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QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?

Dan Cox (KD6NXI) on September 1, 2001
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QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?

While our numbers as HAMs continue to decline to ever smaller numbers, some see no way to revive interest. Now far from it for me to preach doom and gloom or otherwise preach to the choir but I do see the one and only salvation for renewed interest as being QRP, also known as low power operation using home built gear and antennas. The reason so many people became interested in Amateur radio long ago and into the late 1960s, was the opportunity to experiment with, and learn about, electronics. QRP is the only aspect of our hobby that really encourages that, as it's main focus. Let me give an example or two why the other facets of Amateur Radio don't add as much to our goal of attracting newcomers.

The wonderful bygone days of short-wave communications are behind us. They are passing us by not because of lack of people to talk to but more so because the thrill is becoming extinct. No longer do you have to build your own equipment to speak to others in far away places. There is no thrill involved like that feeling of using something that you built with your own two hands. Communicating with those around the world that share similar interests is now as simple as using Iphone, Webphone or Netmeeting on the Internet. My first exposure to voice over the internet was with Webphone, one of the first applications to do it, made by Creative Labs. My initial contact was with an electrical engineer in Holland who was walking to work. He was using a wireless handheld computer, and would regularly communicate with people around the world on his morning commute. At that point I saw the end of what would have been the attraction of short-wave for most people. If any child or adult can simply use one of these programs even over a 28800bps modem connection, then what would be the reason to obtain a license, purchase expensive equipment and erect antennas just to do the same thing they can already do for free with their personal computer? The answer is that there is no reason.

I had always seen articles about Packet, which is one aspect of digital communications over radio. One day I decided to try it, so I ordered a TNC (Device for linking your radio to a PC) and wired up a cable to hook my rig up to the TNC and computer. When it arrived I noticed the software program for the TNC was for DOS and that the manual was rather large. Now that in itself was ok but I as I turned it on and worked my way through primitive menu systems on the screen and began to see plain ASCII text stream across the screen I realized what little if any attraction this has to young people. It's very primitive compared to what you can do over the Internet. It is also very slow, and to receive even basic mail you must leave your equipment on 24 hours a day. That in itself is impractical for most. No matter what other services packet may offer, it is still through a primitive backward medium that doesn't present the same glamour and user friendliness of the Internet.

Slow scan or fast scan television which is the practice of sending black and white or full motion color images over radio is completely relegated to antiquity with the advent of the programs mentioned above which will do the same thing and better.

Repeater use on VHF, which was such a draw to those who wanted a Cell phone but didn't want the high cost, has now done two different things. First it has become a secondary cell phone market and second many that were on 2-meter repeaters, now have cell phones because the cost of the phones and service has dropped significantly.

The majority of HAM radio services have become nothing more than watching TV, or listening to the stereo, in that they are not uniquely different. And, what they do provide is less than adequate in entertainment value compared to modern day conveniences. Personally I am not concerned with attracting new members to the hobby as it stands, simply because I don't see a need to. If the hobby itself is interesting enough people will flock to it. In comes QRP, the only aspect that still teaches electronics, creativity, and antenna design and encourages steadfast determination to accomplish your goal. Whether it's building a rig from a kit or learning when your best time is to make your desired communication, it's much as it was 75 years ago. The main difference between then and now is simply that now we have solid-state parts instead of tubes, but the childlike fascination has been reborn in QRP.

Member Comments:
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QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by K1VV on September 1, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Agree ... This is the KEY to the Future of Amateur Radio ...
"If the hobby itself is interesting enough people will flock to it. " .... We must make it intesting in many ways so that people will WANT to take part ...
Remember what Robert Redford did for Fly Fishing in that movie ... People took up fly fishing whe had never done any kind of fishing before ... We need Robert Redford to do a film on contesting and Dxpeditions !!
QRP, and Shortwave are the saving grace of Amateur  
by WD8MGO on September 1, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
I totally agree with the author especially about the VHF repeater situation. QRP is more interesting than any long drawn out so called conversations on many of the two meter machines in my area.
Also I totally agree that ham radio does not have to be pushed. Some hams push it just shy of
harassment of those who do not wish to be licensed but
remain SWLers.
RE: QRP, and Shortwave are the saving grace of Ama  
by KU3S on September 1, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Sailboats are still very popular although not the fastest way to get around. It is the process that makes it enjoyable. QRP and cw are together an enjoyable process. Steve, KU3S
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by K1OU on September 1, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Like everything else, there is a time and a place for QRP. Seventy-five meters in the summertime time does not qualify. Nor does having a piss-poor antenna, breaking into a roundtable and gouging the PTT for several minutes after being told that one is piss-weak. Tail-ending a pileup by shouting "QRP!!!"?!?!?!

I am not down on QRP, I am just bothered by some of the attitudes. Afterall, is it not a bit self-centered knowing that you are making the person on the other end strain to hear you?? And then it is the guy with a loud signal who is the problem because they would rather not make others work to hear them?? Right.

The saving grace?? I don't think so. For about the same amount of money, one could easily scrounge and build an amplifier.
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by W8OB on September 1, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
yep i think your on the right trail, for me homebrewing is what has been missing from ham
radio for the past several years, of course parts are getting hard to come by for big projects.
i never used to care much for qrp and felt the few that did it were fighting a losing battle.
then one day i had a very weak sig answer my cw cq on 40 meters and sign /qrp my first
thought was to just tune up the band and ignore the call but i though what the heck
lets see whats going on. turned out the fellow was several states away running 250 mw into
a long wire antenna sure he was just above the noise but solid copy. that started me thinking
and before long the qrp bug bite me. its not just about building equipment its about improving
the antennas and other gear you have to get the most miles out of your low power.with my
setup and running 5 watts or much less i regularly work vk's and zl's on 40 cw. had a nice chat
on 80 meters the other morning and worked a mobile station on 160m. hey if someone sez
your 5/7 with 100 watts dropping to 5w or less your still going to be very comment
states that tail ending a pile with qrp is unwanted, well dont how about you but the last few
pileups i have heard were controlled by a bunch of ignorant 1500+ w stations, when the dx
station asked for please again ending in tango delta at least 10 of them got in there and the calls
were nowhere near tango delta. dont blame the low power guys for tail ending its the only
way they can get thru. this home construction will attract the new people to the hobby the kind
we like to see you know the ones who want to learn about electronics and radio not a bunch
of dudes who memorize a few questions and get a ticket then lay dormant on 2 m fm. i have not
heard anything on 2m fm in about the last 7 years that would turn me on to ham radio.
RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by K1OU on September 1, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
My point exactly about QRP attitudes, W8OB. The holier-than-thou, exclusionary, CW is best, let me blow my horn about how great I am because I worked somebody with .0000000025 watts, so kiss my ass mantra that permeates QRP culture.

Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for the QRP operator who breaks pileups the legitimate way, meaning using a callsign and nothing else. Shouting "QRP" because you can't work somebody otherwise is akin to radio welfare. This is like saying, "I am weak and can't help it, so give me something". It is your choice to enter the fray running flea power. Don't expect somebody with a decent signal, high power or not, to feel sorry for you. And the supposed 1500+ watt stations who in your opinion are lids, I would that bet a lot of those operators are running nothing close to 1500 watts. Another hasty generalization from the kiosk of the hard to hear.
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by KE0ZT on September 1, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Hi, Dan. I agree with your comments that QRP will help generate interest in ham radio. I personally know some young hams who have really become excited about QRP. I plan to try some backpacking and QRP soon, myself!

You may have noticed that occassionally, a ham will write a letter to QST or other forum, stating that we should go totally digital in the SW phone bands to keep up with technology. I disagree. We are already experimenting with digital modes elsewhere, where it makes sense. If everything were perfect copy, wouldn't it be the same as the cell phone? I'd much rather carefully tune the knobs (and my operating techniques) for the thrill of bringing in that difficult contact.
73s, Norm
RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by N2WSO on September 1, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
I agree totally with KE0CT that it we had perfect copy all the time by going digital what would be the point of Ham Radio. Might as well just use the internet or a cell phone. QRP adds an even greater level of challange to the sport, that is, knowing that you accomplished something that was difficult even under normal conditions. It's kind of like mountain climbing. You could climb up the side of the mountain with all it's risks and difficulties or you could have a hellicopter drop you off at the top. What would be the point to that? Also, it's probably a good thing that the folks that are only interested in gabbing away on 75 M are leaving the hobby and going elsewhere. This will free up the bands for the folks that are intregued with the radio aspects of the hobby and the thrill of communicating around the world with the minimum amout of power necessary to get the job done.

73, Bob

QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by WA8VBX on September 1, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Well Dan, I see you have stirred up a bee hive, from looking at all the comments made so far, so I will add in my 2 cents and that is with inflation. I think you are missing the point on amateur radio. Is QRP the saving grace for amateur radio, I don't think so. I have done the QRP thing. Ran a TenTec 509 in 1975 both at home and mobile, Yaesu FT-7, and recently a 817. Enjoyed them all but, decided I wanted to do something else. Did the building thing when younger and recently with a Z11 tuner and decided that wearing glasses about the size of the old coke bottles that it wasn't right for me. Well wanted to work AO-40 but don't have the microwave equipment and since the 2 meter side is dead, will have to wait until a new bird goes up.
Like working on antenna's and trying new one all the time but the wife doesn't like wire all over the place and don't have the room for a tower.
Trying the new digital modes, did packet in 1985 and now trying MMSSTV, MMTTY, PSK31, HELL, MSK,etc, trying all the new modes that you can use with a computer.
Hey, now that I have reread my comments I see that there is still a lot of things I can do to enjoy the hobby and it will NOT be just one thing that saves amateur radio but a combination of all that incorporates this wonderful hobby.
Again just my opinion.
RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by KJ6H on September 1, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Oh how lame it is to claim to know the "one true way" to save Ham Radio. Please, somebody save me from guys like this. It ain't your way or the highway buddy, there are MANY facinating aspects to hamming. It's exactly that which atracts people to the hobby I believe. QRP is but one. Whether your back-packing or camping or just for fun QRP, go for it! But get off the soapbox. And remind me to turn on my amp next time I try to copy your weakass signal.
Cheres, TOD KJ6H
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by KB7OEX on September 2, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Folks -

For what it's worth. I've been in HAM a little over a year. In the last year, built an SWL40+, OHR500, K1, and am half-way through my K2. After the first three months of being in HAM I quit using SSB and got totally hooked on CW. QRP and CW have MADE this hobby for me.

As a newcomer, I would also say that the whole world of older rigs is totally fascinating. Newcomers have never had the chance to plug in a Collins or a Drake or a Corsair etc etc etc. Personally I absolutely love going to Hamfests and looking at such things. It's a great element of the hobby. My first 100W rig was an Omni C - what a beauty - and you actually get to "operate" it - compared to the most modern rice boxes.

I sold the Omni-C and now operate an Omni V which gives as much latitude to tinker as you have background and capabilities. I'd include Ten-Tec products in with those type of products that stimulate creativity and thinking.

If you want to see people who are totally jazzed about HAM, read thru the Elecraft and Ten-Tec reflectors. These folks LOVE HAM radio!! And take a look at QRPp or the Norcal website. These places are ALIVE with HAM!

Putting the QRP rigs on the air is an absolute thrill!!!!!!!!! Learning and having real conversations with CW is TOTALLY satisfying and is a joy that I suspect will never end - there will always be room to improve your cw quality and speed!

So what's all my rambling mean? I agree with the comments on QRP, but let's through in CW as a hook for a lot of folks - the FISTS Club membership is growing quite quickly!!! KB7OEX Tim Logan, Gilbert AZ
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by AA7BI on September 2, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Dan is right on the mark here. I got my Ten-Tec Argonaut 509 in 1983 because I lived so remotely in the Montana wilderness, there was no commercial power available. It taught me a measure of patience I desperately needed at that age. Eventually I bought a 100 watt rig, but soon discovered that any station that could be worked with 100 watts could just as surely be worked with 25 watts. For me, at least, high power now means 25 watts.
Whipping out what looks like a tiny sardine can, putting up a quicky necklace-wire antenna, matching with a match-box sized tuner and using a miniature roller-switch for a morse code key, most hams will view you as an extreme oddity. Yet there's something romantic about it that keeps them interested. Maybe it's the extreme miniaturization and portability that catches them. I'm confident the average ham really does want to build his own radio and peripherals. It's a part of the amateur mystique. Very rarely will you find a ham who only wants to buy a commerially produced station and talk, talk, talk. Our instincts lie in the need to build and construct, and that's what will keep us going.
What sustained amateur radio for many years is now yesterday's history. It's tiring and dull to many. It doesn't impress anybody anymore. However, a home-built radio or kit, running on a couple of AA cells, communicating ably around the world, sends us to the place we had always wanted to be when we picked up our first amateur study-guide. A while miniaturization will soon lead us to all-band, hand-held commercial equipment, we'll still have the satisfaction of operating home made radio equipment.
Thanks Dan. 73 de AA7BI, Bob

QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by AK2A on September 2, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Yes I think it IS the saving grace of ham radio. As for those who show disdain for the accomplishment of "pulling out a weak one", theres always the internet or cell phone, etc for perfect copy. Qrp reminds me of my novice days in 1961 when a qso with Ohio was a thrill. The analogy to welfare is a poor one and perhaps shows a slightly obsessive reaction. The truth is that QRP qsos are more difficult than using those fire-breathing beheamoths we call amps. Which type of operating would Ayn Rand be most impressed with,methinks the grater challange, yes????
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by N8XE on September 2, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
You really can't say that one thing or the other will save amatuer radio. Because nothing really will. Very few kids today want to work for something like getting their ticket to operate a radio. Heck, mom and dad just gets them a cell phone or a pager. What magic is there in that? It is the Nintendo generation. Instant-on satisfaction. Sit the kids in front of a TV or video game so that they are out of our hair. What is missing is a good parent to introduce them to new and exciting things THAT IS NOT ON TV!! Not just amatuer radio, but things like Astronomy, Music, Model Rockets, Model Railroading etc... Not just make them consumers of this stuff... but actually understand how these things work! My hats are off to the parents who do get involved with their kids.

I do not have any children (no choice of my own) However, the kids in the neighborhood know me as the guy with the radios and the big telescope. I get the telescope out and introduce kids to the wonders of the heavens! I get involved in boy scouts. I am involved at my church with kids. Instead of sitting around talking about "what is going to save amatuer radio" instead why don't we start paying attention to our kids!! Amatuer Radio will follow after that. We tend to stay in our nice little warm shacks and complain about CW vs SSB or QRP vs QRO when there are kids that would probably LOVE to talk to someone across the globe. Heck, look at Jamboree on the Air (coming up in next month)... those kids have a blast!! And btw, why would a kid want to talk to us old farts anyway on the radio!! They love to talk to other kids. Invite a neighborhood kid and their parents over for an impromptu QSO with Germany!

If anything CAN save amatuer radio, its kids. Get them excited. Get them doing stuff that GROWS THEIR MINDS, not NUMB their minds. Amatuer radio can do this (so can alot of other worthwhile hobbies).

As far as QRP goes, it DOES increase your skill as an operator. Not just how well you listen, but it helps you understand HOW radio works. Even though I passed all my tests up to extra (when you had to pass with 20 WPM), I still did not totally understand the theory. But learning about QRP and building my own stuff has helped me A TON! Heck, recently I found out WHY there is an IF stage. (Now I think, DUH!)

There is a time and place for QRO and QRP. It depends on your resources and time. I do not have the money to buy an amp (nor do I really want to), tower, FT1000MP etc. But there is something about building your own gear/antenna and contacting Japan ON SOMETHING YOU BUILT that surpases ANY amount of money you spend on QRO equipment. Of course, the QROers will disagree.. but if you got the money... GO FOR IT! And those QROers that built their own amps, GREAT! I bet it feels better using something you built eh?

I think we are too late when it comes to kids today. I really do. I hope that we find the kids who have that lovely spark in them that does not take things for granted (well, I press this button here and I hear my friend's voice). When we do, get them involved. Nurture their interests... I just hope we get too them before the TV does.

RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by W5HTW on September 2, 2001 Mail this to a friend!

For some the saving grace is QRP.

Others: DX
Others: Bring home some fruit jars honey so I can finish putting up the squash
Others: CW
Others: Digital modes
Others: Internet radio
Others: Rag chewing on SSB
Others: Rag chewing on CW
A very few: Rag chewing on RTTY
Others: FM 2 meters.
Others: ATV
Others: Satellite Operations

The "saving grace" is not having someone tell us THIS is the to prolong ham radio. .


RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by K1OU on September 2, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Some of the responses I have seen merely serve to reinforce my opinion that some QRP operators think that they are better than others.

Again, I have no beef with the concept of QRP. It is the contention that QRP is the saving grace of amateur radio that I find to be ludicrous. Any dissenting opinion is twisted out of context with hasty generalization. As for pulling out a weak one, I have no problem doing it, but making somebody dig deliberately in the midst of crowded and/or noisy band conditions just to prove a point is a bit selfish if there is only one willing party.

Some would say that contesting is the saving grace. Afterall, it is extreme radio. Putting one's abilities and facilities on the line to obtain an empirically verifiable goal is the motivation.

Others think that digital is the saving grace. Afterall, it is the most technically advanced aspect of the hobby. The ability to compress information into a small bandwidth is amazing.

Yet another belief is that the heritage of the hobby is the saving grace. Does AM come to mind??

The bottom line is very simple. If everyone was the same, one of us would be superfluous.
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by N8XE on September 2, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Oh yea! I forgot to mention....

When I operate QRP working DX, I NEVER say that I am QRP when calling. It is more fun that way! Yea, I work harder at it, but it is more satisfying.. Oh, I may throw in N8XE/QRP only AFTER I make the contact... ( DX de N8XE/QRP Thx es GUD DX dit dit N8XE de DX UR RST IS NW 339 339 BK HI HI )

The bottom line is this:

HAVE FUN no matter what you do in amateur radio.. that is probably the best thing about it... you can do soooo much with it. I like QRP, you like QRO... "can't we all just get along?? " (That was a joke... a bad one at that)
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by KJ6ETL on September 2, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Perhaps we should promote qrp expeditions much more.
Perhaps one founded by qrp kit supplier instead of Yeakencom.And refuse to work anything over S6 ;-)
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by CHRIS0 on September 2, 2001 Mail this to a friend!

I have to admit that no *one* thing will save Ham Radio, but QRP sure has me interested. I am working (very close) to gettting a General Ticket instead of a Tech just so I can do this.

Building and CW are a big draw. May I be 20 WPM and have my K2 running soon!

How about an article on what has drawn people to the hobby recently, especially teens?


QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by KE4MOB on September 2, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
The real saving grace of amateur radio is when amateurs display the whole swath of hobby to the masses and let the masses decide on what they like.

I was honored to be able to demonstrate ham radio to a group of Boy Scouts last week. What were they interested in?

2M operation? Yes. CW? Yes. DX? Yes. SSB? Yes. Digital? Yes. I have no doubt had I displayed QRP some would have liked it too...and some would have hated it.

