A simple HF receiver

Before this blog I had a web site with some amateur radio information.  It is still out there, but I should close it down or update it totally.  Here is one of the projects from those pages which I had great fun with and which is worth adding to this blog.  I was quite impressed with the quality of the audio from this receiver which has just seven components (three capacitors, two transistors, a resistor and a transformer).  Below is an edit of what was originally written a few years ago.

I constructed this simple receiver having seen the circuit at WB4LFH’s web site which he calls the ‘audion’. This circuit is almost identical to the last circuit on that page, except I changed the inductor connection to the variable capacitor from being a tapped connection to being a transformer coupling.

Circuit of simple SW receiver

The inductor was a T50-2 toroid with secondary being 28 turns of enameled copper wire and the primary (connected to the antenna) being two turns. (Remember a ‘turn’ on a toroid is the passing of the wire through the hole). The transistors were 2N3904 types, but you can try any general npn transistor. The tuning capacitor was a air plate type taken from an old radio receiver, likely about 300pF. The circuit was constructed ‘ugly style’ on a small piece of unetched circuit board. Use what you have in your junk box and experiment.

The performance is very good considering the simplicity of this receiver. Below are a set of sound recordings from this receiver.  The recordings show how the volume can change (no AGC here!) and that the selectivity is not too good.

If you consider building this receiver please note that these recordings were done with the receiver connected to my external antenna at that time, a G5RV. I tried using a long whip antenna, which I had in the junk box, and there was no discernable reception of a signal with it. So you will likely need to use a good length of wire to act as an antenna. Post a comment if you have any success with this circuit.

Alan Steele, VA3STL, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Ottawa, Ontario. Contact him at [email protected].

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