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Friday, February 14, 2020

The Si4730 Radio Chip (Luddite Alert!) (video)

I have misgivings about this.  Hack-A-Day presents it as a DIY radio project and wonders if this might be the modern equivalent of the crystal radio projects of days-gone-by.  But notice that the "build" video focuses mostly on building the box.  The electronic "building" of this radio mostly involves plugging in two chips, or two boards with chips. My questions are: 

1) When this project is finished, who REALLY built it? You, or the Si4730 manufacturer?  

2)  After you've "built" this thing, would you have the same sense of accomplishment that you get from an analog, discrete component project?  Or even from that crystal radio?  

Of course, to each his own.   This is all for fun.  Have fun with the Si4730.  But today I'll be working on my Hallicrafters S-38E. 



  1. I think the comparison to a crystal radio is pretty apt. Winding a coil and hooking up a diode doesn't necessarily bless the project with the magic of radio any better than soldering a few components to some perfboard does. I would even argue that the utility of the final product may keep the builder interested longer.

  2. I think N0ECK is right. But one thing I'd like to add is that the amount of hack value plays an important role. I'm comparing my iPhone, which I like as an appliance, but can't easily modify or customize, vs. my computer (running Linux) which pretty much encourages hacking and comes with tools for programming built-in. We should encourage kits and projects which get a result fairly fast, but also entice people to dig deeper.

  3. Do we really need a purity test for who built the radio��? Everyone is at a different part of the learning curve, and if this is what gets you to the next level, and you learn something, good on you for doing it, right? We don’t complain about Pete using 5351s or not writing all his code from scratch because it’s just not smart to replicate something that’s already been done unless it’s fun or you learn from it. It’s ALL good��

  4. When you know stuff, you can do stuff -- Pete Juliano.

    I think the guy in the video knows stuff and is doing stuff. That makes it home brew with me. If we are to ADVANCE the ART of radio, at some point we have to stop thinking tubes and analog vfo's are the height of technology.

    1. https://circuitsalad.com/2020/01/06/compact-si5351-based-sdr/

      I look that this SDR receiver and think WOW that is very clever. 5 IC's and 3 Opamps and a handful of passives.

      The real interesting part in this build is the use of a DSP Reverb IC used in audio production, being programmed to something it was not designed to and outputting USB, LSB and AM with -60db of opposite sideband rejection.

      That is not just passing clever, its very novel and is advancing the art of radio.

  5. It's all good! I tip my cap toward anyone who takes the time to build something that they can order from Amazon. Kindred spirits.



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