Repeat after me: THERE IS MORE TO HAM RADIO THAN ONE MODE. We seem to be missing the enjoyment of the forest arguing over which tree is prettiest...

My thoughts,
Steve, KE4MOB
QRP is all of amateur radio... at a lower power  
Anonymous post on September 2, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
QRP is *all* of ham radio, just at lower (much safer) power levels and includes aspects such as homebrewing and kit building which have largely dissapeared from mainstream ham radio.

It has sparked a lot of interest in those whose interests lie not only in communication for it's own sake. For many (like myself), it is the only way they can get onto HF due to where they live. This trend will only continue as the population grows and we are forced to live ever closer to our neighbors.

As some have said, a lot of pompous nonsense is spouted regarding the superior operating skills of the QRP operator. They may have more patience, however, operating skills have little to do with power level. A lid is a lid at any power level and operating at QRP levels does not magically confer superior operating skills (nor are any particularly necessary).

I believe that QRP is what ham radio should be, however, that is my opinion and others are entitled to theirs.

To those who have never tried QRP (for more than half an hour that is), 5 watts or less may sound an awful lot less than 100 watts, but in reality, if you can work someone at 100 watts on CW, you can more than likely work them at 5 watts. Try it some time.

Having a QSO with a station 5000 or more miles from you using only 5 watts CW, a piece of wire or two and a rig you built yourself is far more gratifying than doing the same thing with 1500 watts to a beam from your kilo-buck rice-box (and a heck of a lot cheaper too).
No need to get polarized on this  
by W7DAM on September 3, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
I've always been a 100% QRP CW op, but my contacts don't ever know I'm QRP until they get my QSL card. I figure that if my signal was too weak to copy comfortably, they'd just pass me up and pick out any one of the many S9+ signals out there.

But QRP shouldn't be evangelized - and I see that happening sometimes. It's just one of dozens of interesting things about ham radio that appeals to people.

QRO appeals to me providing I could do with an old Collins or Johnson transmitter. Maybe I'm just looking for the romantic side of ham radio.

KU3S got it right: it's the process that's enjoyable.

73, Dave W7DAM
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by M0CQG on September 3, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
I agree wholeheartedly with your comments - and would offer yet another reason why QRP may be the way forward for amateur radio:

Here in the UK, land is very expensive - as a result, property developers allocate very little space for gardens (typically 35 - 40 feet for a back garden, and often little or no front garden). Furthermore, most new houses are built *very* close together. This is a potential nightmare in terms of RFI, as the feedpoint of any antenna is likely to be in close proximity to a lot of domestic electronic equipment (TV, hi-fi, portable radios etc). Even with just 100 watts, it's easily possible to wipe out a neighbour's TV and risk souring the relationship. Reduce power to QRP levels and the problem will more than likely disappear - so we can enjoy our hobby *and* keep the neighbours happy. This is equally (if not more) applicable where indoor antennas are a necessity, perhaps due to deed restrictions and the like.

I feel that maintaining good neighbourly relations is very important. I wonder how many neighbours who, having suffered from interference, criticise amateur radio to their friends and family. We don't want or need that sort of publicity in an age where the hobby needs new blood to keep it alive.


Sure has been fun for me!  
by K7FD on September 3, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
QRP may not be for everyone, but as my tastes in Ham Radio changed over the years, I've found 'qrp today' to be one of the most fascinating aspects of Amateur Radio. There's never been a better time to experience the thrill of making a contact on a handful of parts. There are so many excellent kits out there right's just great! I've had a blast over the last couple of years in qrp and have a small website covering my fun at:

Please feel free to visit and shoot me any questions if you have any. As you will tell, I enjoy setting up a small station at the local park and making an afternoon of it. QRP has been an extremely satisfying journey for me, both building and operating. But the number one thing I've enjoyed about qrp is the friendly people involved!

73 John K7FD
RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by W2AGN on September 3, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Here we go. K1OU doesn't agree with W8OB, so he resorts to a personal attack. Just the kind of thing we see on 75M SSB every night. This is they type of ham we DON'T need!
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by N9IJ on September 3, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
While I don't necessarily agree that QRP will be ham radio's salvation I do profess that, if the average ham is properly introduced to QRP, it will help retain many.

Unfortunately we've become a selfish society, not inclined to labor for our fruits. QRP as an intro requires a learning curve or the ability to buy into SSB and other exotic modes that many at the intro stage won't be willing to endeavor. If properly introduced to the already licensed and practiced ham, QRP can be a great motivator to expand horizons.

In QRP's basic form, albeit learning CW is oft needed, one has a plethora of already designed projects to build that basic HF or VHF station. One not bent upon being an engineer can still acquire basic technical skills in building, maintaing, and using equipment with minimal $$ outlay. The thrill of success with something you actually created is a great motivator.

My personal experience of late has been a return to QRP after many years. I found ham radio boring so when some extra $$ came about I bought an 817. QRP and operating from the field has brought me renewed ham radio excitement after 30+ years.
RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by K5PSH on September 3, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
the language displayed by k1ou indicates to me that he is the epitome of all that is wrong with amateur radio today---------k5psh
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by AA4PB on September 3, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
There are a number of areas of ham radio that appeal to those who have an interest in the technical areas or in building their own equipment. QRP is one of them. The new digital modes such as PSK31 is another. While designing and building a modern 100 watt, all band, HF transceiver may be beyond the capabilities of most hams, there are plenty of station accessories that one can work on around the shack. Keyers, antennas, digital interfaces, transverters, linear amps, power supplies, etc. I find no lack of available construction projects.

I find that the Internet both adds to and detracts from ham radio. One the one hand it's a fantastic source of information on all aspects of ham radio. On the other hand it consumes a considerable amount of time that might otherwise be spent on the air or in building something.
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by AA4PB on September 3, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
I might also add that anyone wanting to build their own modern, all-band, HF transceiver from a kit should check out the Elecraft web page at
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by WA3WSJ on September 3, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
I've been a ham for about 28 years now, but I've only been involved in qrp
for about 3 years. I've had more fun in the past three years operating
qrp than in the past 25 years! QRP- The thrill is back baby!
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by K7SZ on September 3, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
I have been actively involved with QRP for over 36 years. I have seen the interest in QRP rise and
fall as regularly as the sunspot cycle. Over the years I have tried my hand at high power HF
contesting, DXing, traffic handling, satellite and digital communications. The ONE area that I
keep returning to is QRP. It's fun. It's challenging. It places the operator directly in touch with his/her
operating skills. Any idiot can run out and buy a 1000 watt station and, providing that person has
a pulse, work all the necessary countries for DXCC within 2 months, even on the low side
of the sunspot cycle. The same can be accomplished using only 100 watts, although it will take
a bit longer, maybe 6 or 8 months. There is no challenge here, only brute force. No finesse, just
raw RF power and sloppy operating habits. QRPers are a proud lot, who focus on the issue, "Power
no substitue for skill", a quote attributed to Howard S. Pyle, W7OE. We take the "high road", the one
less travled, and we REALLY enjoy the trip! QRPers are involved in a "grassroots movement" with in
the ham radio hobby. Every time we get on the air or build and test a new rig, we are connecting with
the early days of ham radio, when awsome feats of communications were done with primative gear.
QRP is a great way of life. I urge anyone reading this to give it a try, if you haven't already done so.

