A report from G3VTT
|Location of station - High
Halstow Kent SE England
Since early December 2011 I have been running the K2 at QRP levels of 5 watts, or often just under that to stay in the QRP limits, and have received reports consistent with poorer equipped stations running more power. In other words I recognise just how good the site here at High Halstow is.
Antenna - 119 foot end fed inverted L
The location is generally quiet electrically and the efforts put into making a decent ground system for MF 503Khz have paid dividends as has using antennas well constructed and laid out. Currently I am using 119 foot end fed inverted L at around 30 feet high which is in the clear and puts the high current portion at the top of the vertical section on 80m. The location is high on a hill and between two salty rivers.
The build up - operating with K2
On December 15th I worked Allen N2KW on the bands 80m through 10m with 5 watts and later I had a QSO on 3525 with Allen where I achieved solid copy from him at power levels of 5 watts then 2 watts and finally half a watt. The level of 100mW was inaudible and during these QSO's I used the K2 with the internal power meter checked against a Bird 43.
Operating with a copy of a Paraset
I told W3TS, Dana 'Mike' Michael, of these events during a QRP QSO on 20m and he suggested that I try my Spyset which is a rough copy of a Paraset but with QSK, a TR switch and a volume control. The output stage was changed to a true pi tank and the antenna tuning is achieved via an SGC230 auto tuner. I used also a home made audio filter from time to time during the 80m QSO.
During my 20m QSO with Dana I indicated I would be around 3560 at 0630z on Wednesday December 28th to catch the grey line propagation and on the day I rose at 0430 to ensure I was fully awake. At 0622 I pressed the key and tuned the Paraset checking for 5 watts on the Bird 43 power meter and checking receiver tuning. Remember the Paraset is an O-V-1 receiver with just two stages and netting is of paramount importance.
Sending my callsign once was immediately called by W3TS who used 100w and I achieved a report of 449 which I found quite acceptable for a three valve transceiver. I recognised his note and fist straight away from the first character he sent. He will get a home-made 'Rochester' QSL card in due course and I'll nail his to the wall.
Dana, ('Mike'), then went QRP as the band faded and I gave him a report of 339 as the noise came up. I know he also worked GM3OXX with his 1 watt and G4BUE using QRP from his K3 shortly after me.
I think getting across the pond on 5 watts to be not a particularly startling feat as I've done it regularly before in the FOC Marathon and in other Winter Sports activity periods from the GQRP club.
What is fascinating is being able to copy a US station on 80m on a home-made two valve receiver, regenerative detector and one stage of audio, with a single valve transmitter that I built myself from what are basically scrap parts. A single 6V6 easily gives 5 watts and is capable of world wide propagation under the right conditions,
I urge you, the reader, to try a simple transceiver such as this and you will find plenty of good practical help from the Invicta QRP Club and the Little Paraset pages. G3VTT December 2011