Making radio contacts using simple morse transmitters and receivers
is becoming increasingly
challenging, but can still be very rewarding.
Most low power (QRP) operators use conventional morse code, frequently
within the range 14 to 20 words per minute. So you don't have to be a morse
'expert' to have low power morse contacts.
Although the signal 'QRP' has been used for many decades in a relative
sense, such as 'shall I reduce my transmitter power', the use of 'QRP' is now frequently
used in an absolute sense. In recent years, national and international
organisations have defined 'QRP' as a transmitter output power of five watts, or less.
Over the past
couple of decades, QRP enthusiasts have had to cope with increasing
disruption to their experiments and operations due to aggressive contest
operators having no respect for international band plans, for QRP centres of activity, or for the people
who rely on these internationally agreed designated frequencies.
Through the use of sophisticated contest control programs; links to callsign
databases, access to remote receivers throughout the world, and 'spotting'
services, contest operating is now a form of computer gaming having no
regard for other users of the amateur radio spectrum.
The upshot is that QRP operators often find that their attempts to test
experimental equipment, or to keep in contact with old pals, are becoming
National radio clubs such as the RSGB, have consistently failed to take
action against those who ignore international band plans. So QRP operators should expect the situation to become
increasingly difficult over time.
QRP clubs have been silent on the matter of
disruption by contest operators, and have failed to represent the interests of their
members at national and international meetings. Indeed, some QRP clubs
actively promote contests through articles about contesting, and by helping
to publicise contest events. Many members of QRP clubs would like to see the QRP
organisations take a less passive stance toward abuse of the band plans. The organisers of
contest events have consistently ignored pleas from those seeking
fair access to the amateur spectrum.
To read about my current equipment, select the hyperlinks at the top and
bottom of these web pages.
I am located near Lydney, Gloucestershire at about 130 m above sea level.
Steve Rawlings, G4ALG
18 September 2023