Wednesday, August 17, 2011

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!


VE3WDM said...

I agree I get more satisfaction now with just a watt or two and not 100 or more. Sure I don't make as many contacts but the ones I do make are great. Plus I know the non hams around me are most likely not getting any of the ham love coming over any of their household items.

Richard G3CWI said...

...all the more amazing that you have never tried SOTA (or at least you don't appear on the SOTA database). That really does encourage you to optimise your portable station.

There will be an international SOTA net today (20-Aug) via Echolink. Connect to M1EYP at 1900z.



Tim said...

Hi Richard,

Good to hear from you. Very familiar with SOTA - but living a decent distance from any significant summits and having restricted time to play has limited my involvement.

I think SOTA has done great work in encouraging the sort of portable activity that I know we both enjoy.

73, Tim


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