PB5X/QRP first experience

About 2 months ago(end of Feb) I had the great idea to buy a magnetic loop antenna as around Christmas 2020 I had received my last new toy in my station, the IC-705.
After surfing the world wide web in search of a nice portbale HF antenna, my attention was drawn to the Magnetic loop of OM0ET. I already wrote a short article about my first findings when testing this loop antenna ( OM0ET Loop antenna + IC-705 – PB5X Roberto ) and I can still say that working with this small antenna is a very nice experience. But when the weather outside started to improve, it was time to get outside and explore the possibilities when working with QRP Portable

My good friend Toine PD4AJM recommended a very nice area close to our QTH where the chance of RFI would be very low to none. Unfortunately we encounterd some Pulse noise(s), possibly generated by electric fences around the fields, but by using the NB most of these pulses have been eliminated.

The setup consisted of the Magnetic Loop Antenna, a tripod for cameras, DX Egineering’s folded chair, a camera bag for the 705, and the IC-705 itself. Of course not to forget the Smartphone for monitoring the DX Fun cluster. But as can be seen in the photo, the sun was shining with quite a chilly wind which made it a challenge to set up the tripod stand completely, so I decided to keep the loop in the lowest position.

Once evertyhing was set up it was time to scroll around the band. We had chosen  20 mtr and 40 mtr as the propagation was quite okay on those bands.
After calling CQ CQ I noticed it was quite hard work, something I am not familiar with 😉 as normally when sitting at home, working QRO, having bigger antennas it is a lot easier to make a QSO :-).
After trying to be heard within a small pile up a SV1 station had generated on 20 mtr, I was heard faintly within the Pile up when trying to call him. Luckily with the support of Henk PE0SSB I was lucky to exchange a quick Radio report (thanks Henk). What also struck me was the very low noise level, something I can only dream of at my home QTH. During the 2 short hours I spent in the field and it got colder and colder by sitting right upwind, I was able to listen to a lot of stations from Europe as well as many PA stations at 20mtr. Something that can be quite a challenge from home…

Over the past 2 decades as a HAM I have worked QRP from home several times and have even been able to, back in Solar Cycle 24, work ZL via LongPath with less than 5 Watts. That is of course a completely different story because when making QSO’s like that we always started with QRO power and worked our way to the lowest possible power setting. That is ofcourse the big advantage of having a YAGI beam. But working QRP in the field as a portable station with only 5 watts and a very small portable antenna like the magnetic loop is of course very different. As mentioned before, I am a true DXCC hunter and I love chasing DX with QRO power. But this experience of being out in the field, enjoying nature and most importantly, not dragging a gazillion other stuff which takes ages to be in the air is a really nice experience.

So in the coming months, where the seasons, spring and summer are yet to begin, I’m looking forward to doing some more QRP short/Portable activities in the early mornings or even late hours as we currently have no curfew restrictions due to the pandemic

If you would like to  know more about this topic please do not hestitate to drop me an email at roma-dx@ziggo.nl or just use the CONTACT form on this webpage.

73 Roberto PB5X