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Morse Code / Re: QRPp // HF Morse at LESS Than One Watt
« Last post by Sparks on June 02, 2018, 12:09:24 AM »
To paraphrase Kopernicus:  'And yet, QRP works.'

I did study the history of astronomy, for a long period. Kopernicus was my great hero then and now. However, that famous quote is attributed to another great astronomer, a century or so later:
New To Radio / Re: QRP from a beginners view
« Last post by vwflyer on June 01, 2018, 11:00:15 PM »
Congrats on your ft817 purchase. I've never owned one but I don't think you can go wrong with one.

I have done some QRP SSB though, and I can say, it's not for the impatient. Contacts are rewarding and as Gil says, with practice you will make more and more. There are tricks to QRP, like calling a guy right after he finishes a QSO with someone else (tail ending), checking into nets, break into a rag chew where the people sound friendly and inviting, answering other's CQ's rather than sending one yourself.

A good way to test the abilities of your station is to make contacts with people you know are listening for you. Set up a sked with someone on this forum or any other of the numerous web forums. Send an email to someone in your local ham club asking if he's free for a sked. Even during this time of low sunspots, 80 meters NVIS works wonders, even at QRP, for local and regional contacts. Or activate a SOTA summit and spot yourself. You will be the center of a pileup in no time and most of your chasers will give you realistic signal reports.

A great forum to set up skeds with people is the Straight Key Century Club (SKCC). They have a webpage just for setting up skeds with other people who use a straight key. It's a great way to get your feet wet with CW. Since everyone is using a manual key, the speeds are slow and the people patient. Plus, for QRP, CW has several db advantage over SSB and your experience making CW QRP contacts will be more akin to making SSB contacts at 100 watts.

You've got a great setup. Stick to it and don't get discouraged. If you're not careful it may become an addiction.
Antennas / Re: Tuning the QRPGuys vertical tribander
« Last post by vwflyer on June 01, 2018, 08:43:13 PM »
Gil, Thanks so much for pointing out what should have been obvious. I feel like a fool for not thinking of it myself. It works like a charm. If I run the coax inside the bead without any loops I have to have the bead up by the base of the antenna. If I loop it through just once (like in the photo) it gives me perfect SWR on the HB-1B meter no matter where it is on along the coax. It even shows low SWR over a much wider range of the band.

Antennas / Re: Tuning the QRPGuys vertical tribander
« Last post by vwflyer on June 01, 2018, 01:08:01 PM »
Good idea Gil!
I'll try that today.
New To Radio / Re: QRP from a beginners view
« Last post by CPR on June 01, 2018, 08:35:36 AM »
Thanks GIL, It's already on my toDo list. Just have to get 6 old thick guitar strings for the beams.
Antennas / Re: Tuning the QRPGuys vertical tribander
« Last post by gil on June 01, 2018, 08:00:01 AM »
You can also try a clamp-on toroid on the coax and slide it back and forth for best SWR...

Sent from my SM-G928F using Tapatalk

New To Radio / Re: QRP from a beginners view
« Last post by gil on June 01, 2018, 07:58:20 AM »
Well done! Not a bad start really. You will get better at it. The 817 is a good choice and does everything. Now you need to make a portable Yagi for 2m SSB!


Sent from my SM-G928F using Tapatalk

Batteries & Solar / Re: 18650 battery testing
« Last post by CPR on June 01, 2018, 05:05:08 AM »
All the best and fast recovery!
Batteries & Solar / Re: 18650 battery testing
« Last post by Andywragg on June 01, 2018, 04:57:15 AM »
Thanks Joel.

There's a good chance she may be allowed home today. Fingers and toes crossed.
New To Radio / QRP from a beginners view
« Last post by CPR on June 01, 2018, 03:53:37 AM »

I want to share with you guys my adventure of becoming a ham operator. I got my license and myself a 817nd. The reasons for the 817 were primarily the low power consumption and easy powering in the field without carrying heavy loads and expensive equipment. That was crucial for me as I am on a tight budget for that kind of things. Most of my budget goes into my homestead so I had to really struggle with what to buy. I wanted a rig that was scalable if necessary but stripped off if I need a light and portable rig. You know, that kind of a rig that fits in a sidepocket of your bug-out bag. Or if you want to make a contact, so you don't haul 10kg of gear up a hill. Buying a tuner+50Wamp brings me to the same price as the 100W rigs. So I don't see a mistake in buying the 817nd.
When I first got the 817 I thought: holy shit that thing is small! I have big fingers and takes some efforts to reach the buttons at first. BUT, it can do everything. HF, VHF, UHF and thats the thing that got me, plus it can run on batteries for hours. I even listened to airband some day and tracked the planes on an Android app. You can do everything with this thing, I didnt even dig into digi modes yet. I think this is the best radio for emergency preparedness. It's small, lightweight, low power, multi-talent, solid built.

The next thing was to get my first antenna. Although I prefer to build my own stuff, I ordered the QRP Guys Triband and the Z Match Tuner. I had real issues on tuning the 40m band, I removed 4 windings on the toroid which is loading the antenna to get it somewhat below 2.5 and then with the tuner I can get it below 1.8.  Antenna + Tuner = 50$. Nice budget friendly price.
My next project is a linked dipole and an EFHW antenna. I got the wires and everything already done, I am waiting for the toroids to make a 1:1 balun for the dipile and a 9:1 unun for the 9:1 endfed.

My first time going on air was just recently. And I can say, with QRP it is soooo difficult to get a contact. No one hears you. Maybe it's also the antenna (can't wait to finalize the dipole and the efhw). The funny thing, all my contacts until now where from Belgium and those station where some club/special event/anniversary stations...  So I assume they had very powerful antennas high up in the air so they could hear me.

Yesterday I spent the whole day on my homestead, slowly grilling a chicken and doing some QRP. All day = 3 contacts.

Another almost succesful contact was a German somewhere around Hamburg. The sad thing is, he didn't even try to copy my signal twice. After the first time he repeated half of my callsign and the second time he said "negative copy", and took the other station. Pretty rude  >:(
Anyway, I had succesful QSOs over 1000km away. What a thrilling experience  ;D
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