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Collins 637T-1:









Small Wonder Labs' DSW-40



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See the Collins 637T-1 Portable antenna here...


One of the long-time proponents of low power operation, Ade Weiss, wrote a book about it entitled: The Joy of QRP... that is what QRP all about.

QRP (e.g. 5W or less) operating is challenging, sometimes amazing, and always FUN! The very idea of talking to someone on the other side of the world with less power than some flashlights is always a source of wonder to me. No matter that I have talked to 125 or so different countries at 5W, much less what I might have done at higher powers, I always get a charge when I get an answer to a call while running so little power.

Many people-including many hams-feel that DX (long distance) contacts require POWER!!! It just isn't so. I will never forget talking to Antarctica on SSB at 5W. Running QRP is not a handicap but a challenge-and more and more people are taking up that challenge every day.

There is another misconception QRP people are challenging: that building your own gear is dead. NOT SO solder-flux-breath!!! The number of messages and remarks on the QRP reflector: QRP- L, per day, is incredible. Constant threads run about which (of the dozen or so) transceiver KIT is best... and what about this antenna... and odd propagation on 30M. It is certainly an interesting and lively place to read the mail.


Antennas enjoy a very prominent position amongst QRP'ers. Deservedly so. Any improvement you can make using a better antenna is exhibited in both directions, receiving and transmitting. Another aspect of antennas that often interests QRP'ers is portability, since so many of us backpack, or at least camp. I was fortunate a year or so ago, to pick up a really great portable antenna made by Collins: a Military 637T-1, new in its aluminum foil MIL wrapping. This is a 2-30MHz dipole, made for easy erection and dismantling.

The antenna consists of a very sturdy composite body with a built-in balun, and a pair of phosphor-bronze wire reels: one on each end. To put up the antenna, all you have to do is zero the dials outermost on each reel, and then reel out wire until the dial indicator-which is calibrated in MHz-displays your intended frequency of operation. Fasten it down with the built-in knurled knobs, and haul it up by the lanyard loop molded into the body. There is a 637T-1 model that covers a slightly reduced 3-30MHz range.

I have my own opinions about QRP rigs-doesn't everyone- and will present some of those rigs, and their photographs, as this page is developed. Obviously I like my Elecraft K2 and my Small Wonder Labs DSW-40-not to mention my Ten Tec Argonaut II! But I intend to present many others I like that I feel deserve mention.


This small unit is one of the handiest instruments I own. It will fully identify just about any discrete semiconductor you could find. It tells you the type, the 'polarity' (PNP / NPN / N ch etc.) the pin IDs, the gain (for BJTs [Bipolar Junction Transistors]) and what voltage-at what current-it took to turn on the DUT (Device-Under-Test.)

The only negatives I can find are that it does not define zeners, and cannot tell you a DUT's maximum/breakdown voltage. Still... for QRP-types, that's rarely a problem anyway.

All in all, it's a VERY INFORMATIVE little unit in the $65 price class.


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