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Review of My First Year of Columns + Your Comments - Keynote # 9, 1997

With this column I begin a second year of being a FISTS columnist. The first year has been very rewarding for me, thanks to your valuable input. I hope that I have helped you with your QRP efforts and gotten several of you interested in QRP.

When my first column appeared in the Keynote, the FISTS membership had reached 2500. Now it is over 3500. Because of that tremendous growth, I am going to offer a reprise of the first year of columns.

If you want to look at any of the previous columns, they are available on my Internet site at http://home.windstream.net/johnshan/.

In the first year we looked at basic operation with QRP, and also delved into QRP contesting and most recently, QRP Dxing. We featured columns on the technical aspects of QRP with hints on how to make your equipment more efficient. One column I particularly enjoyed doing was taking you along with me while I operated the 1996 SS contest. Another article of that type featured my 1000 consecutive days of QRP QSO's. I informed you of the many QRP clubs that exist to help you with QRP operation. I also attempted to answer your questions and comments along the way.

We listened to you when you wanted us to review different QRP rigs in the Keynote. At first, Nancy and I thought we shouldn't promote other rigs since the club has its own QRP kit. Now we solicit reviews from the membership. If you own a QRP rig, and would like to try your hand at writing a review of it, contact Nancy. The only requirement is that it should be a review and not an advertisement for the rig.

Now as I embark on my second year of writing, it is even more important that I have your input for the column. What would you like to see discussed this year? What questions do you have about QRP? I thought it would be interesting to share your QRP accomplishments with the membership, but I got very little response to that idea. I still would like to do it, though. Let me know what you have accomplished with QRP with complete details about your station equipment, especially the antenna system.

There was a minor controversy involving a few hams about my emphasis on the different types of QRP operation. I operate what is called minimal QRP, a term that was not coined by me, but has been around for many years. It simply means keeping the output from your antenna at a QRP level by using simple wire antennas. I have nothing whatsoever against those who use a rig with 5 watts output and feed that output into a huge multi-element antenna system that boosts their Effective Radiated Power (ERP) to a much higher figure. I just think that a distinction should be made when comparing results and accomplishments. After all it is much easier to do something with QRP if you have a huge antenna system. As an example, an antenna array with a gain of 13 DB increases a transmitter output of 5 watts to 100 W ERP albeit in only one direction.

I want you to know what can be done with a simple QRP setup because many of you live in apartments or are otherwise location challenged. Telling you what I have done with minimal QRP is intended to encourage you to try hamming with a simple setup. You do not need a huge antenna system on a hilltop location to enjoy ham radio. That is the bottom line. I don't think that hearing about someone's accomplishments with a huge antenna system and ideal location is going to encourage you if you don't have the resources to duplicate that setup.

I have a little space left so let me cover some of your comments. I received a ham radio message from W4IRE through W3TZW stating that he enjoyed the columns on Dxing. That's just one of many comments like that I have received. I don't have space to list everyone's call, but I do appreciate each and every comment.

Corb, K8UCL sent the following via Email: At your suggestion in a recent issue of FISTS Key Note, I thought I'd drop you a note regarding my QRP ops. After a long absence from "ham" activities, I've been back on the air for almost a year now. I've been operating CW-QRP exclusively. I use a Heathkit HW-8 that I built about 20 years ago, but never saw much air time, and a couple of simple wire antennas that I've strung in the attic of my two story home. I must attest to what you say can be done using QRP is true, even with less than optimum antenna arrangements. The other day I received in the mail from the ARRL my WAS Award with CW and QRP endorsements. The award from QRP-ARCI should be arriving soon. I am awaiting a QSL confirming Asia so that I can apply for my WAC-QRP. So far I have worked 81 DX countries towards DXCC-QRP. I'm also getting close to having worked enough FISTS members to qualify for a Century Award QRP. If I hadn't done it myself, I wouldn't have thought you could achieve so much using less than 5 watts. It does take patience and persistence, but it does pay off and is a lot of fun. The information and advice that you provide in your column and at your web site are valuable assets to anyone interested in operating QRP.

This is the kind of stuff I'd like to hear from other FISTS about their QRP accomplishments. That's it for column # 13. -30-