Monday, February 25, 2013

QRP tactics and 9U4U

As a QRP DXer you have to pick your battles. As I have mentioned, I am #1 Honor Roll running QRO and so I still have some of those tendancies, that is, just jump into any pile-up. A case in point was the just ended 9U4U expedition to Burundi. I spent a lot of time in the pile-ups trying to get a QRP QSO and with the masses calling I didn't have any success. Now, in full disclosure, I am using a gain antenna on 20 - 10, an 8 - element Log Periodic at 50 feet, so my hope of making a QSO in the pile-up wasn't complete insanity. However, the zero QSO result of that strategy speaks for itself.

Then came the opportunity. 9U4U was calling CQ on 12m SSB on Saturday morning, local time and when I dialed the KX3 to their frequency, no-one was calling them on his listening frequency 5 KC up. Perfect. QRP'ers know that the best time to QSO a significant DX-pedition is toward the end when most have their QSO's already. So, I was on the favored battle ground for QRP'ers, an open frequency. I called twice, nothing, CQ CQ, I called again, nothing, CQ CQ, then, "the 5A again". After a couple of repeats, he had me in the log. There was a small celebration within the confines of my shack.

So pick your battles, it isn't luck. Luck is where preparation meets opportunity. So keep looking for the opportunities.


  1. Very nice you made it finally Mike. I was just to late, I thought I could make a QSO last Sunday. But they already left the radiowaves. Better luck next time. 73, Bas

    1. I missed them on 17m. Just inattention on my party. But then that's something to work for next time.



  2. Good evening Mike, as a fellow QRPer and one who has his far share of shut out's with DXepeditions. Great work on 12m's.

  3. Thanks Mike, it was a very satisfying QSO and one that I will relish until the next one really good one.

    Mike AD5A

  4. Mike,

    I generally agree, but on the other hand, you never know. I was chasing the 9U on 40m, where he had a good signal and I had a new antenna that was working good for long-haul stuff (full-size GP). I'd called for a long time to no avail, and then decided to switch to 30m, where my antenna is worse, and their signal not as good. Got him on about the third call! So, I guess it's still a matter of picking battles - 30m probably has less competition, and with a lower power restriction, my 5 watts stands out a little better in the crowd, and the spot on 30m was probably newer as well. I guess for me it all adds up to "know when to choose battles, but don't be afraid to jump in at any time".

    73 de Lee, AA4GA