Answering Readers Questions and Comments V - Keynote # 8, 1999
The following is from Bill, K1HLG who also adds that he is interested in milliwatt power, and asks about it. Since I got this letter, my QRPp article has been published so I hope Bill found his answers there.
I read your article in the Keynote and found it very interesting. I have been on QRP since Jan 21st. I purchased an MFJ-9040 - 4 watts and MFJ-4114 power supply. I just got my 9015 I ordered 5 weeks ago last Thursday. On 40 I have worked 36 states with 28 confirmed. I got the 9015 set up and was on today at different times with no success. I guess there was a contest (yes - the CQ WPX - js) on. I heard a lot of good DX but no luck yet. When I was a Novice 40 years ago I had a single 6L6. I don't remember how much plate voltage I had but it ran 1.6 watts, and I had a lot of fun with it. I have not been on 15 meters for 35 years so I guess I will just have to listen and get used to the 15 meter band. I hang around 7058 and 7110-7120.
Bill also enclosed a picture of his great looking setup and a couple samples of his QSL cards. Thanks, Bill.
Next some more interesting info from Ken, W6IEU.
I found your comments of QRPp very interesting. I also find it a great challenge to reach out with very low power. I built a QRPp watt meter (90mW-5W) I use in conjunction with my Kenwood 430. I found with the carrier off, the rig would put out 90mW through the watt meter. I started out with 2 watts and with such good results I dropped down to 90 mW. I was really amazed by the reports. I knew through the years that the only way for QRPp was with a very effective antenna. I am in an RV and the job of getting the antenna would be a challenge. I have a full metal roof (36 ft.) long. That means a good counterpoise north and south. I put up a 40M dipole and put the apex near the bottom of the vertical which is 8 ft. by 1 inch aluminum tubing. It was mounted over my head on the RV making the feedline only 2 ft. long and with the dipole at the vertical makes an east to west counterpoise. I also have a heavy ground from the base to a ground rod below.
Before retiring I had a 60 ft. tower, a KW driven by a Swan 360, 2 meter gear (5 element beam). I had fun through the years and now keep an album with 68 DX earned awards I can look back. We spend our winters here in CA and summers in OR. We have a son here and a daughter in OR. I QRPp mostly during the winter and have a ball. With my vertical I have been able to reach out better than I thought I could.
Since 1980 we leave the RV here and have another RV up north. That is why I set up my antennas. I used a Spider mobile when on the road. So starting in 1990 I QRPped like mad. HI. The cycle was very good and didn't slow up till 93-94 for me. I worked into EU, AS, SA. It was great. I worked 68 foreign contacts, 28 different countries all confirmed by QSLs. None over 3 watts but for 2 contacts. I worked 5 sections of Japan with 90mW confirmed. Worked and confirmed 46 states also with 90mW. The problem was I couldn't get the close states because overhead skip. Have been trying for short skip, but the cycle got me. When the band weakened I decided to work the low bands QRP. MY disadvantage was no parts. I did have some 6AQ5 tubes so I gathered some junk and with 5 parts I built an oscillator for 40M. A fellow gave me an old piece of gear and I built a power supply. The oscillator used 2 bypass condensers, one resistor, no coil forms so I used the center of a toilet paper roll. No variable condensers so I took an antenna from a BC radio and used the ferrite rod to load the oscillator by dipping the ferrite rod in to the coil. I could adjust the output power from 4 to 10 watts.
I didn't give up on QRPp. I still catch the band skip pretty good at times. There is a metal roof on the cabana up north and I plan on putting a vertical on it for this summer and go hunting FISTS on 10-15.
Just wanted to say you are giving out very good info to those that want to go QRPp. Will be looking forward to your next article on QRPp - QRP.
Well Ken, you also provided a lot of good info via your letter, and I'm sure my readers will find it as interesting as I did.
It's always great to hear from my readers about their QRP experiences. When I get the chance, I'll share the info you send to me here in the column like I did with the info from Bill and Ken.
And now for something completely different! Remember that line from Monty Python's Flying Circus? Corb, K8UCL and I have formed a contesting team and entered the QRP ARCI Spring contest as a team. We finished 3rd among the clubs, and the second place team needed 5 members to beat the two of us. We have two qualifications: 1. You must only use simple wire antennas, i.e. dipoles, long wires (not so long they provide gain like a beverage), random wires, etc. In other words NO antennas that provide gain over a dipole - no quads, no beams, no big loops, no phased arrays, etc. 2. All contesting as a team member must be with CW only. Hence the name of our team - the CW SWAT - CW Simple Wire Antenna Team. If there is anyone interested in joining our team, let me know. Describe your antenna situation. It's our intention to show that you can have fun in contests without having a big professional type contest station. Corb and I both have tons of fun contesting with our simple setups and we both have won many contesting awards individually. Now we are giving it a try as a team.
Contact me via Email - or regular mail - John Shannon, 478 E. High St., Kittanning, PA 16201-1304 or my web site - home.windstream.net/johnshan/. Till next month, 73 and good contesting. -30-