Let’s not jump the gun and takes sides, right away!
Usually, for any stations, particularly during various HF Contests anything above ~100 W is considered QRO and anything below is considered QRP. There isn’t a fixed power definition anywhere. (Let me know in the comments) Some seasoned operators stick with just ~ 5W and they considered anything above as QRO!
For the sake of our readers, we are considering anything above 20 Watt as QRO. ( I come from a land where ~ 100 W is definitely QRO)
Is Low Power QRP really a disadvantage?
Of course, a restricted power is an operational disadvantage, for sure. The most simple way to overcome the disadvantage is by optimizing antenna systems. Antennas optimization should actually be the top priority for any operator. A lousy antenna system can really even bog down a QRO station. QRP Operators actually take pride in operating with lower power and most of them are very skilled with antenna designs. Moreover, QRP operators are always more conscious of the atmospheric propagation condition. QRP operators usually tweak everything else except the propagation condition & output power!
Most of the skilled seasoned operators mostly operate QRP and CW, because of the very challenge of QRP Operation. Moreover, QRP transceivers are super easy to build and various kits are available to help new operators on the air easily. Plus they are very inexpensive!
So QRO is fewer issues, right?
Not really, QRO simply is like shouting loud enough to be heard at least like a whisper through a 10-inch concrete wall. Most commercial rigs operate at ~100 Watt and that’s actually decent enough to make contacts with the right conditions.
Bottomline – Use power as required to make a successful QSO. If you need above 100 W to make a contact and you do have the resources. Go right ahead! Use the required power!
What’s your take? Do let us know in the comments below?
Here’s another detailed article by European CW Association