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Monday, June 13, 2022

SolderSmoke FDIM Interview with Keith W. Whites -- Teaching Electronic Design to EE students using a QRP Transceiver designed by Wayne Burdick

When I first listened to Bob Crane's interview at FDIM with Keith Whites, I thought of the book "The Electronics of Radio" out of CalTech by David Rutledge.  Keith Whites told me that the difference between his effort at University of Kentucky was that Rutledge's course was designed for freshmen at Cal Tech, while White's course was aimed at Juniors and Seniors.  

I told Keith Whites that I had struggled to understand the Gilbert Cell and the NE602, the device that lies at the heart of the rig used in both courses:  The NE-602 Gilbert Cell Mixer used in Wayne Burdick's NORCAL 40A. Here is how I came to understand the device:  https://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/2021/11/how-to-understand-ne-602-and-gilbert.html

Here is Bob Crane's interview:  http://soldersmoke.com/2022 Whites.mp3

Here the slides that Keith used at FDIM: http://soldersmoke.com/2022 Teaching NorCal40A.pdf

Keith's students obviously got a lot out of this course.   Keith has kindly offered to make his course notes available to those who need them. 

Thanks to Bob Crane, Keith Whites, David Rutledge and Wayne Burdick. 


  1. Great stuff. I've never taken an EE course and I feel like I could use some sort of systematic self-study program.
    73 de Roy / WN3F

  2. Enjoyed reading this. I've not built the NORCAL 40A but I have built a SST, and have studied the NORCAL Sierra closely. These designs are extremely clever, and offer performance that is surprisingly good for a simple, low parts count transceiver. The receiver design is very similar to that used by Steve Weber in the MTR range, Steve improved the TR switch, used a digital VFO and used direct generated CW, but otherwise, very similar. I do not see any real practical advantage offered by modern SDRs over these rigs for low power CW in the pocket trail format! 73 Paul VK3HN.

  3. Not really much of a EE course except maybe a lab. EE courses are more about analyzing circuits mainly with math. EE program is not a trade school. But it could give some experience as to what one in EE work will see.


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