Enough with the nitrates, already !!!!

There’s a couple of threads going on the KX3 e-mail reflector today. One is titled “QRP Baloney” and the other “QRP Sausage”.  Both threads are a “discussion” trying to determine what QRP “really is”.

I, for one, originally thought that QRP was making sure your transmitter put out 100 Watts or less. Well, that was back in the “Ancient Times”, in the Mesozoic Era when I originally joined QRP ARCI.

Somewhere along the line, that changed and the definition of QRP became a power output of no more than 5 Watts for CW and 10 Watts for SSB.

I am fine with that definition. Period.

Now we have some purveyors of bologna that are insisting that QRP means “5 Watts with ONLY simple, non-gain type antennas”.  Wow!

Somehow it’s not in the “Spirit of QRP” to do as much as you possibly can with that 5 or 10 Watts.


For the record, my antennas (currently – might add a W3EDP soon) are simple, and non-gain – a Butternut HF9V ground mounted vertical and an 88′ Extended Double Zepp wire . But while I am sleeping tonight, if the Angel of the Lord appears in a dream and says, “Lawrence, the Father has decided that you have truly been a good and faithful servant lately.  In appreciation, when you wake up tomorrow morning, in your backyard He will provide a 40 foot tower with a multi-band Yagi mounted at the top”.

What? Am I supposed to say, “Dear St. Michael (or Gabriel or Raphael – whatever), I am a QRP Purist – could you tell the Lord to make that a Buddipole instead”?

No …. I don’t think so.

The concept of QRP is to limit your power output.  If you take that 5 or 10 Watts and pump them into an antenna “fire hose” so that you SOUND like you’re pumping out a kW, then I say “Bravo for you”.  The true “Spirit of QRP” is “doing more with less” – taking those Watts that you’re using, and with a combination of good operating skill and the best antenna you can muster, putting out the best signal that you possibly can.  That’s it – no more, no less.

If you listen to the purveyors of bologna, I guess they would also tell you that a guy pumping 500 Watts into a 6 inch piece of copper at ground level is actually QRP.

No …… that would just be stupid.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least! (But take the pains to make it sound like the very most!)

Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

7 Responses to “Enough with the nitrates, already !!!!”

  • Ron W8VZM:

    Well put Larry! I’m with you!

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    Good job. I also remember the Tube days and 75 watt novice limit. Lot has changed and 5 watts CW/10 Watts SSB IS QRP into anything from a hanging wire to stacked mono band yagi’s (gee wonder what that would be like..hi) Long live peanut power…

    73 Harry K7ZOV

  • Will, NQ2W:

    If my memory serves me well, QRP means reduce power, not string up a minimalist antenna.

    72, Will, NQ2W

  • Joe KB3PHL:

    It’s amazing the things we Hams find to bicker about, just enjoy the hobby guy’s.

    Joe KB3PHL

  • Ron w0eax:

    Good Job Larry

    My first Novice transmitter used a single 6l6. It worked great, many many contacts


    Ron w0eax

  • Chris KQ2RP:

    I was licensed in 1978, and as far as I can recall, QRP was always considered 5W max output (10W SSB)from the transmitter. To me, it’s always been the QRP approach to do as much with that 5W as you can. What you Use a low efficiency non-gain antenna, dummy load, doublet, vertical, lightbulb, or 7 element yagi. That said, I do like it when sprints/contests (like NAQCC’s) discern between the guys using gain vs. non-gain antennas. For me, I have no real interest in towers and beams. I enjoy making and using simple wire antennas. They allow for lots of experimentation – also major part of the QRP culture. That’s what floats MY boat and what fits my ‘QRP lifestyle’ best. But, to each his own. I operate QRP to challenge and impress myself more than anyone else. “Here’s your 5W – Do with it what you will.”

  • Ernest Gregoire, AA1IK:

    I seriously doubt that those who are claiming QRP is not QRP if they are running 5 watts to a TH7 at 70 feet would refuse a free tower and TH7 if one were given to them!


    Good job Larry,

    de AA1IK

    Ernest Gregoire

Leave a Comment

Subscribe FREE to AmateurRadio.com's
Amateur Radio Newsletter
News, Opinion, Giveaways & More!

Join over 7,000 subscribers!
We never share your e-mail address.

Also available via RSS feed, Twitter, and Facebook.

Subscribe FREE to AmateurRadio.com's
Amateur Radio Newsletter

We never share your e-mail address.

Do you like to write?
Interesting project to share?
Helpful tips and ideas for other hams?

Submit an article and we will review it for publication on AmateurRadio.com!

Have a ham radio product or service?
Consider advertising on our site.

Are you a reporter covering ham radio?
Find ham radio experts for your story.

How to Set Up a Ham Radio Blog
Get started in less than 15 minutes!

  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor

Sign up for our free
Amateur Radio Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address: