I still see people mocking the idea of working QRP. I see it on various internet platforms, on-air, at radio clubs and even (quite surprisingly) in magazine adverts! There are even Badges, Cups and T-shirts available to help reinforce the idea that QRP is a bit of a waste of time. So what's the problem?Well let's not forget that in most cases it's just a bit of humour! But like any joke which is repeatedly aimed at a particular group, it can become a little tiring - especially when you keep hearing hams talking about QRP on the radio as though there's something a bit odd with low-power operators.When I mention that I made a contact with someone thousands of miles away, I often get asked how much power I used and when I tell them I used 10W (or less) they smirk and imply that I'm lying.
Well, apart from the fact that I'm only licensed to use 10W, I actually prefer to use less when possible! I've made SSB voice contacts with people 7,000km away using just 2.5W and got a 55 report from them (eg. KE5EE).
It gives me great pleasure listening to QRO operators from my region struggling to get a contact logged with someone and then I manage to do it with my little IC-705. It's even more amusing when I know that they're using a monster antenna and I'm using a portable dipole or an end-fed wire.
Yes we all know that I could pump up the power and in reality no one would know any better, but I would know and that's the whole point - I'm playing radio for me not for others!
Even when I go on a Field Day with a club, I wouldn't dream of leaving my QRP radio at home. I'd much prefer to make ten contacts with 1W than making fifty contacts with 100W on the Club Radio. I love the challenge of QRP.
If people want to use 100W, 400W or 1500W, then that's up to them. I don't think any less of those operators - they've paid their money and chosen their preferred operating method just like I have. I know only too well that sometimes 10W just won't get you where you want to be and in my mind, I just think "I need to get to a higher location or a better take-off point".
The harder I have to fight for a contact, the happier I am when I get it. Getting the station set up optimally and in the right location is my "power". And it all ties in with my enjoyment of going outdoors. Thankfully, my wife is also happy to go out with me for the day. We prepare a picnic, choose somewhere to go and while I play radio she can enjoy a good book, walk the dog or just chill out for a few hours.
When I'm at home, I spend very little time in the shack to be honest. In there I have a fabulous high-end radio that is capable of outputting 100W and I'm sure that people must think "what the hell does he need a 100W radio for if he only operates QRP"? Well the truth is I don't need a 100W radio but I just love these gorgeous things and I take great pleasure in buying a dream, the like of which I've spent a lifetime being unable to afford.
|I don't NEED a pair of |
B&W Nautilus speakers
but if I could afford them...
Most of my time is spent with my IC-705 in the garden or in the conservatory connected to a magnetic loop. If it was at all possible, I would sell my high-end radio and invest in an amazing antenna array, but that's never gonna happen due to local restrictions.
So what when I'm stuck at home and conditions are poor and my 10W limitation is getting me absolutely nowhere?? Well that's when I switch to my DVMEGA CAST which allows me to have some great chinwags with anyone in the world on FUSION, DSTAR and DMR.
After two years of being a licensed operator, I absolutely know that I will never need 400W and will therefore never take my Advanced test (not that I'd have a hope in hell of passing it). I might take the Intermediate just so that I can use more power in my truck on 2M & 70cm FM. That is where I will admit to feeling limited. But then again, 2M FM occupies an extremely small part of my operating time.
So please, let's stop the "Life's too short for QRP nonesense" 😂