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Speak Out: Your experiences with QRP...

A contributor asks: "What has been your experiences with running QRP? What are some of your favorite bands, modes, radios/kits to use? Antennas? What was your lowest power and longest distance contact?"

51 opinions on this subject. Enter your opinion at the bottom of this page.
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K0WA on 2001-02-05
I recently moved into "QRP" just for the fun of it. Well, the fun was to build a K2. I am amazed as what you can do with 10 to 15 watts. Now, I am not a QRP fanatic and have owned various amplifers, but there is a magic to use low power and work DX. A sense of satisfaction.

The K2 has a lot to offer and is not your HW8 or HW9. This is a top-notch radio and that makes all the difference. It is a joy to operate.

I remember back to my Novice days when I put together a 50C5 one tube Xtal tranmitter and was able to coax 4 watts out of it on 40 meters (The thing was bread boarded with HV everywhere). I had a ton of fun with that rig and I built it myself.

I think that is what is exciting about QRP...the ability to build something and make it work by making a contact with it.

One other thing about QRP. QRP is really fun if you have the antennas. The QRP rig on a TH6DXX at 70 feet plays well, but a QRP rig on a ground mounted verticle might not do all that well. I remember years ago when I was very active chaing DX, there was a guy breaking the pile ups screaming his call and adding QRP. Yes, he was running an Argonaut at 5 watts, but what he failed to mention that is was running 4-four element wide spaced yagis at nose-bleed height. Again, antennas seem to be more important that power.

Just my two cents.

K0WA - Lee

K3FT on 2001-02-05
QRP, like all the other facets of Amateur Radio are simply another avenue to explore, enjoy,and partcipate within. I'm not a QRP guy (to me, 100W is standard and anything below that is QRP, ;-)) I enjoy working the QRP guys.

The moral of the story is this. Find a niche or niches you enjoy. Have a blast. Learn something and pass it on to another. Sample the entire selection of buffet table items offered by Amateur Radio. You may not like all the offerings, but hey.. you JUST might discover something new.


Chuck K3FT

N0SS on 2001-02-05

Those darn QRPers... making copy so difficult (to copy) for the rest of us...

I'm NOT a QRPer, never have been. Probably never will be. So there! BUT... what I _am_ is an Amateur Radio operator who (sometimes) operates QRP.

For the first 40+ years of my 'ham existence', I was pretty much a dyed-in-the-wool QRO operator ("Life's too short fer QRP..."). I'd been 'exposed' to QRP many times, by many friends, but it never interested me much at all.

Then, cunningly, by pal Rick Beckwith (WNØX) sucked me right in! I won't go into that story... takes much too long.

However, just about two years ago, (thanks to Rich) I became an FT (Field Tester) for this new start-up radio company, Elecraft, and I found out what all the hubbub has been about.

Not long after I built my first Elecraft QRP transceiver kit (K2), my venerable old TS-930S became jealous and committed suicide (long sad story). So I set it aside for fixin' later and put the QRP rig on the desk in its place... bad move, Tom.

I soon found that I was working (almost) as many stations at 5W output as I was previously working at 100W-1kW...! Oh, maybe the RSTs (CW rules) weren't always 599, as I got with the higher powers, but the QSOs were certainly as enjoyable and I was NEVER insulted if the guy on the other and mysteriously "gotta to QRT to answer the phone", when I knew he was really having problems copying my low-powered signal.

I found that the operating know-how I'd learned (but still not mastered) over the previous 40 years made it much easier for me to sneak in and catch that elusive DX station, even in the midst of a pretty sizeable pileup. And I found that operating QRP was forcing me to better hone those skills as well. No matter how you cut it, the difference between 1kW and 5W is still 13db, and in HIS favor. So, operating QRP, and doing well at it, does take a bit more 'expertise' than mere 'power' can provide.

I found a LOT of (new) friends on QRP... always nice to do. I've had a ball taking my LIGHTWEIGHT rig on trips and to places I'd never have considered taking my (backbreaking) TS-930S. And I've found that it's generally a LOT easier to service when/if required, my QRP rig than my TS-930...!

I still long for the day when Elecraft releases their companion 100W amp for my QRP rig. And when they do, I'll be building it. You can't drive an Alpha to much more than 350W with the output from a K2! 'Cuz I'm STILL a QRO operator!

