Conditions sucked yesterday

Apologies for my bluntness, but it is what it is.

After completing a bunch of yard work, I got set up for the QRP-ARCI Summer Homebrew Sprint. All I heard was a bunch of nothing.  I ended up working K4BAI and N4BP and that was it. Discouraged, and thinking that it might be my portable antennas (which performed just fine for Field Day last weekend), I left the park early and came home. The HF9V and the W3EDP antennas connected to the shack KX3 weren't hearing any more or any better, so I guess it was just a bad propagation day.

So this morning, I noticed a post from another Ham in the Facebook Field Radio group. He didn't have any luck either in his own personal portable ops trip yesterday. He was wondering whether it might be his antennas or a case of an unacceptable SWR ........

So of course, someone had to pipe up with "Try a 100 Watt radio next time. Life is too short for QRP."

That just burns my biscuits. So I fired back with, "Propagation sucked yesterday, and can we do without the "Life's too short for QRP" line? Not only is it untrue, but it's really overused."

A bit later, I got a pang of conscience, feeling that I might have been a bit harsh with that line, so I added, "I've got nothing against QRO (use it myself sometimes). I have been at this Ham Radio thing since 1978 and have been 99 and 44/100ths % QRP since 2003. I'm not trying to make it a "religion" or force anyone into it, but I still get amazed and shake my head sometimes as what 5 Watts will accomplish. But still ...... whatever peels your potato. If you like QRO, fine - QRP, fine - CW, fine - SSB, fine - digital, fine - there's room for all of us. The more the merrier."

Really, there's no reason to ever demean or diminish what someone likes about Amateur Radio. Even if for the life of you, you can't understand why someone would like to spend hours chasing after some little island in the middle of nowhere, or why someone chases signals that you can't even hear with your own ears, or why someone just won't give up on an old, antiquated form of transmission that was invented over 100 years ago and has been dumped by just about everyone else in the world, or why some people seem to get together for hours just to kibbitz about old times or enumerate their aches and pains, or even why someone would "waste" their entire weekend working a contest while simultaneously "clogging up the bands".

If it's what you like, then that's all that's important - and don't let anyone tell you different.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!
Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

5 Responses to “Conditions sucked yesterday”

  • Steve VE7SL:

    Larry … Your last two paragraphs say it well. Nicely said!

  • Ernest, AA1IK:

    You are a hoot Larry, “clogging up the bands”, “why someone just won’t give up on an old, antiquated form of transmission that was invented over 100 years ago and has been dumped by just about everyone else in the world.”

    Oh, you must mean AM! Now I get it! ha ha ha ha ha!

    I worked Lithuania, Ukraine, and the Rooskies a few nights ago using my ic 703. I like CW with low power because its fun, and ‘that’ is why we are ‘supposed to’ do ham radio. You’ll find curmudgeons in all walks of life. These folks seem like the just can’t wait to insult someone.

    I’ll continue to use QRP rigs and so will you, no matter what the curmudgeons say.

    Actually, I thought your comments to that guy were quite tame. LOL

    de AA1IK
    Ernest Gregoire


  • Bill N4LXL:

    Have been a ham since 1957 and am a new subscriber to the newsletter, so far I like what I read. Going back through the archives I see very little there on kit or home-brew type QRP rigs. Currently I don’t do any QRP but having once owned/enjoyed an Argonaut rig years past, think I might like to do it again. Anyway, looking at least expensive way to re-inter that activity and not finding help. Actually I would like to buid a simple SSB transceiver for QRP but one that would function as a general purpose back-up, capable of running 20-25 watts if desired. Anyone with suggestion please contact me. 73

  • Colin GM4JPZ:

    Larry, could not agree with you more. We are lucky enough to have the most versatile, many-faceted, ever-changing, fascinating, international hobby there is (challenge: name me another one like it!), and we all get to choose any and every aspect of it whenever we want. QRO one minute, QRP the next? No problem. CW one minute, FM the next? Bring it on. Satellites one minute, EME the next, AM ragchew the next, contest the next, SWLing the next, following wispr ballons the next (!!): there is no end to it. It is all legitimate, non-essential, time-filling, rewarding and innocent FUN. I pity anyone who is not a member of our avocation, to be honest, especially if they are retired. 73! (or 73s, doesn’t bother me…)

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