9 Oct 2016

QRP, Linears and BIG stations

A great thing about our hobby are the various ways in which we can enjoy it. For some it is satellites, some microwaves, some balloons, some ATV, some VHF, some QRP, some just talking. I am not one to criticise  how others enjoy the hobby. How you choose to enjoy it is your decision. Also, how much you choose to spend will depend on your own circumstances.

In my own case, I prefer to run QRP (currently WSPR and JT65) and simple wire antennas. I appreciate this is not everyone's idea of fun. Someone once suggested I tie my hands behind my back too! However, try 5W or less occasionally - you may be surprised.

My first 15m QSO was with a station in Chicago who was on SSB. I was using a simple homebrew transceiver that cost me well below £20 to make (see https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/15m_pipit ), even if I had bought all parts new. I was using 800mW CW and I almost fell off the chair when he replied to my CW call. Many many QRP contacts later and I knew this was not a one-off.  By the way, the antenna was a low wire dipole.

My point is you do not need to spend a lot to enjoy amateur radio. Some choose to spend thousands and thousands on rigs, linears, rotators, towers and beams. If this is for you, then fine. All I am saying is you can spend very little and still have a ball. Second hand CB gear covering 10m can be bought cheaply. In the summer months this and a small wire antenna will work 1000 miles or more most days. Maybe you can build a kit instead? There are several inexpensive kits for 40m or 20m SSB.

Each to their own but you do not have to break the bank.

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