73 Rich K7SZ
Editor, QST's QRP Power
RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by K1OU on September 3, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Again W2AGN and K5PSH, the time on your behalf was not taken to thoroughly read what I wrote. At no time did I personally attack anybody or call names. What a paradox, having to repeat myself several times to be understood, just like some QRP operators. As for the language being used, if that is all you have to base your opinion of me, then you are not worth knowing in the first place, Mr. K5PSH. Don't dislocate your elbow patting yourself on the back. Perhaps, and this is a large perhaps, you would have a minute shred of credibility if you actually took a few extra seconds to insert correct punctuation into your rant. As for 75 meters, Mr. W2AGN, I happen to enjoy the band. Nice try. Don't try to hold it against me because I actually have a signal. This is exactly why you have two choices. They are called a VFO and a power button.
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by WB4MNF on September 3, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Grace isn't a mode or power level. It's ham radio fellowship, taking the novice under your wing, working
your tail off so the old geezer with palsy can get through his CW contact, helping your bud who just got out of the hospital get his antenna back up, and the like.

There's also a lot to be said for tipping
back a few cold ones and discussing optimal coding for
a varying power*bandwidth function, comparing urologists,
and chuckling over the latest 'life is too serious for
_________' issue.

QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by VK2GWK on September 3, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
It is amazing how little power one needs to make a CW contact. I regularly listen to the IBP HF Beacon network (sponsored by the NCDXC. The beacons send - after their ID) four bursts of one second with power levels of 100W, 10 W, 1W and 0,1W. Very often I can hear the 0,1W signal clearly although there is no S-meter reading. The beacons use verticals for antenna's.

Another thing is that very few amateurs seem to know or realise that to gain 1 S-unit in signal strength you need to quadruple the radiated power. So that very expensive power consuming amplifier only boosts the signal from 9 plus 5 to 9 plus less than 20. And under the same conditions the QRP stations would still be just under S 8.

QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by WA5BDU on September 3, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
QRP is ONE of the good things going on in ham radio today. It's not the only one. I have five QRP rigs that I've enjoyed building and operating. I also have some boatanchors and a sophisticated modern transceiver. I operate these all at their rated power output.

We've seen some of the expected backlash here. Folks, remember that those QRPers that think their way is the only way are a small minority. Most are open minded and a good number have other interests in ham radio besides QRP.

Join us and try QRP operation. There's no loyalty oath; you don't have to change your religion.

72/73--Nick, WA5BDU
QRP and good habits rarely found together  
Anonymous post on September 4, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
My eyes have been opened to the true QRPer. "Back in my days" you were QRP because you were budget limited. Those guys really WERE good operators. They'd never THINK of appending /QRP to their callsigns; it wasn't a badge of honor, it was just their particular condition. They'd never THINK of tail-ending to get DX - that was called cheating, not "compensating". "The only way to get through a pileup"? Wow. Whoever said that has had too much of the Blarney Stone.

So a guy lies about cheating on his wife "to protect her honor". Well, didn't he violate her honor by cheating to begin with? So the lie doesn't protect her honor at all, it merely makes it look that way.

Similarly, if you have chosen to be QRP, you have intentionally selected a station setup that may not be capable of breaking pileups. If you then break the rules by tail-ending and it gets you the QSO, you still have a station that cannot break pileups.

When I'm DX, I don't put up with that sort of stuff. I just don't. I may work you, but if you violate the known rules of DXing, or change your callsign halfway through the QSO, there's no QSL for you. Tail-end the pileup, and I log your callsign as "K8XE/TE". That's a flag to the QSL manager, and you don't get one. Same thing if you change callsigns. Given the amazing number of tuner-uppers on my RX frequency, it's a stupid idea to do anything different to your callsign after the initial QSO. If you start with K8LID, do NOT later do K8LID/4 or K8LID/QRP. It sends us scurrying to the logging program to edit the already-entered call, and ticks us off enough that we definitely will write you off as "no QSL for this lid!". I'm your worst fear - you've done something that makes me not want to give you credit, but I will not engage with you on the air about it. I do whatever it takes to get you off the frequency, so you quit QRMing the operation. And you think you got a QSO but you won't get credit.

I've done FD now three years with so-called QRPers. Horrible operating habits. They seem to love using the old "last two" habit, recently re-declared illegal by the FCC. And they tail-end, if you can believe that on FD! On SSB, they crank the mic gain - the splatter is awful, yet they say "you do whatever you have to when you're QRP." What? Again, being QRP is no excuse for violating ANY of the well-accepted rules of operating, nor for knowingly operating the station in violation of good engineering practice.

It isn't the QRP I hate - it's the bad operating habits. I work QRP sometimes as well. But I keep the pleasure of the other guy in mind (this is a HOBBY, remember? Pleasure is SUPPOSED to be a part of it!). If he reports poor copy, my power is going to be increased.

Sure, run QRP. Try to keep an amp handy so you can use it when needed. If you're QRP at 5W, then a boost to 100W would be 13dB - a long way on the path from "barely detectable" to "armchair copy".

QRP would impress me if someone had DXCC in short order on 160 with QRP. Oops - lost you on that one, didn't I? I figured I would. Yes, there are times that the reason for 1.5kW isn't to bust a pileup of other California kilowatts. Sometimes the power is required to overcome D-layer absorption. Like it or not, you QRP fanatics have to come to grips with this: QRO guys are NOT in charge of propagation, so you cannot blame us for all the QSOs you don't get. And we do NOT control those SW BC stations on 40 meters, either!
RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
Anonymous post on September 4, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
"Any idiot can run out and buy a 1000 watt station"

Pathetic martyr-like statement so typical among the QRP evangelists. Open up the QRO mudslinging negative campaign advertisements to justify the "nobility" of QRP.

