Jan 22, 2012

What are my Amateur Radio options for communicating long distance via morse code?

I saw this question recently from a newcomer to the hobby of amateur radio. He went on to ask whether a lost-cost QRP rig might a good choice as his first radio.

QRP is not for beginners. QRP makes for a horrible operating experience for the newcomer. Just because it's low power doesn't mean you should start there. The "weak signal" will frustrate and probably kill any excitement a new ham would have. The radios are certainly affordable, but it can be like having the deck stacked against you if you're new to the hobby.

The entire reason QRP is a facet of the hobby is because of the added challenge. Old timers realize they can easily work the world with a high gain antenna and 1000W. 100W is just about as easy. QRP is an added challenge to the ham that's "worked 'em all". Kit-building is a fun and rewarding experience, but QRP operation is a different animal altogether and is no place for the newbie. The rigs are cheap, but the operating time investment is not. It takes a lot of patience and practice - something a newly minted ham is going to have little of for "getting into" the hobby. Borrow an elmer's 100W rig, even if it's a single band radio, you can always turn down the power if you want.
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