25 Nov 2011

More POWER - why??

Today I see that amateurs in New Zealand are to be allowed 1kW power in future; their limit was 500W earlier I believe. I've read something about amateurs in Eire asking to be allowed 1kW in contests and I think something similar is being requested of OFCOM here.  My simple question is why?

As an example, last evening I had a totally solid QSO on CW with KT5E in Denver, Colorado on 28.060MHz 2-way QRP with 5W each end.  My antenna was a small wire halo. Like many people, I have worked well over 100 countries with QRP on CW, PSK31 and SSB and always with simple wire antennas like dipoles, never a beam.

When more power is used it just creates more splatter, and more unnecessary QRM. OK there are times when 100W rather than 5W would make QSOs much easier with fewer repeats. But do people really need to run 1kW? OK you may blast a signal through the pile-up, but do you go to bed at night with any more satisfaction than someone working DX with a few watts or even milliwatts? I very much doubt it. Power is about egos, pure and simple.


PE4BAS, Bas said...

And mentioning that a increase of 3dB power gives you only a advantage of 1/2 a s unit in the pile-up. I don't know why people use that amount of power. It's bad for the environment too. The antenna is the best amplifier!!! 73, Bas

Paul PC4T said...

I am allowed to use 400 watts. I don't even think about it. Sometimes 40 watts is my absolute maximum. 73 Paul

Bert, PA1B said...

Hello Roger, After an unfortunate mismatch, my FT-817 has a maximum power of 2.7 W. Since I dont have 5 watts', I can not use 5 watts.
I often use the lowest possible power, but unfortunately nearly all HAM's use a fixed power.
I hope they also increase the sensitivity of the RX accordingly.
73, Bert

Larry W2LJ said...


Great post! I can't help but think of all the QRO guys whose ears are burning!

73 de Larry W2LJ

Mark VandeWettering (K6HX) said...

It seems a trifle ridiculous to worry about the 1/2 an S unit that separates 500w from 1kw. It's not just ego: it's often laziness. It is no virtue to do with more what could be done with less.

Richard said...

I had a ZL QSO last month. He was 100 watts to my low dipole antenna.

Strong anti-nuke movements in Europe. Admirable, but the young protesters want the electric/electronic devices (you know what they are) that didn't exist in 1950. Are they prepared to give them up?

Now that I have returned to full-time QRP, I put the 30 amp supply back in the box and plugged in the 7 amp. By itself, this may not be much but energy conservation doesn't stop there in this household.

Anonymous said...

During the height of the cold war there was M.A.D. - Mutually Assured Destruction. Maybe we now have Mad Amplifier Disease, and by extrapolation a similar mentality in the QRO camp as per the cold war.

Sure, I can think of valid reasons for QRO. It's the always QRO, always competitive QSO thinking (even outside of contests) that I find so limiting.

I often wonder about that "Life is too short for QRP" taunt that is thrown out as another justification for QRO. My reply is usually "Well you haven't lived yet".

QRP, IMHO, requires two complimentary skill sets. The first (and maybe most important) is having the patience, skill and technical ability to dig out weak signals. The second is the understanding of antenna efficiency, propagation and again patience to maximise every (milli)watt transmitted.

None of the above applies if the thinking is just power, power and more power.

73, David. G8JGO.

Mike Newell said...

I really don't think that ANYONE should be allowed to use more than 100w - this would get a lot of QRM off the bands and make it easier for everyone.
If you can't work someone with 100w, then you really aren't trying hard enough!
That's my two-penneth anyway! ;-)
Mike, G1HGD.

Bawb said...

I agree with everyone, it is incredulous that you need all that power when all that is needed is having everything in sync.
Less power would make it essential to have everything used to its maximum efficiency.

Bawb said...
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