Posted by: GW7AAV | June 2, 2010

New Zealand YouTube Ham Nabbed

ZL3II and his 3100watt Amp

When will people learn? Bragging about doing daft things that also happen to be illegal is going to get you in trouble. Alan Potter (no relation to Harry), ZL3II has just been fined  $1750 ($1164 USD) and $130 ($86 USD) and had his equipment confiscated for costs for running 3.1 kilowatts, which is slightly more than the 500 watts his New Zealand licence allowed. The problem was Alan posted a video on YouTube. Bad move Alan. The YouTube video has been removed so I cannot post it here and as a result I cannot really comment on what he did. What I will say is there are an awful lot of amateurs that I know that have similar homebrew valve amplifiers capable of those sorts of power (for short periods before they overheat and self destruct) who use them well within the legal limits where the amps are just ticking over and unlikely to cause problems. It may be that he was running the amp in to a dummy load in the video but I suspect not. I also suspect that maybe the New Zealand’s Radio Spectrum Management had been aware of what he was doing and just needed the video to nail him. 
One thing I do object to is the RSM’s statement “Operating at such high transmitting power is likely to cause interference to, and disruption of, a range of other licensed radio services in the local area.”, which is not entirely true. If that were the case then broadcast stations, navigation beacons and military communications systems running ten times as much power would make life impossible for any other licensed radio services for hundreds of miles not just “in the local area”.  
Jeff Davis, KE9V recently wrote a funny but controversial article on his Signal and Noise Blog (now also no longer on the web) saying how nuts some QRPers appear to be from their posts on various forums. It seems Jeff missed the chance to have a poke at QROers, they to appear to have their share of nutters to, but least the QRP guys are unlikely to have a visit from the authorities saying they are wiping out the local Police repeater or setting off all the car alarms in a five mile radius.  
My issue with the QRO boys is not so much the interference they cause but the hundreds of stations that call them without a hope in hell of being heard because they are only running 100w or less, while the DXhead is running 2 kilowatts, sometimes legally but more often than not. If you cannot back it up with the antennas and preamps needed to hear those replying then don’t do QRO and if you have the antennas you don’t need the QRO in the first place. 
Not to let QRPers off; Run QRP but for goodness sake put up a decent antenna. Running QRP with a “modest antenna” causes as much interference to other users as the QRO guys do. Often the little guy comes on with his magic antenna and we can hear his 500 milliwatts but cannot he hear us on 100 watts and he calls CQ all over a QSO that has been going for a hour. It is as prevalent on two metres FM as it is in the CW section of 40 and 80 metres as the handheld and a rubber duck brigade complain that the band it quiet while ruining a nice chat I am having with a station 90 miles away.  Even when I switch to the beam and wind the power up to 50 watts they are still deaf as well as dumb.

QROers say like to too short for QRP. I say gear is too expensive to have it confiscated.

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