QRP's not for everyone, thank goodness... can you IMAGINE all the killer CW SS scores if it WAS for everyone? But it IS for some, all the time. And it IS for others SOME of the. If you're fer it, good for you! If you're agin' it, enjoy the rest of the hobby. There's a lot of playground left.

Now, where did I lay that third 8873...

73 - Tom Hammond NØSS

WA8VBX on 2001-02-04
QRP is not for everyone. I've operated QRP off and on for the last 25 yrs starting with the original Argonaut then to a FT-817 now. I do it for the enjoyment of using low power and to see if it can be done. To me it's like fishing, I'm always trying to find that record fish but in operating QRP it's finding that record distant station with as little power as possible.
Right now I'm setting up a bike mobile station (peddle type) to use when the weather breaks here in Michigan, using the FT-817 on battery, Hustler/Hamstick antenna, to see how I can do with QRP on HF. I know I can get into the local repeators but I want some challenge.
That is the reason people work QRP, it's for the CHALLENGE, and satification to know it can be done.
Well that is just my 2 cents worth.
73, and hope to cu on QRP.

Anonymous on 2001-02-04
Reading the QRP comments just reinforces how different people are. Doing more with less is my buzz and homebuild is an important part of that. I have a Norcal 20 -my only rig-into a roof height dipole. Ambition is DXCC all 2-way QRP- don't suppose I'll ever make it! Got 35 countries 2-way QRP so far, 35 more to QRO stations. All exclusively CW, boy, do I struggle with code! - but it's the only way to make 5 watts do the business. Best so far is India -VU2LEX- 2-way QRP. From Alan. M0AVN.

VE3EFJ on 2001-02-04
QRP is *FUN*. It can also be frustrating at times. A lot of what it becomes for *you* depends upon what your goals are. It takes little skill on SSB, 100W, a beam and 20M to 'work DX'. Anyone with a VISA card can do that. I find that awfully banal. Low power does *not* mean low fun. At this point of the sunspot cycle, 17M SSB and a dipole does OK. 40M CW... I work what I hear on my Elecraft K2. If amateur radio is a contact sport to you, then I understand why QRP does not fit. Its more a question of attitude and 'approach'. The nice thing about using a canoe instead of a PT Boat is you can go anywhere, attract no untoward attention and *still* play radio as hard as you want. I'm not a hard core QRP'r... 5W is not my personal 'brick wall'. I find I can do just about all that I want on 25W on HF on SSB/CW, and I bother no one yet still do all that I want.

AF4TL on 2001-02-03
I have been working QRP on and off since I got my license in 1996. I started off working CW QRP and making lots of contacts in the Novice Bands. I now run mobile QRP (1 Watt) with my FT-100 and no tuner into a Hamstick. I worked the 10 meter contest a couple of months ago and made 1 watt contacts as far away as Alberta and British Columbia from Florida while driving!! I answered a CQ from a station in PA from FL while driving, he was running 500 watts and I was running 1. When he found out I was running 1 watt he cut his power down to 5 watts and we carried on a 20 minute QSO. He said after that contact he was going to spend more time on the radio without lighting the afterburners. QRP is Great!!!

G4ILO on 2001-02-03
K9TH misses a point: perhaps the other guy is running QRP because that's all he can do. Perhaps he can't afford high powered gear. Perhaps he likes to build his own radios, or run a battery or solar powered station. Perhaps he has problems at his QTH that mean using low power is the only way to operate undetected. There are many good reasons for using QRP so please, make the effort to try to copy that weak station.

KD4ZGA on 2001-02-03
I've been working QRP PSK-31 for a couple of weeks now, and having a blast. I'm QRP for financial reasons, but it's really sparked an interest in QRP operation and to improve my CW skills.

I get a lot of enjoyment from being able to work a VK or ZS with 2 watts and a piece of wire. After reading the comment by K9TH, it made me stop and think. He's hit the nail on the head. Without the skill and patience of the operator on the other end, our QRP operation would not be a success. I think a long over due THANK YOU is in order to K9TH and all the other op's that make QRP fun!

W4WNT on 2001-02-03
My operation is verticals and wire antennas on a lot that is so low, my wife calls my station the "dipole in a hole". During the CQ WW last year, I dropped the power on the Yaesu FT890 to 5w and worked 9 countries on Sun. afternoon on 15m and 20m, including Japan. It convinced me that QRP works!

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