What is QRP?

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KC0KM

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A somewhat interesting discussion came up tonight when I was at our VE session tonight.

What exactly is considered to be QRP? I was "under the impression" that QRP is five watts and below, however some say it is 100 watts. I guess is it depends on who you ask? I am running a 100 watts on my Icom 178. The other day when working (the RT 66 on the Air I think) they had called for QRP stations, I did not call because I was running a 100 watts. But what is QRP, or is it as I was told, it depends on who you ask?
 

Token

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There is no "set" QRP level. QRP just means reduced power, the opposite of QRO, increased power. However, most people take QRP to mean 5 Watts or less. Several ham contest do have definitions of what QRP means for that specific contest.

I have said, jokingly, that I was QRP when stepping down to 100 Watts after running a legal limit amp, and I have heard other people talk about 100 Watts being QRP under certain circumstances. But seriously, anyone calling 100 Watts QRP is either joking or has a very jaded view of Ham radio power.

T!
 

vagrant

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But seriously, anyone calling 100 Watts QRP is either joking or has a very jaded view of Ham radio power.
That is the truth. I'm onboard with the 5 watts or less club. I will also tell you that when I am making DX contacts with only 5 watts it is pretty cool. Hell, even if they're in the next state over it's fun. When the contact is with phone, it's even better. I think it's wild each time a make a contact like that. It has not gotten old. I use a Yaesu 817ND.
 

zz0468

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It's context dependent. 5 watts is, indeed, QRP when talking about typical HF operations. But a 5 watt 2m or 440 HT isn't really QRP - it's a fairly high powered portable. For the guys who play in the microwave bands, you can be one of the big guns by running 5 watts at 10 or 24 GHz. 5 watts at 47 GHz is QRO, and you want to be VERY careful - you can put an eye out with that kind of high power.
 

N5TWB

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And let's not leave out those who prefer the challenge of even less power than the generally-agreed 5 watts for QRP @ HF, those who declare that anything more than 1 watt is a waste: QRPp Forever!! I'm not in that crew but I've accidentally not turned up my power knob after using the tuner and made effective contacts at lower power. It's an interesting learning opportunity.
 

AA6IO

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Back in the mid 1960s when I was a teenager in San Diego trying to work a lot of DX,I used an SX-111 Rx, HT-37 Tx, and HT-41 amplifier with a tribander (20, 15, 10; there was no 17 or 12 meters in those days). The HT-41 had 2 RCA 7094 tetrodes and ran about 1200 W PEP SSB and 700 W CW.
In those days, some of the big guns thought I was running QRP. There were a few stations back then in North San Diego County using amplifiers built with a pair, or even in one case, four 4-1000s. That's a lot of KWs. Illegal I know, but for the rare DX pile up, a few guys were running lots of power. One got nabbed by the FCC and taken off the air (for a while).
So yes, QRP is generally 5 watts, but in some cases, especially back in the heyday of amateur radio, QRP was all relative.
Steve AA6IO (extraclass, ham for 52 years, ex WB6DQX and WB6RRV)
 

Cowthief

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QRP is normally under 5 watts.

That was the upper limit for an early one tube transmitter.
Later, when the FCC was reviewing CB, they decided on 5 watts.
Note that this was 5 watts IN, so about 2 watts out.
A modern CB is allowed 4 watts out, most modern talkies can do 5 watts out on VHF.
1/10 of a watt is license free under the old rules, "flea power".
Make a contact with 100 milliwatts and I am impressed!
 

zz0468

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QRP is normally under 5 watts.

That was the upper limit for an early one tube transmitter.
Later, when the FCC was reviewing CB, they decided on 5 watts.
Note that this was 5 watts IN, so about 2 watts out.
A modern CB is allowed 4 watts out, most modern talkies can do 5 watts out on VHF.
1/10 of a watt is license free under the old rules, "flea power".
Make a contact with 100 milliwatts and I am impressed!
Cowthief's post is 95% bull*****.
 

K7MEM

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Then there is the ever popular "QRP Gallon" to further muddy the waters.
A "QRP Gallon" is still considered 5 watts. It's just suppose to be the most power you can run and still be considered QRP.

However, long before that was a "Novice Gallon", which was 75 Watts. When I first received my ham license (1965) a Novice was limited to 75 Watts in the CW portions of 80, 40, and 15 Meters. Not too long after that, they started making lots of changes to the entry level licenses.
 

Token

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QRP is normally under 5 watts.

That was the upper limit for an early one tube transmitter.
Err…no, that (upper limit for an early one tube transmitter) is very unlikely to be correct.

Wouldn’t that kind of depend on the tube? I mean, I built a one tube 6L6 transmitter for my first rock bound CW Novice rig (from schematics in a 1940’s ARRL Handbook), and it ran about 30 Watts input, probably on the order of 16 or so Watts output. If the 40’s are not early enough for you there was a similar design from the 1930’s. A single tube transmitter using an 813 could be built by the late 1930’s, and it was capable of over 100 Watts of output.

You could be thinking of the popular Type 27 single tube transmitters of the 1920’s, however those were only good for 2 to 4 Watts of output on 80 and 40 meters. Using a Type 10 in a similar design would be in the neighborhood of 8 Watts output, and about 22 Watts input. And there were other single tube transmitters of the day in the 12-14 Watt output range. Before the 1920’s single tube transmitters were really not a thing (remember spark gap transmitters were not outlawed until 1926), although in theory single tube transmitters could be built as early as 1906.

Later, when the FCC was reviewing CB, they decided on 5 watts.
Note that this was 5 watts IN, so about 2 watts out.
A modern CB is allowed 4 watts out, most modern talkies can do 5 watts out on VHF.
Not sure what “QRP” has to do with the decision of the FCC to set the initial input power level of Class D CB to 5 Watts. Or how CB is tied to a discussion of QRP?

Input power vs output power is going to depend on several factors, not the least of which is the amplifier class of operation. With that said I have had MANY CB 5 Watt input transmitters with about, or just under, 4 Watts of output.

1/10 of a watt is license free under the old rules, "flea power".
Make a contact with 100 milliwatts and I am impressed!
License free under which “old” rules?

And yes, I have made many 100 mW, or less, contacts. And reception of low power beacons, some under 10 milliWatts, is not all that uncommon, some of them hundreds of miles away.

T!
 

kj3n

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QRP is normally under 5 watts.

That was the upper limit for an early one tube transmitter.
Later, when the FCC was reviewing CB, they decided on 5 watts.
Note that this was 5 watts IN, so about 2 watts out.
A modern CB is allowed 4 watts out, most modern talkies can do 5 watts out on VHF.
1/10 of a watt is license free under the old rules, "flea power".
Make a contact with 100 milliwatts and I am impressed!
Still running around spouting ridiculous BS, are we? What drugs are you taking and why aren't you sharing so that the rest of us can enjoy such delusions?

QRP is considered to be 5 watts, or less. In some circles, 10 watts SSB is also considered QRP, but that's pushing it.

Anyone who tells you that 100 watts is QRP, has their head up their ***.
 
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