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RSGB Standard Definition for QRP


Prepared on 11th August 2006 by:
 Ian Brown G3TLH
 Steve Rawlings GW4ALG

 1.  Summary
This proposal recommends that the Radio Society of Great Britain ('the Society') adopts and implements a standard definition for 'QRP' low power operation as soon as practicable, and in any event from January 2008.

 2.  Situation
'QRP' is often used by radio amateurs to indicate a particular (maximum) transmitter output power.  Over the past two decades, low power radio clubs and national amateur radio societies have sought to establish a common understanding of what is meant by 'QRP operation'.  The main reasons for seeking an international definition for QRP are to avoid ambiguity, and to establish a level playing field for those participating in QRP operating events and award programmes.   

The Society does not appear to have adopted any particular definition for QRP.  This often means that contests are organised with sections having power categories that lack consistency, and which are often out of step with internationally recognised standards for QRP operation.  As a result, such events often fail to attract participants from the QRP community.

 3.  Analysis
Although the IOTA Contest rules do acknowledge the international standard for QRP CW (maximum 5 watts output), the Society's 2006 contest calendar also includes CW sections in the following events:
- 80m Club Championship: where the results listing identifies the 10 watt section as 'QRP Section';
- the 21/28 MHz event: where the rules define QRP as a maximum of 10 watts output;
- National Field Day: where there is a 10 watt section, but no 5 watt section; and,
- Low Power Field Day: having 3 and 10 watt sections - but without a 5 watt section.

 There would appear to be a number of opportunities for adopting and applying a consistent definition for 'QRP' in line with internationally accepted definitions for QRP.  It is acknowledged that the Society would need to allow sufficient time for RSGB departments and committees to implement a standard definition.

4.  Proposal
The authors respectfully propose that the Society:
4a)       adopts the following definition for 'QRP' low power operation as soon as practicable and, in any event, from January 2008:
            CW and Data: Maximum 5 watts output from the transmitter.
            SSB: Maximum 10 watts PEP output from the transmitter.
4b)       applies this definition whenever the term 'QRP' is used in any RSGB document to indicate a particular maximum power level; and,
4c)       seeks to align the rules of new and existing RSGB contests with the definition above, giving due regard to the interests of QRP operators.


This Proposal has the support of the following radio amateurs:
G3MCK, Gerald Stancey
G3MFJ, Graham Firth
G3ROO, Ian Keyser
G3TLH, Ian Brown
G3VGR, Dave Aldridge
G3YMC, Dave Sergeant
G4DDL, Mike Pemberton
G8BOU, Clive Hollins (also M5CHH and VE3CHH)
GM3OXX, George Burt
GM4HQF, Dave Lindsay
GM4XQJ, Brian Waddell
GW4ALG, Steve Rawlings
M0AYF, Des Kostryca
M0CVB, John Sherbourne
M0XDF, David Ferrington

To add your name to this list, send an email to me at:


12/08/2006: Regarding the 10 watt section of National Field Day,
Dave Sergeant, G3YMC has written to say: "You might also add that the HF NFD rules call it a Low Power section but the tabulated results and write up refer to it as QRP..."

13/08/2006: There has been much discussion within the UK QRP community about the limit for QRP Data.  Options include 2.5 watts; 5 watts; or 10 watts - depending which model you use when comparing data modes with CW.  Dave Aldridge, G3VGR writes: "I think your proposal of defining QRP data modes at 5 watts is correct. My PSK20 runs around 2-3 watts output & seems to give similar results to 3 watts of CW on 20 metres."

14/08/2006: John Sherbourne, M0CVB writes: "I hope that the RSGB accepts the proposal and I agree with the 5 watt limit for data and CW modes."

14/08/2006: Brian Waddell, GM4XQJ emailed me to say: "I have written to the RSGB over the years suggesting that they set the power levels for QRP contest sections the same as internationally recognised QRP power levels.  I even said that if the HF Field Day QRP power level was set at a maximum of 5 watts I would enter....but I never got a reply."

15/08/2006: Clive Hollins, G8BOU wrote: "Please add my name to those proposing the adoption of the definition of QRP as 5 Watts TX output power for CW and Data modes and 10 Watts PEP for SSB."

17/08/2006: Des Kostryca, M0AYF wrote: Put me down as supportive of an agreed 5W limit for QRP operation for both CW and Data modes.  From my perspective the QRP SSB limit could also be 5W, but since the established convention seems to be 10W I guess we may have to live with that."

20/08/2006: David Ferrington, M0XDF has written to say: "Although I currently don't run QRP and have no immediate plans to do so, I support the proposal because I believe it is important to support those who do run QRP and that there definitely should be a clear and consistent definition for 'QRP'."

To add your comments here (supportive or otherwise!), send an email to me at: