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Saturday, November 9, 2019

SPRAT, the FETer, DLR headphones, and recent QSOs on the ET-2

Yesterday we had QSO #13 on the ET-2.  This was with Jim W1PID.  In an earlier contact Jim told me I had some chirp.  I fiddled with the coupling cap and the bias pot and am now T9!  These days, chirp is an endearing, nostalgic problem to have.  Thanks for the report and QSOs Jim! 

Contact #9 was with Fred K9SO.  He is in Wisconsin and QRZ.com put our distance at 633 miles.  That is our DX record so far.  Not bad for 92 milliwatts to a dipole on 40 meters. 

Most of my contacts come as a result of pleas for assistance on DX Summit or the SKCC Sked page.   But I did make one "random" contact: Contact #6 with N2VGA.  He just heard my CQ and gave me a call.  FB. 

I checked to see if OM Glen Yingling W2UW -- the guy who started all this with his ET-1 -- is still around.  He became a silent key in 2012.  But his ideas live on... 

SPRAT 137 (Winter 2008/09) has a great article by QRP hero G3XBM.  Roger built a version of the ET-1.  His was for 80 meters and he called it the FETer.   FB.   I was struck by his estimate of the sensitivity of the ET-1 receiver: -100 dbm.   I measured the N0WVA receiver (the one that I am using) has having a minimum discernible signal of -93 dbm.  Pretty close.  We may be at the limit of what you can expect from a single transistor receiver. 

SPRAT 137 had something else that really resonated with me.  G3YVF had an article on a minimalist rig using only one 6V6 tube.  Geoff opened the article with this warning "Don't try this unless you have a set of balanced armature type DLR 'phones as they are really sensitive."  I have a collection of old headphones that I picked up at hamfests in London years ago.  When building the ET-2, I checked all the old phones for sensitivity.  A set marked DLR was the most sensitive.  So Geoff's observation had been independently confirmed.   QRP Quarterly had an article comparing the sensitivities of old headphones -- we should dig that article up.   

SPRAT #137 is a reminder of what a great resource SPRAT -- The Journal of the GQRP Club -- really is.  As we say on SolderSmoke, if you are not a SPRAT subscriber you are just wrong!  Here is how to join GQRP and subscribe to SPRAT: http://www.gqrp.com/join.htm


  1. Bill,

    What you are doing tends to put ham radio into perspective. The fact that a tiny hunk of rock can be an extension to your fist or voice that reaches for the sky a hundred miles up to land several states away is about amazing as it gets.

    When building my antennas I always picture those weak signals flowing through the twinlead and just waiting to be link coupled to a transmitter or receiver like a switchable vortex or "sky gate". Just a little bit of quantum voodoo that seems to make my antennas work better than just an ordinary hunk of wire. :)

    N0WVA Doug


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