Where the propagation for QRP is going to? It’s quite difficult to analyze the propagation in these years 2017-2018-2019-2020. The forecast is telling us that propagation for QRP is getting worse and worse. A good starting point is the propagation HF prediction at this website link.
The propagation in the HF band is very bad at the present time. However sometime the solar cycle reserves good days. Last week I had chance to had a QSO on the 20 meters band with VK (Australia) – just 5 WATTS and my Elecraft KX3.
How can you predict the propagation for QRP in HF band?
Well, first of all I do believe you should be able to interpretate the data.
MUF, LUF, Number of Solar Spot. The 1.8, 3.5 and 7MHz bands are susceptible to D layer absorption and the lower sunspot numbers mean lower absorption, which is good news for 40m or the 7MHz band.
The low A and K indices at this point in the solar cycle usually mean good low band propagation. Against that you do find that DX conditions on 40m are usually better with a higher solar flux – there often isn’t enough ionisation to keep DX paths open throughout the night at this time. So 40m is benefiting from low absorption but the low solar flux will probably stop the band from providing fantastic openings throughout the whole night. Nevertheless, you should be able to work many DX stations if you pick the right time.
Remember that one day or just one hour later propagation for QRP appears to be rubbish, other times and days could be much better. The secret for DX working is to check the bands every day, especially beacon stations.
Role of the CW Beacons
To check the propagation for QRP on the HF bands, there is a list of CW beacons online to be checked if are listenable.
The list is available here. What I suggest is to start checking which one you can listen to. If the CW is very well audible, you can start calling on that band. For sure somebody will answer! Another nice tip is to on pskreporter website.
Better having 100 watts with ridicolous antenna or just 5 w with excellent antenna?
It’s very easy to answer: just 5w with an excellent antenna. It’s opinion of the author that worth while to invest 90$ in the antenna and the remaining 10$ in the transceiver. Enjoy the QRP with every propagation. Use the best QRP antenna. Here some review!