Category Archives: QRP contests

Michigan QSO party QRP style

This weekend there were several state QSO parties running — Michigan, Ontario and South Dakota, plus a DX contest centered in South America. Saturday night I came down to the shack to see what I could do in the three, but when I started messing with the K3, the AF gain (volume) knob broke. I was thinking about running the contests by using the shaft with no knob, but that looked like an exercise in pain so I turned on the KX1 QRP (low power) radio.

I heard a station calling from Bolivia on 40 meters, and thought “why not try” and worked him on the first call — with 4 watts and my Steppir vertical. Cool.

I switched to the Michigan QSO party and started working everyone I could find. It often took three or four calls, and a couple guys had to really work to hear my report, but I kept working stations. By the end of the evening I’d worked 30 stations in Michigan, 10 in Ontario, and 5 in South America, mostly on 40 meters with a few contacts on 20 and 80. For 80 I switched to the K2 at 5 watts, but most of my contacts were made with the KX1.

This is much different from my normal contesting mode of running 500 watts and seeing how high a rate — how many contacts per hour — I can reach. But it was just as much fun, I used a lot less power, and it was much lower key than most contests I run.

For any hams out there who think “life is too short for QRP,” you are missing a big part of the hobby. To work Boliva and Brazil with 4 watts — that is exciting.

So that was my hamming for the weekend. I’ll go into more detail on my broken knob on the K3 later.

 

QRP contesting

Monday night I participated in the Michigan QRP Club Labor Day Sprint. In two hours, I worked 35 stations in 25 states, two Canadian provinces and from Maine to Washington. I had a great time with it. I plan on doing more QRP contesting over the winter.

One thing I learned, QRP contesting takes a good, no great, receiver. I started out with a different rig, but soon switched the the Elecraft K2. Running a frequency in a QRP contest is easy, but you have to listen carefully. Look for me on further QRP contensts this winter.