QTH: near Oral, SD
Class: Amateur Extra
AMSAT # 41247
QRP ARCI # 16638
NAQCC # 9880
Firefly # 61
Power is no substitute for SKILL
With only a few watts of signal to work with, it becomes mandatory to perfect your operating technique if you are going to work through that DX pileup. QRP is the radio equivalent of brain over brawn.
But isn't a 1-W signal lost in the shuffle of more powerful stations? It's not as lost as you may think.
A 1-W signal is only a little more than three S-units weaker than a 100-W signal. So, if your 100-W signal is S-9, your 1-W signal will be about S-6. And that's plenty of signal!
For QRP operation, you must be able to find DX stations, be aware of when and for how long bands will be open and have a crisp and clear setup on both CW and SSB.
You must be able to quickly assimilate a DX operator's technique.
One of the primary skills QRP operation strengthens is patience.
With QRP power levels you have to wait for the right moment and make your move.
This means you must be alert and listening rather than transmitting.
You have to be familiar with the bands, operating procedures of DX stations and other QRP operators.
All this takes a bit of patience, practice and listening.
There are a couple of other advantages of QRP operations that aren't so obvious.
Because you are operating with a minimal power output, your transmitter will probably last "forever."
Your electric bill will be less -- especially if you stop using your 2-kW space heater.
The other non-obvious advantage is that you won't overload the front end of your neighbor's television.
It's a pretty rare occasion when operating with 5W causes interference.