A Little About QRP

In some ways I've been able to relate to the sentiment that "life is too short for QRP"...I've always been a contester, wanting to make large numbers of QSOs in a short period of time, and QRO definitely helps do that.  On the other hand, when operating contests from home, I've usually done so at the 100-watt level.  It makes SO2R easier.  There are less neighbor complaints.  It's generally easier engineering-wise.  And I lobbied for 100-watt classes for contests where one didn't exist.  But, I've always been somewhat drawn to QRP, and I even owned an Argonaut 509 at one point in my ham career.

A lot of folks say that all the "heavy lifting" in QRP QSOs is done on the receiving end - that the guy using low power isn't the one that has to dig a weak signal out of the noise - it's the guy on the other end with the big station that does all the work.  I've been that guy on the other end a lot of times, and yes, sometimes it is a lot of work, but even then I would marvel at how much could be done with low power.  And, as I've recently discovered, with small antennas as well.

Yesterday I operated the QRPTTF contest for a couple hours.  I think I made 17 QSOs in two hours, which isn't a lot by contest standards...but it's not a big contest.  I operated until my battery died, using a 50' doublet I hung vertically in a tree in a park near my new home.  And I had a lot of fun...it's amazing what 5w and a small antenna can do, even without super conditions.  I had an HA7 answer my CQ.  And in a few moments away from the contest I tuned across 18MHz and worked a 5N - yes, it was obvious he was having to work to complete the QSO, but I hope he was as amazed at what a little rig can do as I am!

And the most important thing is to have fun - whether you're QRP or QRO!

To learn a little more about QRP. you may want to check out Rich Arland's ARRL publication Low Power Communication: The Art and Science of QRP.