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


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!