27 Oct 2010

Back to some CW !

I have in recent months spent a lot of time “Fiddling” with, and looking at software of different sorts be it Ham Radio related or otherwise, plus the change over to windows 7 and feeling my way around that, which incidentally “appears” to be quite stable (might regret saying that).. anyway I realised that I’d been looking at this screen for many a day but had not been logging many calls (after all that IS what it’s all about) so spent a good deal of time yesterday chasing around the bands working a few using various modes throughout the day and most notably worked some CW, which has – and probably will always be my favourite mode.

Some of the stations worked:

Call Name Band Mode
All within easy reach using 15w on all modes and nearly all x2 way 5NN’s ! Who the hell needs QRO anyway?  QRP or reduced power levels are more challenging and fun – BTW all qso’s were using the end fed !

Whilst we’re on Qrp, yesterday I was thinking back to when I first “Discovered” it – when I got my ticket I assumed the “Obligatory” 100w was required to establish all contacts, of course I’d heard of this “QRP” but thought no more of it until I started working Qrp stations on 14060, a few of which I remember were using just  2  and  5 w, so I did start “Winding it down”,  I still continued making Qso’s, in fact whilst making a VERY RARE appearance on SSB I did establish a contact into the USA one afternoon on 20m which started with around 80w, and during the qso I had dropped to around 10w,  he still copied !  ok it was during the period of a sunspot max – you get the drift !

Another example was when my rig went in for some repair work and I was kindly lent a radio by the late Joe Cake G3CNO,  it was an 11m radio but also covered the 10m band, the important bit was that it covered the CW end and apparently had 10w out – I was surprised to find on setting up that 10m was very active with W’s queuing up !  I had a busy afternoon and with just 8w CW.

I guess since then I’d always reduced the power to around the 15/20w mark and frankly didnt make any difference at all – the real amazement was yet to come  -  the purchase of my FT817  -  5w out to an ATX antenna  on 40m, with the rig sat on the end of the bed in the spare room, with a “”Counterpoise”” wire out the window ,  and running off a car battery made contact into Scotland using SSB (that’s x2 on SSB) ! and countless other contacts into EU on an indoor antenna, ok ok it’s not “DX”, but it IS fun.

I really look forward to the enhanced band conditions during sunspot peaks, I missed the last one – I think this is when we’ll really test low power – would’nt it be nice if “Everyone”  just gave a thought to at least dropping their power a little? instead of wading in  guns blazing then we might actually “hear”  the “DX”.


JT65 is supposed to be a “Low Power” propagation mode

Why is it I consistently see people using 50w AND more ?


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  1. Hello Peter, I never stick to one mode, I like to switch to one and another. But CW is absolutely one of my favorite. I noticed too that a lot are using too much power for JT65A and it's not necessary and not wanted. The bandwidth is too small for 25 watts or more. You have a nice column in your blog, how did you do that? 73 Paul

  2. Hi Paul
    I'm not sure if your refering to the width of the text column or the "Table", the table is a new feature of Live writer (bit like in a DTP program) its the new 2011 update which you should have using Win7, the width column is using the paragraph feature - either Left/right/centre/or evenly spaced out you need to install it, it's very flexible.

    73 Peter

  3. Hello Peter, that 10m 8W CW story reminds me of my 11m years when I made a lot of QSOs with the states sometimes with just 2W SSB. Though I used a 2 element HB9CV horizontal beam. I absolutely don't understand why people use so much poweron JT65A. But that's the same on PSK31, I use 25W most of the time but I think that's already high power. 5W should be more then enough to get your signal worldwide. 73, Bas

  4. Hi there Bas:
    Yes lower power is the way forward - I wonder what 40 or 20m would sound like if all stations were running 5w ? I'm thinking of the "DX" that we might actually hear ! I have a couple of other similar "Radio Stories" with regard to working "DX" on the seashore, might do a post on it sometime.
    Cheers - Peter


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