QRP social phenomena

QRP social phenomena

Post by Clark Savage Turner WA3J » Thu, 13 Feb 1992 05:29:50

Just a few random thoughts on QRP operation ... things I am learning
in my exploits on 40 meter SSB with my Argonaut 509 at about 5 watts
output:

1.  With a reasonable antenna (dipoles up a quarter wave, a G5RV and tuner,
one extended double Zepp aimed North/South) - I do about as well as other
barefoot stations.  I have worked all states (on a WAS net) in about 2
months of a few evenings per week.  I have gotten several "5 x 9" reports
from a few east coast stations!  Not often, but it happens.

2.  With a cheap mobile antenna (the Ham stick, $14 retail) on my car, I
have been able to do pretty well too!  Running the argonaut at 5 watts,
I have worked 40 SSB across to the east coast with reasonable reports
("5 x 5" for ex, no "5 x 9" so far....) and I expect to do WAS QRP MOBILE
SSB within a month or two out there in my parking lot and on the way to
the grocery store.

3.  All this amazes me.  I think it points out that we REALLY do not need
a lot of power to communicate.  OF COURSE, at times during BAD CONDITIONS
NO ONE HEARS ME, but that does not happen often.

4.  The intriguing social aspect to this is that I have encountered a lot
of hams who actually call me a "liar" over the air and who openly express
doubt that I am running QRP.  It used to hurt my feelings, I wrote letters
and invited hams to my house to operate with me...but they didn't come.
Now it gives me a little thrill, to know my silly little setup is efficient
enough to upset some other hams (maybe insecure because they spent a lot
of $$$ on their rigs and expected that to give them a huge edge???)  I own
and have owned other higher priced and full featured rigs, most recently
using a TS 940SAT.  I find that when reasonable conditions prevail, there
is honestly little difference in what the TS 940 and the Argonaut can do.
It is a minority of time that the 940 really makes a difference (but of
course, when you need the features of the 940, they are a REAL advantage
and make the whole difference.)

I continue to have a LOT of fun using QRP and often not even mentioning it
until the end of an hour long armchair QSO.  It has been wild to see that
it even works OK mobile - something I would have thought improbable before.
But, any other hams have thoughts on the hams who just can't believe I
am running QRP?  Is this the ultimate result of the age of the appliance
operator - that success in face of a challenge is met with distrust?  Just
some questions on some general issues.  I really like ham radio, and I don't
think we are all appliance operators, nor that we are all insecure.  But
I seem to be operating in a way that brings out some insecurity in other
hams, and that is something I do not understand.  Any ham anthropologist
or sociologists out there?

Clark S. Turner

**********************************
Clark Savage Turner                     Software Safety Group
Dept. of ICS                            IERF 124
UC Irvine
Irvine, CA. 92717
(714) 856 4049 and 856 2131

Ham radio:  WA3JPG, local - 146.895 mHz, PL 136.5 Hz.
Hobbies:  Practice law in 3 states.

 
 
 

QRP social phenomena

Post by randy kaufm » Thu, 13 Feb 1992 06:35:20


Clarke,

Amen to QRP!  Just about the most fun I remember was with the whopping
3 watts out of an old HW-7 in the 40m novice band.  I could make QSOs
just about anytime the band was reasonable, and rarely had a CQ go
unanswered.  I often got QSLs expressing surprize at the power level,
but it seems most novices aren't so impolite as to call me a liar!

I worked all over east Europe with my old Triton, running just 20W (the
minimum power out).  Often I would receive a '5x7' when the big gun
(running the beam, 70ft tower, and full gallon) got a '5x9'.  Seems
those 'S' units are just too expensive for me 8-)!

Randy Kaufman  WD4LUJ

 
 
 

QRP social phenomena

Post by ANDY EDDY, VG&CE EXECUTIVE EDIT » Thu, 13 Feb 1992 14:24:39

Quote:Clark S. Turner writes:
>The intriguing social aspect to this is that I have encountered a lot
>of hams who actually call me a "liar" over the air and who openly express
>doubt that I am running QRP.

