QRP

is a microcosm of Amateur Radio in general. There are niches within the niche. QRP means different things to different people. In my estimation, (and I’m sure I’m way off base and nowhere near complete) the major categories are:

Competitors. Just like their QRO brethren, these guys exist solely for the contests and/or DX. You see their calls in the contest score tallies of CQ, QST and even QQ. Otherwise, with a few exceptions, you never seem to work these guys for a ragchew, or ever hear from them on the QRP e-mail reflectors. Some have the big towers with the yagis and they spend every last ounce of effort and money squeezing the very last iota of capability out of their equipment and themselves. These folks are very hard core.

Organizers. Folks like Paul NA5N, Rem K6BBQ, Rich KI6SN, Marshall N1FN, Jerry N9AW, Dale WC7S, among others. These guys come up with neat and fun concepts for events that we all have fun in ….. like the ARS Spartan Sprints, the Run For the Bacon, the NAQCC Sprints, QRP To The Field, the QRP Fox Hunts, Freeze Your Butt Off, Flight Of the Bumblebees, Sweat Your Butt Off, the Zombie Shuffle, etc, etc, etc. And of course, QRP-ARCI who organizes so many fun events like the Spring and Fall QSO Parties, the Hoot Owl Sprint, and so many more.

Builders and Tinkerers. These are the true homebrewers. Designers like Steve KD1JV, Mike AA1TJ or Jason NT7S, Rev Dobbs G3RJV, Doug W1FB (SK), Hans G0UPL, who seemingly can come up with great and ingenious designs (effortlessly) while brushing their teeth in the morning; and then share with the rest of us. Some guys are like Dave AA7EE or Tony W2GUM (SK). These guys build, and while they may not necessarily build their own designs all the time, their construction projects are things of beauty. Then there are guys like Dale WC7S and Don W3FPR who seem to eternally cruise the e-mail reflectors, always on the lookout to answer the questions of befuddled troubleshooters (like me!), or to perhaps assist someone with the building or finishing of their kits.

Entrepreneurs. On a commercial level, we are so lucky to have guys like Eric WA6HHQ, Wayne N6KR, Doug KI6DS, Diz W8DIZ, Rex W1REX and Dave K1SWL, Bill N8ET (who recently had a stroke, but was at Dayton this year, from what I understand) and others who have come up with companies that keep us in a never ending supply of QRP goodies.

Antenna experts. These people spend their time designing, homebrewing, or just tinkering with …..antennas. There is probably a little bit of this category in each of us – but these guys …… well, this is their “thing”. Several call signs that I can think off the top of my head that fit into this category – Steve AA5TB, Bud W3FF, Dale W4OP, Bill WA8MEA, L.B. Cebik W4RNL (SK), Alex PY1AHD, among others.

Experimenters. These guys think out of the box, and come up with new ideas for new things, or perhaps lead the way making use of new technologies, modes, etc. or perhaps they write software for QRPers. They’re a lot like the builders and designers in one sense, yet different in another. In this group I would put people like George N2APB, Joe N2CX, Joe K1JT, Julian G4ILO and so many others.

Outdoorsmen. Steve WG0AT, Guy N7UN, Jim W1PID, Martin VA3SIE, Bud W3FF, Ed WA3WSJ, Rem K6BBQ, Dennis K1YPP and all the SOTA folks. These are the folks who exist for taking their equipment outdoors and seeing how far they push themselves and their equipment. These are the guys we sit around and ask for “just one more story”. These are the guys we love to watch on YouTube or read of their exploits on their blogs.

Teachers. These folks are great examples for all the rest of us, they are particularly concerned with passing on the hobby and its tradition to the future generations. All the folks listed above are teachers, but the guys that (in my mind) especially fit this category are the guys who like to “spread the word”. Those who come especially to mind are John K3WWP and Dan KB6NU and Rich W2VU, Joe K0NEB, Cam N6GA, among others.

The rest of us – The “Ham and Eggers”, if you will, or if you read the comic strips in the newspapers, perhaps the “Pluggers”. We’re the day-to-day guys on the bands, the ones who do it all, the guys who do the rag chewing, the guys who work some DX when we get the opportunity, the guys who complain and moan on the e-mail reflectors, the guys who hunt the Foxes, the guys who buy, build and sell all that QRP stuff out there. The rank and file, the great huddled masses who go about their lives, probably unrecognized for the most part, but for without whom, there would be no QRP. Hopefully, because of efforts of the people named in the above categories (and there are so many more that I haven’t included due to advanced Senior-itis) there’s a bit of each of those categories in all of us.  Perhaps you find yourself fitting into multiple categories.

A note to my readers – the names and calls mentioned above are mainly North American QRPers. This is because these are the names and calls that I am most familiar with. Personally, I know my knowledge is sadly lacking and that there is a treasure trove of QRPers out there, throughout the whole world who deserve to be added to the list of names I mentioned above. I wish I knew more about them. If you have some names that stand out in your minds, please add them to the comments section. Or even better, I’d love to hear about them and their accomplishments, and perhaps even run future blog posts about them (I sense a new series developing here ….. “Profiles in QRP”) – Polish QRPers, Russian QRPers, Thai QRPers, Italian QRPers, Aussie QRPers, Brazilian QRPers, QRPers from around the world. Send me an e-mail!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

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

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