Sunday, January 22, 2023

The Index QRP+ goes POTA'ing, DXing

As much as I dislike prime numbers, I made 41 contacts today from K-6455 in Central Florida.

In an effort to mitigate my primonumerophobia, I briefly considered deleting a Belgian contact from the log - that would give me an even 40 - and once you've worked a Belgian, haven't you really worked them all?!

But then I remembered that I paper-logged the first contact prior to getting Hamrs set up on my smartphone. That's 42 contacts total - and Franki OQ5M stays in the log! On 12m no less. Thanks for the WARC-band contact, Franki!

Conditions on the high bands were purty gūd but it took me a while to figure that out.

This was my first use of the Index Labs QRP+ that arrived in the mail yesterday. Starting out on 40m with no stations in evidence, I thought I bought a lemon. Not a signal to be heard. Fighting back tears, I looked at the DX Cluster and at the POTA spotting page and saw that the high bands were open. Plenty of activity on 10, 12, and 15 meters.

So up I go.

Did I mention that the antenna was not my normal "Eh, that's good enuff" installation - this time it was the EFHW, erected completely vertically, courtesy of some tall accommodating oak trees and my pneumatic AirBoss. 70 feet, straight up. First try, over the tall branch & up she goes. 10 minutes, total.

Calling CQ POTA on 12m resulted in a slew of RBN spots and European callers. Poland, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium - multiple Canucks and Yanks. 

Jim W1PID told me it was snowing in New Hampshire. I couldn't resist telling him that it was 74F/23C here, with a little telegraphic laughter thrown in.

Speaking of telegraphic laughter, I was also called by HI3AA. Whenever a station in the Dominican Republic calls me on CW, I always think they're laughing at me...then I get the rest of the callsign. Those DR ops laugh a lot, don't they?

With seven DX entities worked in short order, I took my leave of 12m and explored a few other bands with contacts made from 10-30 meters.

"Why an ancient Index Labs QRP+", you may be wondering.

Pure sentimentality, mostly - but there's more:

I liked it when it was first advertised in QST back in 1995 - but I couldn't afford the $595 price tag back then. Later versions were $695, and that's back when dollars had value.

It was unique in several ways: 10-160m coverage, small for the time (a relative term) and, with beauty being in the eye of the beholder, I consider it a good-looking radio...toggle switches, analog meter and a VFO knob big enough to serve as a spare tire dominating the front panel. 

We don't have an RV anymore, but if we did, I could chock its wheels with an Index QRP+ and still get on the air with it in the shade of my slide-out. RVing is all about making things do double-duty.

On top of that, the QRP+ offers split capability and has a built-in keyer.

And it's cubical in shape, like a Borg vessel. I have been assimilated - resistance, though lengthy, was futile.

I had intended to make a video of this activation but the wind today is horrendous - any audio would have included wind noise as a major component so a video activation with the QRP+ will be later down the road.




  1. I came SO close to buying that same radio if it's one of the two recently posted to
    I stopped myself. :) A rarity indeed! (I got something else, though.)

    I've always had a soft spot for this cube. It was the very first QRP radio I ever saw in the field and Eric (WD8RIF) was operating it at the 1997 FYBO. Eric is such an outstanding archivist of his event reports, you can actually read about that right here:

    I bought a QRP++ around 2008 or so and owned it for a number of years. I have many fond memories! Only real issue with it was a very poor front end. For casual contacts it was amazing. For the RF-dense, stuff, it fell apart and left your ears ringing.

    Still, I *almost* plunked down some money for one. Mainly for nostalgic reasons.

    I should add, though, that I still think the QRP+ has excellent ergonomics. Everything you need, nothing more. A proper innovation when it was introduced!

    Pat that little cube for me, will you?


    1. You're right about the receiver and I knew that before I bought it. I had a QRP+ about 15 years ago but it met an early death due to a nearby lightning strike - and I've wanted another ever since. Yes, this is one of the two that were recently advertised.

      Despite the receiver being what it is, I love the radio for a number of other reasons I'll get to in a future post. Like "classics" in other categories (cars, movies, etc) - they often aren't the best in their genre but they have some characteristic that sets them apart and generates appeal.

      73, John AE5X

  2. It kinda saddens me that you refer to me as 'a' Belgian... :)

    Your 24.9MHz signal was weak and it had a tad of QSB but I could copy you 100%. Of course, given your setup, the contrary would have been a miracle.
    My 12m antenna is a homemade inverted V 12/17m dipole, lobe fixed to USA, apex about 14-15m high. I was running 800W, probably less. The other QSO were easier as the triband yagi offers some gain.

    Have fun in the wild. I hope to run into you soon.

  3. Correction: THE Belgian!

    With a 19dB power differential, I'm surprised we made it at all. And 12m was open to EU that day only briefly - after about half an hour, no more spots from the EU RBN stations...the window had closed. Thanks again Franki.