I thought today my QRP streak would end early. It was storming last night so I couldn’t get on the radio and this afternoon I’ll be at my daughters. That left early this morning to get my contact in.

My first contact was DX, KH6LC in Hawaii. But I had to use 10 watts to get him so not officially QRP. Then I heard JM7OLW in Japan. He never heard me until I pumped it up to 110 watts and then it was rough. But I was able to get him in the log, but still no QRP contact for the day.

So I decided to call CQ on 7055, the SKCC calling frequency with 5 watts using my J-36 key. Thankfully, after a few calls Al, N9YHF, answered me from NC. He gave me a 569 and I’ll take it. My streak goes on!

I’m going to set up my WSPRlite on 20 meters when I’m gone and see how the propagation is today.

Its only 7:20 am so I’m going to see if I can get a QRP DX call in before I have to get ready to go. Thanks for following my escapades!



Shhhh… I’m WSPRing

Shhhh… I’m WSPRing

When I’m waiting for my KX3 to get fixed under warranty at Elecraft (the’ve had it 10 days so far, but I’m not bitter), I acquired a K2 and a very good price. I mentioned it on my last entry. I’ve found out it is an older one and I’m going to send it to Don Wilhelm once I get my KX3 back. He updates K2s to the latest and greatest at a fraction of the price of Elecraft. It will be equivalent to the current K2s once he is done. He’ll also be able to fix the low output on 20 meters I found I have.

Meanwhile, I’ve been playing a lot with the digital modes. The new FT8 is really cool and fast. I like it a lot better then JT65. It only takes 1:15 – 1:30 to complete the average exchange as opposed to 5 minutes with JT65. It also has a neat feature called auto sequence that will actually complete the QSO for you instead of you just sitting there watching paint dry waiting the minute for each exchange (15 seconds in the case of FT8). You really seem to need it in FT8 because the exchanges go so fast.

The mode I”ve really been playing with is WSPR. That stands for Weak Signal Propagation Reporting. It basically beacons out a signal at low power for 2 minutes, then listens for 6 minutes in 2 minute increments for signals. You then go the the WSPR website and can look and see who has heard your signal and whose you have heard plotting nicely on a map. What you see above is where my signal has been heard this morning on 40 meters. All throughout the USA and all the way to Australia!

What WSPR is really good for is seeing how band conditions are and how your antennas are working. I currently have 2 antennas – a fan dipole up 30 feet in an inverted V and a Cushcraft R9 Vertical. I can compare where the two antennas have been heard using WSPR to see which is the best to reach a particular area.

Why don’t you give FT8 and WSPR a try, I think you will like them.