I’ve put together this site to help others learn more about the low-power subculture of Amateur Radio known as “QRP”.

While I’m not an expert (at anything, really) I do have a fair amount of experience to share.  I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way and have learned what works for me – and what doesn’t.

I’ll share my opinions on radios, antennas, operating techniques, and other topics.

I look forward to receiving your feedback and hope to learn something from you, too!


Cliff (N4CCB)

80 thoughts on “About”

  1. Thanks for sharing, Cliff. I really appreciate your knowledge, willingness to help other learn, being a very active member of our group, and your friendship.

    1. Thanks, Scott. WCARES has been a good experience and a great motivator for me to to keep learning new things. – cliff

      1. what software is required for rtty. I watched your video and would like to set up digital modes on my radio. I have a Yaesu ftdx1200, just getting in amateur radio and would like to know how to set up and operate in digital modes. Any help would be appreciated

        This comprehensive video explains the concept behind amateur radio digital modes and describes the hardware and cabling required to get started. This video lays the groundwork for future, in-depth videos that will demonstrate RTTY, PSK31, JT65, and Winlink.

        1. Hello, Bob.

          A lot of people think MMTTY is a great program for RTTY. You should try it first. I use Ham Radio Deluxe and the same program that does PSK31 also does RTTY so HRD is the only thing I use.

          Here is a tutorial on installing and using MMTTY. I am not able to directly help with this as I have no experience with the program but maybe this will get you going… http://www.aa5au.com/rtty/getting-started-on-rtty/page-01/


  2. Cliff, thanks for this site. As a fairly new Ham and QRP enthusiast, I appreciate what you are teaching. This has been a good learning source for practical approaches to the various subjects. I look forward to your future videos. Think you could do one on maximizing the use of Propagation for QRP? Thanks and 73.

  3. Cliff, thanks for the site and the videos. You inspired me to try QRP today — a stormy day in Seattle — using a hamstick on the roof of my car while my KX3 and I were dry inside. I managed to contact someone in San Francisco on CW with 10 watts. Then I spoke with a friend, also in the Bay Area, on 10 watts via SSB on 20 meters. I dropped the power down to 5 watts, to 2 watts, to 1 watt — and finally to 0.2 watts before he had trouble hearing me!
    That was over 700 miles on 0.2 watts — amazing!
    Just wanted to let you know I’ve seen all your videos, and they have an impact. Looking forward to more of them.

    1. Fantastic, Tim!!! Several of the guys I hang out with have tried this little test and have been amazed at their results, too. It’s sort of like catching a big fish using lightweight tackle! – Cliff

  4. Hello Cliff!
    How are you?

    I am a rookie ham from Brazil and I chose to build a station exclusively QRP. That was one of the most pleasurable decisions I ever made. How much you can do with a simple FT817ND and a high vertical Antrena! Yes, I’ve been victim of hostility from some people. I had to make it clear many times that I’m not condemning anyone, I just chose what I think is more fun for me. It’s like build ships in bottles or sculpt into matchsticks.

    Please keep up the good work!


    PU1JDN – Fábio

  5. Hi Cliff,

    I really appreciate your site and your videos. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I am still learning CW (so long…) and would be very happy to hear you one day on air !



  6. Cliff,

    I am so glad I found your website. I also live close to Nashville except on the North West side in Pleasant View. I work in Nashville for the state as a web developer/programmer. I have been a Ham (KC4WHS) for 24 years but have not been active except for some 2 meters for several years due to military requirements and life in general. I am getting an Elecraft K1 and getting back into CW. I have been practicing my CW and getting my speed back up to carry on a QSO.


    1. Nice to meet you, Jim. I was just listening to my K1 a few minutes ago. Noisy bands tonight. I’m glad you’re working to get your speed back up. You don’t have to be able to do more than about 13 wpm in order to have a bunch of people to talk with. Hope to have a QSO with you someday. I’m not exactly a speed-demon, myself, but I’d be happy to have a slow QSO with you whenever you want. – Cliff

  7. Thanks Cliff,

    Ive just discovered your youtube and website. I must say your videos are an inspiration, Well presented and easy to understand, Just what I need!

    Only being a foundation licence holder in the UK im restricted to 10W, But I currently only have 5W from my 817ND. I have had many good DX QSO’s using this and a half size G5RV at 5M AGL including in to the US and Canada. Admittedly it’s not always easy but it is possable!

    Im just starting out trying to learn CW, and am determined to suceed at it, but it will take me a long while before im ready for my first CW QSO.

    Ive spread the word via Twitter about your videos and I know at least several others have enjoyed them.

    Keep up the good work, Im already looking forward to the next one!

    Best 73’s from England.


    1. Thank you, Simon. I’m glad you’ve discovered the joy of working DX with only 5 watts! As you said, it’s not always easy – but I think that makes it all the more exciting when you DO catch the fish! It DOES take quite a bit of time to become comfortable with CW but it’s worth the investment. Thank you for telling others about my little blog and I hope to talk to you on the air someday. – Cliff

  8. Hello Cliff

    Really like your video blog. it’s informational, encouraging, and very well produced.

