Lesson 6.3, Making Contacts

Making contacts with other hams is central to what ham radio is all about. This video introduces Lesson 6.3, Making Contacts. I arranged with friend Randy Cassingham, KØRCC, to do two demonstrations, first “simplex,” meaning radio to radio, and second on the repeater, meaning there’s a third radio system called a repeater that’s between us.

After studying the book, you can return to the list of lessons here. By the way, the background is an aspen forest atop Uncompahgre Plateau that I took while following a single-track trail on my motorcycle.

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3 Responses to Lesson 6.3, Making Contacts

  1. dave says:

    Cory, you hit on a good point. The FCC rules actually require us to use the minimum power necessary for a contact. The question becomes how much is enough. As you noticed in the video, when I decreased power, Randy said that I had a little more noise on my signal, but we still had a very good link. It is most decidedly “amateur radio best practice” to use the minimum power to have “effective” communications. In fact, there are many operators who take operating on low power as a challenge. This form of operating is called “QRP,” which technically means to reduce power, but in general anything less than 5 watts is considered QRP (low power). I remember once using a 3-watt QRP rig to chat via Morse code from California to New Jersey (on HF). Just think—that’s less power than a flashlight! But then there are those who say (literally) “life’s too short for QRP.” They like to operate with more power. Personally, I set my HF rig at 100 watts (often called “barefoot”) but I do hear people on HF who run 600 watts or more, sometimes all the way to the legal limit of 1500 watts PEP, even when they don’t have to. Bottom line, if you want to stir up a good discussion at a ham club meeting, just bring up the subject of QRP vs QRO! Hope that helps! 73 de Dave, KEØOG

  2. Cory Ballew says:

    Hi Dave,
    Great videos! I have a question for you… In the video you lowered your transmitting power; is it more “appropriate” to transmit at the lowest necessary power or does it matter? Does transmitting at the highest power constantly cause any problems for you or anyone else?

    Thanks!!
    Cory Ballew
    Rio Rancho, NM

  3. Terry Moore says:

    Dave,
    Beautiful and VERY well done! You always were good at this. Really nice to see it on the net!
    Terry, KI0RE

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