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Monday, July 13, 2015

Peter Parker Reviews a DSB Kit and Presents Cool Mods (3 Videos). Also: Why DC Receivers Don't Work with DSB sigs. (It doesn't seem fair!)

I found Peter's recording of the DSB signal being received by a DC receiver to be very interesting.  We've long been warned about the very ironic incompatibility of DSB rigs and DC receivers. 

In "W1FB's Design Notebook," Doug DeMaw wrote (p 171):  It is important to be aware that two DSSC (DSB) transmitters and two DC receivers in a single communication channel are unsatisfactory.  Either one is suitable, however, when used with a station that is equipped for SSB transmissions or reception. The lack of compatibility between two DSSC (DSB) transmitters and two DC receivers results from the transmitter producing both USB and LSB energy while the DC receiver responds to or copies both sidebands at the same time."     Bummer.

In essence, we've been warned that the simple DSB/DC rigs we've put on the air cannot communicate satisfactorily with similar rigs.  We are, it seems, doomed to only speak with SSB/Superhet rigs.

The later portion of Peter's second video allows us to hear just what happens when we try to listen to a DSB signal with a DC receiver:  It sounds, well, unsatisfactory.   I was trying to figure out why.  Here are some ideas:

Simplify things by assuming we are transmitting only a single audio tone of 1000 Hz through our DSB transmitter.  The rig's VFO  is at 7100 kHz.  The 1 kHz tone results in signals at 7101 and 7099 kHz.  Along comes somebody with a Direct Conversion receiver. If he were able to put (and keep) his receiver oscillator on EXACTLY 7100 kHz,  he would end up (by taking the difference products from the product detector) with  a 1 kHz tone resulting from the 7099 kHz signal AND a 1 kHz tone from the 7100 kHz signal.  But there would be phase differences between these two signals, so you would end up with a less than pure 1kHz tone. (Did I get that right?)  And if -- as is likely -- your local oscillator is a bit off frequency you'd get a real mess.  If for example the local oscillator was at 7100.1 kHz, you'd have tones at   900 Hz (7100.1 - 7101) and 1.1 kHz (7100.1 - 7099).      Yuck.  

You might think you could just use the local oscillator in your DC receiver to replace the carrier in the DC receiver, turning it into an AM signal, then use an envelope detector as you would with any AM signal.  But not so fast!  For this to work your local oscillator would have to be not only at the same frequency as the original carrier, but also in the same phase.  That is hard to do. (Hard, but possible -- that is what they do with synchronous detectors using phase locked loops.)

I think you can actually hear many of the DC-DSB problems as Peter tries to tune in the DSB signal of VK7HKN using the DC receiver in the MDT transceiver.  It is indeed unsatisfactory.    But don't worry.  It is highly unlikely that when using a DSB rig you will encounter another DSB rig.  I speak from experience on this.  Pity.

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