Miscellaneous & Reader Questions
QRP with K3WWP - Column # 60. A couple of issues ago in one of my many columns that dealt with answering your questions, I answered a question from Paul Davis, AC7QG. I was sad to hear that Paul was killed in a plane crash around the time of publication of that column. My sympathies to Paul's family and friends. I only knew Paul from a few email exchanges and the QSO we had on 80M to give me Idaho on that band toward my 80M QRP WAS. However, I quickly got the impression that Paul was a true gentleman and I know he will be missed.
I have decided to drop my qsl.net web site. By the time you receive this column, all the material on qsl.net will have been removed. You'll have to go to http://home.windstream.net/johnshan/ if you wish to visit my web site. This was done to lessen my work load a bit and also because I was not happy with the all too frequent interruptions of service on qsl.net.
While not strictly a QRP matter, those of us who love Morse Code are now involved in a real battle to save Morse on the ham bands. Please be sure to read all the material in the other parts of this Keynote and take what action you feel appropriate.
Come to think of it, perhaps the Morse situation is a QRP issue since CW is the mode of choice for the vast majority of QRPers. I doubt that the accomplishments made with CW and QRP could be done with other modes.
Keeping in mind that I only use simple wire antennas which are either in my attic or mounted on the outside of my house, I would like to list some of the things I've accomplished with CW and QRP over the past 10 years. It's the extreme efficiency of CW that made these things possible along with the skill of the CW operators on both ends of the QSO's. This skill could be lost to ham radio if the no-code activists get their way as they seem to be in many parts of the world. That could spell disaster in the event of a national emergency that would have to rely on amateur radio for communications.
Anyway, I've made at least one QRP CW QSO each day since August 5, 1994. This has come to be known by many hams simply as 'the Streak'. As of Oct 31, 2003 the streak stood at 3,375 days and 37,867 QSO's with 11,437 of the QSO's being DX (non-W/VE). The QSO's were with 12,580 different hams according to unique call signs in my log.
I've worked 202 countries or DX Entities as they are called nowadays. All 50 states are in my log many times over. In fact the least worked state is Wyoming with 32 QSO's. Obviously all continents have been worked many many times over with Oceania at the bottom with 141 QSO's.
I've won many contests and have many award certificates for my victories which have come at the ARRL section, state, ARRL division, and even country level. One of the contest results I am really proud of is finishing 2nd place overall in the world regardless of category in the Florida QSO party a few years ago. I didn't really get any award from those results however, except for overall QRP winner since the #1 score in the world also came from Western Pennsylvania.
That's just a rough idea of how well CW and QRP work together. I wonder if such things could have been done using a similar setup, but with SSB instead of CW. I doubt it. When the going gets tough, CW will get things going, to paraphrase a common saying.
Let's cover a few of your questions now as space permits.
Dick Burke asks "What is 30 at the end of your pieces?" 30 is a signal just like 73, 88 and other numerical signals. It means 'finished' or 'the end'. It was (is) used mostly by press telegraphers and you sometimes see it at the end of old newspaper articles. Also something I've found interesting is that if you use the American Morse (the Morse that was used widely for railroad, landline, press, etc.) code symbols for 3 ( ...-. or 3 dits, a dah and a dit if those little periods are hard to see) and 0 ( a long dash) and combine them they turn out to be almost exactly the same as SK in the Continental Morse code we commonly use on the ham bands to mean 'end of transmission' And -30- was also the title of a movie starring Jack Webb about the newspaper business. See http://www.imdb.com/Details?0052526
Mike, N4VBV suggests I provide some information about how the different bands worked at various times under different circumstances such as solar flares, CME's, etc. during my streak. Well my answer to that could grow to fill a whole Keynote so I'll only answer briefly here. First of all I think my columns a few issues ago describing how QRP works on each of the ham bands already contains much of what I would say in my answer. Secondly another broad statement is that I have found that effects from flares, CME's, etc. never completely wiped out communications on the HF bands for a full 24 hour period (at least for us CW operators). Such complete blackouts generally lasted only a few hours at most which left me lots of time each day to get my daily QSO(s). When such events did happen, I found that 40M generally would be the band that would recover most quickly either because of its location in the spectrum or being the most used of the HF CW bands most of the time. I never had a single day in my streak that I had any difficulty getting in my QSO, although I did have to wait through some bad conditions on a few of the days along the way. Perhaps I'll analyze my log and give a more detailed specific answer in a future column.
I'll cut this column a bit short because there is so much important Morse/FCC material this issue. Remember my web site changes mentioned at the beginning of the column. Email me or send me regular mail at John Shannon, 478 E. High St., Kittanning, PA 16201-1304. Till next time, 73. -30-