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Use of QRP Frequencies

QRP frequencies are intended for enthusiasts of low power, i.e. a maximum power of 5 watts, sometimes used also with crystal controlled oscillators.
Therefore, these frequencies should not be used by stations with higher transmission power and certainly not for contests or contest-like pileups (e.g. SOTA, GMA, WWF, …).

73, tks for attention




QRP allows up to 10 watts for voice in the UK.


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I agree Heinz,
With the many spotting methods in contemporary use there is no justification for Sota being on a centre of activity.

Yes, this 5/10 watt QRP convention is undisputed worldwide.
Then there are QRP enthusiasts who only think and work in CW or only in voice, hi.

I agree and disagree in equal measure !

If you actually are QRP, then why not go to the centres of activity? Having said that I typically work a little bit off the centre freq, but not always. I also agree that with SOTA spotting, it matters little. Or how about if you are on or around the QRP centre of activity, then the chaser has to be QRP, or was that the point of the original post?

I’ve often thought that a QRP watch / spotting function, similar to SOTA would be a useful thing to have. Not all QRP OP’s are idiots who like to climb mountains ! Has this come up before, or does such a thing exist already?


Because your chaser will respond without bothering to turn down his power and thus obliterate the frequency for other QRP users.


I always activate near the QRP COA but never on the QRP frequency itself. Although I am QRP the chasers probably aren’t. Even if everyone is QRP the COA should be left clear for other QRP stations who don’t have the benefit of SOTAWatch.

Well, that’s on the chaser, not me as a QRP operator.


You would be guilty of condoning their activity.

Would you do an entire SOTA activation on the 2m FM calling frequency, working a pile-up? Presumably not, so don’t do one on the QRP COA.

A good point. The first reference that Heinz posted starts with the words “These are not Calling Frequencies, they are centres of activity where QRPers are likely to be found.” Likely to be found. That does not sound like an exclusive frequency, its a gathering point, and why - really WHY - should QRPers not want to work stations using higher power? I can understand the attraction of QRP to QRP contacts, I often chase with my FT817, but a contact is a contact. A QRP to QRO contact is still a success for the QRP station, it can also be a tribute to the skill of the QRO station for working a weak signal. :grinning:

Frankly, if I hear a SOTA station on or adjacent to a QRP watering hole I will call him, unless he is sending “QRP only” in which case I would switch on my FT817.

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Sorry, but that’s codswallop. If a typical 100 watt station calls a typical 5 watt QRP station he is only going to be a couple of S points stronger, he will only be there for the duration of the contact, and since the QRP station is using the frequency then other QRP users should not be there, they should find their own frequency or wait until the first user has finished with the frequency.


Hi all,

Nice thread :+1:

The goal of some hunters is to contact the summit, even if they have already contacted it 20 times, so they do not hesitate to put all the power available to them… I totally disagree since

  • firstly: on QRP frequencies this is really disproportionate and can harm the SOTA program.
  • second: many QRP hunters are disgusted and will do something else… I know some :woozy_face:

But it’s human nature…

73, Éric


I forgot, as long as the activator is also in a WWFF, then there it becomes the rat race … :smiling_imp:

Please don’t flaunt your lack of technical understanding :slight_smile: Seriously Brian you fall into a trap that many do in thinking that QRP is just about low power. It’s not but is often about simple equipment. The limit of that equipment is how well it works with in the presence of strong signals. So the idea is to keep the COA clear of high power signals to protect that simple equipment.

Your 100W station calling someone 750Hz from me if I am using a KX2 or 817 with narrow filter will not be much of a problem and that leads many to think that as long as one end is QRP then it doesn’t matter. It does spoil people from using very simple gear.

The reason we used to operate very near the QRP COA is because people were actually listening there. With the spotting we have it’s not really an issue, we can go anywhere. Apart from those who don’t have access to the internet.

The IARU HF committee has been getting inputs on tweaking the bandplans to make more space for digital modes at the expense of CW only sections. I must admit I’ve not considered the suggestions much but probably the sheer number of digital operations justifies a bit more space.

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Sure, Andy, I know a lot of these dinky little CW transceivers use direct injection receivers and they do not have a sparkling strong signal performance, the only time I tried one I could not get rid of the Droitwich transmitter, and that was a lot further off frequency than 750 Hz - but that is one brute of a signal. In my opinion if a simple Rx can’t cope with a 13dB stronger than QRP signal off to one side then its time to try a different circuit, after all, isn’t a lot of the fun of QRP experimentation?

You’re probably right, but it shouldn’t bother the CW guys that much, after all in theory they have the run of the whole band, phone section and all. Of course, there are those who say special interest frequencies and band plans in general are not mentioned in their licence conditions, and act accordingly - just ask one of the 20m SSTV guys!

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The problem with many concepts in amateur radio is they are not always clearly defined, e.g. Centre of Activity frequency vs. Calling Frequency are two such concepts that had me arguing recently with Brian @G8ADD and others as to their meaning and usage [You’ve heard the joke about asking 10 economists to explain something and you get 11 different answers, well, ask 10 radio hams …. you know the rest].

Re COA frequencies for QRP, I was a strict QRP operator for over twenty years (I’ve lightened up a bit since then). My understanding of QRP COAs was to have a small part of the spectrum where all operators stick to QRP [assuming everyone cares to follow band plans]. The point is to see what’s possible with low power levels and simple equipment. It makes a mockery of the challenge if many of the operators are QRO. It’s expected they turn off the linear and wind the rig power down to 5W CW/10W SSB.

Regarding SOTA and QRP COAs, I usually operate at least a few kHz above or below the QRP COA as I know many chasers will be operating QRO, and in any case, if I take the KX2 instead of the FT817 I like to melt chasers front-end FETs with my blistering 10W of CW.


The trouble with the concept of a COA is that is too wooly to be practical. It implies that the activity will be in the vicinity of that frequency but does not set a boundary. I know a lot of the discussion implies CW activity but QRP operators use SSB as well. By definition FT817/818 users are QRP, a lot or perhaps the majority of SOTA activators are QRP. This raises the question of how far away from the COA the hard-liners would like super-high powered 100 watt stations to stay. Take for instance 14.285 MHz, a frequency on which I have chased many activations. How far away should a normal powered station stay (here by normal I mean stations not augmenting their power with a PA?) Is the COA 2.3 kHz or, say, 10 kHz wide? Should a QRP station that only wants to work other QRPers stay on the COA frequency or do they lay claim to an offset, and if so how big is it?

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Snap. Typically 7032.33 is as close as I go to 7030. Never tried 7027.7 or lower.

You’ve been licenced 50 years, you should have a good idea by now!

Actually it’s only in the last couple of years HF synthesised VFOs have become very cheap for home brewers. Most QRP is xtal based so they can only be pulled a few kHz either way. If you want an precise number then at least 2.338676kHz away and not a uHz nearer :rofl:

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Hi Eric, nice reply
73 Chris

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