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1000 Days of QRP - Keynote # 6, 1997

On August 5, 1994 I worked KG9N/C6A. Nothing unusual about that, for sure. However, on April 30, 1997 I worked AB5XP. Still nothing unusual. What is perhaps a little unusual is that on each of the 1000 days between and including those two dates, I made at least one minimal QRP QSO. For those of you new to my writings, the term minimal means that I use only simple wire antennas to keep my ERP at 5 watts or less. I do not use multi-element antennas to boost my radiated power.

All too often in magazine or newsletter writeups, on-air discussions, books, etc. about QRP we hear how someone worked this or that station with a power of 4 watts or some other one-time thing. That leaves the impression that these QRP contacts are an isolated thing possible only when conditions are right. I want to set the record straight. QRP is a viable force in ham radio. It is something that will work day in, day out. You can use it as your prime operating mode in ham radio.

The 1000 day period has spanned the minimum of a sunspot cycle when even QRO stations are supposed to be having difficulty making contacts. On only a handful of days did the Solar Flux rise above the 100 level in that time period.

I didn't do anything special to ensure the continuation of the streak. By that I mean I didn't check into any nets along the way. I made no schedules with anyone to continue the streak. I didn't use packet spotting. I simply got on the air each day and called CQ, answered someone's CQ, or on contest weekends got into the contests. I never signed /QRP after my call.

All contacts, of course, were made on CW since that is the only mode I operate here. I don't know if it could have been done on any other mode - at least it wouldn't have been so easy. I never came seriously close to missing a day, although on some days it took a lot of listening and/or calling CQ before a contact came along.

Included in the streak are 11748 contacts with all 50 states, all 7 continents, 119 countries, and too many prefixes and counties to count. Many many good solid rag chews. Countless 'you're doing great (FB, good, fantastic, etc.) with your QRP' and 'it's hard to believe you're running QRP'.

I spread my activity over all 9 HF bands and most times of the day. I worked all sections of the bands from the Extra Class segments up to the Novice part of the bands. For a good many of the QSO's I used less than 5 watts. In fact all the way down to 70 MW which is about as low as I can get my power output by reducing the screen voltage on my 6Y6 final to 0 volts.

The most distant QSO was one with VK6HQ near Perth, Australia who suprised me on 30M by answering my CQ. I think it may have been a long path QSO also, which would make the distance more than halfway around the world, but even if it was normal path it is my most distant.

The states I worked the fewest times were Hawaii and Nevada which I worked 9 times each. Most often worked was my home state of PA with 1218 QSO's. Most often worked DX country among my 1029 DX contacts was Puerto Rico with 65 QSO's. Aruba 2nd with 50, and England 3rd with 40. After North America, my best continent was Europe with 254 QSO's. Antarctica the fewest with 3 QSO's.

Most QSO's on a band - 4126 on 40M; fewest 12 on 12M. 517 QSO's came with less than 5 watts, 56 with less than 1/2 watt.

It took 360 days to get to 100 countries when I worked RW0A on July 30, 1995. That QSO also completed WAC during the streak. WAS took 198 days and was completed by working KL7Y on Feb 18, 1995.

The purpose of my giving all this information about my streak is simply to show anyone who reads this that QRP does work, even with simple wire antennas. If you are in a situation where you can't use high power or put up huge antennas, maybe my results will encourage you to get on the air with a simple setup and give it a try. I guarantee you that you will succeed and be able to enjoy the finest of all hobbies. There are other benefits to operating with QRP also. You don't have to worry about the big fuss that is being made about RF radiation hazards. TVI, RFI, EMI, etc. will be either nonexistent or much easier to cure than with high power. Give it a try - you may never go QRO again.

Someone wrote to me suggesting that I list your QRP accomplishments in my column. I thought that was a good idea because I believe it encourages us to try something if we know that others can do it. So if you want to let others know what you have done with QRP, send me the info. I will include what I can in future columns. Things to mention would be achievements like WAS with QRP, QRP DXCC, working a VK6 with 1 watt, working cross-country with QRP, or actually anything you can think of to tell me. I've tried to encourage others to use QRP by talking about my results. Now it's your turn to help out by sharing your QRP accomplishments.

As always I can be reached via Email or on the Internet at http://home.windstream.net/johnshan/ or via normal mail at 478 E. High St., Kittanning, PA 16201-1304. It's your input that keeps these columns coming. 73 -30-