QRP Community

What is it about low power operators that binds us together? I’ve been reflecting on that a bit lately.

As a student of anthropology and culture, I see a bit of a tribal influence among the amateur radio ops of the world. We tend to cluster into tribes based upon our modes of operation and other specialized pursuits like contesting, fox hunting, award seekers, etc. Each tribe has its own special characteristics, culture, jargon and social structure.

What I enjoy most about the QRP tribe is that the Elmer spirit is still very much alive and well. Although we all are a bit competitive and like to think we have a line on the best way to do QRP, there is a healthy amount of sharing of information, expertise and even hardware. Groups like Adventure Radio Society, NAQCC, Flying Pigs, Polar Bears, AZ Scorpions, NE QRP, North Georgia, 4 States, etc breed healthy competition and provide us with sources of information and expert assistance when needed. I sure am enjoying getting to know, both on air and in person, some of the people that make these groups work.

My recent connection with Diz W8DIZ while operating the FOBB, prompted me to go back and read the history of the Flying Pigs and to read through the archives of the Bacon Bits Newsletter. There is real gold and a wealth of interesting info that’s been recorded and made available freely. Other clubs have the same heritage. I say a BIG THANK YOU to all the QRP groups for sharing their experience and stories. It makes me feel proud to be part of the tribe!

What about you? What do you enjoy about QRP? Leave a comment and share your thoughts and story.


  1. says


    For me, QRP is the closest thing to taking me back to Amateur Radio back when I was a Novice. Building, experimenting, playing with antennas – each QSO was a challenge and a joy! And as Novices, we tended to share experiences and “what works, what doesn’t” – like QRPers are more than willing to do today. Back then, we used what we had; and maybe we were too blissfully ignorant to realize that it “shouldn’t work”. How many QROers are more than willing to tell us that by rights, our QRP stations “shouldn’t work”?

    I’ve been involved in a lot of facets of this hobby – satellites, digi modes, DX, etc. The QRP experience and camaraderie beats them all – hands down!

    72 de Larry W2LJ

  2. says

    You’re right Kelly, about the info provided by various groups – very beneficial. For me, the enthusiasm of what others are doing is often contagious. I recently read about the results of experiments with QRSS beacons on 30m, and the more I read about it, the more I wanted to know. That’s happened to me periodically in this hobby with various pieces of equiment or techniques for operating it.

    A lot of blame is given to the internet for replacing ham radio as a hobby but I believe that the ‘net has enhanced the hobby by allowing us to learn from and motivate each other via the groups you mentioned and others.

    72 de John AE5X

  3. kmack says

    I’m with you… although, we’ve never met face to face, I feel like I know you because we’ve exchanged information, experiences, and interests over the internet. You and others have taught me things, helped me avoid some mistakes and shortcut the learning curve. That’s made our hobby more enjoyable.

    Our virtual friendship and on air opportunities to deepen the relationship bring a lot of fun and enjoyment to me and I look forward to more. Thanks for all you do for the whole community of QRP and Ham Radio.

    Kelly K4UPG

  4. Alex says

    I believe my biggest joy with QRP is first, getting to know a lot of the guys in QRp either by working them on the radio or exchanging emails about projects or even to just say “Howdy”. QRP operators are a different breed of HAM, all are willing to share and help the other guy.
    Next, is building small projects, with me its qrp tuners of one sort or another. Then comes trying out different antenna schemes in the field.One day I’ll work PB #1 while he’s on the AT !!!
    I just Love this Qrp stuff after 47 years of playing radio!
    73 Kelly
    Alex K5UNY

  5. says

    I got into the hobby because I used to hike by myself in very isolated places. In the beginning, I thought a VHF or UHF HT was the answer to safety and allowed me to explore the woods at my own pace. In the beginning, I thought a HT was the ultimate safety machine. It worked well for me.

    Then I combined the HT with a palmtop computer and a TNC and I was able to send and receive messages all over the world via packet. I even worked the Russian MIR station with it, while sitting in a cow pasture with a 360 degree view of the horizon.

    I guess hikers with radios are really my tribe.

    But QRP CW communication is the ultimate mode for me, and after 15 years, I still get my biggest thrill when working another QRP operator while out in the field. There’s just nothing else quite like operating “portable”.

    Only QRP allows an operator this luxury.

  6. kmack says

    I love it… a new tribe! The Hiker QRP tribe is a great way to enjoy two things at once. Multi-tasking at its finest.
    Kelly K4UPG

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