    I’ve been mostly inactive for 30 years but always keep a toe in the hobby. For some reason I’m attracted to cw and qrp, but not to exclusion. My best hope of operating is probably qrp cw mobile so will see about getting it actually going. Little steps will get me there.

    Your service to the ham community is much appreciated.
    Nate Lyons

    1. Thanks, Nate. I got my license in 1986 so it’s been 29 years for me so far. During the first 20 years I was inactive for much of the time. I tended to cycle through hobbies, coming back to Ham Radio every so often. This time it’s “stuck” and I’ve been very active for the past 5 years or so. It helps that I’m a member of a great local ARES group. Our weekly net, monthly meetings, and operating events help to keep me involved. Like you, I’m attracted to CW and QRP, but I do a little bit of everything, really.

      You will certainly make contacts with QRP CW Mobile although your mobile antenna will rob you of some power. There’s not a mobile antenna that is as efficient as a dipole you haul up into a tree at the park. So, I think you will definitely have fun in the car but, if it gets discouraging at times, maybe you can also work portable when the weather warms up. I really enjoy that the most… a small radio, a battery, and a piece of wire to put into a tree to see who can hear me. What a geeky, fun hobby!

      72, 🙂

  9. Cliff,

    Thank you for all of your work on your blog and YouTube channel! As someone who is brand new– just started learning and reading about amateur radio about 6 weeks ago– I’ve found you be among the best ambassadors for the hobby that I’ve yet come across. I’ve found lots of websites, YouTube videos, etc. Many are good, but none are as informative or inviting to newcomers as your work. Like most who first come to the hobby, I’m a bit daunted by the costs of getting started. And I’m excited about the idea of using QRP and CW. I’ve been putting quite a bit of time into learning CW online, and I take my Tech and General exams in one month. So I was really happy to find your videos about QRP, CW entry-level rigs, anxiety about getting started online… all were spot on. I even thought “I wonder what sort of antenna he uses for his QRP work” and then came across the videos you did on them. Exactly what a new person needs to hear. For someone in my situation, just starting out, the videos of you working QRP are really interesting– I’ve never worked a rig, and have never seen anyone work one either. After reading a ton, it was interesting to see what it looks like. Production quality is fantastic– they are well constructed and you are quite articulate and informative. My only disappointment was finding out that you started relatively recently– I went through them all in fairly short order. I sure hope you keep making these. Hope you’ll do some more with CW… maybe with subtitles for those of us learning code? And seriously, the ARRL ought to be funding your efforts! Thanks again.

    1. Thank you for the very kind words, Mark. Congrats on your upcoming licensing and for putting in the time to learn morse code. It is time well-spent, in my opinion, and will pay off handsomely someday when you are able to talk to people very far away with only a small radio, a battery, and some wire! How cool is that?!

      I’ve thought for a long time that someone needs to publish a collection of CW QSO’s so that new hams could get a feel for the many, many styles of morse code conversations. That’s one of the intimidating things about getting into CW. You believe there’s a certain way that things are supposed to be done and you’re nervous that you’re not going to get it right. But, once you jump in, you quickly see that there are a lot of ways to express yourself and they’re all okay! You can be terse or long-winded. If I’m answering someone’s CQ, I follow their lead and respond similarly to their first transmission to me. Anyway, you might look for a CW Decoder app for your phone/tablet/computer and spend some time eavesdropping on some CW conversations. One of the biggest benefits of this is to build your confidence in learning two things: a) how a lot of people say things and b) how it’s really okay for you to be yourself and not feel constrained (or pressured) to say things a certain way.

      Thanks again, Mark – Cliff

  10. Thanks for the informative videos . I just got my general license, and I am considering buying a qrp rig, maybe an ft817 as my first hf rig. I was wondering what you thought about vertical dipole antennas for qrp vs a end fed?

    1. Congrats on getting your General, Joe. As for antennas, a resonate antenna is always a good thing. A dipole that has been cut/trimmed to a good SWR for the band you’re trying to work is a very efficient antenna. And end-fed antenna can be a very good antenna if it’s resonant – cut to the right length for the band you’re trying to work AND has a transformer included to get the impedance down to around 50 Ohms. A random wire antenna (a wire that is not cut to any particular frequency) can sometimes be a good antenna when used with a transformer to reduce the impedance to a point where an “antenna tuner” can be used to match the transmission line/antenna to around 50 Ohms. However, you may not be getting the full power out of a random wire antenna since some of the energy is being lost due to the inefficiency of the mismatch. I would recommend a dipole or a resonant end-fed wire antenna like those made by LNR Precision. – Cliff

  11. Hope you might answer a question for me: I know many people say first rigs should NOT be QRP. But for some of us, it might be the only way to get on the air. $350 will buy 4 bands (HB1B, for example) and a paddle… hard to imagine any “great buy” from a hamfest that would be *that* affordable, when you consider cost of rig, power source and paddle. So for a person who is intrigued by QRP and CW, it seems (from an uninformed position) that QRP ought to be a viable choice… as long as someone knows they’ve done the equivalent of taking up camping by doing survivalist work, instead of getting a 100W tx and doing “car camping.” Sounds like “shooting fish in a barrel” might be a more apt analogy for CW work at 100W!

