What Is a QRP Transceiver?

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  • Written By: Jennifer O.
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2019
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A QRP transceiver is a low-power transmission device used in amateur radio. It is one of several types of transceivers but is noted specifically for requiring less than 10 watts of electricity to operate. It is used by amateur radio operators to communicate across long distances while using a low level of power. With proper construction and setup, it is possible to communicate with people on different continents using a QRP transmitter. The acronym "QRP" comes from an old telegraphy code that could be used to signify or request a lower-power transmission.

A QRP transceiver will use only a fraction of the power of other receivers. The lower wattage of the QRP transceiver produces a weaker radio signal, but it also allows for reduced interference from more powerful signals. These types of transceivers usually are smaller and more portable than other similar transceivers.

These types of transceivers can be used for continuous wave (CW) or single sideband (SSB) transmission. Some transceivers are designed to be used for both. Dual-band or multi-band QRP transceivers exist, but QRP transceivers usually are designed to be used on a single band.

Buying a QRP transceiver is relatively easy, either online or in specialty stores that carry transceivers and related equipment. Many amateur radio enthusiasts prefer to build their own, either by purchasing a kit or by buying all of the materials to build one from scratch. Salvaged parts from other electronics can be used.


QRP operators who build their own transceivers control different aspects in order to achieve the desired results. Many omit lamps and digital displays or arrange components as compactly as possible to reduce the transceiver’s size. These types of modifications make sure that as much power as possible goes into signal transmission and nowhere else. Larger antennas can make up for lower power.

Amateur radio clubs and message boards are good places for enthusiasts to locate parts and advice for building QRP transceivers. It might be necessary for one to learn and practice using specific code in order to use certain types of QRP transceivers. Training is available through these enthusiast groups.

Some users in the United States choose QRP transceivers for ethical reasons. They claim that a QRP transceiver is the best way to adhere to government rules that require radio operators to use only the minimum amount of power necessary for transmission. The ability to communicate with such low power also tends to be a source of pride for QRP enthusiasts.


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