I have been quite interested in the interchanges regarding "QRPers".
I did some QRP contesting some years ago from Colorado, with only a TH6 at 70
ft and a 2 el 40 at 80 ft, and have the following observations:
1. Weak signals are not necessarily QRP stations.
I was quite surprised to crunch pileups (on occasion) on both 80 and 160. I
had written off European QSOs on 80 for the first couple of years, then, during
one CQWW I got to 80 a little early and it was open a little late. In five
minutes time I had three double multipliers, all on the first call. At the
same time, I should mention that I regularly work a prominent high power east
coast dxer early in 160 meter contests, and he is WEAK at that time of day, but
much louder later. When propagation favors the QSO, even QRP stations can be
2. Proper placement of the signal in the receiving station's passband makes a
big difference in the perceived strength of the signal.
One of the first lessons I learned was the a QSY of + or - 100 Hz could
often make the QSO happen. I have also observed that in the last few years
many CW operators cannot place their signal properly. I routinely see errors
of as much as 400 Hz. This not only makes a signal sound weaker (because it is
well down the slope of the receiver passband) but adds confusion as to who
worked who. It would be intersting to hear from contest sponsors about the
relative accuracy of logs over the past decade or so.
3. A high degree of operator skill goes quite a way toward overcoming a 13 to
26 db deficit with respect to other contest stations. Of course this assumes
the QRP station is not using a crooked stick and rat's nest for an antenna.
4. You can properly gauge your skill as an operator by the stations you are
able to work. When, for instance, in an ARRL DX Test, you find yourself
working a large number of 5, 10, or 40 watt stations, you're doing a great job
(and maybe, so are they).
5. If you want to improve your skills, operate a few contests QRP. It will
force you to rethink your assumptions.
73 de Jim
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