    In any event, tell me… How many contacts, using a decent resonant antenna, might one expect under typical conditions in an hour of working bands? That is, would it be a normal experience that one will go for many days @ 1-2 hrs per day with no QSOs? Or is it more typical that one can have at least one or two QSOs on most nights? I know YouTube videos can be deceiving– I’m guessing most people would delete the videos of unproductive sessions. But it sure looks like people experience regular success having QSOs of some sort with QRP rigs (even if it isn’t 1000 miles per watt!).

    I’m interested in DX, but as someone just starting out, I’d be excited just to have QSOs of any sort on a regular basis. If that’s a reasonable expectation, QRP is for me. If, on the other hand, one should normally expect to spend 10+ hours in search of a single QSO… maybe I’ll keep saving pennies and get into QRP further on down the road. Talking to someone on a Pacific island would be a thrill, but at this stage, talking to someone down the street would be incredible– and a great way to start using CW on air.

    One more question: can most QRP rigs be run using AC adapters, if used near an outlet? Much cheaper than a 20A power source!


    1. Hello, Mark.

      Amateur Radio is a big hobby with many facets. If QRP is THE aspect of the hobby that is appealing to you, there’s no reason not to start with a QRP radio. When I first started in 1986, I only had QRP radios for years – because QRP CW was the most interesting thing for me. I have since had many radios and I currently own 4 radios that can transmit 100 watts but I still enjoy my smaller QRP-only radios the most.

      As for the price considerations, I like to remind people that buying a used radio is like getting a free radio. You buy it, use it for a while, and sell it for what you paid for it. So, don’t dismiss this tactic as a way to justify getting a nicer radio. Assuming you have access to the money or could sell something you’re no longer using, you could buy a nicer radio and use it while deciding exactly what radio you’d like to purchase for the long haul. Just a thought.

      If you belong to a local ham radio club or ARES group, there is usually someone in the group who has a number of radios collecting dust – and would let you borrow a radio for month or two. I’ve done this several times with members of my ARES group. (see http://www.WCARES.org) If you announced that you’d like to get into HF radio but need a mentor to help you get started and maybe let you borrow an older radio for a while, there’s a great chance that a local ham would be happy to help you. That’s how it is here, anyway.

      QRP works and your signal is only down about 2 S-Units from someone running 100 watts. (You’ve probably seen my “Why QRP Works” video where I explained that.) I take no offense at your “survivalist” analogy – I like it! But, to me, I think it’s more like staying in an RV instead of a hotel. Yesterday, I put up a dipole at my in-laws in New Jersey and worked a ham (N4OW) in Florida with 3 watts of CW. He had no idea I was running QRP until I told him.

      “How many contacts, using a decent resonant antenna, might one expect under typical conditions in an hour of working bands? ”

      It really depends on band conditions. If conditions are good, your 5 watts will actually be fairly loud to certain locations and you’ll have no trouble. You may have to call CQ many times before someone hears you under marginal conditions. Your best chance of QRP contacts are made by “tail-ending” another conversation… as soon as you hear two stations end their conversation, you immediately call one of the stations (usually the one your hear the strongest). That almost always works. Also, there are contests going on every weekend and many of them include CW. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel to work stations during a contest since a lot of stations are sitting on one frequency and listening intently for any stations on that frequency. Working QRP is somewhat like fishing with a cane pole on the bank of a lake. You can nearly always catch a small fish, sometimes many of them. When you land a big fish (DX) it’s more rare but it can certainly be done. It just takes patience. In my experience, it’s rare to NOT have a QSO, if you’ve got a decent antenna and conditions are reasonable.

      “I’d be excited just to have QSOs of any sort on a regular basis. If that’s a reasonable expectation, QRP is for me.”

      Then QRP is for you. You’ll work more DX with more power but you can still work DX with QRP – you just have to be more patient. Remember, running 100 watts will only increase your signal by about 2 S-Units for the receiving station. So, if you’d get a “5×9” signal report at 100 watts, you’ll get a “5×7” signal report at 5 watts. If conditions aren’t good and 100 watts would get you a “5×7” signal report, your 5 watts would get you a “5×5” signal report – which is still okay as long as the receiving station has a noise floor of less than S-5.

      By the way, if you’re getting a “5×7” signal report at 100 watts and you turn on a 1,500 watt amplifier, you’ll get an “5×9” signal report – not “5×9 + 20”. When you hear a guy on your radio who’s running an amplifier at 1,500 watts and he’s “5×9 + 20db” on your meter, he could turn off that amplifier, go QRP and you’d still hear him well!