I'm sure the individuals responsible for big signals emanating from W1AW really appreciate the comments of the QST's QRP editor.
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by K0JPB on September 4, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Hi All,

QRP and QRO operators both have room to enjoy Ham radio. Name calling, inuendo and attitude make the service/hobby less appealing to those in it and to those who may be interested.

I'm glad to see that most of the people responding to this topic are making a positive contributeion with constructive discussion.

One of the great things about Ham radio is that there are so many facets to this gem, that any one of us will be lucky to try them all in one lifetime. ... not to mention all of the new aspects that are bound to develop in the coming decades.

I got into Ham radio to help my community thru ARES, RACES, and SKYWARN. I also enjoy kit building, Simulated Emergency Tests (SET), Ham breakfasts, hamfests, experimenting with antenna building, Field Day, Fox Hunting, and digital modes. As the years go by, I'm sure I'll continue to explore other areas of Ham Radio. It's not just one thing that interests me, but many things about Ham radio.
RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by K5AF on September 4, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
While I am a QRP and low-power advocate, I fear that we as a community are becoming too stratified. On any given day, you could take all the CW signals on all the bands combined and pack them into a 25 KHz segment. The WARC bands are indeed a blessing, but they have taken activity away from the other HF bands. The digital modes are also great, but they also have drawn activity away from the CW bands.

I have 10 years' worth of general QSO logs on my computer. I am always interested in how many of the same stations that I work. Whenever I do work a new station, I always ask if the callsign is new because I often find they, too, are a former familiar call.

Now we're being given yet another slice of the HF
universe, 5 MHz, to further diffuse our numbers. My point is not that QRP is bad, but we seem to be compartmentalizing ourselves into small clusters of activity. I'd rather see us all enjoying the hobby together, without tags. I certainly don't mind digging into the soup to enjoy a good QSO with a QRPer, we're getting to the point where we should appreciate a good QSO with anyone!
RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
Anonymous post on September 4, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
K1OU wrote:

>My point exactly about QRP attitudes, W8OB. The >holier-than-thou, exclusionary, CW is best, let me >blow my horn about how great I am because I worked >somebody with .0000000025 watts, so kiss my ass >mantra that permeates QRP culture.

As opposed to the holier-than-thou, exclusionary,
listen to my stupid psuedo-broadcast audio SSB,
let me blow my own horn about how great I am because
I bought a big linear amplifier so kiss my ass
mantra that permeates 20 meter phone culture?

Like you?
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by AK2A on September 4, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Well the party seems to be getting rough. Here's a little morsel for thought. I own the following: ICOM 775, 746, Kenwood TS850, YaesuFT900 and more, and my favorite rig is my OHR100A 4watts, 20cw. Im not pretending this would be true for everyone, but QRP has really put back the thrill after 40 years on the air. BTW no one is FORCING anyone to copy my weak signal, and people from all over the world DITCH me on a regular basis. I dont hold it against them. But I want to thank and commend those who hang in there with me and to point out that it is very much THEIR accomplishment also. I dont want to evangelize but I want to vent a sec: there is an AMP mfgr who likes to "dig" us QRPers with the old salt "lifes too short....." This is a rude way to sell these largely unnecessary fire boxes. How about : "Life may be too short for QRP, but not as short as its going to be if you radiate your brain and body with high-power RF" Point???? There is a safety issue here also. In the end it is "to each his own" We are not saying other modes are "bad" we just feel that QRP has done it for us. I dont run QRP 100% of the time, I like to break giant piles with 100watts and a delta loop/vertical. Nothing compares, however to working VK long path with 5watts and a dipole. Dont even think the guy suffered much. :-)
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by WB2WIK on September 4, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
It's ironic that when I was a 13 year-old kid with a Novice license and a soldering iron, and not much else, I used to apologize for my lousy signal...because 10W or so output power is all I could muster from the 6V6 crystal oscillator (no buffer, no PA, just the oscillator!) I had homebrewed on a few consecutive snowy evenings in my parents' basement.

Now, I look forward to watching the dust collect atop my kilowatt amplifier while I attempt to work the world with a peanut whistle, intentionally (of all things)!

Things sure have changed...

73 de Steve WB2WIK/6
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by NB6Z on September 4, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Dan, you should not get so hung up on comparing ham radio with the Internet! There is no need to defind our hobby since most readers are smart enough to know that the internet is a tool and ham radio is a pass-time. If some elements of the hobby , like Packet and SSTV are not your cup of tea, just let it go. No need to sound snooting about it. QRP is fun (been there done that for me...) but I can see the pros and cons of it too. I don't believe kit building teaches you electronics any more than using the internet teaches you computer science. It just sparks an interest...
Now, if you really want to have some fun with your hobby, try connecting your QRP kit with long wire antenna to your home brew PC and operate PSK31 or MFSK16 modes. Both modes are perfect for low power. ;-)
RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by K1OU on September 5, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Dear Anonymous,

Yes, just like me. Just like me to back up what I say with a callsign.

Just like you??
RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by K1OU on September 5, 2001 Mail this to a friend!

I'm sorry I probably squashed you like a bug in a pileup on more than one occasion, but that really isn't my problem. E-mail me and I'll tell you all about myself. It's a real good thing you have the internet, otherwise you would never be heard.
RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by KA6MOK on September 5, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
>>K1OU wrote:

>>My point exactly about QRP attitudes, W8OB. The >holier-than-thou, exclusionary, CW is best, let me >blow my horn about how great I am because I worked >somebody with .0000000025 watts, so kiss my ass >mantra that permeates QRP culture.

> As opposed to the holier-than-thou, exclusionary,
listen to my stupid psuedo-broadcast audio SSB,
let me blow my own horn about how great I am because
I bought a big linear amplifier so kiss my ass
mantra that permeates 20 meter phone culture?

>Like you?

Let's not forget 40 meter phone culture.. ;-) I've had "experiences" with those who complain about those who "can't be bothered" to buy that 1.5KW linear and/or put up a beam instead of a dipole.

Especially interesting, since the "opiniated" one was 5-600mi away, and could barely hear me, while the 1000 and 2000mi stations had me 5-4 to 5-7. But I was proving *his* point. As I left, one of the round table was explaining differing antenna radiation angles, etc to him.. and that my claim of DX with a ZL on 40 could actually have been possible.

Luckily, operators like those are in the minority.. the main thing is ENJOY HAM RADIO! There are many things to do, and ways to operate. As well as people to talk to...

