The Wakes I Leave…

“Blind” Two-Way QRP (2xQRP) QSO’s: An Analysis Using Data from SKCC Sprints


As VE3DTI, having logged 729 QSOs with SKCC members – 670, operating QRP – I became interested in knowing what fraction (if any) had been Two-Way QRP QSO’s with neither participant having suspected the other of working QRP or less (hence the qualification of “blind” that shows in the title).

It is a known fact that most QSOs while operating QRP are with QRO and QRO+ stations. The Straight Key Century Club (SKCC) is not a QRP club. However, it does acknowledge QRP participation and about 20% of its sprint participants operate at 5W or less using the same general frequencies suggested by the Club. The SKCC has two types of QRP Awards: the SKCC 1xQRP Award for QRP contacts with QRO stations and the SKCC 2xQRP Award for Two-Way QRP contacts. Being already a recipient of the SKCC 1QRP ( I wished to assess how close I was from being able to claim the 2xQRP. Also, a comparison of the QRP stations logged in those sprints with the number that participated in them could offer a rough estimate of the relative ability for a QRP station to complete a 2xQRP QSO with another QRP station versus its capacity to log a 1xQSO with a QRO station.

Most VE3DTI contacts with SKCC members were within the club’s three types of sprints: SKCC’s Weekend Sprintathon, SKCC’s Two-Hour SK Sprint and SKCC’s Two-Hour SK Eurosprint (SKSE). Most stations participating in these sprints are QRO (the numbers vary but the proportion can be 4:1 with about 80% of the participants operating over 5W (QRO) and while 20% operating at 5W or less (QRP). Although the power level is not part of the required sprint exchange, the power used by each station is indicated in the report submitted after each sprint, and the results are posted in the SKCC website according to the powers reported: QRPp (1W or less), QRP (5W or less), QRO (100W or less), QRO+ (over 100W). Hence, the power used by the stations contacted in each sprint was determined by reviewing the archived results of past SKCC sprints.

Clearly, only contacts made in SKCC sprints could be considered, since those are the only events for which SKCC keeps past records of reports according to power. This meant that of the 670 contacts logged with SKCC members, 94 had to be excluded, leaving 576 QRP contacts made in sprints with SKCC members. Had VE3DTI the same capacity to contact a QRP station than a QRO one, 20% of these contacts (i.e., 115) would have been 2xQRP contacts. Yet, only 18 (3.1%) were identified as 2xQRP QSO’s. Hence, all other parameters kept equal, a QRP station like mine appears to have ~1/6th the capacity to log a QRP-QRP 2xQRP QSO than that of logging a QRP-QRO 1xQRP: 18/(576*20/100) = 3.1/20 = 1/6.5.

Here is VE3DTI’s “blind” 2xQRP QSOs harvest from the SKCC sprints (VE3DTI operated always at 5W, the “PWR” column indicates the power used by the other station):

Fifteen of the 18 were not duplicates (i.e., contacts with the same station in the same band) with 9 in the 40m band and 6 in higher bands for a total or 24 SKCC 2xQRP points. The SKCC 2xQRP Award requires a minimum of 150 points collected in 2xQRP contacts, which at the current rate of SKCC 2xQRP QSOs might be a perfectly achievable goal… in thirty or so more years!