Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Enough with the nitrates, already !!!!

There's a couple of threads going on the KX3 e-mail reflector today. One is titled "QRP Baloney" and the other "QRP Sausage".  Both threads are a "discussion" trying to determine what QRP "really is".

I, for one, originally thought that QRP was making sure your transmitter put out 100 Watts or less. Well, that was back in the "Ancient Times", in the Mesozoic Era when I originally joined QRP ARCI.

Somewhere along the line, that changed and the definition of QRP became a power output of no more than 5 Watts for CW and 10 Watts for SSB.

I am fine with that definition. Period.

Now we have some purveyors of bologna that are insisting that QRP means "5 Watts with ONLY simple, non-gain type antennas".  Wow!

Somehow it's not in the "Spirit of QRP" to do as much as you possibly can with that 5 or 10 Watts.


For the record, my antennas (currently - might add a W3EDP soon) are simple, and non-gain - a Butternut HF9V ground mounted vertical and an 88' Extended Double Zepp wire . But while I am sleeping tonight, if the Angel of the Lord appears in a dream and says, "Lawrence, the Father has decided that you have truly been a good and faithful servant lately.  In appreciation, when you wake up tomorrow morning, in your backyard He will provide a 40 foot tower with a multi-band Yagi mounted at the top".

What? Am I supposed to say, "Dear St. Michael (or Gabriel or Raphael - whatever), I am a QRP Purist - could you tell the Lord to make that a Buddipole instead"?

No .... I don't think so.

The concept of QRP is to limit your power output.  If you take that 5 or 10 Watts and pump them into an antenna "fire hose" so that you SOUND like you're pumping out a kW, then I say "Bravo for you".  The true "Spirit of QRP" is "doing more with less" - taking those Watts that you're using, and with a combination of good operating skill and the best antenna you can muster, putting out the best signal that you possibly can.  That's it - no more, no less.

If you listen to the purveyors of bologna, I guess they would also tell you that a guy pumping 500 Watts into a 6 inch piece of copper at ground level is actually QRP.

No ...... that would just be stupid.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least! (But take the pains to make it sound like the very most!)


  1. Anonymous7:55 PM

    Love it! I attended a club meeting one time to hear a fellow ham talk about obtaining DXCC QRP. He said he did it with his K2 and a long dipole antenna. He then started talking about optimization to get the most bank for the buck. He made sure his feed line was such that when he put 10 watts into it, he got 10 watts out of it. I was curious as to how he did it. He then shared that his feed line was 1 5/8" thick. Go figure! Best of 73 from KX3 s/n 892!


  2. I think QRP is whatever the G-QRP Club of the CQ Contest committee says it is, if you are competing in one of their contests or applying for one of their awards. And the only limitation they specify is power level.

    But I sympathize with those who say that the spirit of QRP means using wire antennas and minimalist equipment as well. Does the guy who turns the wick down on his superstation get the same thrill as the one who makes a DX contact using a home-built rig and wire antennas? I think not.

    Perhaps we need a separate term to define this kind of minimalist operation?

    Julian, G4ILO

  3. For a long time, I've noticed a gap between QRP'ers based not on their antenna, but in how they enjoy QRP. For an equally long time, I thought QRP-L was *the* place to be for all things QRP.

    In reality, QRPers divide themselves into two camps: DXers and more casual wire-in-a-tree outdoor, kit-builder types. The two rarely overlap.

    As proof, check out the winners in the QRP category of CQWW or the ARRL's DX status. You'll see callsigns that never ever turn up on QRP-L or any of the other QRP lists/groups.

    This is true even for those DXers using dipoles, verticals and other simple antennas.

  4. I like the idea of separating the big and small antenna QRPers when it come to a contest. Fair is fair. But otherwise "QRP is as QRP does!" If you can afford a big antenna, us it!

  5. I'm one of those ops that does both...I am homebrewing rigs and taking them portable and operating with small wires. I also chase DX and contest...unfortunately still with small wires, but I do plan on eventually improving the antennas as resources permit. It won't make me feel any less of a valid QRP op either!

    I can see the appeal of doing it all with small antennas, and I'm certainly enjoying myself...but just because someone is using a Yagi stack, if they're not running over 5 watts, I'm not going to say they're any less of a QRPer. "QRP" means "reduce power", not "reduce antenna".

    If you want to be a minmalist, that's FB, but certainly not required for QRP.

    73 de Lee, AA4GA

  6. Anonymous12:36 PM

    Hi all,

    In 2010, during CW contest (WPX, CQ WW & ARRL) I participated in the QRP category. It's amazing what you can do with this power level. I agree with Larry, philosophy is "do more with less"

    Over the years, we become a little jaded. Practice QRP is reborn new sensations!

    Pending up some towers and antennas for the new contest QRA, near the beach and I will be back for CW QRP Contest ;-)

    72, Lee

  7. Although QRP has an official definition, it means different things to different people.. To me, it means a radio that fits at least in a cargo pants pocket and has very low current draw. That mostly means CW. I use a Weber MTR, and it is the size of a pack of cigarettes. So, my QRP definition is closer to "ultra-portable." It just happens that most of those rigs operate at or below 5W.