Well, I’m a sucker for those little QRP rigs and I’ve built a few. I’m not boy genius when it comes to electronics and whatever I’ve learned has been self taught in the last few years…but I press on because I’m hooked on that moment when I turn on the power and actually hear CW streaming through the headphones.
I’ve worked all states with QRP and 220+ DX stations, so I’ve been into QRP since I got my ticket. Recently I was at a local hamfest hawking my wares, and Rex Harper from QRPme.com was there selling his extensive line of QRP kits and stuff. He had the most recent version of the RockMite series with some very cool custom enclosures, so I got the 20m version. I can tell you that I had some problems with the kit, but in the end folks on the Yahoo RockMite group came through and I got it working and functional.
These critters are not for the weak of heart. They are fixed frequency so you can’t tune them at all. If someone is on your freq, well, you just have to wait until it’s clear. You also have to realize that most folks that you hear on the very sensitive receiver will not hear you when you transmit, because you’re not exactly burning up the ionosphere with your 1W!
My first QSO was with a station in Indiana which I thought was pretty awesome. He gave me a 559 and said the signal was fine and he could copy me well. Ok…well then I thought “I should try to get WAS with 1W”.
Last night I fired up my KX3 and set it at one watt and got on 30m thinking I’d start my WAS quest. And then I heard a VK station in Australia with a very strong signal. I answered and he responded right away with a 529 report and indicated that even though my signal was weak, he could copy me 100%! I told him I was using 1W and he was very excited since he was also into QRPp. We had a great QSO and will be exchanging QSL cards.
Don’t be afraid to turn down your power and see what happens. It’s a lot of fun and can be very exciting when you hear that distant station answer your call.