      If 1,500 watts gives S9 + 20db.
      375 watts would give S9 + 14db
      93 watts would give S9 + 8db
      23 watts would give S9 + 2db
      6 watts would give S8
      1.5 watts would give S7

      You can use the little MFJ-4103 QRP power supply: MFJ-4103
      It works great with my QRP radios.
      – Cliff

  12. Perfect, thank you. I’ve spent quite a bit of time on WebSDR sites, listening to SSB. And I just got a Ham-It-Up upconverter to go with my SDR dongle for Christmas, so I can listen to the phone QSOs. I’m just not interested. I have no logical explanation for that, I’m just sure it has no appeal. Maybe later, but right now, I have no intention of even listening to SSB.

    On the other hand, I’ve found great YouTube and Reddit accounts of guys taking QRP rigs to the park and throwing up a dipole and making CW contacts…. and that makes me want a QRP rig right now.

    So you’ve confirmed my desire to give it a try. I’m guessing I’ll be hard pressed to find a local club member who shares my enthusiasm for CW/QRP, but I’m hopeful. I’d bet they’ll think I’ve thrown my money away by getting the QRP rig. Oh well. Back to practicing my CW. Thanks again for the advice!

  13. Someone posted your web site address on the QRP-L list and I came here to check it out.

    If you do not know, K7QO (http://www.k7qo.net) has published build videos (Youtube: K7QO) of the 1-watt rig from kitsandparts (http://kitsandparts.com). Interesting series and I love the antenna system he is using with it, 2 mobile whips at 21′. He has worked quite a few stations on the bands he has built rigs for.

    you have posted many interesting videos to watch, so back to them. Thanks for posting them.

    Al ve3gam

  14. Cliff, I am enjoying the videos thanks.

    How about one addressing your thoughts on the plight of QRP operation during the upcoming solar minimum ?


    1. Hello, Ian. I guess I’m more optimistic about the solar minimum than I should be. Since QRP only reduces your received signal strength by 2 S-Units, as compared to 100 watts, I figure there will still be people who hear me… at least enough to keep me happy. But, even now, I don’t expect anything to be open during the day except 20 meters. It’s almost a shock to me when the higher bands are open these days. – Cliff

      1. I started out only in 2013 so it will be my first minimum. Perhaps it’s not as bad as I fear. I was thinking that you might be starting at 2 S pointsat 100 watts and end up with nothing with qrp. Guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

  15. Cliff,

    Excellent site and YouTube videos. I’ll start highlighting your videos on my site.

    I’m looking at getting either the Mountain Topper or the KX1 for portable work while hiking or backpacking. I already have the KX3. But I’m getting back into Morse Code after a few years of not using CW much.

    I’d like to get your thoughts/comparisons of these two portable CW rigs.

    Thanks + 73,

    1. Hello, Charlie! My recommendation is for the KX1. The Mountain Topper is a neat little radio but it’s designed to be as small as possible and so there are many trade-offs in usability. It works and works well but the KX1 is more of a pleasure to use because it has the following features: a) built-in antenna tuner (optional), b) a VFO knob,c) a 3 digit display for frequency, CW wpm, battery voltage, etc., d) a volume knob, e) RF Gain, f) Variable filtering from 2k to 500Hz, g) internal batteries, if desired.

      So, that’s a pretty good list of features that you’ll gain with the KX1 over the Mountain Topper. That said, the Mountain Topper works fine and is a lot of fun because of the novelty of the size and the amazing engineering crammed into that tiny package. The down side to the KX1 is that you’ll have to build it from a kit (single PCB board) unless you can find a used one. Without the antenna tuner, it’s only $50 more than the LNR Precision Mountain Topper but you would have to build it. Some people don’t like to build or are nervous about building. Others like it. I’m not sure whether this is a show-stopper for you.

      No matter which of these radios you’ll get, you’ll have a ball with either one. The KX1 just gives you more control and convenience and it’s my recommendation if you have to choose between which one you buy first. 🙂

  16. Cliff
    Would like to see or read about your video cast setup in the field. (ie the actual lash up.) I have similar components (less the Zoom) and would like to make up some small videos for my club to encourage more interest. We have a QRP sprint / emergency deployment practice each month and I think making small clips like yours would go a lone way in encouraging more members come a join in.

    1. Hello! Here are some notes about how I do what I do when I get around to doing it…

      I use Rode VXLR adapters to connect my 3.5mm audio into the XLR inputs on my Zoom recorder.


      I wear a lavaliere mic and record my audio on one channel and the receiver audio on another channel. I think it’s possible that if you turned on the radio’s “monitor” with the volume setting nearly all the way down that it would record both sides of the conversation. As I am talking to the camera in my videos, I just let the lavaliere mic record my side of the conversation.

