------------
  80:   51   57      29       4     5
  40:   73  154      21      28    10
  20:   60  119      18      23    16
  15:   78  194      11      39    14
  10:   54  128       7      25    13
----------------------------------------
Total:  316  652      86      58    58  Total Score = 171,476

Club: Tennessee Contest Group

Comments:

Stole away time from chores to play and I am glad I got a few hours to play on
10M...so cool to hear/work EU and Asia again! At the very least I wanted to
work 50 or so per band over the weekend. Just S&P sometimes just up/down the
band one time before I had to go do something.

Cool to hear Market Reef on 15M but just couldn't get through in the time I
allotted. I made a few mistakes during the contest: I was neglecting to log
some contacts due to my choice of macro/keystrokes. Once I discovered my error
I fixed my log handling and tried to rework anyone that was obviously not in
log.  Thanks to many for working dupes (note to self: work all dupes). Thanks
all for the Qs and my apologies for any occasional LID/QLF.

73 Brad WF7T
Nashville, TN

---

IC-7600@100W
Doublets at ~40', 40/80M Vertical
N1MM v11.9.3, MMTTY

TNQP Results: K4TCG M/​2 LP @ K1GU

We encountered some quirkiness in the logging software
(WriteLog) at the start but we got over it soon enough.
I realized later that somehow we were triggering a county
line change even though we were not moving. Once all 
operators (including me) cycled through a few contacts,
all was solid on both computers. We lost one Q to the
ether, a VE2 I think, while we were fumbling around. Even
though we had three retired Jeopardy champions, nobody
remembered the call sign.

This may not be of interest to anyone besides Brad (WF7T)
and myself. It is the result of it pouring all day Monday
and my being tired and cranky, or more tired and cranky
than normal. I still hadn't recovered from sitting in the
rain in Neyland Stadium past my bedtime on Saturday.

It all started around midnight Monday morning as Brad and I
stumbled through merging the logs from the two computers to
try and figure out how we did, even though it don't count fer
nuttin. We got the logs merged but couldn't come up with the
correct number of points and mults. So I spent the better part
of Monday PM trying to get W3KM's Cabrillo Evaluator to work.
It got the Qs and points right away but I had to do a lot of
fudging to keep it from double counting mults, for example, a
KH6 as both a state and a DXCC, and other oddities like a KH2
in KY and a NP2 in SC. It also wants to count DL3DXX as both a
DL mult and again as DX. For some reason it seems to know an OK
is in EU and not in Tulsa, although I'm not 100% sure. I do not
ever want to go through what Doug (W9WI) does to score to the
logs. I think we all need to thank him in advance 'cuz he's
gonna be pulling out all his hair and lookin like Kirk (K4RO) if
there are some close races.

We made 831 Qs before dupes. My best guess for K4TCG M/2 is, ta
dah; 815 QSO 2116 PTS 242 MULT for 512,072

Summary:
Band CW Qs Ph Qs Dig Qs Mults
-----------------------------------
160: 26
 80: 97      23
 40: 210    175
 20: 124     89
 15: 27      42
 10: 2
  6:
  2:
222:
432:
-----------------------------------
Total: 486 329 0 242 Total Score = 512,072

All but a dozen or so contacts are from running. The only time
we S&P'd was when we were looking for a run freq to land on. One
rig stayed on 40 the whole time. The other station did all the
other bands. We never tried 160 phone or 10 phone. It never
looked like there would be more than two or three contacts on 10
and with the thunderstorm noise on 160, I thought the time was
better spent on CW.

There are 525 calls in the log including some TN I've never
heard.

372 1 time
87 2 times
37 3 times
20 4 times
4 5 times
5 6 times

The six timers are; K4BAI, N4PN, WB8JUI, AA3B, K4LTA. AA3B and
K4LTA are all CW on 6 bands, 160-10.

We intended to do RTTY once per hour but we found that the RTTY
messages overwrote the CW messages. It was going to take 10
minutes to change over, make 1 or 2 contacts, then 10 more
minutes to change modes again. I decided it wasn't worth it as
even in the slowest times there were more contacts to be made on
CW and SSB. It occurs to me now that I could have written macro
files for quick import on my laptop while the other guys
operated and then transferred them to the logging computers by
USB thumb drive. That would have cut the changeover time to
about two minutes. I wish I thought of that "in the heat of 
battle."

The operating philosophy was simply to be widely available to
handout as many bonus points as possible. If a sponsor is going
to advertise a bonus station, I think it is incumbent that it be
easy to find. In that regard, I think we were very successful.
Moreover, we followed the prime directive to the max and Kathy 
(XYL) enjoyed having a house guest (Brad) at breakfast on Monday
morning. Only real downer is that I forgot to take photos. Too
bad. I even hung up the old (red) club banner with the K4TCG
call sign!

For the K4TCG team; Patrick W4PV, Larry W6UB, Brad WF7T, and Don
K9UQN:

Ned K1GU