Re: Digital QRP Experiences


From: Jim Cummings (
Date: Wed May 17 1995 - 08:30:07 EDT

Hello Jay:

>People may wonder if digital (Packet, PACTOR, GTOR, AMTOR) communications
>will work at the QRP level. I thought I'd throw in my observations:
Thanks for the obsevations. I will comment on them or ask questions as

>Accidental Packet QRP on 17 meters:
>For a few years I've operated a packet gateway on 18.107 Mhz. The packet
>gateway provided connections between a local VHF packet channel (144.91 MHz
>)and HF. One day I'd used the radio (QRP-modified IC-735) at 3 watts and
>forgot to reset the power to QRO. I forgot all about it for three weeks and
>only one user on the 17 meter side complained about "conditions" to my
>160 Meter TOR vs Packet Tests:
>I was interested in comparing HF packet (well, MF packet technically!),
>PACTOR and Kantronic's new GTOR mode. The transceivers were IC-735's, both
>at 3 watts with the QRP mod. The TNCs were Kantronics KAM's, version 7.1
> The fixed station used a B&W AC 1.8-30, an all-band Vee-like antenna with
>high-angle properties on the lowest bands. The fixed station was located in
>my City EOC. The mobile station was mounted in a full-size van. An Icom
>AH-2 tuner was used on the inner wall of the van, right at the base of a
>Mobile Mark custom helical whip for 1990 KHz. I drove around the local
>freeway and a few surface streets during daylight hours in the summer. I
>found that GTOR performed the best, followed by PACTOR... packet was a slow
>runner up and sometimes would retry out (or not connect). I achieved no
>great 160 meter QRP mobile DX records, but the comparison between the modes
>interested me. 160, 80, and 40 were also of interest to me for "high-angle"
>disaster communications.
Interesting experiment on 160 metres. Although I too operate mobile, I have
not done very much with digital mobile, let alone with QRP. Most of my
"emergency" work has been at camping sites, often using a balance fed dipole
in the trees, not really great. However, I have recently come across some
34 foot pop-up masts that came on the surplus market up here. Your note
here has inspired me to consider building an emergency antenna with one of
these masts, fed with an AH-2 tuner installed in my Ford Ranger.

Would you be kind enough to describe this Mobile Mark custom whip? It
sounds like the solution for operating true mobile on 160 metres with the
AH-2. Are they available commercially? Is it only operable on 160, or can
it also be used on other bands with the AH-2.

>The 160-190 KHz Experimenter's Band:
>(For you list police, this is not a ham band... arrest me!) It is legal to
>run 1 watt and any mode on this band. A few years back, I copied the RTTY
>and packet signals from WD4PLI's 183 kHz station, about 17 miles away.
> Again, no great DX record but it was interesting to see 1-watt data signals
>(pure groundwave signals) punch through the high noise level on this band.
> (Those LOWFERS* ought to get with it and set up a chain of packet nodes).
> *Low Frequency Experimental Radio
>QRP works with "digital" too.

I agree. I have 40 countries confirmed, with around 60 worked... it takes
time for the QSL system to work hi hi... My best QRP contact was with VK2KM
at 1800Z via long path on a Saturday afternoon. I am sure that qualifies
for the 1000 mile/watt award. My next most memorable was with a station in
Hawaii (AH6JF, as I can recall) on 40 metres QRP. My latest contact was
with a station in PA-land this past weekend on pactor... we had a really
nice chat for well over an hour, and he powered down too!

>72, Jay WB6AAM (ARCI 5050)

I hope we will meet up with each other on the air soon to chat.

              Jim Cummings
      73 and live better digitally
  because remember, today is the first
     day of the rest of your life.

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