A Tip o’ the Hat

I really have to extend a hearty "tip o' the hat" to all you QRP SSB guys out there.  Not being used to SSB operations, not being used to QRP SSB operations has provided me with a learning experience. In your writer's most humble opinion, QRP SSB has a difficulty factor of 10X compared to QRP CW.

Today during lunch time, I was hunting around for NPOTA stations on 20 Meters.  Not hearing anything on the CW bands, I moved on up to the realm of voice - foreign territory, indeed!.  There I heard two stations. K0USA on 14.260 MHz and K0RP on 14.340 MHz.  K0RP was very weak, with QSB making it worse. K0USA was a good 5X5 into NJ and even 5X7 when QSB would let up. I decided to  concentrate on Mary, who was the op behind the mic.  It took the better of 15 minutes, but I got in the log - and it was a new one for me, MN46, the Homestead National Historical Monument in Nebraska.

For her part, Mary did a superb job dealing with my weak signal.  Only 5 Watts to the Buddistick has gotten me decent results on SSB in the past, but today, with the monstrous QSB, it was their beam (which was pointed south, by the way - I was off the side) and her great ears that made the difference. I owe her a ton of gratitude for sticking with me and granting me the ATNO.

Getting back to the topic of SSB vs CW ..... I'm pretty confident in my CW skills. From past practise, it's pretty easy for me to gauge who is workable and who isn't. I still get surprised from time to time; but I've gotten pretty good at figuring out who I am able work and who I am not..

QRP SSB is still a crap shoot for me. Like I stated, it's foreign territory.  To make things even worse, shall we say that patience is a "hard won virtue" for me?  Living in New Jersey all my life, I'm used to the fast pace of the Northeast. Things, especially at work, are wanted yesterday.  I'm used to dealing with that, and delivering those kind of fast results.  The downside is, that I've come to expect that, in return.  Waiting is still a battle for me.  Not in all situations, but in many - especially when I am dealing with myself.

QRP SSB is an extra hard challenge for me and will be for quite a while. The upside is hopefully, I'll become more skilled at it; and I'll also gain more patience, because of it..

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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