      When I start filming, I clap on-camera at the start of the clip to record a synchronizing sound on the camera’s audio (which I discard in favor of the Zoom audio) so that I have a visual and audio cue to use for the video footage to help me synch with the Zoom audio. While on camera, I’ll do something to touch the radio… either turning it on while filming myself doing so or pushing the Spot button to play the CW sidetone so I can use THAT as a synch reference to slide that audio in the video editor so that the radio’s audio is synched with the video footage.

      I use a Canon 5D Mark III SLR to record the main video and a GoPro Hero for other views. (If I’m recording in my office, I plug my lavaliere mic into the SLR and record my audio in-camera with the video. The quality is good and it’s one less thing to have to synch). If I’m outside, I never use the audio from those camera’s built-in microphones, always discarding it for audio I’ve recorded externally. I’ve also used the camera built into my phone at times.

      For editing videos, I use Camtasia Studio software. It’s what I use to make tutorial videos for my software company so I’m familiar with it and it supports multiple video and audio tracks. I import all of the tracks, synch them up, and start editing.

      It’s a time-consuming process.

      Please send me a link or two to your videos when you get a chance. I enjoy watching the adventures of others…

      Best regards,

  17. Absolutely terrific. I like your style! Very clear and helpful.

    Thank you for your efforts and willingness to share your wisdom.

  18. Good mornin ,
    I’ve been watching all videos I can find re Sailing, navigation, hiking, preppers, etc and how they set up rigs, what used , which brand,etc. Common denom for all is FREEDOM.
    My question to you now that I’ve whittled down exactly what type I want ( I am also asking my Elmer’s w/ diff backgrounds for more rounded opinions ~ Rural Elect Comp & Military).

    IF you could only have ONE radio that is Mobile, HF, QRP, DATA, so that it could REPLACE Cell phone when mobile ~ what you you choose ??

    I live in rural area ( IA) so cell phone is static so am wasting money by not being able to hear or use it .
    I camp and like the middle of nowhere or travel down to old stompin grounds for horse shows ( Spring Hill, the Boro, Shelbyville ~ yep, you’re neighborhood ~ & say HEY to all).
    Pop up antennas or wires in trees ~ perfect ,too !
    But I HAVE to be able to listen to the Caribe sailing nets, Hurricane Nets etc. to learn navigation, trop weather, etc.

    Can you suggest ?

    Thank you so much in advance . I agree w / previous comment ~ they should pay you as you are the New Ham ( wannabes ) Ambassador.
    Hey to all in Middle TN and have some bbq pork at Stan’s in Columbia for me, and go wave by Harlinsdale Farm ( was a beautiful old barn w/ bridges inside ). LOVED it!
    blessings ~ SM

    1. Hello, Shelly, from Middle Tennessee.

      You said “Mobile” so that might suggest the Yaesu FT-857 since it has a detachable head unit that is easy to mount on your dash with the body under your seat. Yaesu has an FT-891 new radio that looks to be the replacement of the FT-857. Be aware that a 100 watt radio like this will draw a lot of current while sitting idle in receive mode. (About 2 amps for the FT-891!) So, if you’re trying to live off the grid and generate your own electricity through solar, etc. you might consider a low-power radio. The FT-817 can do it all but is limited to 5 watts. (Me, I’m okay with that.)

      If you’re hiking, you might consider something like the new Elecraft KX2. As far as I know, this is the smallest SSB (required for DATA) HF radio.


  19. Hello Cliff:

    The shirt (QRO to QRP) you wore in your latest video (7-15-16) is awesome! Please tell me (and the rest of your viewers) where you bought/ordered yours. I need one of these 🙂


    1. Hello, Scott. I designed and ordered the shirt on customink.com using thier free clipart and online designer. I may start selling some things on my website but I have to decide whether or not it’s worth having to pay city, county, and state taxes in order to sell a few things. (It’s a book-keeping hassle.)


      1. Thanks, Cliff…I believe you could sell these shirts but understand all of the red tape. Thanks for the information…I’ll likely contact them and have one made. Cannot wait until the next club meeting to see the reaction from the QRO fellas.

  20. Hi, Cliff.

    I think your QRP SCHOOL acct has been hacked? I just received several emails from QRP SCHOOL that are about some online school.

    Good luck! Julia KF8JBB

    1. You’re right. Password changed to something painful for me to type and impossible to remember. I hope that fixes it! 🙂

      Thanks for the heads-up.

  21. It’s always fun to watch your videos… Your field experiences and the trials, errors, and lessons learned are invaluable. Thank you Cliff for your expertise and insights.

    I myself have the QRP bug… and I’ve heavily modified my FT-817 and antennas. Simple, and effective is my modus, and I’ve been able to achieve several impressive QSO’s lately. One to Rochester NY from the banks of the Boise River (Eagle Idaho) via a 20m Doublet @ 30′, Elecraft T1, and trusty FT-817.

