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Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Wizard of Wimbledon M0JGH: "Always Listen to Pete!"

Dear Bill and Pete,

Sincere apologies for my chronic lack of correspondence but life has proven exceedingly eventful of late. As a long-standing member of our international brotherhood I am aware of a reoccurring, often subliminal, theme: “Always listen to Pete!”. What follows is a cautionary tale of one humble ham following the sage advice offered to him during Soldersmoke 186’s Mailbag…

You might recall the report of my Christmas 2015 escapades from rural Italy, making homebrew CW contact with friends operating GB2RN aboard HMS Belfast, whilst trying to fend-off curious locals from tampering with the wire I’d strung through their trees. Throughout these shenanigans my remarkably-understanding girlfriend was nearby minding her own business (albeit with a certain degree of eye-rolling).

The following year we returned to the same summit above Frascati. Before setting off I advised her that, being a generous chap, there were now two miniature radios in my coat pocket: one for each of us to enjoy. She was politely thrilled by the prospect... but still faithfully assisted with antenna rigging. 

Once operational I insisted that we should try her radio first and, following Pete’s advice from SS186, I slipped the tiny red box out of my jacket pocket and knelt down on one knee... (Fear not, Pete, other sage opinions were consulted in the matter first too!).

Remarkably, she said yes! And, exceedingly generously, I was allowed me to make a few contacts too... after all, we had gone to the trouble of lugging it from London and setting up the antenna. Owing to poor telephone reception the first person to learn of our wonderful news was an unsuspecting DL on 40m CW.

We are now happily married so I’m pleased to report that, unsurprisingly, the SolderSmoke tribal knowledge offered to me back in 2016 appears to have been spot on. To return the favour here is my own life lesson to take from the story:

Should one ever need to conceal a surprise gift from a loved one, a radio shack is a cavernous world which even the most curious spouse is unlikely to dare explore.

Furthermore, if one “has previous” (as British policemen say) for smuggling tiny boxes of radio wizardry away on holiday, what better cover could there be for the unsuspected transportation of an engagement ring? 

The power of QRP knows no bounds...

All the very best for 2019 and thanks again for the life-changing advice.


Editor's note:   In case you don't remember SS186, Pete's advice -- upon hearing of the ham radio tolerance of Jonathan's then-girlfriend -- strongly advised him to "marry that woman!" 


  1. FB Jonathan, congratulations!

    I knew my XYL was "the one" when, after dating only a few weeks, she agreed to accompany me to her first hamfest. As we all know, this can be a shocking experience for the uninitiated, but she took it in stride. Obviously, not many women would stick around after such a traumatic experience, but we're still together after nearly 20 years.

  2. I returned to ham radio in 1993 because of my wife Elisa. We were dating at the time and she noticed some unopened shipping crates in my house in Santo Domingo. She urged me to open them up. Inside one was the Drake 2-B. She urged me to get the old receiver going. That led to so many wonderful things, including SolderSmoke.


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