Life’s too short for QRP by Onno VK6FLAB

Nashua Area Radio Society Topics In All Forums CW and QRP Forum Life’s too short for QRP by Onno VK6FLAB

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    Layne AE1N
    Layne AE1N

    Apparently we have gone 16 days in March 2017 without nary a single sunspot in sight! So, maybe the bands are not in the best shape. No time to give up! Lets go fishing…

    Onno, VK6FLAB, hits the nail on the head about the challenge and excitement of QRP. In his blog, Foundations of Amateur Radio, episode 94, he writes:

    A phrase I hear regularly is “life’s too short for QRP” and today I think that it’s appropriate to start a conversation about that sentiment. When propagation is poor the high-power amplifiers get on air and use it to prove that you need power to get out and about.

    Far be it for me to deny another amateur the pleasure of working a thousand stations at the same time, a so-called pile-up. It’s a thrill. I’ve done it during contests. It’s fun. You call CQ and the biggest problem you’re faced with is deciding on which station to pick.

    In the past I’ve mentioned that I’ve made a contact with Cuba, about 18,000 km away using 5 Watts. Over the weekend I managed just under a third of the distance, Perth to Tuvalu, 7,000 km with a wire and 5 Watts. You could take away from this that I like bragging about my contacts and it’s true that I’m proud of having achieved those things, but that’s not actually what I want to talk about.

    Amateur Radio is a lot like fishing. You can go out and throw a stick of dynamite into a pond and pull out all the fish, or you can stand up to your armpits with a reel in your hand casting a fly to catch a fish. Operating QRP is like fly-fishing. It takes practice, patience and perseverance. Of course it’s not for everybody, but then neither is fly-fishing.

    If you hold an introductory Amateur Radio license like I do, the rules of engagement restrict how much power you’re allowed to use. For some this restriction appears to inhibit their ability to enjoy the hobby. This podcast started life some six years ago precisely because a new entrant was expressing their need for more power.

    My contact over the weekend wasn’t particularly earth shattering. It was made with a minimum of equipment, a wire antenna on a squid-pole strapped to a house, simple radio, running off a battery in preparation for a contest that was happening the next day. The thing to note is that it happened on 40m, using 5 Watts and the distance was twice the maximum distance within my own country.

    This means that any amateur who is starting out can achieve the same thing. It means that you might need to review your assumptions if you think of a 4,000km distance between stations as a hurdle that cannot be overcome.

    The take-away should be that while QRP is not for everyone, it’s a perfectly valid way of enjoying the hobby and smelling the roses along the way.

    In case you’re wondering, yes, I was wearing a grin from ear to ear after making my contact. Better still, I didn’t have to kiss any fish.

    I’m Onno VK6FLAB


    Layne AE1N


    Patrick Morrison

    That was quite a nice contact. >10 watts suites me fine. Like fly or surf fishing, its skill and being in the right place at the right time. Im not worried about the number of contact. The distance is more important to me. My little Baofung and i will will try to “go where no man has gone before” to para phrase James T Kirk.

    Patrick, KC1HDN

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