Monday, August 11, 2014

QRP 1,000 Miles per Watt....from the Campground

KX3 bathed in light from my red headlamp
The kids are starting back to school this week, so we thought we would get in one more family outing before life gets crazy.  So last week we went camping from Wednesday morning until Saturday morning.  Its great to be at the campground during the week - almost nobody else is there!

It rained every night - the days were hot and humid.  We spent most afternoons out on the lake in my Dads boat he loaned to use - nice and cool with lots of swimming and tubing.

Friday night I had time to play radio!  I setup the KX3 running on internal batteries on the picnic table.  Hooked up the portable QRP antenna that I lashed up to the canopy and I was off to the races.

I used my headlamp with a red light to see what I was writing and the radio controls.  This worked exceptionally well - and kept the bugs away.  I have used the white light before and it really draws in the bugs!

When I turned the rig on it was on 20 meters - I expected it to be dead since it was about 03:45 UTC (10:45 PM local) - but I immediately heard signals.  As I tuned around, I was hearing DX everywhere!

I listened to some of the exchanges, and could tell it was a contest - RST and Serial was the exchange.  Turns out it was the Worked All Europe HF Contest.

So I dove into the mix and started pouncing!  Wow it was fun....

UA7K - Russia (I think, could not find in QRZ)
UW2M - Ukraine (1,172 miles per watt)
UT0U - Ukraine (1, 134 miles per watt)
AI6O - California
K1XM - Massachusetts
UY5ZZ - Ukraine (1,115 miles per watt)
RW1A - Russia (1,091 miles per watt)
RM5D - Russia (1,091 miles per watt)
YP9W - Romania (1,139 miles per watt)
HA8VV - Germany (1,055 miles per watt)
S57DX - Slovenia (1,054 miles per watt)
HG7T - Hungary (1,091 miles per watt)
HG8R - Hungary (1,115 miles per watt)
DJ5MW - Germany (1,004 miles per watt)
SN6A - Poland (1,019 miles per watt)

I finally shut it down at 05:21 (12:21 AM local time) - but the band was still hoping.  I did tune around 40 meters and heard some signals, but the antenna just needs to be longer for good 40 meter operation.

What a blast!  Almost everyone came back to me on the first call - only 3 times did I have to repeat my call.  Everyone I called, I worked!

It was fascinating to think about working Russia and Ukraine with all the tensions in that part of the world right now - guys are still having fun playing with the radio.

I am really enjoying dipping my toe into these contests - it is a great way to work a bunch of stations - and some DX to boot.

Nick KE0ATH working 2 meters
Nick (KE0ATH) also did some operating on 2 meters using a collapsible portable J-pole that we built together.  He had a blast.  He is working on putting together a go-box 2 meter station for camping and outdoor adventures.

Be sure and check out, and subscribe to my YouTube channel - I am working on several more videos - stay tuned!


  1. Cool! Glad you had fun. Burke, make sure to sign up for the Skeeter Hunt next year! ;-)

    73 de W2LJ

  2. Definitely my friend! I didn't sign up this year because I knew we would just be getting back from camping - and the honey-do list would be long :)

  3. Ah yes ..... very familiar with that list. Unfortunately.

  4. Good evening Burke, congrats on the 1000 mile watt club and I sure can remember the day that I did the same as you and hit the 1000 mile per watt. It's great to see just how little power can get great distances. I have found that contests are great times to even hit the mW power range as the stations are really listening for calls. You you can boast about 100,000 miles per watt!!

  5. Thanks Mike - I have done it before, but not from a campground! This was just plain fun sitting outside and working one EU station after another. Except for the bug bites - my ankles have about 100 bites on them!