RE: QRP and good habits rarely found together  
by N2MR on September 5, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Hey anonymous, keep your QSL card, I couldn't care less!
If you repeat my call, I've worked you, and that's ALL the "PROOF" I need.
As for QRP, it's the receiving station that should get all the credit! The xx#xxx/QRP thing is very tacky in my opinion. Being forced into QRP operation from an RFI standpoint is very understandable, but the guy who runs QRP to stacked Yagis and wins the QRP contest category isn't proving anything. It's all about Effective Radiated Power and the guy with the good receiver and beverage antenna that makes the contact possible. So lets cool it with the "QRP JIHAD"

QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by PA5KE on September 5, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Dear fellow radio amateurs,

Why all these aggressive reactions?

I have been working HF with 100W for the last couple of years but I had the feeling that "is this all feeling". This made me decide to build the K2, since that moment I run QRP. Understand me well QRP was not the goal of building the K2. It is however really surprising what you can do with 10W in SSB. I work the world, I even break the pile-up often. It brought the thrill of working DX back for me. But to be honest I am also working on a small 180W amp. to use when necessary, it will most of the times be switched off.

And yes I do/did often use the /QRP tale-end without knowing that I was doing something terrible. I would like your attention for the QST article of April 1984, page 52. In which QRP operators are advised to use the /QRP tale-end. And I must say I have never received any negative reactions on the bands about the /QRP the opposite is more like it!! But ok I will skip the tale-end during my future operations.

To come back on the initial start of the discussion I agree with the statement of others that Ham radio is not just QRP operation it is a wide range of possibilities from which you can pick whatever you prefer. It does however bring back the trill of being fully dependable of propagation and forces you to study propagation. When succeeding the psychological reward is much bigger than working QRO.

In Holland the fascination for radio started for most of us as being (low power and not dangerous) 3 meterband radio pirates when we were at school, later we became licensed. But I must say that radio piracy has also extinct overhere. I have no idea how to increase the interest of HAM radio under the youth, it is however not surprising that youngsters are not reached by most of the “marketing” actions of the HAM world. Face it if big multinationals can not reach the young generations why do we think that we can!
The product HAM radio is over the top and there is nothing bad about that. Maybe we can teach our own children and hope that they will interest their friends. I have stopped trying to interest my XYL, but my 4 years old daughter complains that she can not sleep when she does not hear me “hamming” you see there is hope, hi. If we do not succeed we will have to be satisfied with a little less bandwidth, well if there is only a couple of us we do not need more. This would be BTW be a good moment to have an international legal limit of lets say 100W to prevent QRM on these limited bandwidths.

Let me place a last statement just to feed the discussion:

"When I can work DX (with good signal reports) on a certain moment in SSB with 10W, all stations running power levels above 10W at that moment are illegal!!"

Especially for Ham´s that use words like “crunch, with my signal” hereby the rule:

"...amateur stations shall use the minimum amount of transmitter power necessary to carry out the desired communications."

Please do not forget that the legal limit is in big parts of the world a lot lower than in the US. For example overhere in Holland the limit is 400W. This is however in a highly populated country like ours most of the times too much.

Peter Kerklaan (PA5KE)
RE: QRP and good habits rarely found together  
by N8IK on September 5, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
I'm pretty new to this hobby so someone set me straight: what are the "known rules of DXing"? I know I shouldn't spot a P5?? to the cluster and then wait on the sides for the wolfpack and pick 'em off while they're hunting for the rare DX. Any other tips?
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by AA7BI on September 5, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article, but judging by the comments, not everyone actually read it. Dan isn't telling us that QRP is the only way to truth and light. He's telling us that Ham Radio is BUILDING & EXPERIMENTING! This is the purpose of the Amateur Radio Service, to encourage curiousity and experimentation. If you've bought yourself a commercial station so you can "talk", you will have no idea what Dan's talking about. Anyone can "talk", but QRPers are currently the last gasp of where design and building are still taking place. If the high-power crowd begins to roll their own, then I say, welcome back to Amateur Radio!

73s de AA7BI, Bob
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by KC5JPZ on September 5, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
A license is not required to experiment with low power radio...Part 15 of the FCC rules shows that we who are in the USA can use several bands including 160 to 190 KHz, 510 to 1705 KHz, 1.705 to 10 MHz, 13.553 to 13.567 MHz, 26.96 to 27.28 MHz, and several bands above 30 MHz. The least restrictive in terms of power allowed would be 13.553 to 13.567 MHz (10,000 microvolts per meter measured at 30 meters from your antenna), and 26.96 to 27.28 MHz (10,000 microvolts per meter measured at 3 meters from your antenna). Slow speed telegraph would be one method of communication that could work on noisy frequencies and if you are interested in digital audio transmissions you might try bipolar transmissions or other threshold extension techniques. Maybe quad bipolar with an AMI (alternate mark inversion) stream as part of one of the bipolar pairs?
RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by W3BUG on September 5, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
I've been using low power (under 30 watts) and QRP power for some time now and really enjoy the challenge as opposed to full/higher power. I don't think that QRP, PSK, or any other mode of ham communication will be its saving grace. The people using these modes (hams) will be, or not be, the saving grace. WE need to be the vehicles to get others interested in the hobby and introduce all the different operating modes, etc, to them. Without hams getting others interested in the hobby, you can have all the modes of communication in the world but they will go unnoticed.

Just my 2 cents worth.

de W3BUG - Scott
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by W7DAM on September 5, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
No need to split into warring evangelical factions here, like bicyclists vs. motorists.

K1OU initially stated he wasn't down on QRP, just bothered by some of the attitudes and operating practices and, indeed, some of the examples given did illustrate that. Yeah, there are good and bad practices among both QRP and QRO. Obviously.

QRP has both great benefits and disadvantages. I don't think tail-ending a pileup and stating "QRP" should confer the operator any special attention. QRP operation should be totally transparent to the other party.

73, Dave W7DAM

RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
Anonymous post on September 5, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
You mean there are "rules" in pile-ups ? I thought it was he who has the biggest amplifier and beam who stomps all over the little guy and "wins". That's how it seems to me ! That's why I quit SSB and enjoy CW QRP.

If propagation's bad, I may not always get the contact, but if not I switch the radio off and go do something else.

There is more to life than ham radio after all.
/QRP and THANKS to the high-rollers  
by HFHAM on September 5, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
If you want to append /QRP to your callsign (if running QRP), then do so. DX ops are often keen to get your /QRP QSL card as it proves how good *their* station setup is for hearing you !

