Simple-Ceiver 40m DC Receiver

So, now that I have a working transmitter that I am happy with (See Here) and wish to actually use it, because it is not just popcorn fun, but actually very usable and of good quality, it is time to move on to the next issue and that is having a receiver to go with it. With that in mind, I have thought about what exactly I would like and came up with a small list of needs, modular was top of the list, so that I can modify and expand it over time as i develop greater understanding and skills.

So, as I have been listening a lot of late to the Solder Smoke pod cast, I became aware of a project by Pete Juliano that was created from the ground up with modularity and expandability in mind called the Simple-Ceiver, Here is a link to the actual project, there are 20 odd blog entries to read chock full of information, the design decisions and the criterion used in the development of the board. I would recommend reading them all, Pete is not only a good home brewer but also a very good writer.

So in keeping with the idea of modularity, I have laid out my boards which I will route on the CNC Router with one stage per board. I have a pile of 100x65mm boards I bought off ebay for this very type of project, so they will be getting a workout now.

Now, something i also learned from reading the blog entries is that I would seem to be a really good idea to build your projects in reverse order, starting with the AF Amp and working towards the antenna. i can see the benefit in doing things this way, rather than my usual gun ho method of get out the flame thrower and start weldering up everything in sight 🙂 So in following Pete’s advice i will start with the AF Board and work my way forward. I will not be departing much from the published design, other than using a bandpass filter I have used before with success and to bring the only part missing from the original project and that is the Local Oscillator. I will upload the gerbers for each board as i build them to ensure they are working etc.

Here are by board layouts:


The AF Amp Board: nothing extraordinary here, 2n3904 preamp into an LM386, yes they sound like farts, but they do the job. I will likely use much less gain in the 386 than in the original schematic.


Dual Gate Mosfet Mixer: Now i actually like the simplicity of this circuit, yes I could use a NE602 but where is the fun in that. The 2 Jfets are J310’s which are cheap enough to get, though now they are not being manufactured anymore so they will soon become extinct, so stock up on them now while you can.


The bandpass filter is one i have used in a number of projects and performs well. Losses are low, out of band attenuation is good. I have modified it here for 50 ohms in and out.


Something I have not typically added in on any other DC receiver i have made is an RF Pre-Amp, the few times i have tried and built and added them into my designs have ended in dismal failure. Such is life when you are trying to shoe horn other peoples designs into things they are not really meant for. This design uses J310’s again to give 15db of gain before the bandpas filter. I am not sure why it is before the filter and not after, but this is something I will email Pete and find out the reasoning behind it.


This board is 150×100, and other than having the Arduino and SI5351 synth on it, it also has the TX and RX switching on it, and yes, if you look you will see a mistake on the layout, that I have just now fixed. HIHI. Anyway that is all from me for now, tomorrow I will start on making the boards and slowly building up this receiver project.


Black Box Station

Not all black box operators have a cornflakes packet understanding of electronics, some like myself also have a rice crispy understanding HIHI. Anyway, this is my black box operators station, it consists of 3 black boxes, 1 an unpowered speaker box, the 2nd a direct conversion receiver for 40m and the 3rd a 40m 5w cw transmitter. The transmitter and tx rx switching are a work in progress, but the rest works well.




40m DC RX Continued

So i finished of wiring the receiver up and putting power and an antenna on it and having a tune about. Well it works, I was receiving the Manly Warringah radio club doing an open night for the cubs, where the cubs were sending their names back and forth using the phonetic alphabet. The kids were having fun and enjoying the radio. Also, a number of Japan and Indonesian stations were copied as well as some VK3 and 5 stations on CW. All in all, I am happy with the radio other than the finicky tuning system.


This is how i had the receiver setup on the bench for its initial test.


Did not plan the internal layout all that smartly, but it did fit in there eventually.


And it looks all pretty with its nobs on.

40m DC Rx


40m DC Rx

So today we start on the next project in the series, a 40m direct conversion receiver to mate up with the 40m cw transmitter i built previously. I will update this post as I make progress.


What we are starting with.


Diodes in.


Electrolytic capacitors in, kind of an upside down way of kit building, but i am looking to add in some landmarks because of the lack of silk screen on this kit.


Without a silk screen it is a good idea to lay the components out on the board layout I think. HIHIimg_20161010_165811

Capacitors all in.


There was some resistance, but i overcome it in the end.


Most things now on the board. Next job is to wind the toriods and add wires where the power and speaker sockets go.


40m DC Receiver


Among the many projects that i have neglected lately, the direct conversion receiver has probably seen the least amount of love. So feeling energetic today I gave the board layout a little love, moved somethings about and added in a few others. The main change has been the addition of some Rx Tx switching. I have a single pole single throw relay in my box of tricks, i do not know where it came from, but i thought i would use it to switch the incoming signal on and off. Not really eloquent, but it will do the job and I wont have to round RF from the back panel to the front. Other than that, reverse polarity protection diode in the 12v input like and a little tweaking of the band pass filter. After i give this all the twice over, it will be export gerbers, fire up the CNC and route a new board for this and get it boxed up.


