Christian enjoys memorable QRP DX despite poor band conditions!

Many thanks to Christian (IX1CKN) who shares the following field report:

QRP Fun Despite the Conditions!

by Christian (IX1CKN)

The weekend passed without rain, nor snow, but with temperatures that didn’t exactly encourage spending too much time outdoors. It seems that, despite the date, winter has returned. Nevertheless, the POTA call was hard to resist. So, since the midday cold didn’t seem too harsh, I hopped into my car.

I wanted to avoid the surroundings of Aosta, the town in north-western Italy where I live, and explore less frequented references for a different experience. I chose IT-1196, the Xeric environments of Gran Brison-Cly.

The reserve consists of two “sub-zones”: one around Cly Castle (in Saint-Denis) and the other above it. I set up in the first one, partly because the view of the ancient castle ruins while I transmitted was charming.

I had the most minimal setup possible: a Xiegu G-106, pushing no more than 5 watts, and a quarter-wave vertical antenna planted in the ground.

This antenna comes as a single telescopic whip, over 5 meters long, supplied with a braid of radials to lay at the base. Despite the feeling it gave me when I took it out of the package, it positively impressed me with its performance.

Propagation conditions hadn’t been impressive for a couple of days, but not trying at all is the surest way to make no contacts, so there I was, making my first calls from the promontory on 20 mt.

The response rate wasn’t particularly impressive, indeed, but it confirmed what I had already experienced in February 2023 during the first activation of this reference. The northern path was open, as evidenced by several stations responding from the northern part of the UK.

However, the unexpected surprise came at 13:27 UTC when NL7V answered my call. It was Paul, from North Pole, a town in the Fairbanks borough, Alaska. He gave me a 22 signal report, but I still couldn’t quite believe my ears. I’m working with 5 watts, and I never would’ve thought my signal could reach that far (distance from here is about 7.532 km). I thanked him sincerely and told Paul he literally made my day.

Here’s a video clip of the Alaska QSO:

As for the rest of the activation, the 10 and 12 meters bands were far from lively, and even the attempt on 15 meters didn’t yield anything interesting. So, I switched back to 20 meters and resumed calling.

In the final log, there are 31 contacts (in about an hour and a half of activation), including 5 with colleagues in other references. As has happened before, just when it seems like nothing suggests going out to activate, that’s precisely when you need to go.

14 thoughts on “Christian enjoys memorable QRP DX despite poor band conditions!”

  1. Thank you for sharing this report, Christian!

    That is some SERIOUS QRP DX! It’s especially amazing that you achieved that with the G106 at 5 watts Single Sideband!

    You live and play radio in a gorgeous part of the world. Thanks for sharing that with us!

    Best & 72,

    1. Thomas,

      I felt amazed the first day I worked AK with Xiegu G90 and mobile vertical. You can see it here:

      Here we were on a sked, and I thought 15 watts was hard to beat.

      Guess my feeling when Paul’s answer came impromptu and with 5 watts!

      As for my place, Alps are tough for some reasons, but they mark an added value on other moments. It’s been one of those…


  2. Christian, Thanks for the report & video.

    It’s a common bound among those who go afield, the excitement of that first contact, or distant signal, in the midst of weather, or arduous climb, or faltering band conditions. Our triumph is the quiet satisfaction of being heard and acknowledged. That a distant signal no matter if weak or strong, should answer. Well done!

    72 de W7UDT

    1. Agree… it’s making the contact in minimal conditions.

      As with a lot, it wouldn’t be strange, isn’t it?


  3. Christian — Congrats on bagging the AK contact…I once lived near there, in Fairbanks. Very nicely done!

    73, Vic KB7GL

    1. Vic,

      you’ve some serious landscapes there. I hope to come and see for myself, one day!


  4. I have enjoyed your field reports, descriptions, and photographs immensely. Good work. Please continue!

    One question remains. What is the vertical antenna you have been using?

    72 Ken N6TZV

    1. Ken,

      and I have the answer 🙂 I’ll post an Aliexpress link but it’s ONLY intended to give an idea:

      It’s very popular in Europe, and I’ve many ham friends who are completely satisfied with it.

      Basically, it’s a quarter wave telescopic, with radials to stretch on its base.


    1. Andrew,

      I don’t know, it’s ruins of an ancient castle. I should check the COTA directory, but I’m very focusized on POTA…


  5. Oddly I saw this antenna today on AliExpress as a daily special. Do they read QRPer in China? (hihi)

    Great job all around Chris.

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