As an avid QRPer, I keep an eye out for what other QRPers say, do and achieve. This helps not only my own attempts at making low power contacts but also serves as an indicator as to what I should or could do next.
I recently decided it was time to put out a few calls using my QRP rigs once more, so put out a call on 40m using my DC40A 1W rig. No takers. I then fired up my Hendrick PFR-3A and was answered almost immediately by Peter, VK3YE, himself an avid QRPer.
Peter was operating from Melbourne, so his sig (and mine) was doing a good job in making the 1,300km distance. I was using 5W and the band was very noisy but we were able to successfully swap details and have a short chat, using CW of course.
The interesting thing is this: I receeived an immediate reply to my call on the PFR-3A, which has frequency agility, whereas I had no luck with the DC40A, which is fixed on 7.028 due to it’s crystal.
Having frequency agility certainly made this QSO possible.
Peter emailed me after the QSO and sent me a link to a You Tube video he produced regarding what he considers to be essential characteristics for any QRP rig. They are frequency agility, transmit frequency offset and transmit/receive switching. His video can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hj9va9LMB78
Great advice. However, I must say that when successfully completing a QSO with a rig that is rock bound (limited to just one frequency), the feeling of satisfaction can’t be described. Just magic. This is the essence of QRP operating. But I do agree with him. I also tend to build rigs that meet these basic characteristics these days.