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Answering Readers Questions & Comments III - Keynote # 3, 1998

Once again this month, your contributions make up my column. Thank you, and like the old saying goes, "Keep those cards and letters coming". I guess that should now include Emails. HI.

I worked Dick on the air, and he followed up our QSO with the following: Greetings John, I really enjoy your column in the "Keynote newsletter" and your info on QRP operating is really interesting. This is very attractive to me since I decided to get on QRP and purchased a kit from Ten Tec and started to do some kit building. The question I have is that have you any experiences with "Ten Tec" kits, for they are never mentioned in your column? Good luck and again, I enjoy reading your experiences in QRP. Sincerely, Dick WD0HBW.

No Dick, I have not had any experiences with any commercial transmitters (kits or otherwise) except for using my friend's QRP Plus rig. I build all my own transmitting gear from scratch. All I can say is that I have worked hams using just about every conceivable QRP kit, and they all sound very good. I have links to many of the QRP kit sites on my web site if you want to look for more info that way.

And Cal writes: Hello John my name is Cal. I have enjoyed all your articles in the keynote. Keep up the good work. I am thinking of building a qrp kit and I would like you to tell me how to zero beat the other station. I have been zero beating my IC 737 by sending my side tone while adjusting the other stations tone to mine, this seems to work ok, but my Icom has a switch to take me out of the transmitt mode. I don't think a qrp kit will be able to do this. Any help you can give will be appreciated. tnx es 72-73 Cal. AA8VM #2472

Well Cal, that is something that is hard to answer because every rig is slightly different as far as zero beating goes. The case where a separate transmitter and receiver is used is the easiest to be sure you are exactly zero beat. You simply turn on the VFO portion of the transmitter and tune the VFO till your tone matches the signal you are listening to, and you are zero beat. With transceivers, it's somewhat more tricky, I think. When you tune in a station so that his tone is set to whatever the offset frequency is for that particular xcvr, you are zero beat. However, unless you have perfect pitch, it's hard to tell when that tone is 700 Hz, 800 Hz or whatever. And of course, you have to be sure to have all the incremental tuning gadgets (RIT, XIT, etc.) turned off when you do that or you will most likely not even be close to zero beat. I'd like to hear from those of you who use the commercial or kit xcvrs with your tips on zero beating. It is something that needs to be learned. I often get answers to my CQ's that are way off zero beat, and that shouldn't be unless the station is using a Xtal.

Next this from Corb, who writes often with always interesting info: Hi John, I would like your thoughts on something. Yesterday I received a QSL from OX/OZ8AE. On the back he indicated that he did not fill out the card using /QRP after my call since I had not used the QRP designation during our QSO. I seldom if ever use the /QRP designation and I never use it in contest or "pile up" situations. (I never use it either, Corb - it's not necessary - js) When I send out my QSL I indicate that I was operating QRP and describe my equipment. I don't request that my QRP status be acknowledged. Roughly half of the cards that I receive indicate K8UCL/QRP. I had not thought much about it one way or the other. The contests and awards that I'm aware of either take your word for QRP ops or don't recognize QRP at all. I suppose I should be concerned if trying for a 2xQRP award. And when I applied for WAC QRP I did make sure that I used cards that indicated QRP, since I had heard that the ARRL can be touchy about such things. Otherwise, do I need concern myself whether a QSL from someone has /QRP after my callsign?

Nope. I know I used QRP when I worked someone. I don't need them to tell me I did by putting /QRP on my QSL. If they want to put it there, fine. If they request I put it after their call on a QSL, I'll do it. As far as I am personally concerned, if anyone doubts I used QRP, I don't care. If any awards demand my cards have /QRP on them, I just won't bother getting that award. As far as the ARRL goes, my WAC and WAS QRP awards/endorsements were gotten with regular cards without /QRP after my call.

Corb continues: Congrats on your RAC Winter Contest score. Nice job, you'll probably take US honors again. I did OK. I had 58 QSOs with 18 multipliers. Might take 8th call area again, hope so, enjoy getting those certificates you know . I like the job you're doing with your web site, it's coming along great. 73, Corb, K8UCL.

Speaking of contests, Corb and I both had a ball in the ARRL DX contest with our QRP and simple wire antennas. I had 179 QSO's for my most ever in a DX contest. Those QSO's represented 106 band-countries. Corb had 92 QSO's in 60 multipliers. We both worked Romania for the first time (YO3APJ). Corb got HC2, PY0F, and LU1ZC (South Shetlands) for new countries also. He now has 114. I also got ES and LU1ZC (after the contest) for a total of 137. Proof you don't need much to work DX - just a little determination.

Out of space. Remember my new web site address: http://home.windstream.net/johnshan/ -30-