The Thrills Never End

by Alfred Gruenke, KB3JPP

It started as an ordinary Sunday. The Phillies had won game 2 of the World Series and were ahead in Game 3 all in one day, the Eagles had won in spite of their efforts, and my mind was fading to oblivion. And that’s without chemical or libation enhancement. You see, through determination and continual practice, I have programmed my brain to deactivate starting at around four on a Sunday afternoon, and be totally comatose by eight. The feeling of total bliss is hard to describe, but I recommend it for anyone wishing to experience complete contentment with oneself. Hardly a prime time for a cranium-utilizing activity such as Amateur Radio.

KB3JPP's SW40 QRP RigBut this Sunday was different. The XYL was insisting on watching another Fox News show, with me wanting to watch the Phillies. So I went down to the shack, turned on the TV, and fired up my Small Wonder Lab SW40+ 2 watt QRP rig, shown at right.

No big deal in firing it up. Made sure the battery was charged, turned it on, tuned the BLT Tuner, and listened. My Window to the World is a lowly G5RV Jr., 52 feet long, a balun, and 50 feet of coax.

The DX gods must have been smiling that evening, or maybe the solar winds were blowing in the right direction. Near the bottom of my tuning frequency around 7025, I heard a very strong I1MMR. WOW, Italy! If I worked him, my life would take a giant step to Nirvana! I copied the name, Mauro, and the QTH, Genoa. This sounded familiar. I checked my QSL cards and sure enough, I had worked him in April of 2006. He had been running a 200 watt homebrew into a dipole.

I waited for the QSO to end and gave him a call. Instead, he answered a call from someone else.

I waited for a while. He finally sent a QRZ, so I called him again. He answered! Oh, for the thrill of it! My body trembled with excitement as I turned off the TV and grabbed a pen. He gave me a 229, his name, and QTH. Not much of a signal, but a signal nonetheless. I responded with a Hello My Friend, and gave him a 579, and that I was QRP running 2 watts. A bit of chit-chat followed.

Fifteen minutes later he could no longer copy me and he had to say 73.

I went to my MS Streets and Trips to get the mileage. Four thousand one hundred ten miles! Not too shabby on two watts. That’s Two Thousand and Fifty miles per watt.

I intend to apply for the Thousand Miles a Watt award when I receive the QSL card. I had received a Thousand Miles per Watt award previously, 1,611 miles with my 400 milli Watt Rock Mite.

I can’s say enough about my SW40+. A while ago I had worked 2,030 miles to Phoenix, Arizona and 1,900 miles to Pocatello, Idaho with this rig, but they pale compared to Italy.

This is as good as it gets. God, I love Ham Radio!

NOTE: I don’t usually post stuff from other guys, but I think I’ll start doing this. If you have a good story, such as the one above, please feel free to send it to me…..73, Dan


  1. Just plain COOL!

  2. That is a cool package! I recognize the BLT on the right, what is the small green circuit board in the middle?

  3. KB6 JPP Alfred Gruenke says:

    The green printed circuit board is the Pico keyer.

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