After being a ham for well over 2 years already, I am still green and relatively inexperienced. I need to get more experience and I seriously acknowledge that wholeheartedly.
I have so far continued to learn and commit to CW and digital modes of transmission with SSB phone as a back burner transmission mode. This will allow me to focus on learning more about narrow band communications, continue to grow my CW learning skills and figure out which modes tend to work better for any given condition.
For that, and my yearning desire to learn more, I have decided to go on a year long commitment of low power transmissions (mW to less than 16w) in various modes. I have started this commitment on January 31st and will keep logs of my progress as I make contacts.
Now, I am not doing this to show off. I am doing this to learn more about efficiency. Even though there is only around an S unit between 5W and 100W, I don’t see really any added benefit with extra power. In an EMCOMM scenario, then yes, I’m breaking out my KXPA100 and my KX3, but for working portable in my car with a loop or my Alpha Antenna EZ Military, Location and antenna efficiency is key. I do have a resonant SOTA linked 40m/20m Dipole, but that is difficult to put up solo.
I desire to learn more about antennas and harness knowledge from my elmers to learn what there is to know and become a better ham. For me, it’s quality over quantity: I desire to have meaningful contacts versus a mass amount of contacts in my log.
I have already learned on FT8, that even though I am running 5W of power (well 10w according to my watt meter), taking a spot in the mass of signals is not worth my time. I did not get any contacts at all. When I changed my tactics and went out past 2500hz and placed my TX indicator on my designated calling location, I started to get contacts about every other TX time slot. My challenge then is to avoid stragglers who want a place to call of their own, but either can’t hear me or just want to force their way onto my calling location. Most hams are courteous and will move if they get a message from you. But some are not and they will just sit there, specially if they don’t have their time slots synced up accurately and it spills over into your time slot.
So, that is my commitment for this year and my goal to become a better ham. I may work additional constraints into my plan, but for now, I think that is enough!