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Batteries / QRP Clubs - Keynote # 2, 1997

In last month's column, I mentioned I would be answering your questions this time around. I've only received a couple of questions. One asked me to describe operation in nets. Well, since I received that question, other plans have been made, and Pete, K8OUA will be writing a series of columns on nets and traffic handling.

The other question was about operating QRP with batteries. My only personal experience with that has been operating with Eric, KB3BFQ and his QRP+ rig. He has an old car battery that he uses to operate the rig from. This is an excellent power source since a car battery when fully charged can easily run a rig like the QRP+ for a full weekend of contest operation or for much longer periods of time of casual operating. The obvious drawback is the size of the battery. It is around twice the size of the QRP+ and weighs several times as much.

A point in favor of the car battery is its availability and affordability. Batteries that no longer have the punch to start a car will still work fine, and can often be found for next to nothing. Compare that to the high cost of comparable batteries such as rechargeable gel cells and you may be willing to put up with the large size and weight unless you are going backpacking with your rig. Then you will have to buy something that is easily carried, but quite expensive.

I would like to open up this discussion of batteries, and include your suggestions and experiences. I could go and read lots of information about batteries, and pass that along to you, but I think information gathered that way is not as helpful as actual experience. So if you have operated with batteries, write to me and let me know the pros and cons of the type of battery you used, and I will compile the information and present it a column or two down the road.

Now let's turn to another topic that I discussed with Nancy. The matter of QRP clubs. I thought it would be helpful to list the various QRP clubs in case anyone was interested in joining or finding out more information about them. I wasn't sure if we should be promoting other organizations in the FISTS newsletter, but Nancy said it would be OK, and in return, perhaps the QRP clubs might help to promote our FISTS club.

There are many, many QRP clubs ranging from large national organizations to small clubs involving only amateurs from one town or city. I decided to limit my listing to those clubs involving a US State or larger. I hope I have not left any club out. If I have, you know what to do. Let me know, and I'll mention them in a later column.

Each listing shows, when available, the name of the club, an Email address for info, the URL of their website, and a contact person/mailing address.

QRP ARCI (the biggest, worldwide club)

QRP-L (an Internet QRP club)

Activity Group QRP Berlin

G-QRP Club
    Mike Kilgore KG5F (for USA amateurs)
    2046 Ash Hill Road
    Carrolton TX 75007
    John Leak G0BXO
    56 Heath Crescent
    Halifax W Yorkshire HX1 2PW

Alaska QRP Club

Arizona QRP Club

Colorado QRP Club
    PO Box 371883
    Denver CO 80237-1883

Michigan QRP Club
    654 Georgia
    Marysville, MI 48040


NorCal QRP Club
    Jim Cates
    3241 Eastwood Rd.
    Sacramento, CA 95821

NorthWest QRP Club

Although many of these clubs are named for states, that does not mean you have to live in that state to join. They welcome anyone, and the state designation is largely just an indication of where the club is headquartered. For example, I live in PA, but I am a member of the Alaska and NJ QRP clubs.

Some of the clubs do not charge any dues, and you can join them for free. Others charge a small fee for their newsletter, but you can become a member for free. They are all different, and rather than taking up more space here for details, I suggest if you are interested, contact the particular club for details.

Many of the clubs sponsor contests, and other activities. All are great sources of QRP information. The Internet sites are a wealth of information in themselves.

Next month I am going to devote my column to the technical aspect of QRP operation, and offer suggestions how to get the most out of your QRP setup. If space permits, I'll answer another question I just received about antennas in cramped spaces.

Till then, 73. Don't forget to visit my web site at http://home.windstream.net/johnshan/ Email me or regular mail to 478 E. High St., Kittanning, PA 16201-1304. -30-