Podcasting since 2005! Listen to Latest SolderSmoke

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Needed: More Info on the Cuban Islander or Jaguey DSB Transceivers

CO6CBF: "I began operating on the HF bands using homebrewed radios. Mainly on CW running just 10 Watts. My very first phone transmitter was a controlled carrier AM modulator for the 160m band using tubes and components salvaged from an old TV set."

My good friend Dean KK4DAS has built a DSB rig for 10 meters and is working a lot of DX with it.  Peter Marks in Australia has also jumped into the DSB game.  A few of the students we are working with at the local high school may get their General Class licenses and convert their Direct Conversion receivers to Double Sideband transceivers. 

All of this has caused me to reminisce about the famous Cuban Double Sideband rigs. Homebrew Hero Arnie Coro CO2KK used to talk about these rigs on his "DXers Unlimited" program on Radio Havana Cuba.   But Arnie recently passed away, and with him I think a lot of the background info on the Cuban DSB rigs has also disappeared. I find very little about these rigs on the internet -- I have not been able find a single picture.  The Radio Havana Cuba archive of Arnie's shows has disappeared.  

Back in February I talked to Yulian CO6YI on 20 meters about the Cuban DSB rigs.  He said he had a lot of background info on them, and said he would try to send it to me.  I hope he is able to do this. 

The results of my initial Googling appear below.  There has to be more out there. I'm thinking that there must be a lot of background info on the Islander and Jaguey rigs sitting on the hard drives of radio amateurs.   It is time to give this info wider circulation.  Please send me any info you have on these rigs.  Of particular interest would be schematic diagrams and photos of the rigs.  



Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2004 17:48:59 -0500
From: "Prof. Arnaldo Coro Antich" 

Subject: Re: GB> 6EH7 vs. 6EJ7 as RF Amplifier

 Dear amigo Chris:
You are absolutely right !
EF184 is the best pentode for RF amplifier duty...
But, let me ask you something... have you thought
about the ECC88 and the even better ECC189 dual
triodes that were designed for TV tuner work, and
that incidentally were also about the last vacuum tubes
ever designed from ""scratch"" until Phillips and other
European manufacturers stopped from making
receiving type vacuum tubes.
The ECC189 is simply wonderful for a front end !!!
I am sure that you are aware of our limitations here at
my QTH regarding the possibility of obtaining solid
state modern devices... so we still make ""new"" ham radio rigs using mostly
vacuum tubes...
We even still make a version of "" The Islander"" a DSB transceiver with
direct conversion vacuum tube receiver...
Tube lineup is
EF184 RF amp
ECH81 product detector
ECH81 triode section not used
ECL82 triode audio preamp
ECL82 pentode audio output
6AH6  VFO ( Russian equivalent 6*5P )
Audio filter provided by good working brain of
operator !!!
Keep up the good work amigo !!!
73 and DX
YOur friend in Havana
Arnie Coro


