Thursday, July 5, 2012

QRP Low Power Radio = High Power Prepper Potential

Lights dim all over town when I key up...
The adage, "If a little is good, a lot must be better..." isn't always true. With Ham Radio, there is a lot that can be done with a lot less than you'd expect.
Although Ham Radio stations are allowed up to 1500 watts of power to transmit a signal, on the other side of the spectrum, low power or QRP operation... 5 watts or less, has in some circumstances, the exact same potential of getting a signal transmitted. Add to that, the cost of the equipment required to operate at high power, verses low power operation, the opportunity and potential of low power operation becomes a very attractive option, particularly for those intending to operate in emergency or field conditions free of outside support.

A blowtorch radio may be preferred, but along with high power operation comes greater demand for electrical energy.  Keying down a high power radio transmitter and you'll see a electrical meter spin off it's pole as the house current gets drawn into the atmosphere. Not so bad when your electricity is supplied from the power company, but not so good when the electricity is coming from your generator, battery, or solar panel. Often, a high power radio can't be worked into your energy budget. From a Prepper perspective, a low power Ham station makes a lot more sense, with less demand for electricity, and greater options of obtaining power, along with how versatile and portable your equipment can be.
K1DOD's Yeasu FT-817 & LDG Autotuner does great QRP!

Take a very popular low power radio set-up as an example, the popular Yeasu FT-817 HF/UHF/VHF portable. The fully functional rig offers battery powered portability with up to 5 watts of power. Tuned into a portable antenna, the little radio can span the globe with everything...radio, tuner, battery, antenna, packing down into a shoulder bag.

From a bug out perspective, QRP operation offers the best potential, versatility, and utilization, bringing full communications capability in a manageable package. Check out how a FT-817, with a 20 watt battery powered amplifier can talk to Hawaii from California... from a bicycle!
Ready to learn more about QRP Radio? Here's a great list of links for a start...
The biggest group of low power enthusiasts is QRP Amateur Radio Club International...low on power BIG in potential!
If you are into "Rolling Your Own" - building your own radio gear check out QRP HomeBuilder, with Ham Radio Projects as well as other electronic ideas.
There's a cottage industry of QRP Homebuilding Kits on the web, one of most extensive is Hendricks QRP Kits, with affordable QRP Kits at exceptional value.
'73 for now...we'll see you ON THE AIR! -KI4HEE

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