Almost all my low-power HF activity takes place in the field. It’s usually the KX3, a battery, and the Elecraft AX1 portable antenna.

There’s no magic in the AX1 and similar antennas abound. The only thing unique about it is that I’ve yet to be skunked using it but that will eventually happen. Five watts (or thereabout, I’m not a purist) and a compromised antenna during an extended solar minimum is bound to disappoint on occasion.

But it can also delight, and that’s why some of us keep doing it.

When I take the portable radio outside I don’t care who I work, so long as I make a contact with someone. I never expect that the next contact will be some rare DX or an all time new one. The precariousness of my setup makes even small victories feel larger than life and that’s the secret sauce of QRP.

To be sure, there are those who win enough awards to paper the walls of the shack using five watts in contests, etc. but almost every one of these are using large enough antennas to make a big amplifier blush. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s the antithesis of the fellow at the opposite end of the scale.

You take a small, battery powered radio into the field and make a half-dozen CW contacts with anyone, anywhere, and you’ve done something impressive. It won’t seem at all remarkable to the majority, but those who understand the minimalistic frugality of QRP in the field will be grinning with you from a distance.

As it turns out, he who dies with the most toys doesn’t win, but the guy with the most QRP fun in the bank is the real winner.