HAM Radio 101

Ham Radio 101: What Does “Barefoot” Mean in Ham Radio?

In Ham-speak, the word “barefoot” has nothing to do with going shoeless in the shack. It means transmitting without the aid of an amplifier. When the topic of amps versus no amps is brought up, operators often divide themselves into opposing camps: those who amp up to help them bust through the pileups and those who go barefoot, hoping to get lucky when faced with louder signals or eventually get called through perseverance and use of a solid rig and multi-element Yagi.

For some, nothing beats the challenge and rewards of going barefoot on 100 watts or less. For others, a moderate amplifier is enough to get the job done without blasting away the competition. Then there are operators who prefer the barefoot route but crank up the amp when, after unsuccessfully battling other stations, they get cold feet and boost their signal. For many dyed-in-the-wool QRPers, barefoot is the only way.

Whether you choose to frolic barefoot on the air or lace up military-grade boots, DX Engineering has the amplifiers, antennas, and transceivers you need for any station preference.


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