Some of my ham friends think I'm crazy. As band conditions continue to wax and wane, I've been lowering my power more and more. No, I haven't been channeling the Marquis de Sade and wishing for pain. Although pain, at times, when it relates to QRP operation, can be exquisite.
For the past week or so, I've reduced my operating power from 5 watts to 1 watt. It's no big deal, really. In fact, the QRPp crowd think running 1 watt is equivalent to running a rig with an amplifier. They run milliwatts! For now though, 1 watt is my new 5 watts.
1 watt is not a lot of power nor does it have a lot of energy. Let's put it into a bit of perspective. The Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant in Nebraska has one reactor that puts out about 470 Megawatts of power and that's considered to be small output in comparison to other reactors. The measly and solitary watt can just about light up a small light emitting diode. Now... hold that dimly lit little LED high above your head and imagine you're trying to light up and find your way through the vastness of infinite space. Ok...you get the idea.
However, 1 watt can still provide reliable communication even when propagation isn't cooperating. Here's what my 1 watt looked like last night on The Reverse Beacon Network. All had at least a 15db or higher signal into the skimmers:
And here is a map of the actual contacts over the last few days with varying band conditions. The mode was CW, the antenna is the old reliable 30 foot end fed wire up about 40 feet. The bands were mostly 40 meters and one QSO on 20. RSTs were at least 559 and some were better:
Fun with 1 watt! Pretty cool, huh? Comment and let me know how you do with just 1 watt. Soon, I'll be milliwatting. Can't wait. 72/73 de N2ICZ