QRP Milliwatt Information Page

What is milliwatting, & why?

QRP ARCI promotes low power communications, 5w or less.  When conditions allow, many seasoned QRP'ers are trying 1 watt or less! That's right, they have gone from QRP to milliwatting (also called QRPp) seeking to find the natural limits of QRP.

How's it done?

Some standard ham rigs will allow you to adjust to under 1 watt (milliwatts), with some effort. But many QRP'ers already have at least one kit, or homebrew rig in the shack. Test the power with whatever test equipment you have. A basic RF probe & digital multimeter will get you going. If you're starting out and unsure, have your main radio set for 3 - 5w, and a kit rig set up for milliwatts.

A good way to get your feet wet milliwatting is to jump into a QRP CW contest, and look for the strongest stations. Find the ones who are higher up on the band, calling CQ with no takers. Call them in the clear with the lowest mW setting you feel comfortable with, say 400mW. Send your full call only once or twice, act natural.  If he doesn't call you right back, try moving your dial a little bit up/down and call again. After a few tries, in the clear, if you don't make it, bring your power up to 700mW and call again.  QRO CW contests can work very well for a mW operator. Try the big guns who have moments when they have no takers. In one good contest, a newbie mW operator could work 15 - 20 states with low down (<100 milliwatts, and maybe 20 - 30 states if they run 700mW.  After doing this awhile, you will learn when its going to work, and when its time to try 4w. A good QRP operator knows when its time to raise the power, so not to strain the receivers ears. Too many repeats, etc.

DX? Yes! I read it in Bob White's columns years ago. "Its easier to work DX with mW that stateside".  Don't believe me? Next CW DX contest try calling some big gun DX stations using the methods described above, and have your log book ready!

Milliwatt contests & awards - mW Holiday Contest

QRP-ARCI and other QRP clubs have had mW categoires in their contests for years. Milliwatt Field Day has been ongoing for years also. And a mW Holiday contest is set for December 26, 27, & 28th 1999 & will be a regular every year.  The Knightlites (Carolina QRP Club) who ran the 49er/Pixie contest have evolved this into the first mW contest.

mW WAS Award

ARCI has just announced the new mW WAS award. If you already have WAS, & QRP WAS, this will put fire back into ham radio for you again! With regular QRP WAS there is a final state and that's the end, and then maybe you go for 5BWAS. After that what's left? Work all states with 500mW and see how long it takes. Then work all states, at 100mW. Or take the bull by the horns and see if you can work all states with power for each of the 50 contacts added together and have it total under 1 watt (ie average 20 mW or less per QSO). There's almost no end it!

At the end of all this you will have a stack of awards and many many QSO's under your belt. New friendships, and skills. The most important thing is that you have fun, and end up a much better operator than before.

News on Milliwatting

If you have news to report on your milliwatting activities, please report them to the mW QRP editor for the QRP Quarterly - Jim Hale, KJ5TF.  A column is appearing regularly in the QQ on this subject and it will be enhanced if you provide news on the fun of QRPp.  Also, check out the editor's personal web site with lots of milliwatting news.


Updated: January 11, 2000

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