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Saturday, February 17, 2018

KD4PBJ's Acorn AM Broadcast Band Regen

From Chris, KD4PBJ: 

This is my AM band regen I built during December and early January. 

It uses a 955 acorn tube and is a really hot performer! I can pick up dozens of stations with only a 20 ft piece of wire thrown out my shop window and tied to a nearby tree limb 5 ft off the ground. This is from rural Tennessee where we have no local AM’s. 

It uses a velvet vernier I bought off eBay back around 1999 or 2000 and had saved for a special project like this. 

I’m running filaments off a 6V lantern battery and plates off a type 415 45V battery. 

A nice ham/machinist I met on the Time Nuts list who lives in San Francisco made my insulated shaft couplings. I got the Delrin rod cheap off eBay. He cut them to length, center drilled for 1/4 inch and drilled each end for 2 setscrews.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Understanding Switching Mixers (as in the Ceramic DC RX)

W3JDR's Comment on my post about the DC RX mixer got me thinking.   He was right -- my explanation of the mixer action wasn't quite complete, especially as far as switching mixers are concerned.  I remembered that I had written about this in the SolderSmoke book.  Below you can see the part of the book in which I discuss switching mixers.  Realize that the two diodes in F5LVG's mixer play the same role as the two gates in Leon's circuit.  It will be worth your while to sit down with Leon's circuit diagram, his frequency chart,  and a ruler and really go through this so you can SEE and really understand how the two gates (or switching diodes) generate sum and difference frequencies.  


I guess I still yearned for clarity and intuitive understanding...  Time and time again, as I dug into old textbooks and ARRL Handbooks and promising web sites served up by Google, I was disappointed. 
Then I found it.
It was in the Summer 1999 issue of SPRAT, the quarterly journal of the G-QRP Club.  Leon Williams, VK2DOB, of Australia had written an article entitled “CMOS Mixer Experiments.”  In it he wrote, “Generally, mixer theory is explained with the use of complicated maths, but with switching type mixers it can be very intuitive to study them with simple waveform diagrams.” 
Eureka!  Finally I had found someone else who was dissatisfied with trigonometry, someone else who yearned for the clarity of diagrams.  Leon’s article had waveform diagrams that showed, clearly, BOTH sum and difference output frequencies.

Switching mixers apply the same principles used in other kinds of mixers. As the name implies, they switch the mixing device on and off.  This is non-linearity in the extreme.
Not all mixers operate this way.  In non-switching mixers the device is not switched on and off, instead one of the signals varies the amount of gain or attenuation that the other signal will face. And (as we will see) it does this in a non-linear way.  But the basic principles are the same in both switching and non-switching mixers, and as Leon points out, the switching circuits provide an opportunity for an intuitive understanding of how mixers work. 

Let’s take a look at Leon’s circuit.  On the left we have a signal coming in from the antenna.  It goes through a transformer and is then applied to two gate devices.  Pins 5 and 13 of these gates determine whether the signals at pins 4 and 1 will be passed on to pins 3 and 2 respectively. Whenever there is a positive signal on gate 5 or on gate 13, signals on those gaps can pass through the device.  If there is no positive signal on these gates, no signals pass.  Don’t worry about pins 6-12.

RF A is the signal going to pin 4, RF B is the “flip side” of the same signal going to pin 1.  VFO A is a square wave Variable Frequency Oscillator signal at Pin 5. It is going from zero to some positive voltage.  VFO B is the flip side.  It too goes from zero to some positive voltage. 
Look at the schematic.  Imagine pins 5 and 13 descending to bridge the gaps whenever they are given a positive voltage.  That square wave signal from the VFO is going to chop up that signal coming in from the antenna.  It is the result of this chopping that gives us the sum and difference frequencies.  Take a ruler, place it vertically across the waveforms, and follow the progress of the VFO and RF signals as they mix in the gates.  You will see that whenever pin 5 is positive, the RF signal that is on pin 4 at that moment will be passed to the output.  The same process takes place on the lower gate.  The results show up on the bottom “AUDIO OUTPUT” curve. 
Now, count up the number of cycles in the RF, and the number of cycles in the VFO.  Take a look at the output. You will find that that long lazy curve traces the overall rise and fall of the output signal.  You will notice that its frequency equals RF frequency minus VFO frequency.  Count up the number of peaks in the choppy wave form contained within that lazy curve.  You will find that that equals RF frequency plus VFO frequency. 

Thanks Leon!  

F5LVG's Glue-Built Mixer Transformer

One thing I forgot to mention:  In Olivier F5LVG's DC receiver article back in SPRAT 100, he casually mentioned building a transformer for his mixer by taking two inductors of the appropriate values and GLUING THEM TOGETHER.   What a great idea!  I had to try it.  I did.  Picture above.  It worked in my Ceramic DC receiver, but the trifilar transformer from Farhan in India worked better.  Perhaps the coupling was tighter.  But hey, it worked.  Three cheers for Olivier.    

Designer: Douglas Bowman | Dimodifikasi oleh Abdul Munir Original Posting Rounders 3 Column