I recently read an excellent post by W2LJ on non-QRPers’ perceptions of “the frustration of QRP.” While I’m in 100% agreement with what he writes—essentially to “act loud” when you’re operating QRP—I’m guilty of the very first sin he calls out at the beginning: advising new hams not to start on HF with [a] QRP [rig].
I stand by this advice. Here’s why. The advice is often solicited in the context of saving money by buying a QRP radio (e.g., FT-817, IC-703, KX3, etc) versus a full-power unit (e.g., FT-857, IC-706/IC-7000, KX3+KXPA3, respectively). Everybody wants to save money, not everyone wants to operate QRP, whether they realize it or not. It’s a whole heck of a lot easier to crank a 100-watt radio down to 5 watts than it is to crank a 5-watt radio up to 100 watts. So why does that matter since we’re talking about why people should or shouldn’t start with QRP? If you operate QRP, look at your log. You should see a pattern. Most of your QSOs are on CW or digital and on the “core” HF bands, 40/30/20/17/15 meters.
QRP is not frustrating at all, as long as you operate CW (or digital) into decent antennas on certain bands. Knowledge and skill indeed trump power. But, if you are just acquiring knowledge and skill for the first time, a little reserve power doesn’t hurt. Just my thoughts.