Sunday, 17 February 2013

ARRL DX CW contest - QRP

A had a few pleasant surprises yesterday. Due to the saltmine interfering with my contesting I only arrived home late Saturday afternoon.

I was monitoring the solar numbers for the last few days and it certainly did not seem very promising. I was therefore very pleased and surprized to see that 10m was fairly open with many good workable signals from Europe and a while later from Canada, North America and the Caribbean.

Due to the nature of the ARRL DX CW rules much of the “juicy DX” was off limits….

However I was very pleased to make a few QSOs with North American and one station in Canada. I was using my Elecraft K3, running 5 watts and a simple dipole mounted at 8 metres agl.

It was very obvious from the responses that there was a certain amazement/disbelief from most of the stations. In most cases they copied my call on the first try without requiring any retries, but in most cases I had to repeat my exchange “5W” a few times. I suppose they were so used to receiving “KW”, so what is this “5W” business….

I am very impressed with some of the big gun stations, not only do most have good signals, they also have incredibly sharp operators with good receiving abilities to work my weak signal.

I worked the following stations: 


And some say QRP is for the birds…..


  1. I found the contest to be very exciting on this side of the pond as well. I was able to operate QRPp and QRPpp making contacts with as little as 10mWs.

  2. Hello Mike,

    As much as I love working QRP, being situated in South Africa presents a huge challenge. I believe single hop QSOs are fairly easy with QRP and if propagation is good even with QRPp. However, over the longer distances that require more than one F2 reflection the situation becomes trickier. The path losses are just too great.

    The normal one hop F2 radius is probably around 3000 km. Not many active stations in that range from ZS, to work into Europe, America or Canada requires some 3 hops.

    The net result is a dismal log, but a huge sense of achievement all the same for being able to work the odd “big gun” station.

    BTW I like your blog, keep up the good work.

    Pierre ZS6A

  3. Hello Pierre, you did an excellent job over such a long distance. I had great fun in the ARRL DX CW. I used 2.7 W down to 360 mW. I met operators with Excellent Ears. Yes it's great fun to receive, 3W FB from a station that is sending not a letter to much. hi. 73, Bert

  4. Hi Bert,

    Thanks for the reply.

    I am equally pleased and surprised to see the “big guns” taking the time to say something nice when they realize that we are using QRP or even QRPp.

    I guess it shows that all real amateurs will remain amazed at what can be achieved with such low power (hardly sufficient to illuminate a small flashlight bulb).

    I enjoy reading your blog, keep up the good work.

    73, Pierre ZS6A