My New QRP(?) Rig & Web Site Update - Keynote # 3/4, 2000
Well, I've finally gone and done it. For years now I've wanted a good transceiver to simplify my operating. With my homebrew setup, changing bands consisted of changing up to 15 controls. Now with the new transceiver, pushing one button will do the trick in most cases.
With the homebrew station, zero beating a station involved tuning in the station on the receiver, turning on a spotting switch which activated the VFO section of my transmitter, tuning the VFO so its pitch on the receiver matched that of the received station, then turning off the spotting switch. As you can imagine, I lost much time in contests doing that which caused me to lose many contacts I might otherwise have made.
Now with my new transceiver, it's a matter of tuning in the station, period. When I have the station tuned in to produce a beat note of 550 Hz, I'm zero beat. Someone may ask why 550 Hz. Well, that's what I prefer and the CW offset is adjustable on my new transceiver.
What is my new transceiver? The SGC SG-2020 I raved about a few columns ago? No. The new K2 or the old QRP Plus? No again. I decided to go all the way and get one with tons of bells and whistles to really simplify operating. I got the Kenwood TS570D(G). That's a QRP transceiver? Well, yes and no. Maximum output is 100 watts, adjustable down to 5 watts. That's the first thing I did when I fired it up. I set the output on all 9 bands to 5 watts. And of course, I didn't even bother unpacking the microphone since I have no intention of using it.
Isn't that overkill for a QRP transceiver? Maybe, but all the bells and whistles make it worthwhile wasting 95 watts and SSB operation.
The little QRP transceivers are nice for their purpose. They're great for portable operation for example. The price is right for them. I paid at least 3 times as much for my Kenwood. But if your prime MO is QRP CW, i.e 100% of your operating is done using CW and QRP I think the route I took is the right one. Especially since much of my operating is done in contesting and Dxing.
As I'm writing this, I'm only a few days from reaching my goal of 2000 straight days of making at least 1 QSO using QRP and simple wire antennas. Actually many more than one per day since my total number of QRP QSO's in that time is well over 25,000. Because I think this, perhaps more than anything shows that QRP does indeed work on the ham bands on a regular basis, I'm going to devote my next column to a report on the streak. Am I going to stop at 2000 days. No. Perhaps I'll now go for 3000. I can imagine now what Cal Ripken went through when he decided to end his consecutive games played streak. Can you imagine the regret if I quit now, and then decide that was the wrong thing to do? I'd have to go another 5+ years to just match what I have now. I guess the thing to do is to just keep it going one day at a time until some circumstance or other dictates that I quit.
If you haven't checked out my web site recently, I hope you'll do so. If you're interested in getting started in QRP, I have a lot of information there that will be helpful to you. My listing of QRP rigs would be especially helpful. Other hams are starting to send me reviews of the different QRP rigs that they are using. These reviews are of special interest since they involve someone's first hand experience with a certain rig rather than the stock advertising spiels we hear for this or that rig. I only have a couple reviews now, and am actively soliciting more. If you own a QRP rig and want to review it for my web site, please let me know. If you're not sure of your writing ability, don't worry. I'll help smooth it out for you. Not that I'm all that great a writer myself. HI.
A somewhat new feature on my site is my Monthly Poll. There you can express your opinion on matters related to ham radio or participate in some interesting surveys about ham radio operating styles and equipment. This feature seems to be growing in popularity since I started it a few months ago. Check it out and add your vote. The more votes I get, the more meaningful the results will be.
I want to know what you want to see in this column in the future. You have provided me with some great ideas in the past. Since I write this column to help out other QRPers and not just for my own enjoyment or self-service, I need to know if there is something that will help others that I have not yet covered in one of these columns (all of which are available on my web site, by the way). Or if there is something I've covered, but not made it clear enough, let me know and I'll try to provide additional information.
I've mentioned my web site several times, so I'd better tell you now how to get there if you don't already know. The URL is http://home.windstream.net/johnshan/ That will take you to a page where you can choose from a frames or no-frames version. The frames version is the only version I currently actively update so if you want all the latest info, you'll have to use it. If your browser just won't support frames, and virtually every current browser will, then you can still get quite a bit of info from the no-frames version. Just keep in mind the no-frames info is not complete or totally up to date.
OK, enough for this month. This has been kind of a rambling column, but I've gotten said several things I wanted to say. Next month the 2000 day QRP streak report. After that, hopefully something from an idea you'll send to John H. Shannon, 478 E. High St., Kittanning, PA 16201-1304 or via Email. For now 73 and good QRPing de K3WWP -30-