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QRP doesn't have a strict definition, though 5W or less seems to be a common threshold. So would "QRP operation" usually be considered to include UHF/VHF handhelds?

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My personal opinion is that QRP means using significantly less power than is customary for a given mode of operation. In that sense, a 5W HT would not be QRP because pretty much everybody else with an HT is also operating at (or near) 5W. 0.5W might be considered QRP in this case.

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My understanding of "QRP" is simply the use of as little power as possible to make contacts over interesting distances. There isn't a specific power level that equates to "QRP" - it is more a function of what's less than expected.

1W on 2m/UHF for 10 mile simplex (or local/regional repeater communications) isn't QRP. 0.1W on 2m/UHF for 250 mile simplex would fit my definition of QRP.

It is a gray area, for sure. Like the Judge said, "I know it when I see it."

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    $\begingroup$ Hello Peter, and welcome to this site! Since it is customary to include statements such as "-Peter (a Ham for 28 years)" in your profile rather than in questions or answers, I have deleted that and edited your profile to include your name. From reading it, I see that you and I have a lot in common. We look forward to your further participation here. :-) $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Apr 24 at 20:31
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    $\begingroup$ Just a side note, "QRP" is CW shorthand for "please reduce your power." It doesn't define what to reduce it to, just less that what you're using now. $\endgroup$ – Duston Apr 25 at 14:05
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    $\begingroup$ @Duston None the less, if I claim i've made some number of QRP DX contacts on 80m, and it turns out my rig puts out 10W, I'll get a lot of "that's not proper QRP" responses. The various QRP organizations seem to generally agree on 5W (usually PEP; using a better antenna seems entirely within the rules). $\endgroup$ – Zeiss Ikon Apr 25 at 17:25
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    $\begingroup$ "use of as little power as possible to make contacts over interesting distances." -- this isn't QRP, this is doing things the right way. FCC requires it. Skill lies in getting the most from "the lowest power that will permit desired communication." $\endgroup$ – Zeiss Ikon Apr 25 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ Doing things the right way (per the FCC, in the USA) is indeed to use minimum power required to maintain communication. I see QRP as using minimal power to achieve communications over interesting distance, i.e. less than you'd normally need. The "minimum" to stay within FCC guidelines is still going to have some "link budget" in order to have a more reliable, comfortable communications experience, rather than the "stretched string" of QRP power levels. $\endgroup$ – Synchros Apr 26 at 14:00
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Although it's highly opinionated, it may be defined as operating at 5% or less than standard 'barefoot' operating power on your band, by convention.

So, for most HF, 100W is the standard power, 5W is considered QRP.

For VHF, most handhelds (which are the most frequently used on that band) operate at 5W, so QRP would be 250mW.

Of course, that doesn't include whether you're counting power applied to your antenna system or your actual ERP :)

It's opinionated, and relative! QRP historically means "Should I reduce power?" or "Decrease Power"

I would say: No, a 5W handheld does not count as QRP, since that's well within the standard expectation for transmitter power for that band.

Please see: http://www.arrl.org/qrp-low-power-operating

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If you read contest rules, the QRP section is for those using 5W or less (sometimes 10W or less) no matter what type of transmitter you use. So you can enter the FM QRP section of a VHF or UHF contest when using a handheld on full (5w) power.

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    $\begingroup$ What contest rules? $\endgroup$ – Phil Frost - W8II Apr 25 at 13:04
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While most 2m and UHF hand held units are limited to 5W, not all are (I have one that offers a choice of 1W, 4W, or 8W) -- and this is done mainly to extend battery life with a radio that's normally only useful for the distance to the nearest repeater.

However, 2m/UHF mobile units mounted in vehicles routinely emit 50W or more (I'm looking at a Yaesu for my car that offers 5W, 30W, or 65W, for under $150), and base units can readily emit 100W, or with an amplifier up to 1500W legal limit.

Hence, even though 5W is common for hand held VHF/UHF units, I still consider it QRP. A hand held could easily be built to radiate ten times this power -- though battery life would be compromised.

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