QRP Has Cast a Spell On Me!

This WWII British Key will be bolted on top of this cool old piece of gear:

A modified Wheatstone Bridge

For about $100, I will have an “approximation” of a WWII B2 Spy Radio. No – I am not a purist – in fact, I like the idea of going retro with as much of the idea and spirit of a historical event or time. Its more of the “art” side of “The Art and Science of Radio”. In fact, it really is more art than science as far as why I am doing this. It has some crossing with “Maker” and “Steampunk” – but I think its kind of its own thing – maybe more like a “Reenactment” of sorts. I now totally understand why people love to go to all kinds of various museums and also re-enact things like the Civil War and whatnot. I remember kayaking from Sausalito (Schoomakers) and landing right in the middle of a Civil War re-enactment on Angel Island – next to where the barracks are. They even had an old ship that was firing canons at the troops on the island. It was hilarious that I was oblivious to this going on – and that I was just off to the side of the happenings. I was cool with what they were doing – but now I understand it a lot more. Reenactment – yeah, that’s the ticket!

In the 90’s I tried to get into QRP, and I did take a little SST transceiver with me on backpack trips. I also built several little radios, but at that time, it didn’t stick. I think now that I have gone through my “serious” QRO DXing days – that where I am at is just pure fun, and really is keeping Ham Radio Alive for me. But those 90’s QRP experiences did plant a seed – that has only taken root this summer when I asked myself “OK – I’ve done everything I set out to do in Ham Radio, is there anything left?”. I think stumbling on the Collins Gold Dust Twins was the “wildcard” thing – maybe even more than my planned SW-3 nostalgia that has me off on this new strange tangent. But HEY – I am having a total blast. Its just good clean, dumb fun – and a great diversion from the sadness that is our daily news. Its a trip without the drugs. Its way better than TV.

The KX-3 with Begali Adventure Mono

Travel with the KX-3 and Begali Adventure Mono key is in my future for sure – and there is a parallel to this Spy Radio jag I’m on. The Spy Radio’s were QRP rigs, and the KX-3 actually has the same idea in size and portability – including a bolt on key.


I’m going to try this 9:1 UNUN and a 4:1 UNUN as well – and also compare these LDG QRP baluns with a Balun Designs version. While I am completely capable of building my own – these are so inexpensive that I’d rather work on the Spy Radio Project. The Spy Radio will have an End Fed Antenna Tuner, but the KX-3 has an amazing built in antenna tuner – so that will be much more practical.

Lately I have been thinking more about participating in our local radio museums – or tech museums that include radios and whatnot. Maybe I will do some presentations on WWII Spy Radios – this month and last month editions of Electric Radio have had a great series on WWII B2 and other Spy Radios.

A true Spy Radio story – which will be released next year

This looks interesting . . . the Pacific Theatre and Spy Radio . . .

Spy Radio – by R. Holoch

About 10 years ago I was into Assemblage Art – and built several mechanically working “curios”. They had no electronics, but they were meant to give an impression of radio – and tell some story – a fantasy of sorts. I also tried to inject some humor in them as well . . .

Now its time to try a working QRP Spy radio – I suppose the next step up from Assemblage?

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