I’m on the air everyday but its been a long time since I have been involved with any dedicated HF QRP activity. That is until the last few days. As posts on this site suggest I’ve been busy with other aspects of the amateur radio discipline and I have no regrets but there are a finite number of hours in the day so something has to give. I have tried to keep up with posts on QRP-L but I go through periods where that content is almost unreadable because off topic excursions or the same questions coming up again and again that could have been resolved with an archive search. Things have changed in the last fifteen or twenty years but thats a different post…
Much of my QRP activity over the past thirty years has been away from home or at least away from the primary operating position. I operate QRP in CW contests from time to time (most recently in the ARRL 160-meter contest) but my contesting is rather casual these days and I don’t particularly enjoy using the “big rig” with the power turned down to QRP levels. Its only been in the last five or six years that I have spent time operating QRP away from home with pedestrian mobile or setting up in a park and while I have fun with that, I enjoy the amenities that are afforded a “shack ham” which is really what I am. Its kind of ironic because I actually like the outdoors. A lot. But like having cheese on my pizza versus no cheese on my burgers, everything has its place and being somewhat OCD it must to be in its place.
I really like the Elecraft KX3 but this nice little rig has spent a lot of time sitting in the bag under the operating position. I’ve considered setting it up for use at the operating position for some time now but real estate on the desk is at a premium and everything that is there within arm’s reach has its daily use. I did the next best thing, I brought out a TV tray table and created a new layer of complexity at the operating position but so far it has worked out OK. I’ve enjoyed leaving the rig tuned to 14.060 MHz during the day as I work, responding to a few CQ’s as time allows and doing so at ridiculously small power levels. It’s the most time I’ve spent on 20 meters in quite a while! I was happy to work NO1R at lunch today, calling CQ with a nice strong signal. I responded with 500 mW and Steve came right back, operating at 5 watts to a G5RV. Its been a long time since I worked a non-local QRP station using QRP on HF. I’ve since made a few calls with 100 mW and received a few nice reports from the reverse beacon network:
I’m not really surprised by these reports but it is very gratifying to receive them and I hope operators calling CQ on QRP watering hole frequencies will listen hard for my very weak signals and respond. I’m making an effort to respond to many calls during the day course of the day.
What’s next? I want to find out what 0.0 watts on the KX3 really means. I suspect it’s really more like 1-10 mW and not actually 0.0 watts out but calls thus far have yielded no reports but I will keep trying.