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Saturday, April 4, 2020

Quarantine Project: An AM Receiver for the 31 Meter Band. The Q-31.

During this StayInTheShack (SITS) emergency, it is good to have something to work on.  I decided it would be best to try to build something using only items currently in my parts collection.  I've been getting into shortwave listening again, and I've discovered that the 31 meter band (9.4 - 9.9 MHz) is my favorite. Thus the "Quarantine On-Hand 31 Meter AM Receiver."  A big part of the inspiration for this project comes from the AM receiver of Paul VK3HN. 

I propose that we all designate rigs built during quarantine as "Q" rigs.  This will be the Q-31. 

I had an old chassis on the shelf.  It held my WSPR DSB rig in Rome, and various other projects over the years.  It has so many holes in it that it looks like it has been used for target practice.  

A while back Pete N6QW sent me this really magnificent variable capacitor with at least two reduction dries and an anti-backlash gear.  I've been looking for a project that will allow me to use AND display this beautiful part.  It will be the main tuning cap for the Q-39. It will stay -- like the tubes in the rigs of days-gone-by --  above the chassis. 

While in London many years ago I picked up an old regen receiver at the Kempton Park rally.  The parts are still in my junk box.  A very nice 1.7 uH plug in coil (with socket) was there.  That will be the main coil in the Hartley Oscillator that will be the VFO.  I will add a few turns for the feedback coil (see circuit diagram below).  I wonder of that Eddystone coil was around for the Blitz? 

On the recommendation of our old friend Rogier (originally PA1ZZ), a few years ago Elisa got me a set of grey Altoids-sized metal boxes.  I will have three of these atop the target-practice chassis (they will provide shielding and will cover up the holes): 

-- One will hold the bandpass filter (designed with the Elsie program) and the mixer (probably diode ring, with transformers from Farhan). 

-- One will hold two IF amps with a 10 kHz 455 kHz IF filter between them (thanks to Bruce KK0S for the filters). 

-- One will hold the AM detector and the AF amplifiers. 

-- A fourth box will be under the chassis and will hold all the powered parts of the VFO circuitry.   I base my VFOs on this simple circuit from page 34 of Solid State Design for the Radio Amateur: 

This quarantine looks like it is going to last a long time, so it is best to take your time on projects like this.  I might work on the VFO today.  No need to rush... 

I am shooting videos as I go along and will at some point start putting them up on my YouTube channel.  

So, I suggest that any of you who are feeling bored and confined (that would be almost all of us) fight back by launching a Quarantine "Q-Rig"  project.   Send reports to me -- I will try to put them on the SolderSmoke blog. 

Remember:  StayInThe Shack!   #SITS!  #flattenthecurve. 

73  Bill 


  1. Glad there's some good SWL out there to L to! Soldersmoke has lately encouraged me to tune into those bands like I did as a kid.

    Need videos!

    Brad Smith WA5PSA

  2. I recall some discussion as to whether the diode was appropriate. I've built that VFO several times without the diode.

    Bob, N7SUR

    1. The diode does help remove some distortion from the waveform. Also reduces output. And it adds drift. I usually dont use it.

  3. It is starting off like a work of art! FB!
    Ed KC8SBV


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