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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

NA5N on the NE602

I continue to mine the Gadgeteer News archives.
Here is a good one from NA5N.

Orignally posted on Gadgeteer news, 2 December 2006
(Originally posted by NA5N on QRP-L)
The ever famous NE602's are manufactured in the Philips
Semiconductor plant in Albuquerque, about 85 miles north of me. I visited
there last summer and had a nice discussion with an applications engineer
about the history of the NE602's. Goes something like this:

This long story will prove that NE602 = SA602 = NE612 = SA612
(for those of you who don't want the gory details -hi)
The original NE602 was designed/manufactured by SIGNETICS for
the 45MHz FM wireless telephone market. A little later, the wafer was
redesigned a bit to allow the internal oscillator to operate to 200MHz and the
RF to 500MHz. This was redesignated the NE612, and was intended to
replace the NE602. However, customers kept ordering the NE602, getting
angry at Signetics because their distributors were out of stock, etc. So when
they made the chips, they made a jillion NE612's, and labeled some of them
NE612 and the rest NE602 to satisfy the users of both parts. This is why
contemporary data books show the exact same specifications for both NE602
and NE612. They came from the same wafer.

Then Signetics was bought out by Philips, who evidently
continued this practice for a short time, then decided it was rather
redundant. So they announced that the production of NE602's has been discontinued
and listed it as an obsolete part ... giving QRPers around the world
various fits of apoplexy to suicidal tendencies that doomsday had struck.
What wasn't well understood is Philips continued to support production of
the NE612, as they do today.

Then to make matters worse, disaster struck the Philips plant
in Albuquerque in the spring of 2000. A wild grass fire in
northwest New Mexico threatened three main electrical lines that run from
the "Four Corners" electrical generating plant to Albuquerque. Smoke
from the fire caused one of the high-voltage lines to arc, tripping the
circuit off line. Virtually the entire electrical load for Albuquerque
and southern New Mexico was now transfered to the two remaining feeders,
which could not handle the full load, causing brownouts, voltage spikes,
etc. until they too failed. Where I live in Socorro, New Mexico, I
remember the brownouts hit about 4:15pm, outages on and off until the
entire grid went down about 5pm, and stayed off until about 11pm. One of the
longest power failures in US history. We just figured it was Y2K about 3
months late. (PS - I worked 40M CW QRP that night by candlelight, and it
was the quietest conditions I ever heard on 40M!!! And every QSO I
heard seemed to be a QRPer). The extreme voltage fluctations as the
feeders were failing caused a transformer at the Philips plant in
Albuquerque to catch on fire. I remember seeing it on the TV news, in which they
said it caused mostly smoke damage from the burning transformer and
burned a couple of storage rooms. That was all-no biggie. Well, it
turned out one of the storage rooms that was burned was where they stored
the film masters for making the semiconductor dies, and the NE612 film
master was now molten emulsion. These film masters were the originals
from the old Signetics company. So Philips had to completely redo the
artwork for the majority of their IC's. Additionally, it turned out the
smoke damage was excessive and the IC fabrication facilities were
left unusable. Philips was basically unable to manufacture IC's at
the Albuquerque plant for months. It was about 8 months before
they got all their wafer machines back on line, which left a huge hole in
the semiconductor industry. I know it just about killed several
cell phone manufacturers because delivery contracts for parts were
suddenly postponed for six to eight months.

The world wide supply of NE602/NE612's virtually dried up
during 2000 as a result of this fire and the nearly year backlog of
manufacturing quotas. The first run of NE612's in 2 years finally occured in
September 2000.This huge shortage of NE612's, combined with the fact that
NE602's have been discontinued/obsolete, is what convinved QRPers that
these nifty little chips were no more. I was told 20,000 units were
manufactured in 2000, or what Philips believes is a 2 year supply. This is
also why the release of the K1 (with 5 NE612's!) was delayed from the
promised "after Dayton" to late in the year, as were other kits. It just
wasn't clear when Philips was going to schedule the NE612's for production.

So yes, the NE602 is dead, but the perfectly compatible NE612
is still available, and Philips has no plans at the present to
discontinue that part number.

For final clarification:
NE602 = plastic DIP, rated 0C to +70C ... OBSOLETE
SA602 = plastic DIP, rated -40C to +85C ... OBSOLETE
NE612 = plastic DIP, rated 0C to +70C ... AVAILABLE
SA612 = plastic DIP, rated -40C to +85C ... AVAILABLE

or, to answer the final question ...
NE602 = SA602 = NE612 = SA612

72, Paul NA5N


  1. dear sir,

    i have looking for this IC but never found in indonesia, is there this one sold there??

    if so would u like to send me some ??
    if u can send me just contact me on terhempas(at)yahoo(dot)com


  2. Amateur HomebrewerMarch 26, 2017 at 11:10 AM

    A wonderful device. The simple 602/612 oscillator is one of the most stable I have built- even as a free-running VFO. Use it for what it is rated for and it will not disappoint.


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