QRP Philosophy

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From: Steven Wilson (randyw@crl.com)
Date: Sat Dec 17 1994 - 14:02:24 EST


We need to improve our QRP Philosophy for improved performance in this
phase of our amateur radio hobby.

Today, with the many Kilowatt stations on the bands, one often forgets
that not so many years ago; it was common for both low power CW and SSB
stations to make many QSO's on the ham bands. After 40 years of operating
on the bands with one watt to a full blown kilowatt, I believe it is safe
to say the two items that are the most important are the antenna and
receiver.

Yes, that simple piece of wire we call an antenna is more important than
the power input to the transmitter. The antenna requires current to flow
into it. Should be in the clear and not touching trees, buildings, etc.
I am not sure when the first SWR meter for amateur radio was placed on
the market, but I do not remember seeing one until the mid sixties which
was about ten years after I obtained my license. We use to use #47 lamps
with a small coil in parallel or the lamp from your dad's flashlight to
check on powering the antenna. A least one ham in town had a RF current
meter from a WWII transmitter he used to check on the power to the wire.
Today "most" QRP'ers understand the need for a decent antenna.

However, many still operate their home stations like portables in the
middle of a jungle when it come to receiving. Just because you run
QRP does not require you to use a sub-standard receiver. Instead of
spending your efforts on a low sensitivity and poorly selective, low
audio powered home brew receiver. Spend the same effort on building
up a good QSK switching system with a quality xmit/receive switch for
your existing commercial ham band receiver. If you do not have a good
receiver, check the next hamfest a lot of good ones around cheap i.e.
the Drake 2B and R4 series. If you can not hear them you can not work
them. Why handicap yourself? It is possible to work the world with very
low power if you can hear the other station I am amazed at how many
QRP stations can not hear others calling them. Try it, you may find
the QRP phase of our hobby more enjoyable with a change in philosopy
about the receiver.

One man's opinion. de stan ak0b


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