Is There a QRP CW Dream Station?

Ten Tec Argonaut V

After making 160M DXCC and 9BDXCC, which was 5 years after making DXCC Honor Roll, I have been struggling to figure out what would keep me interested in Ham Radio. The answer could be the one thing I tried to get into when I was inactive from 1977 until 2001, and that is QRP. In the 1980’s I tried getting into QRP, and it was because low power and CW seemed to be the perfect challenge. That lasted a year or so. I built Heathkit HW-8, SST by Wayne of Elecraft fame, and several others. But it didn’t hold my interest.

Elecraft K3

Part of me wants to limit myself to QRP and CW and become a died in the wool QRPer. Here is why:

  1. Challenge. Making any QSO with 5 watts is a big deal
  2. CW. It’s a dying art, and I’m at the end of the Baby Boomer era, meaning after my generation, you simply won’t hear CW on the Ham bands anymore. I feel a duty to keep it alive just a decade or two more. Plus it’s my favorite mode, living history, and something I’m proud of
  3. It’s all about the antenna and the CW skill

I’m trying to figure out what the best CW QRP rig ever made was / is. I sort of think the K3. CW is the main reason for me to stay in Ham Radio – I absolutely love “living history”, and my CW skill lets me make believe I’m a telegrapher back in the 1800’s. Its especially fun since I work in a very historically significant city – San Francisco, and between the railroad and the gold rush – you can still find peaks into that era even as you walk around SF today.

What is funny is how my CW skill makes me feel like I’m a part of “living history”.

One Comment on “Is There a QRP CW Dream Station?

  1. Man, that Argonaut V takes me right back to the early 90s when I was just getting started in ham radio. I only lived about 30 miles from Ten-Tec, and I remember going down there and lusting after the rig with pluggable band modules — can’t recall its name now. Scout, maybe? I remember how exciting it was to get on the air on those cold winter Saturday mornings and work garden-variety Europeans on 15 meters. It’s been a long, long time since I felt the magic like back then. Guess I’m just jaded now.


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