40m Band pass Filter

So i came across this schematic on Ebay for a 40m dc receiver kit, the front end looked nice so i copied it for my own project.


I am assuming that the band pass is transforming impedance also 50 ohm in and 1500 ohm out into the 612 mixer. I built mine for 50 in and out, by replacing the 270 and 18pf caps with 220 and 56pf.


Using my scope and signal gen i tuned the filter for max amplitude on 7.100mhz, and then did a sweep of the filter from 5 to 9 mhz and plotted its response on the graph above. Looked better than I expected.


Here is the filter as built on the board. Followed by a mess of failures where I was trying to add in a preamp that just kept loading up and not doing anything. Such is life.


Direct Conversion Receiver with DDS VFO

So not to be outdone with just one project on the go, I also get it in my head to rebuild the 2-IC DC Receiver from page 1.8 of EMRFD. I have built this simple receiver before, it was one of my first projects ever and it worked first time out of the box, well kind of.

My original was built Manhattan style, but at the time, being rather newbie, i was not able to make the LC oscillator circuit with sufficient Q to make the thing work. It was yanked out and initially replaced with an xtal, making it rock bound and of limited use, then the xtal was removed and replaced with an Arduino DDS VFO and my love of DDS was born LOL.

My first project that gave excellent results, I was receiving stations from all across Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the USA. It was thrilling. I was now hooked on homebrew.


Above is the schematic of the circuit, i have changed out the local oscillator for a DDS VFO, and i have made a couple of minor changed to the audio amp, mainly double the gain it will now put out maximum gain, the only issue no gain control on the audio amp.



Board was laid out in Sprint Layout, with extra holes drilled for mounting the DDS board onto it.


Its a nice simple project, wont take long to solder it up and get it on the air and tuning the 40m band.



So it is all together and it works ok. I did have to change a few things, mainly making the audio single ended rather than differential, this gave much more audio at the speaker. Also the tank, while it functions, does not seem to do all that much, tuning it by the trimmer, yields no change what so ever. Its something i will need to look at.

While its working, it could do with some improvements, especially to the front end. Here is a video showing it working.


CW Filter Board

So the plan was to add some kind of filtering to the DC Receiver to give some selectivity. Easiest way to achieve that is to use audio filters, of which there are plenty of types that can be used, passive, scaff, active, etc. I settled initially on an fixed width active opamp filter. Further down the track i will change that to scaf capacitance filtering but, i wanted to have this down pat first..


The filter parameters are shown above. 8th order Chebyshev, 500hz wide, 600hz centre and -40db down at 2k. A fairly aggressive filter which should take out a lot of the adjacent signals and noise.


The circuit was optimised for low noise, and one of the nice features of doing that makes all your cap values 100nf and a bulk of 5% 100nf is cheap as chips off ebay, leaving only many odd values of resistors to locate.


Circuit is laid out with R13/14 making a virtual ground for the OP Amp negative voltage rail, a jumper runs from V- to V- to supply the VCC/2 to the negative voltage rail.


Gerbers were created and converted to G-Code and the circuit mirrored and routed, drilled, cut out and given a coat of board lacquer ready for populating with parts. Board came up rather nice. .


40m Direct Conversion Receiver


The above picture is a block diagram of the receiver section of the 40m direct conversion transceiver i have been building for some time. There is nothing ground breaking in the design, it is fairly typical fair for a direct conversion receiver, taking elements from many different designs and bringing them all together into, hopefully a cohesive whole.

This is all part of the “5 x 7” CW Transceiver project i started to outline here: “5 x 7 Tranceiver”

A few things have changed with this, especially so in the front end where the original circuit as been totally replaced with something a lot more simple.

Band Pass Filter: The band pass filter is a 7th order Chebyshev 50ohm in and out with 0.1db ripple.

Pre Amp / Mixer:  The pre amp and mixer both use Mini Circuit devices, MAR-6 MMIC for the pre amp and either TUF-1 or ADE-1 for the diode ring mixer.

Local Oscillator:  The LO is an Arduino microprocessor controlled AD9850 DDS VFO.

Buffer Amp:  Is a simple common emitter, common collector, gain buffer stage to take the LO amplitude to 10dbm.

Audio Diplexer:  This diplexer, out of EMRFD starts to narrow up the bandpass and increase gain of the AF.

Active AF Filter:  An active 500hz wide CW filter, 8th order design using a Quad OP Amp.

Audio Amp:  Finally, the audio amp using an op amp pre amp and LM386 driver.

The only things left to actually build are the 3 audio stages and then test it all together and see if or how it well it works. Failure is always an option as they say.