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My Last Keynote QRP Column

Column #101 by John K3WWP. I've passed along a lot of information in the previous 100 columns. My introductory column appeared in the Keynote issue #9 in 1996 after Nancy found out about my QRP work and asked me if I would be interested in doing a QRP column for the Keynote. So it has been 18 years that I have enjoyed writing these columns. I hope that a lot of you have been introduced to the QRP aspect of CW because of my columns, and that those of you already using QRP for your CW work have learned a bit more about the various aspects of CW.

Let's take a look at some of the things that have been written about in these columns.

I've discussed proper operating procedures when using QRP. Actually that also applied to QRO operation. I did it for both regular every day operating as well as operating in contests. I've given examples from some of my contest work - how I approach a big DX contest to name one example.

I've delved into the technical aspects of QRP - rigs, antennas, accessories, batteries, and the like. There have been columns on kit building, measuring power output. I described a neat little circuit that aids in zero beating which is very important in QRP work.

Along the way every so often I devoted a column to your questions and/or comments. I think answering questions was a favorite topic for me since you gave me ideas for things to discuss in the columns. You've even written some of my columns for me. One that comes to mind is a very thorough and well written column on batteries done by my friend Dave VA3RJ. There have been others as well. Stan K4UK wrote about QRP in Europe. WD8MGO wrote about military surplus equipment for QRP. I'll give a link at the end of this column where you can access these and other columns.

Since DX chasing is a favorite activity of mine, quite a few of my columns have dealt with that. Chasing DX with QRP requires some skills above and beyond those used by the KW/beam hams. I tried to pass along info on those skills learned from my experience making nearly 20,000 DX QSOs from around 220 DX entities with QRP/CW/simple wire antennas.

Back in 2004 when Tom KB3LFC (now WY3H) and I formed the NAQCC, Nancy was kind enough to let me promo the club in my column, and she always would ask about the club and encourage me to continue to promote the club in my columns.

I'm looking through the index of my columns. Let's briefly touch on some other topics I've covered. I did a tour of the HF bands describing how QRP works on each band at different stages of the sunspot cycles. I've had some 'pep talk' columns encouraging folks not to get discouraged when it seems difficult to make QSOs with QRP, and gave many suggestions how to improve their success rate. To show that one can be successful with QRP, I frequently updated info on my streak which as a lot of you know is my making at least one QRP/CW/simple wire antenna QSO each and every day. I've been doing that since August 1994 - over 7,300 straight days now. I know from emails I've received that the streak has demonstrated more than anything else that you can succeed with QRP on the ham bands no matter at what point it is in a sunspot cycle. Other columns dealt with QRPp or QRP at the milliwatt level. There have been reviews of QRP rigs along the way. I get a lot of questions about antennas, and I've dealt with that topic a few times. One column I particularly enjoyed writing told how QRO ops can help out the QRP op. The Internet has had a profound impact on ham radio, and I wrote about how it relates to QRP operations.

Another thing that I was introduced to several years after starting to write these columns was portable operation with QRP. My friends Mike KC2EGL and Don K3RLL got me into that aspect of QRP, and I've enjoyed and written about it in these columns. I should also mention my first portable operation was the 2005 Hoot Owl Sprint with Tom WY3H. I wrote about that.

Maybe you've figured it out at this point, but my summing up the history of these columns was a preamble to something. You're right, this is my last QRP column. Not because I don't enjoy writing them, but after writing about all the topics above, I've reached a burnout point where it is very hard to come up with something new to cover. Also I will be 70 years old next year, and I would like to take some of the time devoted to writing and use it for other interests that I have. I'm also retiring as NAQCC Vice President which will free up even more time. Just as an example, I can't even recall the last time I had my telescope out to look at the heavens. This year, I've gone fishing fewer times than any year since the early 90s. I want to do more of that before I get too old to do it.

I want to thank Nancy for getting me into this in the first place. It has been a real joy working with her over the years. I sorely miss her. Also thanks to all who have read my columns and commented on them. I can honestly say that 99.9 percent of the comments have been of a positive nature.

For those new members of FISTS who may be interested in QRP, all of my past columns are available for reading on my web site at http://home.windstream.net/johnshan/ in the CW section - FISTS Columns page. You'll find not only the columns there, but a wealth of information about QRP and CW. Another great source of info is our NAQCC (North American QRP CW Club) and its web site at http://naqcc.info/. You might want to join when you visit.

So long for now. Perhaps we'll meet again on the bands or at a hamfest. 73 and for the last time -30-