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Friday, December 1, 2017

"The Black Rose" -- Yardley Beers' 1955 HB SSB Transceiver

I've been a fan of Homebrew Hero Yardley Beers W0JF for a long time.   Here is a link to previous posts on him: http://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/search?q=Yardley 
Yesterday I got a nice e-mail from Boulder Colorado about Yardley's very early SSB rig.  I'm guessing that the 4.7 MHz is a typo -- it might have been 3.7 and 14 MHz.   FB.  Thanks Mike

Yardley Beers W0JF moved to Boulder in the early 1950's to work at the National Bureau of Standards (now NIST) laboratory.  There he headed the Time and Frequency Division, which maintains the atomic clock.  He later taught at the University of Colorado and Denver University.
About 1955 he homebrewed what, at the time, may have been the only SSB transceiver in the world.  It was built with individual transistors (no IC's in those days) and Yardley had to grind the crystals himself for the filter.  He enjoyed naming his radios and this one was "The Black Rose."
The transceiver ran at 4.7 and 14 MHz.  Its 1/2 watt output was fed to a home built amplifier.  The transceiver demonstrated the practicality and benefits of SSB in a world where AM was the voice mode.
In the year 2000 Yardley demonstrated this original, old SSB transceiver to the Boulder Amateur Radio Club by using it to make contacts with two club members.  Attached to this e-mail are a couple of photos.
Mike W3DIF
Treasurer, Boulder Amateur Radio Club (BARC)


  1. Who else could have possibly run he atomic clock at NBS other than OM Beers!

  2. 1) looks like a homebrew case/enclosure as well. Lots of screws!
    2) that Yaxley switchplate must date to the 1920s or 30s.
    3) that Dymo tape looks like '60s - continuous improvement(as old labels fell off)!

  3. 1955 seems awful early. That was about the time of that famous article in QST about transistors where the author concluded transistors wouldn't amount to much. At the time, they had limited frequency response, and certainly weren't ready for RF power. The Regency TR-1 came in late 1954, and word has it the transistors might have had to be selected o get ones good enough.

    There was a lot if hybrid equipment initially, car radios with transistors in the audio section but tubes in the RF, and there were Motorola "lunchbox" transceivers that had transistors in the 455KHz IF and audio, with subminiature tubes elsewhere.

    Though it changed pretty fast. Soon there were multiband portable radios. At least once, QST had a transistor transmitter on the cover, miniscule output and maybe only one stage, but I think it was at 10M, so it was a leap forward. But I think it was written by someone from a transistor company, likely a work project, access to better transistors before everyone else. But like the early days of radio, it didn't take much improvement to be worthy of note. So it was a continuing series of advances, each incremental, but together over time being significant.

    It still seemed a big thing in the early seventies to be able to generate 5 or 10watts with transistors, at least for SSB.



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