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Friday, September 12, 2014

Schematic for "Off the Shelf" Regen

Tony, VE7JUL, wrote in asking for a schematic on the "Off the Shelf" regen.  Here you go Tony.  Nothing fancy or new here.  All the credit goes to Howard Armstrong, Charles Kitchin and Jay Rusgrove! 

Even though they seem much simpler than other receivers, I think regens are in fact more of a challenge than, say, a Direct Conversion receiver.  Be prepared to do a lot of fiddling around with the coil and the tuning and regen capacitors.  Think of that detector stage as a VFO, a VFO that you want to be able to smoothly take out of oscillation. 

Here's a tip on regen debugging:  Once you have it built, hang a high impedance 'scope probe off the drain of the FET and watch the scope/counter as you move the main tuning cap and the regen control.  This will give you a visible indication of where (on the regen control) the stage is going into oscillation.  A freq counter (I have one inside my Rigol 'scope) will let you know what frequency range you are operating on.  You may end up having to make adjustments to the coil, adding or taking away turns to get into the proper frequency range, or to the desired level of feedback.  Pay attention to the phasing of the coil turns.  You may also find yourself adding capacitance in series with the regen and main tuning controls (to reduce their tuning range) or adding capacitance in parallel with the main tuning cap (to lower the entire tuning range if necessary).  

Build it solid and strong!  It is, after all, an oscillator.  Be prepared to do a lot of "noodling"   

Hi Bill,
This receiver with just 4 transistors and no chips looks really interesting to me.  Do you have a schematic that you could either flip to me or point me to?  Getting my hands on some air variable caps may be a challenge, but I can 'noodle' something out on that.
Love the podcast, blog and really enjoyed the SolderSmoke book - thanks for your continuing efforts to share with the amateur radio community.
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  1. L1, L2 and L3 are all on the pill bottle?

  2. Alan: Yes, all three inductors on the pill bottle core. Kitchin has a good diagram (and a lot of regen wisdom!) here:
    Good luck! 73 Bill

  3. Right now, variable caps are not a challenge. Search "air variable capacitor" over 300 are on ebay.


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