High Voltage

    One of the local QRPers came trotting up the hill last week and this one came with the beady eyed smile. He was obviously a happy QRPer, with the look of the cat that ate the canary. "Bet you worked the D2 on 17 meters", we ventured and the QRPer nodded enthusiastically. "Got him on the first call", the QRPer expounded and then just smiled. We had heard the pileup and were surprised at the QRPer's first call success. Since he was not offering much in the way of an explanation, we had to ask the questions. "Got a secret", the QRPer replied smugly, "and it works every time!"

    We were impressed as we knew this QRPer had been frustrated more than once in similar pileups. "All you really need is one good idea to become a successful DXer", he explained, "and I finally figured out how the Big Guns are doing it! They keep telling me to be a Believer and only the Deserving will work the DX. It's all a diversion! I never understood it until the other day!"

    "What did you do?", we asked, "Your linear only puts out about half legal power and when we heard the pileup some of the calls in there are at full strength with monobanders. Did you find the D2 calling CQ and get him before the pileup built." The QRPer beamed "Nope, in fact I waited for the pileup to test my idea!" We were hooked by now for we had to admit we had spent a long hours and late nights in pileups. We had to know more. But the QRPer was not immediately forthcoming, for he wanted to enjoy the luxury of the moment. Finally he got to the point.

    "I figured out what the Old Timer is doing!", he explained. "I was over to pick up some coax and he was on the phone to the power company. Told me he was complaining about QRN on 20 meters from the utility poles. I though it a bit funny at the time but never gave it much any more thought. About a week ago it hit me! He was getting the power company to turn up his line voltage so he could get more power out of his amp!" We had expected almost anything, but not this! "Don't be ridiculous!" we shouted, "they wouldn't do that, and anyway, it'd ruin all the appliances in house." But the QRPer was not to be dissuaded. "You guys all stick together, don't you?", he said with a sly grin, "and I know better. I didn't even bother with the power company! Went down to the army surplus store and bought one of those big diesel generators. I'm pumping 180 volts into the 120 line and 310 into the 240 line in the shack!" And he was off down the hill, ready to bust the next pileup!

    Son of a Gun! What could we say. We knew the QRPer had discovered one of the Inevitable Truths. So we just sat in silence. We knew full well of the Old Timer's experiment with running over-voltage but had been sworn to secrecy. For as the Old Timer had sadly told us "It was short time gain for long time pain!" We had the feeling the QRPer would be back and that it wouldn't be long. So we decided to head off to the club meeting for we were not up to hearing about arcing coax and burnt out finals.


This story is in the public domain and may be reproduced in any format. - VE1DX

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Last updated on Thursday, 12 April 2007