Hiya, I sent a response -- don't know how it didn;t get there, but since I did
not save it, here is another version. Hope this one makes it.
FIRST: You asked about rigs. There are lotsa. Most are kits -- though a
few are buy-able fully-built. Take a look at the ads in QST and CQ for the
new Ten-Tec Scout. Single band and pricey--about $500. BUT each additional
band can be added for $25, there is digital readout and good filtering in a
superhet rcvr, power fully adjustable from 5w to 50W and both SSB and CW.
Sounds hard to beat. Now, if you're looking for something much cheaper that
you can build yourself -- check the May issue of CQ Magazine (most big
libraries subscribe, or you might be able to find it in your Magazine store).
Read the review on the A and A engineering 20M rig which sells as a kit for
$169.95. Pretty good rig, 5w, CW, good filtering in a superhet, etc. Want to
spend less? NN1G sells kits as does an outfit named Radio Kit, as does MFJ.
Some of them advertise in the Ham Mags, some don't. You can look NN1G up in
the call book, or Radio Kits is in New Hampshire (might try area code plus
555-1212). MFJ advertises in CQ, QST, 73, and can often be found in most ham
stores. One more thought on rigs -- watch this space (the Internet) for how to
join the Northern Calif QRP Club, then then be eligible to buy the Sierra (an
all band QRP rig will will be sold to members for about $300 in kit form
sometime this summer).
SECOND. I have been a builder since I got started in radio in 1958. Not
a great builder -- but an avid builder with lotsa projects over the years.
Some worked, some didn't. I wrote the first article which appeared in 73
Magazine in 1975-or-76 on converting a crystalplex CB rig to 10M (5w on AM) and
have always loved low pwer operating. So I don't sound like a hypocrite, I
will say for the record I also own a couple of 100W transceivers and a Heathkit
KW. But there is something that keeps bringing me back to low power. If other
hams in your town tell you it won't work -- tell them that just isn't true. I
ran 10w in the contest a couple of weeks ago and despite rotten propagation, I
worked 17 contacts with 12-states and Panama in 2-hours of casual operating.
Others worked a lot more stations and did a lot better with multipliers. In
1985, in a 3-month period, running 6-watts input to a rig I built from the ARRL
Handbook and a receiver from QST called 'the Barbados' I worked about
80-countries using wire antennas on a hotel balcony. Yes, I was on-air from
Amman, Jordan, as JY9RL (which some think adds about 10db to anyone's signal)
but the point is, I was working paths of 7-8 thousand miles -- more than a
kilomile per watt. There are lots of people to work on QRP. Of course, you
never work everyone you want to, but hang out at 7035-7040, 10123+-5, or
14060+-5 and see what happens. QRP really is the last outpost of the guys who
get as much of a thrill from almost every contact as they did with their
first!!! If you can't understand the latter statement, wait til you've tried
73, 72, and GL de alan, w6rcl (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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