    I look forward to hearing you on the air… you’re well within reach. 73, and “Good DX!) KD7UXQ

    1. Thanks for the encouragement. QRP is a hoot. Yesterday, I did my first SOTA (Summits on the Air) activation. It was a blast. I’ll make a video about it and share some valuable lessons-learned!

      “Simple, and effective is my modus” Excellent! I need to remember to always stick to that mantra. The few things that can go wrong, the better.

      The Ft-817 has certainly had a long, successful run and is still a great radio. I’ve got one – although I’m using the new KX2 in the field these days (mostly).

      Have fun out there and hopefully we’ll talk on the air soon. – Cliff

      1. I have my eye on a KX2… or would you recommend the larger KX3? I’m looking towards rapid deployment, SSB, CW, and Digital operations. Would I miss the full features of the KX3?

        What are your thoughts Cliff?

        Rand ~ KD7UXQ

        1. Hey, Randall. My KX3 is practically collecting dust now that I have the KX2. Since I don’t do 160m or 6m, I don’t miss that in the KX2. I don’t use the Elecraft panadapter with my KX3 so I don’t miss that in the KX2. For me, the KX2 is the way to go for my portable work. The internal battery of the KX2 works for up to 8 hours – longer than I care to be outside operating. It’s just a neat, capable radio in a small package. I can’t recommend the KX2 more highly for someone who wants to keep the weight/size down without giving up all of the great qualities of an Elecraft radio. Go for it! – Cliff

  22. Remember the words of 1st Marine Division commander Chesty Puller, Chosin Resevoir Dec 1950… When faced against overwhelming forces, 280,000 Chinese Regulars (16 Divisions), the 1st Marines (18,000) Chesty said… “We’re surrounded… that simplifies our problem.”

    QRP is no different.

  23. Stay on with theQRP school,never quit with it.I am Jose Mendicoa callsign YY4MBL i live in Venezuela for economic reazons i choose the QRP mode ,first the price ,second the kit (diy) availability in QRP. All my life i have been building kits since
    i went to school in KS,Missouri(1968- 1972) -Third the posibilities of building from scracth and the posibilitiy of building from a squematic.The qrp builders does not hide any information.
    I am retired and i get around us$10 montly from the Social Security nothing i can buy with it,however i have a few qrp rigs for example OHR CW 5 w20 transceiver ohr-100a 40 meter OHR DD1 digital dial and OHR WM-2 Wattmeter. A PEABERRY V-2 SDR transceiver 60-40-30-20 mts 1 watt a portable and a potable YOUKITS transceiver 5 w TJ2b SSB 60-40-30-20 .I know that with that power i have to go digital-cw. I am 70 years old and i obtain the amateur license 3 years ago.I have to learn a lot .Your QRP School is very important to me.
    Very thanks to you Jose Mendicoa YY4MBL

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Jose. I am glad that you are able to participate in Ham Radio in your retirement. It is good that you enjoy building things and I’m glad to hear that you have several QRP radios! I have been busy with my work but I promise to make more videos soon. Every day I get nice emails from people like you, encouraging me to continue to make videos. That makes me happy… to learn that I am helping others. Thanks again and I hope to talk to you on-the-air someday! – Cliff

  24. Fantastic Work, Cliff. Please keep it up and keep us in the loop about your ideas about QRP. It is such a great hobby. I do mostly JT65 and CW on a KX3

  25. Thank you so much for all the videos you have made. I’ve learned a lot.
    Hope to see more and learn more. You’re a true inspiration for the amateur hobby!

    Thank you.

    -73, de LB3OH, Christian.

  26. From KD5LBE I love you presentations on QRP. You were working out side with you computer inside a little tent. You might want to try a Panasonic Tough Book used. You can wear any color shirt in bright sunlight with no problems. If it falls off the table no problem. If it falls on your foot there is a problem it is heavy. It is a totally different world. Mine is a 6 year old rebuilt CF-31.
    Your presentations are beautiful and complete. I am a new KX3 user.

    1. Thanks, Stewart. Not needing a screen shade for a laptop in sunlight would be pretty amazing. One thing I love about my Surface Pro is how thin and light it is. The screen resolution is huge, too… which is not always a great thing for those of us who need glasses. Thanks again for the kind words – Cliff

  27. Hi Cliff, I really have enjoyed learning about QRP from your videos. I notice you have not posted new content in a while, and I am just writing to say I miss you and I hope all is well.

