So where do youse guys hang out, anyways?
Sorry for using the “Tony Soprano” vernacular, but that’s a question often asked by budding QRPers, or those looking to dip a toe into the pond, wondering what QRP signals sound like.
To answer the question truthfully – just about everywhere! Anywhere we have frequency privileges given to us by the FCC, you will find QRPers. But I know that’s not the spirit in which the question was asked. Because, yes Virginia, there are “special” frequencies where QRPers tend to congregate. Not that there’s anything magical about them, they’re just frequencies that QRPers have come to know as “the watering holes”. Just like animals from the African savanna meet and greet each other at the local pond, lake or stream, so QRPers tend to congregate at certain frequencies where the odds are good we will meet others of our species.
For CW, they are as follows:
160 Meters ~ 1.810 MHz
80 Meters ~ 3.560 MHz
40 Meters ~ 7.040 and 7.030 MHz
30 Meters ~ 10.106 MHz
20 Meters ~ 14.060 MHz
17 Meters ~ 18.080 MHz
15 Meters ~ 21.060 MHz
12 Meters ~ 24.906 MHz
10 Meters ~ 28.060 MHz
And for SSB:
160 Meters ~ 1.910 MHz
80 Meters ~ 3.985 MHz
40 Meters ~ 7.285 MHz
20 Meters ~ 14.285 MHz
17 Meters ~ 18.130 MHz
15 Meters ~ 21.385 MHz
12 Meters ~ 24.956 MHz
10 Meters ~ 28.885 MHz
In fact, the Long Island QRP Club has a very nice .pdf that you can print out and laminate and keep close by for easy reference. You can find it here. You will notice their list also lists other frequencies as well, because there’s no hard and fast rule, written in stone. And more than likely, you will hear QRPers clustering around these neighborhoods and not on these frequencies EXACTLY (although it often feels that way during a QRP contest!).
Now, when you get to those frequencies, you will undoubtedly hear some weak signals. But if you get blasted by a 599++++ signal, don’t automatically assume that it’s a QRO station intruding. It just may be that due to propagation and band conditions, that powerhouse signal you are hearing just might be generated by a transmitter putting out 5 Watts or less. Don’t assume that QRP always equals “weak”. Just ain’t so! If there’s one thing the QRP Fox hunts will teach you, is that QRP equals Low Power, not necessarily Weak Signal. Yes, you will work your share of 339 and 559 stations, but if you get involved with QRP and hang with it long enough, you’ll hear your share of eardrum blasters, too.
Now to a different matter. I got an e-mail this morning from my good friend Bob W3BBO telling me about how good propagation was on 10 Meters Sunday afternoon. I didn’t get the chance to get on yesterday, but you can sure as all heck guess where I went to during my lunchtime QRP session today! Yep, 10 Meters and it was hopping today, too. I worked Denmark, Italy and Croatia with no problem at all – no repeats, practically armchair copy both ways – although QSB did rear its ugly head now and then. Oh man, I wish 10 Meters was like this everyday! I am hoping this lasts for a couple of weeks (or months) – fingers crossed!
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!
Thank you much for this info: Many of us here always look for qrp’ers on cw. Most of them send about 13 to 20 wpm and thats good speed to copy. It seems faster cw with noise and qsb leads to harder copy.
Yes sir, qrp and cw is real ham radio!
Now if I may be so bold as to suggest to the ARRL a new question to be asked in all ham radio tests, is this. What does QRL mean and when should you use it?