QRPer is a personal website administered by me, Tom Witherspoon – K4SWL. I created the site in order to have a fun, dynamic space to connect some of my favorite external QRP web sites. There are a lot of QRP websites on the internet–some with amazing content–and I especially like those sites that give first-hand accounts of QRPers, in the field or at home, using their QRP equipment.
The goal of my site is to promote all things QRP–especially articles and sites which celebrate QRP in action. More specifically, my site will focus on portable operations.
Something I love to read about is how an innovative radio operator has created a portable grab-and-go set up for their QRP station. Each time I contemplate purchasing a new QRP radio, I scour the internet for sites where people have created such a set-up. My hope is that QRPer.com will receive enough support that people will actually submit photos and descriptions of their own grab-and-go set-ups.
With this attention to portability, you will also notice that I post a lot of articles related to small radio kits and accesories. Perhaps the unique thing about QRP radios and accesories is that, by and large, they are manufactured by “Mom and Pop” organizations. Indeed, many are designed and manufactured by QRP clubs and members.
When you buy QRP equipment, you are supporting QRPers and their innovations–a grassroots R&D method that seems to be working for the QRP community very well.
I was first licensed as KC8GLI in 1997 while living in Athens, OH. A couple of years later, I upgraded my license to a General Class while living in North Carolina and my call changed to KF4TZK. After learning CW, I realized that KF4TZK was a fist full, so I changed my call to K4SWL to reflect my other passion for shortwave radio.
In 2000, I moved to the UK for 3 years and held the call M0CYI. Working in IT for Corning, Inc., I traveled extensively throughout Europe though I had very little time to play radio. As an expatriate, my work kept me quite busy. I took a career change in late 2002 and worked on my MSc. in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics. I did find some time to attend a few ham radio club meetings with the Dorking Amateur Radio Club–what a great set of guys!
After my wife and I moved back to Asheville, NC, I started playing radio again and realized quickly how much I had missed it. Since then, I have been very radio active!
It was the promise and challenge of operating QRP that really energized me to get my ticket in 1997. I remember being hooked the moment one of my Elmers told me about an HF transceiver that was so small it could fit in an Altoids tin–and about how it was challenging, yet very possible to work DX with it.
My continued interest in QRP probably also has a lot to do with the fact that, very early on, I became a member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team (SEORATs–or, “Rats”)–a group of hams who enjoy operating QRP in the field. There is nothing I like more than taking a rig outside and working a QRP contest. This ads a whole new dimension to the radio hobby and, best of all, prepares you for emergencies. Even though I live in North Carolina, I still keep in touch with my fellow Rats through QRP CW scheds each week and I usually make it to at least one SEORAT field event each year.
Other interests and websites
Another important hobby to me is Shortwave Radio listening. I operate a popular radio blog called the SWLing Post. I’m also the owner and curator of the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.
Important: Contacting me
I have a very busy family life and active schedule, so it can be challenging to find free time to reply to email inquiries. I receive, on average 30-50 emails per day from readers and subscribers. As you might imagine, those stack up quickly and are challenging to work through.
If you have a question about QRP, field radio operation, antennas, radios, or pretty much any other topic, I would strongly encourage you to post your question on QRPer.net. It’s free and there are a number of excellent radio ambassadors who can help you there. Joining and posting is 100% free and this list is moderated–trolls are removed with haste! 🙂
If you have an article proposal or news tip, feel free to contact me via my email address (my callsign @qrper.com).
Please use the forum for questions, though, as the replies will be much quicker than if I tried answering them myself and (frankly) I’m often not the best person to answer your questions.
Thank you so much!
Tom K4SWL / M0CYI / VY2SW