Thursday, October 11, 2012

What is QRP?

Over on the Elecraft KX3 Yahoo group an argument has been raging as to whether running low power into a tower-mounted beam is QRP. Some folk feel that QRP also means using simple no-gain wire antennas. Others argue strongly that using an antenna with gain is a perfectly valid way to do more with less, that "less" relates to power and nothing else.

On his QRP - Do more with less blog, Larry W2LJ nails his colours (colors?) firmly to the mast. Saying those who use towers and beams aren't QRP is baloney, claims Larry.

Personally, I think QRP is whatever the ARRL, G-QRP Club, QRPARCI or CQ Contest committee says it is. If you are competing in one of their contests or applying for one of their awards you must follow their rules. And the only limitation they specify for the QRP category is power level. So I don't think it is possible to win an argument that QRP includes any other restriction besides low power. But I can understand why some people feel that those who have a lot of aluminium in the air have an advantage over those who only use a piece of wire and that lumping them into the same category is unfair.

To really put the cat among the pigeons does the spirit of QRP include the use of store-bought or kit-built equipment too? I certainly feel that the art of QRP is strongly allied to the practise of home-brew, but I still claim to be QRP when operating my FT-817, KX3 or K2. Should the ham who operates an Elecraft KX3 belong in the same class as one who uses a two-transistor Pixie?

Perhaps we need a new term to define this kind of minimalist operation?
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