One of the things that I have been interested in doing for a while is working a DXCC Award QRP (using low power). I took some time to set up our guest operating position in the shack this weekend and decided to hook up our new Elecraft KX3 QRP radio there to test some QRP operation with our new antennas. The guest position in our shack is designed to provide easy hookup for a transceiver brought by a friend to our shack. It has full access to all of our antennas and the same band filtering that our other operating positions use allowing a guest operator to use the shack at the same time that we are operating.
The guest position has access to our SteppIR DB36 4 over 4 array on our tower and I decided to try these antennas operating as an array on 40m QRP. The results were better than expected. I was able to work a good bit of DX including DK1NO (Germany), 8R1Z (Guyana), D4C (Cape Verde), YY2CAR (Venezuela), and HE5LC (Switzerland) as well as a number of stations in the United States. Most of the DX stations gave me 59 or 59+ signal reports and a few of the US stations in the southeast an midwest gave me signal reports of 59 + 10 dB! This was more that I expected operating SSB QRP. My total worked country count operating QRP now stands at 35 with the longest QSO being about 5,250 mi. I think I should be able to achieve a DXCC QRP with a reasonable amount of effort, some good band conditions and the new antennas.
The Elecraft KX3 is a great QRP rig. The receiver is excellent with good sensitivity, decent selectivity and good noise reduction and filtering capabilities. It also appears to provide a good deal of operating time when run on batteries. The rig puts out up to 10w peak in SSB mode on batteries and will run up to 12w if externally powered. The KX3 also provides very good quality audio in SSB mode. This will be my go to rig for QRP operation going forward.
– Fred (AB1OC)