Hello and welcome back to my blog. Today we are going to be discussing QRP. What is QRP, you ask? Well the answer to that is two fold. First off, in amateur radio we dont use 10 codes or signal codes or the normal code things that go on with like CB or commercial radio. In amateur radio we use Q codes. Q codes are used more in morse code, or CW, than on voice with a few exceptions.
QRP means low power or more specifically, 5 watts output or less. QRP is generally thought to be done on HF, but technically you do it all the time on vhf/uhf when you are talking on a handheld. As far as HF QRP goes, most of the time the mode of choice is cw. You can do voice QRP but with everyone else using 50+ watts you will probably get covered by another station or you might not even be heard at all by a station you are trying to contact.
Another thing that is unique to QRP is that alot of the transmitters used are homemade. In days of old, ham radio operators built all their own transmitters but now a days, unless that is something you just like doing, you buy your radios from a commercial source. Not to mention the commercial radios have so many more bells and whistles that you wouldn’t even come close to building an equivalent radio from scratch. QRP radios on the other hand don’t have or need the bells and whistles of the standard HF radios so it really just makes sense to build your own.
Because of the way that cw works it doesn’t need the power output that voice does. Basically what it boils down to is that with voice the modulation that occurs when you talk into the microphone causes the radiated power to decrease and therefore decreases the range that it can travel. With CW you are only transmitting tones, one solid tones and that doesn’t modulate the signal as much so the range is more.
So is QRP worth it? It can be. It’s always exciting to talk to someone on the radio, especially when that person is several hundred miles away but when it hits you that you are talking to them on 5 watts or less it just makes it that much more exciting! So is it something that you might like doing? You’ll never know until you try it.
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73 de K5CLM