My 2017 SOTA Challenge – QRP 2.5 watts output

During 2016 I undertook a personal SOTA challenge to activate and qualify all SOTA peaks on 70 cm 432.200 MHz USB or 439.000 MHz FM.  More on the results of my 70 cm challenge later.

For 2017 during which the predicted sunspot activity will be very low, I am setting myself a reasonable personal challenge. For 2017 my personal SOTA activator challenge, with one exception, is to activate and qualify each SOTA peak using my FT-817 or my HT at no more than 2.5 watts output on HF, VHF and UHF bands, SSB and FM modes.  I may try lower power settings @ 0.5 or 1 watt output!

My challenge to the VK SOTA chaser group is will you match me and lower your home station power to lets say 5 watts output to the antenna?   Take the 200 or 400 watt RF amplifier out of the circuit!  😉

Who’s in for a 2017 QRP challenge?

My exceptions to my personal QRP challenge are the SOTA S2S special event days where I will continue to use my FT-857D @ 40 watts.  On these days I will aim to work 4 chasers at QRP 5 watts on HF/VHF or at 2 watts on UHF, the lowest power settings available.  🙂

I will report my progress with 2.5 watts or less through this blog. Lets see how I go with the prospect of low sunspot numbers?

73, Andrew VK1AD

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14 thoughts on “My 2017 SOTA Challenge – QRP 2.5 watts output

    • The last three days have been fun chasing Parks and Peaks from home with 3 watts. The IC-7300 minimum power setting is around 500 milliwatts. When activating I’m optimistic I can at least gain four chasers at 2.5 watts to qualify each peak. If not I may have to resort to working local VK1s on 2m SSB or FM. 😉
      Cheers
      Andrew VK1AD

  1. Andrew, I like that you counter the sunspot trend (as propagation decreases you opt to decrease power). All my activations have been with 5w 7MHz SSB and it was never a problem through 2015 and into early 2016, but it has become more difficult in the middle part of the day now. If you are prepared to work 5 bands and CW as well you have more options. I will be happy to chase you on 5 watts. For my future activations, I’m building a 40 watt linear! Good luck! vk3hn.

  2. Great idea Andrew. I might dabble with 2.5 watts on a few summits. The first time I tried 2.5 watts with my 817nd was a success…..Oregon to Arizona. Was surprised the other station heard me.

  3. Agree! We have found QRP to be quite sufficient to make plenty QSOs even with less than one watt occasionally. My Elmer once said pay attention to your antennas and location. But modest wire antennas seem to do well on SOTAs …aside from the fact you have a starving pile of point chasers trying to dig you out of the noise! Good Luck, Andrew …maybe next year it’ll be <1W Challenge? Cheers, Steve WGOAT

  4. Pingback: QRP challenge for 2017 | Amateur radio with VK1DA

  5. Good luck with your challenge! I’m going to focus more on SOTA in 2017 with NPOTA rapidly drawing to a close. Hope you had a Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year! 73, Tim KA9EAK

  6. Hi Andrew I seem to remember that early in your days of using the new ft817nd, you actually made a number of activations successfully with the power set to 2.5w instead of 5w. I don’t think you’ll have any problems completing local (VK) contacts with 2.5w. However I like the idea of that challenge and I will see how many summits I can qualify on half a watt of CW in 2017. 73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

    • I think I had an ‘oops’ moment at running the 817 at 2.5 watts, all the time thinking I had the power setting at 5 watts. 🙂
      Happy New Year for 2017 to you and your family. I hope 2017 is the year of the ‘antenna farm’!
      Cheers
      Andrew VK1AD

  7. Andrew, I would like to join you on this challenge but …

    My normal high power setting in my shack is 5W! In the field or on a summit, my ‘high’ power setting is 4W if I use a 7ah gel cell, but 1W if I use internal power on my KX1, so to me, it’s no challenge at all. Just making contacts under normal circumstances is my challenge!

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