I've been running QRP on and off for half of a year (DX Handy, a two-watt,
10meter HT), and have experienced similar disbelief, though I haven't been
called a liar. I worked Japan and Australia (twice) from the roof of my office
and brought about some amazement on the other end. Two watts and nearly
8000 miles? Yep, on six AA batteries and a whip antenna! God only knows
what I'd do with a REAL antanna...
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
If you love something, let it go;
if it comes back, it was always yours;
if it doesn't come back, hunt it down and shoot it.
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
Andy Eddy--WB1FNV/6
Executive Editor of VideoGames & Computer Entertainment Magazine
Sysop of Delphi's World of Video Games

Delphi: VIDGAMES                  CompuServe: 70007,3554
GEnie: VIDGAME       MCImail: VIDGAMES          Prodigy: CKJB66A
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
 
 
 

QRP social phenomena

Post by Donald P Perl » Fri, 14 Feb 1992 03:41:44


   4.  The intriguing social aspect to this is that I have encountered a lot
   of hams who actually call me a "liar" over the air and who openly express
   doubt that I am running QRP.

In addition to any social problems, these sound like hams who have forgotten
(or never learned) the math for their licenses.  They wouldn't be surprised
if a 500 watt station came in at "20 over 9", but can't figure out that
under the same conditions a 5 watt station ought to be S9.

-don perley - ke2tp
--

 
 
 

QRP social phenomena

Post by pawel jaloc » Fri, 14 Feb 1992 07:46:43

We should back learn the rule: use least power possible to maintain
contact. This is a way to find the limits and suprise ourselfs.

                        Pawel

p.s. I never saw or heard a ham decreasing his Tx power.
     I still believe there are some...

 
 
 

QRP social phenomena

Post by Art Winterbau » Fri, 14 Feb 1992 09:20:08

I don't know that QRP operation is so much a social phenomenon as it is
a sunspot cycle phenomenon.  I wonder if I'll be so gung ho on operatingt
one watt to an indoor loop in about 6 or 7 years when I won't even be
able to cause TVI :)

--
Art Winterbauer  N0OQS

 
 
 

QRP social phenomena

Post by Jeff Kun » Fri, 14 Feb 1992 07:47:55


Quote:> Just a few random thoughts on QRP operation ... things I am learning
> in my exploits on 40 meter SSB with my Argonaut 509 at about 5 watts
> output:

I've used a Yaesu FT-7 for a several years now as my exclusive rig. At
20-25 watts, it's well above QRP power, but still amazes folks. I use
it mobile (with ham sticks, of course), and in the shack off an old
car battery - I get great reports worldwide.

So who needs a big gun! I'm ready to go the other way - I'm saving my
pennies for an Argonaut.

  --Jeff N0JUH  (ex-WB0PKQ)

--

 
 
 

QRP social phenomena

Post by awoodh.. » Fri, 14 Feb 1992 22:48:59


Quote:>Just a few random thoughts on QRP operation ...

I appreciated the observations on QRP operation.  I've had an Argonaut
for many years, and also have used a couple of homebrew QRP rigs on 80
and 40 cw. I enjoy QRP on cw, but have found that with ssb the
reliability of contact is much reduced. You can do a theoretical
analysis of the effectiveness of cw as opposed to ssb, but I would say
from actual on-the air results that a factor of 10 power increase is
needed for the same reliability on ssb as on cw.  Some of this is
perhaps due to there being less competition from cw stations running
much more power than they need, of course.

A lot of my recent operation has been trying to keep schedules on ssb,
and there is often a big difference between the results obtained when
you want to communicate to a particular station and when you will be
happy to talk to anyone, anywhere. Last year I had an opportunity to
operate as N1AW/YN1 for several months; a friend loaned me an Argonaut
linear and I found I used the amplifier almost all the time in trying
to keep schedules, even though I could usually rouse someone wanting a
Nicaragua contact by calling CQ at the QRP level.

73 de Al Woodhull   N1AW

 
 
 

QRP social phenomena

Post by Greg Bullou » Sat, 15 Feb 1992 03:18:25


>We should back learn the rule: use least power possible to maintain
>contact. This is a way to find the limits and suprise ourselfs.

