My Thoughts on QRP
The actual definition of QRP means to "reduce power". But the term QRP to mosts operators means simply using 5 watts or less of output power from your transmitter. I've seen the slogan, "Life is too short for QRP." While I think that is a cute slogan, I couldn't disagree more. In my opinion, the "Fun starts with QRP!" If the band is open, it's no trick to fire up a KW and talk to the other side of the world. Shoot, you can do that with 100 watts when the band is open. But what's even more fun...you can do it with MILLIWATTS if the band is open. Now, I don't have a "QRP" rig per se, I have a rig that will operate at QRP levels. My trusty old Kenwood TS-430S can be cranked down to milliwatt levels by turning down the carrier control. My TS-2000 can be turned down to just milliwatts also. So when I get the hankerin, I switch to one of those two rigs and operate QRP. My most noteworthy QRP event so far is talking to Japan on CW with about 200 milliwatts. That's 2/10ths of a watt!
Needless to say I am a big proponent of QRP. Amazing distances can be accomplished with minimal power under the right conditions. And the ironic part of it is, many times you can't tell the difference between 1 watt and 100 watts. I talk to hams all the time on QRP and they give me 599 reports...FB sig, etc. Then when I tell them I'm operating, say, 1 or 3 or 5 watts, they can't believe it. Just recently I talked to a ham in Truckee, California. He was using 500 watts of power. I was using 3 watts. He gave me a 599 and couldn't believe I was using only that much power.
I'm not saying that I ALWAYS operate QRP. I usually operate using around 35 watts on PSK31 and about 50 watts on SSTV. I never have TVI problems and I work anywhere I want. If you haven't tried QRP, you owe it to yourself to at least give it a try. It's a HOOT!
There are some hams who operate QRP like a religion. They pack up their QRP rigs into a backpack and take off for the hills. When they reach the summit they set up shop and have a lot of fun. I've never gone to that extreme but I admire those who do that. My QRP operations take place here in my home shack with a good receiver and a nice antenna on the tower. But however you do it, it can be a lot of fun. When you operate around the world on a watt you have a better feeling of accomplishment than doing it QRO.
I'm also a big proponent of CW. You can work much greater distances in
far worse conditions than you could using SSB. I'm
also in favor of keeping the CW requirement for at least the Extra class license. I don't think we should have to keep dumbing down
requirements for a ham license because if we do we will wind up like the 11 meter band!
Some say the cell phone is the biggest competition for ham radio today.
I disagree. You get a ham license because you like to
experiment with communicating, or you like to rag chew or try different modes. You get a cell phone so you can call someone
and talk to them for a specific reason. I think the biggest competition to ham radio is the computer. It's a different type
of communication but all you have to do is go buy one. And if people are going to spend their money on a computer or ham radio,
the computer wins almost every time because it's easier, and cheaper (for the most part) and they can put it to more uses. People
today aren't as adventurous or as curious about things as in times gone by. They just want the quick fix and fast entertainment.
OK...enough of the soap box.
Have I piqued your curiousity about QRP? There are a lot of sites on
the internet dealing with QRP.
You can do a Google search for QRP or you can visit these sites:
North American QRP CW Club
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