Folks, I just have to share this bit of serendipity.
Back in April I worked I2RTF in Brescia, Italy. We had a nice, long CW chat on 20 meters. We chatted about Italy, my Italian heritage, and northern Italy. Whoever this guy was, he had a good fist. It’s somewhat unusual to find a DX station that actually wants to have a real conversation. Most of the time it’s “RST 599 TU QRZ?”
After the QSO, I went to http://www.QRZ.com for a QSL address. I soon realized I had worked Piero Begali himself!
Now I’ve always had a simmering love affair with Begali keys so this was a meaningful contact for me. I sent off my QSL card and a SASE hoping to get a reply from the master Italian key maker himself.
A couple weeks later, I receive a thick package from Italy. In the package was a QSL card, a nice personal note from Piero, an autographed copy of his recent book (in Italian) about the development and growth of radio in Italy, and a catalog of all his company’s offerings.
OK. You can probably figure out where this is going. That simmering love affair with the concept of “someday” owning a Begali key was rapidly turning into a burning “gotta have it NOW” situation.
I emailed Piero with some technical questions about the model I was interested in. His daughter, Bruna, replied that she was unable to answer my technical questions and would refer me to Ulrich Steinberg, N2DE, since Piero was in Dallas, TX and that’s why Bruna was answering his emails.
Ulrich answered all my questions to my complete satisfaction and I proceeded to place my order with Bruna.
Bruna then advises me that she knows exactly where Fishkill, NY is because she and her father, Piero, had visited here six years ago and Ulrich (N2DE) was their guide.
Now I’m really getting inquisitive so I look up N2DE in QRZ.com and find out he lives in Pleasant Valley, NY! Up the road a bit from Scott, W2NTV.
I contact Ulrich and he’s equally surprised that we are close neighbors! Then I find out that Ulrich is the co-designer of the Begali keys, designer of keys for many other top-of-the-line manufacturers, and the inventor of the Begali CW Machine!
He’s agreed to present to us at our August meeting and he’s also intending to drop by at Field Day to meet us and say “hello”.
Ham Radio — what a great world-shrinking hobby! Stan WB2LQF