>                    Pawel

>p.s. I never saw or heard a ham decreasing his Tx power.
>     I still believe there are some...

Yup. The other day, on 12M, I gave a guy a call at the end of a
QSO and descovered he was just across town. I immediately lowered
the mic gain from QRO (about 30 watts) to QRP (about 1 watt).

Greg

 
 
 

QRP social phenomena

Post by Ross Alexand » Sat, 15 Feb 1992 06:01:59


>I don't know that QRP operation is so much a social phenomenon as it is
>a sunspot cycle phenomenon.  I wonder if I'll be so gung ho on operatingt
>one watt to an indoor loop in about 6 or 7 years when I won't even be
>able to cause TVI :)

Well, it depends (I think) on which band you're talking about.  By the
sound of it you're working 10 meters, or perhaps 15m.  Yes, right now the
upper bands are wide open and red hot and a watt really gets out.

But try going down to 80m or, for real ***, 160m.  Conditions on
those two bands right now are terrible.  There was a good week about
the 20th of January, but otherwise no good propagation to speak of lately.

I'm really looking forward to the sun settling down!  Maybe I'll get a
chance to work those Europeans I keep hearing on long-path (and losing
to the big W6 guns).

regards,
Ross  VE6PDQ
--

 
 
 

QRP social phenomena

Post by Rajiv Dew » Sat, 15 Feb 1992 05:03:11



>>We should back learn the rule: use least power possible to maintain
>>contact. This is a way to find the limits and suprise ourselfs.

>>                        Pawel

>>p.s. I never saw or heard a ham decreasing his Tx power.
>>     I still believe there are some...

>Yup. The other day, on 12M, I gave a guy a call at the end of a
>QSO and descovered he was just across town. I immediately lowered
>the mic gain from QRO (about 30 watts) to QRP (about 1 watt).

>Greg

When working on local hf nets on 10m here in northern IL we almost
exclusively use less than 10w.  We have to increase power if we
have some one on the net whose antenna is polarized differently from others.
Cross polarization really affects ground wave communication.

It is interesting and fun to see how low you can reduce your power and still
carry on a reasonable qso with some one.  A couple of instances:

A few months back, I worked some one in the lower part of 10m - about
28010 KHz or so.  We started with around 100 Watts or so and ended up
with the ham in Ca feeding his slinky with 2w.  It still was copyable.

Few other times when I have had a longer ragchew with some one far away,
we have tried out many power levels.  In one instance we started out
with 100 watts and successively halved the power (-3db or about 1/2
to 3/4 of a S unit, depending on how you define it).  We got down to
6 watts before the qrn and other noises prevented a solid copy.  It
is an interesting way of gauging the quality of band conditions (qrn,
qrm and propagation) and the quality of equipment of both ends.

In the December of last year I met a older ham in the library while
he was perusing thru copies of an old magazine -  the Radio News magazine.  
The copies were dated 1950 or so and had yellowed because of all
the acid in the paper.  He was an 83 yr old ham whose interest in
the hobby consisted of building milliwatt (100mW) gear using receiving
tubes and using it to chase DX.  He said that every so often, he would
junk the old one and build a new one and start off again.  He was
in the process of getting info for a new one.

I and a friend, Greg/KD9AZ, are designing qrp rigs using the collage
method of picking interesting ideas from different designs.
Hope to cu on air while qrp.  Can't wait to get going with home brew qrp.

73
Rajiv Dewan
aa9ch

 
 
 

QRP social phenomena

Post by Pete Ros » Sun, 16 Feb 1992 01:42:31


>I worked a guy in North Carolina who was running 1 watt a couple of weeks ago!

I remember working a JA or two on 15 meter CW about 10 years ago.  I was
running something like 100mw.  It was a neat experience but it is kind
of hard to prove it to anyone else unless *his* QSL card acknowledged the
fact the *I* was the one with the low power.  I don't remember if I ever got
a card or not..  But I know I worked him.. That's all that really matters.