    Very best, David

    1. Hey, David. Thanks for wondering about me! I have been preoccupied with work and haven’t been doing much hamming, unfortunately. I will get back to it at some point. Thanks again for thinking of me, – Cliff

  28. Hi Cliff, great videos and I like your way of presenting – very warm and relaxed way of showing all kinds of Ham related things. I have a question about the QRP radios. You have KX3 (and KX2) and Yaesu 817ND. Why you used 817 for PSK in one of the PSK videos in the park (where you sat behind your car as it was windy). Is it because of the heating that digimodes tend to do for KX-series? Is the 817 somehow better on those modes? I have both Kx3 and 817 and was thinking of letting 817 go as KX3 outperforms it on many levels and it’s kind of useless to have too many radios – I know I shouldn’t have said that 🙂

    I agree with the previous guy, I also hope you get some time to continue doing these ‘one of the best HAM videos’ out there 🙂

    73 de OH2DD

    1. Hello, Dimi. Thank you for the kind words. There is no reason I used the FT-817ND for PSK31. I have a heat sink added to my KX3 and have no problems using it for PSK31. I think I just decided to take the FT-817ND out because I hadn’t used it for a while.

      These days, I’m using my KX2 the most. I love the built-in lithium battery… it keeps me from having to carry an external battery and power cable. I also have a YouKits HB1B Mk III radio and it also has a built-in lithium battery. I like that little radio a lot, too.

      I gave my FT-817ND to a ham who couldn’t afford a radio. I told him to give it to someone else some day… to “pay it forward”. So, I don’t have the FT-817ND anymore.

      As you know, I have the KX3 and KX2. While I use my KX2 the most, I love the KX3 and don’t expect to let it go anytime soon. It’s the finest QRP radio ever made (so far).

      Thank you again for saying nice things. I expect to make more videos but have been busy with my business lately.

      Best regards,

  29. I got my General ticket in 2003 with my teenage son when he became interested in Ham from the help of a family friend. In those early years, I got an IC-718 and toyed with it a few months, but all the bells and whistles seemed overwhelming and I barely used it. I love building electronic kits, so I got a couple QRP kit radios, but time hasn’t allowed me to finish them. Also, still trying to learn Morse, as CW is more appealing to me than SSB (I hate talking on a telephone!)

    Anyway, everything I read discourages QRP for first-timers, but I still want to go this route first. I figure I won’t appreciate my “big rig” until I experience the limitations of small units. What would you recommend as a “starter” QRP CW or CW/SSB kit? I want something with at least a digital VFO, and that doesn’t require a “frequency generator”, scope, or other technical testing apparatus!

    You seem like a very nice fellow and I love your blog/videos. Lots of great info there for us newbies. Thank you!


    1. Hello, Allen.

      Here’s a kit to play with: https://www.qrp-labs.com/qcx.html

      My experience is that most people who are “still trying to learn Morse” are simply not dedicating time to it. You will learn it if a) you are serious about it and therefore b) you put in the time. There are no shortcuts. Make the time for it and you learn it. Don’t make the time for it and you’ll still be wanting to learn it next year.

      I would not discourage someone from having their first radio be a QRP radio… if they are fascinated with the low-power aspect of it. You WILL make more contacts at 100 watts than at 5 watts and I think that’s why most people would discourage a newcomer from QRP. It’s like introducing someone to fishing… you can take them somewhere where you’re guaranteed to catch fish and they’ll have a good experience… take them somewhere where it’s harder to catch a fish and they may not have a successful experience.

      I know a couple of hams who like to build kits and they don’t really care about talking to anyone… their enjoyment of the hobby is in the electronics… which is perfectly fine. It’s a very big hobby and there’s something in it for everyone.

      Have fun out there! – Cliff

  30. Cliff,

    I am having a very difficult time learning Morse code and I’m not sure that I will ever be able to interpret the various dots and dashes at anything more than 2 words per minute…LOL. I just wanted to say thank you for making the video about digital modes. In the absence of learning CW I am really interested in trying RTTY and PSK31.

    Thank you for providing these videos and multiple ways to enjoy QRP!


  31. Cliff,,

    This is a great channel. I have subscribed to your YouTube channel last night. The way you convey radio ham in general is superb and as a newbie like me, I can understand it.

    Keep up the great videos, I will spread the word on your QRP Schoo,


    Nick, Cambridge (UK)

  32. Good morning. First, I would like to say thank you for all the YouTube videos. They are super informative and I learned ton already from them. Though I do not have my ham license yet, I do a lot of communication stuff with my work. I am currently studying for my technician license and I am very interested in low power radio. I was wondering if you could do a comparison video of the KX2 and the KX3? Thank you.

    1. Hi, Josh. You’re not the first one to ask about this so I should probably do it! I’ll wait until after the Dayton Hamvention in 4 weeks, just in case Elecraft announces a KX4 or something. In the meantime, here are my thoughts on the topic…
      I have both the KX2 and KX3. Because I like to work portable (outdoors), I love the even more compact footprint of the KX2. There are features that were left out of the KX2, but I don’t care much about those features. In a nutshell, if you don’t care about the 160m band or the 6m band or having a panadapter (see the PX3 for the KX3), then I think you would be very happy with a KX2 instead of the KX3. Even though it’s a simple thing, I love that the KX2 has an (optional) internal lithium ion battery. This lets me go into the field without having to carry and external battery and power cable.

      thanks for writing and I’ll add this video to my list! – Cliff

      1. Thanks for the quick reply. I definitely like the “extra” portability of the KX2. I guess in the end since I don’t have either, if I went with the KX2, I really won’t know what I’m missing (you don’t know what you don’t know.) I look forward to getting into Ham radio, something I have wanted to do for a long time. Keep up the great videos. Thanks.

