Okay its been forever since i made a post, its shameful, i know!
As of late I have been traveling for work and I wanted a small radio i could carry in my luggage and not need a lot to operate. A QRP rig was the obvious choice…
I am not a fan of building a kit so i had two choices from the way I saw it, I only wanted to operate SSB not CW… My choices were the Xiegu X1M Pro or the Yaesu FT-817. To be honest the Xiegu X1M was my preference if for nothing else, cost. Unfortunately the X1M was out of stock everywhere and I went with the Yaesu FT-817, and as it turns out I could not be happier.
First lets talk about DX on only 5 watts… Can we say CONTACT! Before I get into the details lets say that as a licensed ham we agree to make contact with the lowest amount of power necessary. Most of us do not do this and set our radio’s to the max output. In my opinion 5 watts is exactly the spirt of what we agree to do with the FCC and it is very possible to make contacts all over the world.
I will say in a pile up its a lot harder to get through, yes, but you can… I find adding /QRP to your call helps a lot, many times people are intrigued and want to talk to you just for that. Take it or leave it but i have made contacts all over the world with only 5 watts of transmit power.
I do find to effectively use a QRP rig you need a good, no strike that, a GREAT antenna. Myself, I use a buddipole. I am not going to debate how good or bad it is, I will just say it works, and it works well for me. I can pack the buddipole in my suitcase, i need little to set it up and can operate on anything 80 and below.
As far as my 817 I have a mega-817 and OFC from W4RT and its great. With my radio, the buddipole and the mega-817 I can work SSB for hours, anywhere.
The only comment I will make is the OFC only works on 110 voltage, and when traveling that is a pain but an inexpensive inverter with voltage change easily fixes the issue
I have had a blast with my QRP rig and its fast becoming my main mode of operation. I can setup my buddipole and radio in less than 10 minutes from anywhere at anytime, its great.
So if you are up for a challenge try QRP, its a blast!