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Monday, March 9, 2015

The Original BITX 20 -- Designed at 35,000 Feet in 6 hours, Built in India in 3 Days

 I came across what appears to be an early version of Farhan's description of the design and initial construction of the BITX 20  (see below); this version has some interesting information on the origins of this important rig.  The picture below shows the designer himself working on that first BITX20.  It is from a CNN video.  I know Farhan is sick of seeing this old video, so I present here only the shot of the designer's hands at work on the original transceiver.

Some thoughts from the designer, Ashhar Farhan, VU2ESE: 

    This transceiver was designed during a six hour flight from Europe with paper, pencil and the basic calculator built into my cell phone. It was soldered in three sittings over three days. Very little went wrong during the construction. It was one of those easy designs. The only mistake that I made during construction was that I soldered one of transistors in reverse. The design worked as ‘advertised’. I guess that extensively using feed back amplifiers provides designers with greater repeatability. Also, I realized, a little late in life though, that detailed forethought and ‘mental’ home-brewing is important for a clean design.
    The linear chain was initially unstable. It tended to oscillate in the 14MHz band as well as around 500 KHz. I traced the 14MHz oscillations to a choke that I was using at the output of the balanced modulator. It has been removed. The 500 KHz oscillations were because of excessive gain in the driver and pre-driver stages. From 5 ohms, the emitter degeneration has been increased to 10 ohms and better bypassing on the power rail has eliminated the oscillations.The receiver is as hot as I need it to be on 20 meters. Signals from USA, Europe, South Africa and of course India were heard with clarity reminiscent of a clean Direct-conversion receiver on the first evening. The transmitter is powerful enough for local rag chew and it is a modest challenge for DX. VU2PEP has an excellent two element beam at 20 meters at about 40 feet height. DX is easy for OM Paddy who uses the rig regularly. We netted LA2FKA within the first 20 minutes of firing up the rig.
    No, I don't offer PCBs. I don't repair rigs. I don't offer kits. I might do a PCB for this rig (I hate PCBs, they hamper experimentation).
    This transceiver is dedicated to the memory of OM Juggie, SK (VU2JH) who was a great organizer of India hams, he wrote technical articles in Electronics For You magazine about amateur radio, spurring many to take on ham radio as a hobby. He organized the Millennium Ham Meet in the year 2000. He was always searching for a good and simple homebrew SSB transceiver. He died young. He gave me my first morse key.

Jagdish, VU2JH

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1 comment:

  1. I noticed that the original rig was photographed on top of copies of EMRFD and SSD... the Old and New Testaments of homebrewers everywhere!

    73, Mike


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