The Secret Listeners

WWII “Spy Radio” Operators

As part of my “KY6R Spy Radio” project, I’m going to read a few books that center around Bletchly Park and the European Theatre as well as the Pacific Theatre.

Part of my interest is that both my parents were born in Europe (Germany and the UK), and I’m interested in the Pacific Theatre because I’ve lived in Northern California most of my life – twice as long as my beginnings on the East Coast. I live near the WWII ship building and several air fields that were used during WWII. The “Rosey the Riveter” museum is nearby as were the Kaiser Shipyards and Marinship. I travel through MacArthur BART station every weekday. I own a rental house in Oakland that was along the Key System route and it was built in 1916 and using nearby Redwood for its frame. The Bay Area is steeped in WWII history. In fact, besides its natural beauty, its still a nice place, even with all its modern day problems. I think I like to “play history” and reenact to forget about modern problems. Funny thing, I’m reenacting a time before I was born, but a time when my parents were in their prime. Funny that.

Wheatstone Bridge re-imagined as a Spy Radio

One of the best parts of getting older is that you remembered what a rush you were in when you were younger and how that led to failure and “re-tries”. These days I have learned that its fun just to take days to “muse”.

Today’s musing has me thinking of how I can adapt the new solid state QRPGuys Para40Set PC board – with all controls mounted on the PC board to this old Wheatstone Bridge panel. There are several options:

  1. Cut a square hole using existing holes and with a hand coping saw, cut the opening to just allow the PC board to be mounted so that the controls stick up out if the Bakelite
  2. Mount the PC board under the Bakelite and use controls wired away from the board
  3. Mount the PC board on top of the Bakelite in some modern way
  4. Purchase a new front panel and have the vendor cut and drill to my specification. Maybe use anodized aluminum instead of plastic

I’m leaning towards #1, and I’m also thinking about mounting the morse code key on top. I also think I will replace the screws that screw the panel into the box with those “plunger” or quick release thingies so I could access the 8 rechargeable D cells underneath.

I’m leaning towards this being fully self contained instead of plugging in external batteries and morse code key. HOWEVER, there is a square opening that has a metal plate covering what used to be the battery compartment – so maybe the key can be tucked inside this little secret”cubby hole”. That way I wouldn’t be banging the key next to the PC board. Hmmmmmmmm.

I’m also leaning towards using all of the control parts on the PC board except the BNC antenna jack. Lots of little design details, but I know from experience that taking as much time as I can means a well thought out design. In fact, I will search online to find as many pictures of the variations of the different ParaSets that were made.

I’ll measure twice and cut once, but will most likely think about my options for a week or two. I can get started on the PC board as I take my time designing the “packaging”. I also will most likely completely sand and re-varnish the box and replace the broken leather carrying strap with an antique luggage style handle.

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