To those who have stated here and elsewhere that they don't answer those with /QRP appended, you probably don't want to talk to them anyway so everyone's happy :)

I'd also like to say a big THANK-YOU to all those QRO ops with the towers and beams who make our seemingly miraculous QRP DX possible.
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by W7DAM on September 5, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
I don't know if there are rules in pileups or not - I've never been in one. I'm a 100% CW QRP operator (my only rig for the last 7 years has been an MFJ 9040 at 4 watts). Mostly I stay in the 40m novice band to work novices and tech plus, but once or twice a month I will go into the general part of 40m if the bands are totally dead and it's late at night (~ 2am local time).

I'm happy to get any contact; sometimes people don't hear me, that's ok, I'm having fun.

73, Dave W7DAM
RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by G4IFB on September 6, 2001 Mail this to a friend!

I've had a load of fun this year building and operating a K2 QRP rig, so much so that I'm thinking of taking it with me on a DXpedition to West Africa for CQ WW CW. If I can, I'd like to persuade strong callers to turn down the wick but it will be tough.

Gary G4iFB

PS IMHO homebrew is the saving grace of amateur radio, not necessarily QRP. A 100W "QRO" PA is my next project, along with better antennas of course.
RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by S53S on September 6, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
During one of the topics about qrp on other thread, i think that was Amps newsgroup Tom W8JI said something like" The qrp's being proud of their accomplishments should share part of their achived goals with the op's at the other part of the link". That said i mean we should never ever exclude the big guns which usually means good antennas and not just good talktive abilities, i.e. power and nothing else. C'mn guys cool of a bit. Our wonderfull hobby is enough wide for all walks of life, being QRP or QRO. Myself i am in the middle up to neccessities!

Nermin S58DX
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
Anonymous post on September 6, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
QRP is but just one, there are others too. Ham radio itself needs exposure, most people have no idea what ham radio is, they do know what the internet is though.

When you go through explaining it all to them, they ask why do you need a license and why do I need to take a test just to talk ? Internet you need no license, no tests to pass, instant messaging, email..etc. See the point? Yes the internet is killing ham radio. So is the near non exposure of ham radio.

We have internet without.. the phone wires...packet. yes its slow... But what about instant messaging? Has it been done for ham radio? Why cant HTs be equipped with IM like the cell phones are?? .. Fox hunts ... they are fun others how fun it is... What about media exposure?? How can we get some more ? APRS seems like a lot of fun and it involves computers too. Sending pictures and images through the internet? We do it over the airwaves, without wires and been doing it for a long time.

Field day is a lot of fun, and it makes for a great time for the whole family too, but it isnt really covered all that well in the media.

It seems that the only time we get some exposure is when there was a bad storm or a earthquake and we are there to provide communications, the TV or the newspaper gives us a little exposure, then we are forgotten.

We need better promotion of Ham Radio, we need to show what Ham Radio is, and how fun it is. We have to put Ham radio in a different light. QRP is fun... but it seems we are preaching to the choir.

QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by G4ILO on September 6, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
What's with this "the guy doing the receiving deserves all the credit"? All he has to do is use his ears. The QRP op probably built his transmitter. Who put the most effort into making that contact possible?

QRP isn't the only way to enjoy ham radio but it could be the saving grace for many because:

- it costs less to put a QRP station on the air, enabling more people to participate in the hobby;

- QRP is less likely to cause RFI and TVI, enabling people in crowded urban environments and those forced to use indoor antennas to participate in the hobby;

- it's easier to build QRP equipment, allowing more people to experience the fun of operating with home made gear.

I'm sure I'm not the only ham who uses low power who still dreams of having a competitive DX station with tower, beams and linear. But I could never afford the QTH that would allow me to do that, so I never will. Rather than forever be a third rate contender in the DXing rat-race, I'd rather play QRP which has a leveller playing field.

QRP has certainly been the saving grace of amateur radio for me.
RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by W7DAM on September 6, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
The ham on the other end of the receiver should get a fair bit of credit. Often, weak signals are, well... weak.

As I mentioned above, my rig puts out 4 watts. One evening last month I got a 599 report from someone about 400 miles south of me. We chatted a bit and I mentioned I was running 4 watts, so he turned his power down to 5 from 100 so we could play around. Now, I had been copying him easily amidst the noise (and shortwave stations) on 40 meters, but at 5 watts he was barely above the noise and copy for me definitely was difficult - I'd've given him a 529. His station, however, had the good antenna and DSP and whatever to pull my 4 watts out of the noise.

It's like those space probes to Mars -- a 15 watt transmitter onboard the spacecraft and colossal receiving antennas and computing power on Earth to grab that signal.

QRP is definitely a fun and rewarding process, but it does involve more than just the transmitter.

73, Dave W7DAM
QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by WH6CMI on September 7, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Could be a useful tool to generate interest. I personally work CW with a SG-2020 at 15-25 watts. I love the quick contacts, and have seldom met a rude CW operator. Sometimes SSB just isn't worth the effort...


QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by W4CLM on September 8, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Long live the ELECRAFT K1 & K2! And least we
not forget where that started the Norcal-40 too.
Carol L. Maher
RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
Anonymous post on September 9, 2001 Mail this to a friend!
Spare us the free advertising for Elecraft. They get the revenue, not you, you clown !
RE: QRP, the saving grace of amateur radio?  
by K3DML on August 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I've been a ham for 45 years using many different power levels, antennas, and modes. Like many, I have my favorites - a cheap wire antenna, CW and a few watts. Also, I like this hobby because it's fun. There are so many other modes that I haven't tired or tried and decided they weren't for me. What I don't get is why anyone in a "hobby" gets worked up over differences in equipment, modes, and operating practices. Radio is just like TV: If I don't like the show I change channels or just turn it off. It's common sense, is it not?

Unfortunately, I do have a problem with the hobby today. I've become an eBay junkie and bought too many rigs. My newest gem is a SG-2020. Worked Italy with 2 watts CW on 20 meters with an 80 meter inverted vee. I missed him a few times before I signed /QRP. He wanted to know my power level and working conditions. He gave me a 339. That's not cheating. Cheating is making the contact first on QRO and then announcing a switch to QRP and asking for a report.

My experience is that many DX stations will standby for me when I announce my call with "mobile" or "qrp". That information is helpful in understanding band conditions. Working any station anywhere is still a thrill after all these years especially when my station is a modest one.
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