wythall radio club

having fun with RF

How Low Can You Go?

December 01, 2022 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News

Two men approach Wythall House early on a cold misty late November evening.  About their persons they carry equipment that would fool the most vigilant security, reports John M6KET.

As they walk the deserted streets televisions screens flicker through half drawn curtains. 

But not even the England-Wales World Cup match can deflect these two dedicated operators from their goal: the operation centre of the Wythall Radio Club QRP HQ – the Dart’s Room in Wythall House. **

Yes, Tuesday night saw the Wythall Radio Club QRP night, an event that would bring to a close eight days of QRP operating to see: ‘How Low You Could Go’.

Once in the safety of the Darts Room at Wythall House a range of small, (mostly) portable radios was revealed to include (photo left) the tiny QCX+ mini 17m cw rig and the magnificent Discovery 500 radio, last seen operating from the summit of Bredon Hill

Also on show was the Elecraft KX3 and the older but very venerable K2 (photo right, with John M6KET operating).

The few QRP QSO’s made that night were really the climax of the 10 days that went before. 

Lee G0MTN, despite being fatigued, powered down to 5 watts and worked some 85 DXCC countries in two hours during the ARRL CQ WW contest at the weekend, including a memorable and recorded QSO with VK6T on 20m CW.

5 watts and 12000 miles .. as they say in the States “Do the Maths”.

Meanwhile, Chris G3YHF heroically rose from his bed at ungodly hours at the weekend, and using his doublet and 5 watts on 80m CW achieving 160 QSO’s with 39 DXCC countries in 8 different zones.

He worked, amongst others PJ4K Bonaire (1468km per watt!) (photo top of page), 10 Canadian and American stations and 3 African stations.

Columbia HK1MW was a close call but escaped and New Zealand was heard for around 20 minutes in the Winter Dawn Grey Zone (when dawn and dusk coincide across the world).

In sunny Torquay, Kevin G4XLO had fun with his 5 watts on FT8/FT4 working mainly European stations, Madeira Island and the USA.  His signal was also decoded in Brazil and Australia (photo right).

John, M6KET, spent the week using anything from 5 watts CW to half a watt, a K2 and the infamous 90’ dog-leg doublet. 

He was amazed how far 1 watt and then half-a-watt could reach with QSO’s with Switzerland, France, Andorra, Sweden and Hungary.

5 watts saw John make good QSO’s with the Bahamas, Belize, Central African Republic, Roderiguez Island and Antigua and Barbuda, all worked in the week leading up to the weekend contest.

There may well be others we have not heard from for QRP operators are notoriously modest and self effacing. 

But like the two agents mentioned above, they move under the radar with quiet efficiency, getting the most out of their simple but well designed equipment and having a lot of fun doing so.

Try it some time!!

(** With apologies to Ben Mcintyre)