Today’s first question came from a long time listener in India. Rajiv 
tells me that at this moment he is not able to pick up our station on 
the shortwave bands, and he rightly assumes that this is because of the 
very low solar activity… but Rajiv who lives in the garden city of 
India, Bangalore, the home of the nation’s electronic and other high 
tech industries, is able to read the scripts of the program that are 
made available to several short wave listeners clubs e-mail distribution 
lists. Rajiv tells me that he wants to obtain the electronic files of 
the Super Islander amateur radio transceiver to compare the circuit 
diagrams and design philosophy with a similar project that is becoming 
very popular among Indian radio amateurs.
Ok amigo Rajiv… I have already sent you all the files including some 
nice digital photos of the first prototype of the Super Islander, that 
as you will see, has two final amplifier options , one built using NPN 
RF power transistors, and the other one using two vacuum tubes that are 
very easy to find here in Cuba from recycled TV sets. The Super Islander 
is a single band transceiver that can be built for the 160, 80 or 40 
meter bands. Here in Cuba amigo Rajiv, the most popular amateur band 
nowadays is two meters, using the FM narrowband mode, and the second 
most popular band among Cuban radio amateurs is 40 meters, that’s why 
most of the Super Islanders are built for operating between 7.000 and 
7.150 kiloHertz.  The double sideband signal generated by the Super 
Islander simple circuit is very stable, and very few if any radio 
amateurs that contact stations using the Super Islander are able to 
detect that it is a double side band and not a single side band signal 
what they are hearing. One of the most outstanding features of the Super 
Islander single band amateur radio transceiver is that it is modular, so 
those who want to build it, are able to build and test each module as a 
single project, and after all the modules are fully tested, then they 
are easily wired together . The parts count, that is the number of 
components required to build a Super Islander was kept intentionally as 
low as possible, both to simplify its construction and to increase the 
reliability. I hope that amigo Rajiv in Bangolore , India will be able 
to make good use of the Super Islander’s files, and maybe even go ahead 
and build one , as the parts required are almost universally available, 
because that was one of the design requirements that I set when starting 
the  Super Islander project more than fifteen years ago….You can learn 
more about this simple amateur band transceiver by sending a request for 
the Super Islander files to arnie@xxxxxx … I will send it as a dot zip 
file and you will be able to see circuit diagrams, photos and full 
descriptions of the different modules of this nice little rig, that has 
proven itself under the most difficult circumstances, like handling 
emergency communications links during tropical storms.

Beginners generally build one of two radios; the vacuum tube Islander or the solid state Jaguey. The Islander is a DSB/CW Cuban design using a very clever low parts count circuit and a direct conversion receiver. The Jaguey, named for the Jaguey Grande Radio Club in Matanzas province, is a generic design, with a DC receiver, DSB and CW, using solid-state components. Many of its ideas are from Wes Hayward's W7ZOI's Solid State Design for the Radio Amateur. The lack of mechanical filters or quartz crystals to homebrew SSB filters made Cuban designers CO5GV, CO2JA and CO2KK choose a DSB and CW rig. Fitted with good quality capacitors for the VFO, it works quite well from a 12-volt car battery in hurricane emergencies.


  1. For those that speak the local language, there seems to be recordings held here:

    Tony G4WIF

  2. Thanks Tony. I may be missing something but I don't see any of Arnie Coro's programs on this site. WayBack machine doesn't seem to help either.
    73 Bill

  3. Hello Bill a couple of decades ago the islander was an heavily discussed project on a couple of forums, one was the glowbugs reflector. Most of the design seems to come straight from older hand book designs. I may still have printouts laying about. Keith

  4. Thanks Keith. Tony's comments prompted me to do a search in Spanish, and sure enough I came across a great article (with pictures) about the Islander. I posted it -- I couldn't wait. If you could find more info on these rigs, that would be very helpful. We still need schematics. 73 Bill

  5. I know this is an old thread, I'm CO7WT from Cuba, I started my endeavor in ham radio with a islander board.

    They (FRC, like ARRL but in Cuba) made a print of a PCB to build the Islander, with component numbers and values, making construction fool proof, I think it was on the 90 or end of the 80...

    Mine was built with scraps from an old KRIM 218 rusian B&W TV as Coro's explain, later on I get the 6bz6 and 6be6 tubes for the receiver (this worked better than the russian parts) the VFO was a transistorized, made with russian components and a friend CO7CO Amaury, explain me a trick: thermal endurance:

    Make a week of crust the VFO board on the snow like frost on the fridge (yes frost ones) during the nights and put them at the sun by day.

    This in deed improved stability, this was an old trick.

    I made many modifications with the years mostly from 1998 to 2004 ish... better filters in front of the first RX stage (Same IF described between stages) improved selectivity and out of band rejection, remember we had on that days broadcast as low as 7100 khz

    Tx part was a pair of russian 6P7 (eq. RCA 807) in paralell, etc.


Designer: Douglas Bowman | Dimodifikasi oleh Abdul Munir Original Posting Rounders 3 Column