QRP & Homebrew


My Definition of QRP: I’m not a hardcore QRP’er, but I do enjoy QRP for a number of reasons. I will spell those out but first I want to explain my definition of QRP.

My definition is not aligned with the more commonly accepted 5 Watt maximum output. Now, hold off on the flames! If I were to ever claim QRP in a contest or sign NU8Z/qrp during a QSO, I would surely comply with the accepted definition and run 5 Watts or less. I guess I just get a kick out of running the minimum power to make a QSO. I call it my “QRP Mode Mood”. Now days if I find a pileup I will normally attempt to break it with 10 watts or so. Depending on how I feel, I may stick with that until I break through, or crank it up to maybe 20 watts or so. The maximum power that I might use when in this QRP mode mood is 50 watts. If I don’t get them with that, well I guess I don’t get them. Hey, in the interest of power diversity, there are also times when I swing the other way give it a try with less than 5 watts. More on that later.

Full disclosure and further explanation: Now in the interest of full disclosure and complete honesty, it is important to note at this point that if the DX station at the other end of the pileup was a “new band country” or “mode” for me, I would have my amplifier on in a flash! But having worked all DX countries, I guess this special “QRP mode mood” I’m in is an attempt at redoing the race to the DXCC Honor Roll as a ham might have done it 50 or 60 years ago. Many of the typical transmitters of that era ran only 20 to 60 watts. Also like the traditional QRP mode, running lower power requires a sharpening and usage of your skills to be constantly successful. Simply stated, it’s dam good training!

Why I like QRP?: There are many things that a make a QSO a memorable. If asked to list your most memorable QSO’s, the list would likely include you first QSO, your first DX QSO, your 100th country and maybe your 340th country to put you on the #1 Honor Roll. But I’m sure that if others are like me, their list would include many QSO’s were unexpected or when the unlikely occurred. It would be the time you busted that wall to wall pile up with 5 watts or so on the first night the Dxpedition went QRV. It might be the time a 5V, or HS answers your low power CQ call when you were just going to feel lucky if anybody answered you at all. Running low power makes what was normally mundane everyday stuff special again.

Another reason that an interest QRP is somewhat unique is that there is a very large selection of kits and homebrew projects available. Now, homebrewing need not be confined to QRP projects, but that being said there is just so many more radio kits and accessory projects available to the QRP’er at very reasonable prices. These QRP radios for the most part are less complex, have fewer components and can be built from scratch if you wish. Performance is somewhat commensurate with the component count, but a lot of the very simple radios have very good performance.

Now back to the topic of memorable QSO’s. That would be the one that you make on a rig that you just built. Your first DX station on that same rig …etc..etc

QRP & Homebrewing Links: I have included some QRP links below. Some are for companies that sell kits or parts. But, many are sites of other QRP’er to give you an idea of what these folks are up to. Within the ham radio community the QRP niche is very big and popular. There is a reason for that. Check it out.

QRP and Homebrewing Links