  33. Cliff, I love this site and thanks for the video on power vs signal.
    That is what I was taught a long time ago.
    I read that the Old Timers used to say “put the fire in the wire, and get it up higher”.
    73 de W3HIZ

  34. Cliff,
    I truly enjoy the videos, keep up the good work.

    You’ve just about got me convinced to try qrp again. It was a disaster the last time that I tried it. It was hours of nothing.


    1. Thank, Phil. Just remember that 5 watts is only 2 S-Units down from 100 watts. So any conversation that you’re having at 100 watts, if the receiving station is hearing you pretty well, you can turn down to 5 watts and still carry on the conversation. Given that, QRP is really no big deal and only DOESN’T WORK when the station you’re talking to is “iffy” at 100 watts.

      Please give it another try when you get a chance. You may not be able to work every station you hear, but you’ll work some of them, I promise.

      Cliff (N4CCB)

  35. Greetings from sunny South Africa 🙂

    Hi Cliff, I thoroughly enjoy your video’s and have just checked to see if anything posted recently and not seeing anything ‘new’, thought before leaving the QRP School web page that I would drop you a note to complement you on your efforts – MUCH appreciated!

    Unfortunately I am currently inactive but have several projects on the bench including repairs to my IC751 (boat anchor) and FT857D as well as a uBtix to build along with a QCX kit (30M version).

    Should be retired but circumstances such that still need to generate an income which even tho taking LOTS of my time, the current climate (financial) is not being very cooperative…

    Will be good to have a on air rag chew with you some time but my code capabilities have deteriorated due to lack of operating but am sure that will change once again active.

    Keep well have FUN and as always KEEP SMILING 🙂

    Very best regards

    Nigel ZS6RN ex G8DEV (l-o-n-g time ago)

    1. Hello, Nigel.

      Thanks for your very kind words. My work has a “busy season” and I’ve been doing very little hamming lately due to work. I hope to get back to it later this year. I tend to be the most active in the Spring, though.

      My hope is to be able to take a step back from work in 3 years when I turn 62 years old. At that time, I want to do more with ham radio… and with other hobbies, too!

      Maybe we’ll catch each other on the air someday if we’re lucky.
      Best regards,

  36. Hello,
    I’ve seen many of your videos on YouTube and also subscribed to your channel. I saw this blog and thought I would come have a look. I haven’t seen where you’ve been active or posted an new vids since last August I believe. I know you said you have been very busy in one of your posts here and you mostly get active during the spring. I know things are extra special this year with covid 19 and all. Hope all is well, looking forward to new vids, I am looking to get into qrp cw this year sometime just trying to get proficient in copy a bit more first.

    1. Hi, Mathew.

      Thanks for checking on me. I’m alive and doing well here in the Nashville, TN area.

      I own a software company and have been busy with that to the point of not doing a lot of hamming in the past 9 months. And when I do go out to ham it up, sometimes it just seems like a lot of work to drag along the video/audio gear. I do plan to make more videos, though.

      I’m glad to hear you’re working on your CW as that’s a really good way to make QRP contacts, since the signal is so concentrated.

      Maybe we’ll run into each other on the air one of these days.

      Stay safe!

      Cliff – N4CCB

  37. Hi Cliff!
    I’m a recently licensed ham working on learning the code so I can get up on CW. I’ve enjoyed your videos and I too was wondering if you were still actively making them. I can imagine that it’s a lot of work. They were very well done and I enjoyed them very much.

    I see from the previous post here that you’re very busy with work right now. Even if you’re not making the videos, I hope you’re able to get on the air occasionally.

    Perhaps by the time you’re able to do more ham radio I will have learned my 40 characters and will be enjoying CW on QRP. Hopefully, I’ll find you there too.

    Thanks for the videos!

    Happy Easter!

    Todd KI5HNX
    New Orleans

    1. Hi, Todd. I’m glad you’re working on your CW! That’s a great mode for QRP operations as the signal is concentrated compared to voice mode (SSB) which has to modulate the signal over a 2.7k bandwidth.

      While I’m very active in my local ARES group, I’m not doing a lot of other hamming right now. I had hoped to be making more videos by now but it hasn’t worked out that way. I have been very busy with my (software) business and I’ve been enjoying riding my bicycle and motorcycle and I also have a music hobby. So, life is good, thankfully. I do plan to cycle back into my ham hobby and make more videos at some point – and I appreciate your kind words and for checking in with me!

      Maybe when you are ready, we could do a slow-speed CW QSO?

      Stay safe,
      Cliff (N4CCB)

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