SolderSmoke fans will recall that for a long time I have been looking for the radio magazine article that propelled me into a receiver construction project that failed and left me tech-traumatized. I tried to build a solid state receiver back in high school. All I remembered about it was that it was direct conversion and varactor-tuned. And that I couldn't get it to work. I think the problem was in the oscillator.
Well, I think I found it. Chuck Adams and the qrp-tech guys were talking about a receiver project and someone mentioned the old Herring Aid Five, a receiver companion to the famed Tuna Tin Two. That got me thinking. The time of publication was exactly right: July 1976. I had just graduated from high school. This morning I renewed my ARRL membership and then immediately accessed the QST archives. Sure enough, the Herring Aid Five is varactor-tuned. That has to be it.
So this one is now definitely on my to-build list. I will finally get this receiver working. Sometimes projects take a long time... Thanks again to all those who helped me in this search.