To study the effect of explosive field emission cathodes on high power microwave generation, experiments were conducted on a reflex triode virtual cathode oscillator. Experimental results with cathodes made of graphite, stainless steel nails, and carbon fiber (needle type) are presented. The experiments have been performed at the 1 kJ Marx generator (200 kV, 300 ns, and 9 kA). The experimentally obtained electron beam diode perveance has been compared with the one-dimensional Child-Langmuir law. The cathode plasma expansion velocity has been calculated from the perveance data. It was found that the carbon fiber cathode has the lowest cathode plasma expansion velocity of 1.7 cm/μs. The radiated high power microwave has maximum field strength and pulse duration for the graphite cathode. It was found that the reflex triode virtual cathode oscillator radiates a single microwave frequency with the multiple needle cathodes for a shorter (<200 ns full width at half maximum) voltage pulse duration.