Why not?. Anyone can make contacts at 100 watts even into a bad antenna. There's no secret to sucessful qrp operation, what is important though is an understanding,or at least some understanding of antenna systems.This is the antenna system as a whole,everything from the back of the radio all the way to and including the antenna.This should be the case regardless of power used but is especially important at qrp levels, and to be honest its nothing more than amateurs should already know. People often think that qrp automatically means using cw mode,this is not the case and qrp ssb contacts are every bit as possible as a cw contact.
You may of heard the saying "The antenna is the most important part of the station". To me this statement is not entirely true as i feel the most important part is the antenna SYSTEM.There would be little point in having an efficient antenna only to feed it inefficiently,or having a "bad" antenna fed efficiently.What's needed is a way of getting whatever power you have from the radio to the antenna and then radiated from that point as efficiently as possible.Add to this portable or mobile set ups and the antenna system then becomes even more important. Qrp and homebrewing showed me more to the hobby than simply sat in the shack running a radio on full power with an expensive antenna slung outside in the most convienient spot hoping for the best.
Making or "homebrewing" is a great way to save money on what can easily become a very expensive hobby. Even if you've never homebrewed anything before there is still plenty you can make even as a newcomer. I got into homebrew after opening up an MFJ969 atu and realising just how much my money had actually got me.A couple of days later i had found a design on the net and made my first atu. It wouldn't of won any beauty contests but it worked.Homebrewing your own antennas gives you the ability to build them for efficiency and not simply to show a low vswr followed by efficiency as so many commercially available antennas are.All this plus the added satisfaction of using equipment you have made yourself.
Mobile and portable qrp
Some may see a mobile or portable station as an alternative if its not possible for a base station due to antenna restrictions or space ect. Some like myself may like the idea of being mobile or portable sat somewhere nice in the fresh air, even if its only in the back garden on a nice day. Maybe on a hill somewhere or a beach ,the possibilities are endless. This doesn't mean any less effort should be put into the station.For example, a mobile set up if its to be effective and efficient has its own set of ground rules.Simply sticking a magmount on the car and running full power isn't the most efficient way,its probably the quickest and most used way of setting a mobile station up but its by no means the most efficient. A lot of commercial mobile HF antennas actually use inefficiency (ground losses) to there advantage to sell you an antenna with a low vswr. A lot of portable antennas are sold on the strength of getting a good match as apposed to efficiency.Simply sticking a miracle whip type antenna on the back of your qrp radio isn't going to cut it in my eyes.Yes people do make contacts on these type of antennas when conditions are good but i certainly wouldn't consider them a serious qrp antenna.So whether mobile,portable or sat in the shack each station should be made as efficient as possible especially if its a qrp station.Any time and effort put into this really does pay off.
Simply put, if your not to be dissapointed with qrp you must use a good efficient antenna getting as much of your power in the air and losing as little as possible in the system on its way .Running 100 watts is a differant story and will hide a multitude of sins. You can have a station running 100 watts with an antenna system thats only 10% efficient. This is still enough to make contacts.Turn the power down to 5 watts on that same station and you may as well watch tv instead. *** IMPORTANT*** Through the pages on my site you may see my experiments with different portable antennas like the miracle whip/atx and MP1 etc.. Although these antennas do work to a degree and offer a bit of "fun" time on air they really shouldn't be substituted for other more efficient antennas. Working with a simple mono band dipole for any band will no doubt outperform all these very short /portable antennas .Having said that they are great for playing around when making many contacts is not the priority.