The Perception of Power

Power... or lack thereof

I had a good afternoon playing radio on 40m, 30m, 20m and 17m

I like 30m because that band seems to be more laid back and I seem to have some of the longest ragchews there.  One of the QSOs began with a fellow in CT using a K2 at 80w while I was running 5w.  

As the QSO progressed he was surprised by how well he could hear a QRP station.  This seems to be repeated often enough to me that I asked him to lower his power and see how it goes.  

He lowered his power from 80w to 50w and I gave him a signal report that didn't differ from his original.  Then he came down to 20w and I dropped him a point. Eventually he lowered his power down to 5w while I went to about 1w.  We continued to have our QSO although QSB started to make copy difficult but the main thing was that he was very surprised that he could come down to 5w and have me hear him and that he could still copy me at 1w.  We were both using wire antennas and he was about 500 miles north of me.  Solar Flux was only 107 today so it wasn't particularly stellar (pun intended) and it wasn't grey line by any means.

I think QRP operators should encourage QRO operators to try lowering their power just as an experiment.  After all we are supposed to use just enough power for communication, rather than all that we can generate.  I generally start at 5w and if a station is having difficulty or gives me a 339 I'll turn it up to my scorching 12w.

Save power, save the planet.  Maybe we can design a CW key that generates enough power to run our milliwatt rigs.

So lower your power and raise your expectations

73 es 72
Richard Carpenter, AA4OO, is a regular contributor to and writes from North Carolina, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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