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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

AA1TJ's Latest QRPp Rig

From Mike, AA1TJ:

I called CQ on 20m CW for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon with no response. With the cadence of my own Morse tugging at my eyelids, I was suddenly shaken awake by a brisk signal returning my call and signing CU2BV. I snapped out a 579 report and turned it over. The dits and dahs in my headphones told me it was Fernando; operating from São Miguel island in the Azores. He reported a weak but solid copy (529) of my fifty milliwatt signal.

Here's the radio that I used yesterday. The one-transistor transmitter is to the left of the red relay on the top board. The single transistor is a germanium surface-barrier device made by Philco in August of 1958. To the right of the relay is a two-transistor time-delay circuit used to switch the antenna between the transmitter and the receiver. My receiver on the lower proto-board is a reproduction of my first shortwave receiver: a $7 Japanese kit that I bought at Radio Shack when I was 13 years-old.

Fifty milliwatts is some twenty-four times less power than was used by an old double D-cell flashlight. I later learned that my signal was nearly simultaneously picked up by an automated receiver located just west of Dusseldorf, Germany.

Snowy Vermont to the lush Azores - some 1500miles off the coast of Portugal - with less power than is consumed by a beeswax candle...is it any wonder that I love radio? ;-)

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