=================================================================

Paramax Systems Corporation - a subsidiary of Unisys Corporation
Electronic and Information Systems Group - Valley Forge Labs
Paoli, Pennsylvania
=================================================================

 
 
 

QRP social phenomena

Post by Bill Chiarchia » Sun, 16 Feb 1992 03:10:45


|>
|> It is interesting and fun to see how low you can reduce your power and still
|> carry on a reasonable qso with some one.  A couple of instances:
|>

   One of my most enjoyable ham experiences occurred in December 1989
when I worked England on 6 meters SSB using less than one watt.  My
rig was a Mizuho 1-watt, VXO, SSB/CW handheld (they're no longer
available -- much to the dismay of one of my friends who really wants
one now).  I did have it hooked up to a 3-element yagi at about 25
feet.  The ham in England had a similar antenna and was running no
more than 10 or 15 watts.

   After the QSO, I hooked the rig up to a 200-MHz oscilloscope and
measured that it was putting out about 750 mW in CW -- the batteries
were getting a little low!

73,

Bill Chiarchiaro  N1CPK

 
 
 

QRP social phenomena

Post by Clark Savage Turn » Wed, 19 Feb 1992 03:45:46


Quote:>I worked a guy in North Carolina who was running 1 watt a couple of weeks ago!
>As I am in the SF Bay Area what is that 3000 miles a watt? That got me going
>so I turned down my power to 2 watts as I figured that I was losing a watt in
>coax. I got solid signal reports from MT and WA and managed to contact hams in
>TX and OK though I lost them almost right away. We got as far as swapping call
>signs and that was it. Still it's a real thrill to work anyone on 1 to 2 watts!
>73!
>Jeff

What band and antenna, Jeff?  I don't really think you are losing half your
power in your coax....that would be a pretty terrible antenna or feedline.
And, if your antenna is reasonably efficient, and you have decent conditions,
try 40 meters SSB for a real surprise!  (Or even 75 in the evening.)  I have
had a LOT of surprising success, and RARELY am I not heard.  I have WAS
with about 5 watts SSB 40 meters and it only took about 2 months.  I have
worked Western Australia on 40 SSB for more than just a signal report.  When
I get up to 15 meters and the band is open, I have had several hour long
fully copiable QSO's to the Far East.  Its really fun.  And it generates a
lot of e***ment with some of the other hams (some good, some bad.)

The keys to QRP success in my experience:
- good antenna.
- great mike (for SSB)
- good technique (patience, persistence)

The real surprise has been how very easy it is to have SOME contacts using
QRP.  When I asked several hams what they thought of me using a ham stick
mobile antenna on my car and my argonaut plugged into my cigarette lighter
jack, they said (authoritatively) nobody would hear me.  However, I have
had several QSO's of over an hour (in motion up the coast) with stations
via skywave (several hundred miles) during the day, and several good signal
reports (up to 5 x 5) during the evenings, QSO's lasting as long, but
now several thousand miles away.  There ARE times when I am not copyable,
but the times are surprisingly few.  5 watts SSB and a 6 foot 40 meter
mobile antenna!  The sky is kinder than I had previously thought.

Clark S. Turner

**********************************
Clark Savage Turner                     Software Safety Group
Dept. of ICS                            IERF 124
UC Irvine
Irvine, CA. 92717
(714) 856 4049 and 856 2131

Ham radio:  WA3JPG, local - 146.895 mHz, PL 136.5 Hz.

 
 
 

QRP social phenomena

Post by Ed Hare KA1 » Fri, 21 Feb 1992 04:02:00

I just have to tell the a tale from my milliwatting days. Once
upon a time, I was trying to work all states with 250 milliwatts.
I was in contact with a ham in Florida who decided to get even
with me for making him listen so hard. He dropped power from
100 watts down to about 20 watts. I told him I could hardly
hear the difference, and suggested that he lower his power down
to less than a watt. At 1 watt he was still Q5, so he dropped
his power so low that he was not even moving his power meter.
No problem...  he was 529 on this end. He told me to hold on.
I did, and then heard him way way down in the noise, maybe a
319 signal. I copied most of what he said, and came back to him
to tell him that he had to increase power just a bit. We were
both rolling on the floor as he told me that he had been running
5 watts into his dummy load!

73 to all, Ed.
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