OHR WM-2 and Red Hot 40

My Oak Hills Research WM-2 QRP Wattmeter is now aligned – and awaiting the Red Hot 40

I purchased a Red Hot 40 a while back and have never had it on the air in any real way – I just tested that it works when I first bought it. The previous owner told me that he set the power to 5 watts max to “stay true” to QRP – it is capabale of 7 watts I believe.

The Red Hot 40 QRP rig – basically a “better” Norcal40A

The WM-2 will be used to tune the Red Hot 40 – and I will set it to max power, which will give me more power than my Norcal40A rig – which has 2 watts out. In the future I might build some ultra simple and very low power QRP rig, or perhaps get an Elecraft KX-2 – so I can have SSB on a QRP rig and a rig that would be best for when we travel on vacation. A KX-2 would also be a good HF rig for emergencies.

Years ago, I used a sailboat solar panel to charge a motorcycle battery and used it with a Wilderness SST QRP rig – and it was a blast. I took it camping, and even had the canvas / waterproof solar cell strapped to the back of my backpack when I went back packing in the Emmigrant Wilderness.

Emmigrant Wilderness backpack trip – before I got into DX-ing

Its funny, but before I got into DXCC chasing in 2001, I did have a few years where I was into QRP. That was the “phase” I went through to try to get back into Ham Radio – and it was in the 90’s. It didn’t last long, and I was off the air for another several years – until we moved to Hawk Canyon in Lafayette in 1997. Hawk Canyon had a 3300 square foot “McMansion” on 5 acres on the side of the hill with a view of Las Trampas Ridge – and was close to the border of Lafayette and Rossmoor. It was the best QTH I have ever had for Ham Radio, but alas – was also the final years of my first marriage. Luckily, things turned out for the better – much better in fact.

Hawk Canyon – top middle property in the picture – with the big green field 

It was nice to at least experience a property where I could put whatever I want up, was on the side of a hill and had underground electric – it was very quiet and had few neighbors – none to worry about complaining about antennas or whatever. But I will take a happy marriage over such luxuries any day.

My newfound interest in QRP has everything to do with “The Challenge”. In fact, it is also part of why after 38 years I love my work more than I ever have – and while it was great being in my 20’s and working for an unknown company called Oracle – and living the nightlife in San Francisco, I wouldn’t want to do that over again – I am truly happier now. I have learned patience, perseverance and how to focus appropriately for whatever the challenge is. In fact, I feel I can do a lot more than I did when I was in my 20’s – I had endless energy, but I would go hog wild in a sport and then hurt myself. I know now that the tortoise does in fact beat the hare. I also wouldn’t want to be at the bottom rung of my career – clawing my way up the ladder. In fact, my guitar playing is already way better than when I was playing in dive clubs in San Francisco – and while that was a total blast – I couldn’t get a gig if I wanted to – those days are long gone.

This time around – I am playing QRP but with a killer new mono lever key that has my CW much improved

Phew – another inadvertent trip down Memory Lane – but what the heck – you are wherever your thoughts go . . .


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