BIG QRP Contest This Weekend

This weekend Oct. 11-12 from 1200Z Saturday to 2359z Sunday will see the bands alive with QRP (5 Watts or less) signals as this is the Fall QSO Party for the QRP Amateur Radio International club.images

This 36-hour CW only event features all-band, single-band, low-bands only or high-bands only categories at 5 Watts or more (one point per Q); 1 to 5 (7 points per Q); 250mW to 1 Watt (10 points per Q); 55 mW to 250 mW (15 points per Q) and 55 mW or less (20 points per Q).

So let’s say you’re like everybody else. You’ve got a 40 meter dipole or maybe a small 20-15-10 beam. You live in or near a city so you’re antenna farm is modest.images-2

Try running 4.9 Watts into your antennas and listen on 7030 or 7040 and I guarantee you’ll work at least a couple of guys. Same thing on 14060 or 21060 or maybe even 28060.

Now if you can, try running one Watt on the 40 and 20 meter frequencies. I’ve got a NorCal 40 that I’ve cut the power back to 1 Watt and I’ve worked lots of guys just using the loaded 40-meter dipole extensions on my Hy-Gain Explorer beam. My Butternut vertical works just about as well if conditions are good.QQ_Summer_2014_Cover_264

For the exchange ARCI members send RST, State/Prov./Country and ARCI #. I’m # 14498 🙂

For non-members the exchange is RST, State/Prov./Country, Power Out.

Here’s what I am going to do. I’m going to run the NorCal 40 on 40 and < 1 Watt and I’m going to pre-program my memory keyer and run the rig into an amplified speaker so I can be doing other things around the shack when nobody is around.

Depending on conditions I might run my NorCal 20 on 20 at < 5 Watts as it has an amplified speaker and memory keyer built in 🙂image

Both of these are sweet rigs. I’d be quite happy running either one of them full-time on CW as their receivers are fabulous. Considering you can pickup a NorCal 20 for around $60 used or buy a NorCal 40 and build it yourself, this is a cheap way to get into CW contesting.

QRP operating is a whole lot more than just operating with 5 Watts or less.

The Four Days In May event which takes place in Dayton, Ohio on the same week as the massive Hamvention is a gathering of dedicated operators, designers and builders who are continually seeking ways of doing more with less…often a lot less.

I like QRP contesting a lot.F1500_new_FV-1

Running the Flex 1500 especially on CW during major contests is great fun and I usually work several hundred stations during the 48-hour contests. Sure I do run 100 Watts when conditions collapse and back in the day I used to run 800 watts out and it’s all fun. But there’s something about QRP.

Join the QRP ARCI and you’ll get the very excellent QRP Quarterly. Some of the articles are inspirational as the articles range from low-noise design of very complicated circuits to how to build rigs with just a handful of parts. Very neat.

Hope to see you this weekend.

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This entry was posted in Uncategorized by Peter West. Bookmark the permalink.

About Peter West

I am retired. I'm invested into bike riding, guitar playing, yoga and Ham Radio. I am a former photojournalist, newspaper and magazine editor and public relations practitioner with national, regional and local experience. A long-time member of Toastmasters International and an active Amateur Radio (Ham) operator here in Canada I am taking on new challenges.

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