QRPpppppp

The QSO with ON5DN in Rune’s shack would be the only one I made as SM/PA2BX. As I reported in a previous post I packed small and took a Chinese made crystal controlled, direct conversion trx with me. Just for fun and just to try out if you could make some QSOs with it at all.

Before I left Taiwan I tested it in the shack and there was indeed some signal coming out of it. But not the 3 Watts as advertised. Actually not much at all. In fact, barely noticeable on my power meter. And I’m lying here: not noticeable at all on my power meter. But I could hear a lot of Japanese stations on both 20 and 40 meters and I could hear my own signal S9+60 dB on my big rigs in the shack using only a wet noodle. Well, if not QRP then maybe QRPp. Or QRPpp. Or QRPpppppp. I didn’t expect a lot power from a single D802 transistor anyway.

So when we arrived in the small town of Rättvik, in Dalarna County I took out my small box and within 15 minutes I was “on air”. Enjoy with me the beautiful backdrop of my temporary, outdoor shack.qrp-sweden1Reception was good and I heard most of Europe on 40 and 20 meters by juggling between four different crystals and two end-fed half wave antennas. But my CQs went unanswered and answering the CQs of the strongest stations also didn’t yield a QSO. I didn’t mind, honestly. I had a lot of fun just listening and taking code, something I haven’t had time for in the last 18 months. And what really impressed me was the direct conversion receiver. Even more impressed when I heard a station from the US calling CQ.
qrp-swedenCompared to Asia the bands in Europe are much more fun. They are crowded and you can hear many different modes any time of the day. In Asia there aren’t so many hams to begin with and during weekdays most of them work (Japanese retirees being a notable exception). On the weekends it gets busier, but then I have to work. Tough luck, so I was happy to get a good dose of ham radio in Sweden.

So, if you are thinking of buying a Chinese QRP CW kit of off eBay, then prepare yourself for being either surprised, or disappointed. The kit I bought was easy to assemble (surprise), received better than expected (surprise), but lacked the power for a proper QSO (disappointment).

Hans "Fong" van den Boogert, BX2ABT, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Taiwan. Contact him at [email protected].

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