THINKING OF BUYING A QRP RADIO?
There's an absolute mountain of them out there and it's difficult for beginners to know which one would be best for them - there's so much to consider and a lot of it comes down to budget, portability, band coverage, feature set, preferred mode of operation and even aesthetics.
QRP is (loosely) determined as using up to 5W power output in CW mode and 10W in SSB. Anything above that isn't usually considered QRP, although people who regularly use 100W or more think of 20W as QRP (incorrectly in my opinion).
Some QRP radios are limited (or designed) to work in one particular mode such as Digital, while others will operate in every single mode available! The radios which are dedicated to a single mode, such as the QRP LABS QDX, will usually perform much better than those radios which try to do everything (unless you pay a lot of money).
I've owned quite a few QRP radios and swapped and changed regularly over the last few years of being licensed. I've gone to a lot of effort in finding mint condition used radios at a low, low price so that I can sell them on without losing money (and sometimes even making money). I would strongly advise others to follow a similar line instead of just forking out for new radios which will always lose a chunk of their value as soon as you open the box! Having said that, if you absolutely know that the radio you're buying is going to be a keeper, then by all means search out a deal on a new one so that you benefit from dealer-support and warranty.
So let's look at some of the radios available. These are the ones that I have personally invested in and have used myself. There'll be lots of other radios that I've never had the opportunity to try and other people may advise you to look elsewhere for your QRP equipment. Just bear in mind that many people give advice without ever having owned something they're recommending - I don't do that.
- Elad FDM DUO
- Elecraft KX2
- Elecraft KX3
- Flex 1500
- Hermes Lite2
- Icom IC-705
- Preppcomm MMX
- QRP-LABS QDX
- QRP-LABS QMX
- Xiegu G90
- Xiegu X6100
- Yaesu FT-818