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Memorable QSO's & QRP Awards - Keynote # 1, 1998

A couple of issues ago I asked you to tell me about your most memorable QRP QSO, and said I would tell you about mine. It is very hard to decide on just one.

I guess when you work the last of something, like the 50th state - or the first of something, like the 1st Asia QSO - those are ones that stick in our minds.

I remember working 4Z4DX on 30M one evening for my first ever QSO with Asia, and my last continent. Another Asian QSO sticks in my mind - the first time I ever worked Japan. Here is the country with the most amateurs in the world, and I just couldn't work it, mainly because of the difficult path that passes through the auroral zone. Finally in the CQ WW DX contest in 1996, I made it. What a thrill to have JA3ZOH come back to me, and getting his QSL in just a couple of weeks.

First QSO's on a particular band are also memorable. I remember well working K3KLC on 160M. I never thought you could do anything with QRP on that band, but I was wrong. I now have 40 states there. I also remember my first QSO on 12M with K0OSW. I remember that one because 12M was the last of the HF bands that I got on, and that one meant I now had QRP QSO's on all 9 HF bands.

My most memorable QSO of all came on 30M. On May 10, 1996 at 0036Z in the evening I was just calling my usual 3 X 2 CQ trying to get my QSO for that day keeping my streak of days with at least 1 QRP QSO going. After a few tries, a weak signal answered me. The call started with a V so I immediately thought it must be a VE6 or VE7, but the second letter wasn't an E or an A, it was a K. Well, I figured now it had to be an Aussie maritime mobile somewhere. No, he didn't sign slant anything after the call, just VK6HQ. I still couldn't believe it, and thought it was someone just fooling around. I went through with the QSO, and he was copying me very well, maybe a little better than I was copying him in my excitement. He gave his QTH as near Perth which I knew was in western Australia, and just about as far from my QTH as could be and still be on the Earth. We exchanged info for a few minutes, and said 73's. Now I wondered if it was legitimate.

I got my QSL in the mail the next day with an SAE and an IRC, and waited. In about a week or 10 days, I got a card back from John, and I knew then I had made a QRP QSO halfway around the world. There is a possibility the QSO was long path which would even add a little more to the distance that my signals travelled.

That's my most memorable one till something better comes along, and I doubt it will. I'd still like to hear about yours.

As we start the new year (it's Jan 3rd as I'm writing this), I'd like to say how gratifying it is to hear about all the QRP operation that is being done by FISTS members. In every issue of the Keynote, there are many mentions of QRP. If you are a new member of FISTS who is interested in QRP, and would like to read some of my past columns, they are all available on my web site at http://home.windstream.net/johnshan/

There are many awards available for QRP operation. Our own FISTS club has two very fine awards, the QRP Century (I have award # 002), and the 2 way QRP Century (I have # 001). With the large number of FISTS now running QRP, these should be easier and easier to earn.

Several of the major awards are also honored with a QRP endorsement. The Worked All States from ARRL has such an endorsement, and is fairly easy to earn. It's an attractive award made even more so with the QRP sticker on it. Another popular award is Worked All Continents from the IARU and the ARRL. It is available from the ARRL, and can be endorsed for QRP operation.

One big award that is not endorsed for QRP is the DXCC. Why, I don't know. I have heard that ARRL has no way of proving that you actually operated QRP for the DXCC. Yet, they believe you for WAS and WAC. To use a currently popular phrase - go figure!

Of course, the QRP ARCI has many awards for QRP, as do some of the other QRP clubs. There are also other organizations that issue QRP awards. If you would like a listing of just about every ham radio award there is, you can contact my friend, K1BV whom I have known since the 60's when he was K1GUD, and we were involved in the county hunter's net together. He publishes an award directory, and would be glad to give you further info if you contact him via his callbook address, or via Email at k1bv@top.monad.net.

Larry, KE8LF writes via Email: "Enjoy reading your QRP article in "KEYNOTE" I operate QRP also with a Argonaut 509. I really enjoy QRP. In the summer months I take my 509 with me to my camper. I use a long wire antenna thru a home brew tuner. Don't have any complaints of TVI. Everyone has an external TV antenna there. I also use a home brew vertical with base load coil on 20 meters." Good point about no TVI, Larry. That's true.

I also received a nice Email from N1ODL, but don't have room in this column. I'll get to it next column, and try to cover some more of your comments as well.

For now, 73 in '98. Write me at 478 E. High St., Kittanning, PA 16201-1304 -30-