QRP: Power Beyond the Watt

QRP: Power Beyond the Watt

Or, Why 5W Is Enough - opinions by Jason Buchanan - N1SU

Hardcore QRP

I have made contacts from Boxboro (28 miles west of the center of Boston) to California with a mere 1 watt and received 559 signal reports. Could I have cut the power down to 100mW and had a QSO? Sure - but i'd be down in the noise and might not be so enjoyable for the ham trying to copy me. On the other hand, the challenge of copying someone with low power output is a part of what makes amateur radio enjoyable for a LARGE number of people.

QRP operation is the last bastion of the true spirit of Amateur radio because it revives and perpetuates a stronger friendship and brotherhood of operators. QRP brings about a notion of a "level playing field" - the willingness to operate at 5 watts or less also brings about a willingness to be honest at that power level ("yes, i'm really running 5 watts") and a desire to optimize the receiver, transmitter, feedline and antenna to see how much you can get with 5 watts! The Elecraft KX1 and K1 radios are truly amazing for what they provide in such a small footprint.

I'm writing a new page about my little Elecraft K1 to share my experienes with others. Don't let the small size fool you - it's a real contender!

A QRP station can compete with QRO stations if the QRP station has a good antenna. Keep in mind that a decent yagi with 5 watts input can (and usually does) yield a better signal for the receiving station than a common dipole.

QRP and QRO can get along

QRP and QRO can get along - meaning, you can have both and have twice the fun. But having a really nice antenna makes a far bigger difference than a really nice amp. Some hams can't afford to put up a fancy antenna system so they have to get their gain via amplification, some can't afford the amp but can afford to put up a well-dressed antenna. The point is we get our kicks in different ways.

I'll be the first to admit that I like running a 1000 watt CW signal and the full legal limit on SSB. I'd take anything Alex - AI2Q drops on the floor! But it isn't necessary to go beyond 5 watts watts PEP to work the world - MT63 or MFSK excels at low power!

QRP: Power Beyond the Watt - 30-Jan-04
(C) 2004 jsb@digistar.com

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