Low power portable on HF

If you’ve been reading this blog recently, you may have got the impression that I’ve rather lost interest in HF operation. That’s not entirely true. But I do think that DXing in general has lost its appeal on HF for me. There’s the antisocial behaviour which dogs a lot of DX operations these days. And also, once you’ve played with WSPR and JT65 on HF, there’s the nagging doubt that using CW or SSB at 100w or more is somewhat akin to fishing by lobbing a hand grenade into the water and seeing what floats to the surface. Of course, that’s completely unfair, but it’s a fun analogy! Nevertheless, it’s clear that efficiency of an ‘average’ HF DX contact is suboptimal compared to a few mW and a ‘decent’ mode.

All that having been said, I still love being able to connect up a simple HF transceiver such as my FT817 and a simple antenna like my MP1 vertical and make CW contacts over hundreds or thousands of miles. It’s particularly satisfying to do that from a portable location.

And so it was yesterday that I thoroughly enjoyed some 17 and 20m CW QSOs around Europe. It was good, too, to hear Mongolia coming in loud and clear on 30m. But I wasn’t remotely tempted to get involved with the pileup!

Tim Kirby, G4VXE, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Oxfordshire, England. Contact him at [email protected].

One Response to “Low power portable on HF”

  • Ernest Gregoire, AA1IK:

    Its not only DX’ers Tim, all of society seems to have either dumbed down or gone crazy with violence and chaos. Take a look at the daily news, tell me what you see.

    Take care,

    de AA1IK

    Ernest Gregoire


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