Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Thumbs Up for QRP

I was reading recently about some old military radios that only put 5w out but the radios were huge.  It got me thinking about QRP and its operators.  The great thing about this hobby is that even within a sub group such as QRP there are further subdivisions.  There are the backpack/outdoor operators operating Altoids tin radios from a 9v battery and boat anchor enthusiasts whose tubes keep the shack comfortably warm.  One is low power as in not a lot of power consumed and the other is low power out of a rather large army radio using quite a bit of power in the process.  Technology has come a long way from the invention of the tube to the invention of the transistor and then as the years passed there has been the packing of these transistors into chips.  Now we are at the point, with Software-Defined Radio, where micro processors do almost all of the work that hardware used to do.  Add to all this the digital modes that have been designed to use very low power and operate almost in the noise floor.  Whether it's old, newer or newest or somewhere in between, QRPers love a challenge.  We are always looking for the most efficient battery or best gain antenna or the most portable set up all in an effort to compensate for the low power being transmitted.  I think it really fosters the Marconi in all of us as we try this or that to get the best results in an effort to get the most out of the least.