Saturday, April 16, 2016

The joy of QRP....

It's not uncommon for QRPers to work thousands of miles per watt given the right propagation and conditions.  In my case today, it was 39 miles per watt.  And I'll take it every day.  I had a great QSO with KA1HSP, Joe, up in Massachusetts.  Joe was running a Youkits HB1B into an end fed wire.  I was running the old Icom 725 (attenuated down to 5 watts) also into an end fed wire.  It was certainly not what one would call rare exotic "DX" but it was cool nevertheless.  We were Just two hams  ragchewing for a bit and learning some things about each other...and hold on...communicating.

When I was first licensed (way back when the Magna Carta was signed), my goal was to get on the air with as much power as I was legally allowed to run, a 100 foot tower, and a beam antenna that could hear a gnat sunning itself on a rock in the south pacific.  That was my mindset.  Finances, of course, dictated otherwise.  However, I did run 500 watts into a GAP Challenger vertical antenna and pretty much worked the world.

About 15 years ago, we (the XYL and children) had just moved into a condominium.  The amplifier and vertical were gone and I was itching to get back on the air.  I was surfing around the web one day and came across John Shannon, K3WWP's website.  I was stunned that this guy in the middle of Pennsylvania, was running 5 watts into a wire and had literally thousands of contacts.  I decided to try it out.

The condominium complex, of course, had the usual draconian rules about antennas and such, but one night, I did my best impersonation of James Bond 007 and surreptitiously ran about 80 feet of wire in and around and out of the condo. I fired up the rig, set it for 5 watts and started making contact after contact after contact.  I was back in business.  It amazed me that such low power (equivalent to lighting Madison Square Garden with a nightlight) could CONSISTENTLY work state side, coast to coast and the world.  I was hooked on QRP and have never run QRO since.

We have since moved from the condo and now live on the Jersey Shore.  Sure, I could have a tower and a beam, but I don't need it.  I'm happy with my old rig and a wire.  Whether I get 1 mile per watt, or 10,000 per watt, every contact for me is "DX"  And that, my fellow hams, is the joy of QRP.  72/73

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