Sunday, September 20, 2020

QRPer or Woke QRPer?

I’m often asked about QRP. “John, how can I become a QRPer?” or “John, is QRP right for me at this juncture in my life process?” and finally, “John, is QRP compatible with someone on a keto diet?”

I appreciate these questions because it allows me to explain the significance of being a Woke QRPer. Too many people approach QRP casually, without giving it the proper solemnity it deserves. They buy a KX2 or they turn down the RF power on their Big Rig and, magically, they think they are now QRPers.

In essence, they are making a mockery of the intimacy of QRP - they are most certainly not Woke. They may have the RF power turned down to 5 watts but they continue to power the rig with a 35- or 50-amp Astron power supply. I find such practice to be course and vulgar; maybe even profane.

In no particular order, here are a few anecdotes I’d like to pass along to those who’ve grown weary of the empty promises and failed expectations of being QRO. The following applies to QRP in general, but to portable QRP in particular:

  • To maintain spirituality while operating under difficult band conditions, combine yoga with your QRP activity. Give special attention to your hamstrings.
  • Long ago, an old Incan shaman taught me the ancient practice of using quinoa as an edible packing material for sensitive electronics. But quinoa can also be used as to dry your QRP rig if you happen to drop it into a lake, brook, creek, stream, arroyo, loch, river, tank, pond, lagoon, tributary, canal, bog, wetland, puddle, harbor, pool, channel, fjord, estuary, gulf, inlet, bay, polynya, sea, spring, moat or ocean; or if you spill soy milk on it while/whilst operating. Always carry quinoa with you on a QRP outing – it is Nature’s own desiccant.
  • Park your Prius as far as possible from the picnic table at which you’ll be operating. Self-appreciate your self-awareness as your self carries your self-contained radio station in a self-contained backpack. Take a few selfies as you set up the station. Then take pride in your final set-up – you did it yourself. Post to Twitter, FB and Reddit.
  • Use solar power when possible, even if your QRP outing will last only an hour and you have a 5AH LiFePO4 battery for a 2-watt radio. Being a Woke QRPer means sending the right message to other QRPers even if it accomplishes nothing practical.
  • The uber-Woke QRPer buys a QRP rig…and then defies its QRPness by buying a Hardrock-50 or KXPA-100 amplifier made specifically for QRP rigs. Contrary to being hypocritical as it may seem to the unwashed, this suggests the complexity and Depth of Being of the Woke QRPer.
  • If possible, wear your hair in a ‘man bun’ while operating. Nothing displays the magnitude of your spirituality more than trying to look like a Gen-X pirate. If you can’t wear your hair in a man bun it’s probably because you are going bald. Baldness is caused by a surplus of testosterone. Shame on you for your toxic masculinity. Atone by QRPing down to the mW level.
  • Speak, even off the air, to others in an exaggeratedly light tone of voice - almost in a whisper. Make people struggle to hear you so that you often have to repeat yourself. This suggests that you are seeking to disturb the air as little as possible with your you-caused acoustic vibrations. The Earth’s atmosphere will appreciate this. Let’s take care of our planet and use only as much acoustic energy as required during non-radio conversation.
  • Bring a facemask for your QRP rig. Because human voices may be emitted by your radio, passersby have the right to know that you are taking proper precautions with their safety as you mind your own business in an outdoor setting.
  • Speaking of awareness, when operating portable QRP, I find myself to be 125% more enlightened than normal – mainly because I'm not carrying the heavier batteries that higher RF power would require. These percentages increase by a factor of 2(pi)fL when using an antenna with inductive loading since such an antenna is physically smaller and therefore “QRP in size”.
  • As a Woke QRPer, know that you are a radio prodigy and act accordingly. Give false low signal reports to QRO stations that you work. If they give you a signal report first, give their report as being one S-unit weaker than what they gave you. Then, and only then, tell them that you are QRP.  This will make them think that there is something wrong with their station; and there is – it’s QRO.
  • Just because your modern QRP rig uses synthesized PLL technology doesn’t mean that you as a person don’t have an inner crystal of your own. Of course you do - hams in Sedona AZ know all about this. Seek out other QRPers whose crystal vibrates at the frequency of yours. Your crystal is your friend and your ticket to meeting other Woke QRPers. May you resonate well with them in everything you do.
  • Consider changing your sexual preference to “QRP”. It’s 2020 and acceptable now - LGBTQRP. If others are offended, tell them that you were born that way.

In summary, being a Woke QRPer means incorporating the QRP mantra into your lifestyle, both on and off the air. Being a Woke QRPer does not end when you power off your Sardine Sender. In fact, for many of us, that is when it begins.




  1. Wow John, I'd never thought about combining the spiritual with QRP. I'm not that spiritual.....ehm not spiritual. Am I a woke QRPer. No I'm not and I don't care. I use QRP if I think I like to do it. And turn it up to 100W if I think I like that. Anyway, let the woke QRPer be the woke QRPer....respect ;-) 73, Bas

    1. Hello Bas, just having a little fun with the hobby by combining it with the latest method of virtue-signaling here in the US (wokeness)! For my next posting: back to the norm (I think).

      73 - John