Neophyte Twins – An Update

Blog readers may recall my last two construction projects, the ‘Neophyte’ 1-tube regenerative receiver and a matching ‘Neophyte’ 1-tube crystal-controlled transmitter. The receiver turned out to be an exceptionally good performer once some slight tweaks were made to the original design published back in 1968.

It worked so well that I then decided to build a simple 1-tube transmitter to physically match the receiver and put together another circuit from the 60s using a 5763. Once I had the pair working well together, I set myself a goal of Worked All States on 40m CW with the tiny pair. I had a tremendous amount of fun during the cold winter nights and slowly worked my way through the list of states, eventually working and confirming all 50 states.

When the winter of ‘21-‘22 rolled around, I did another silly thing and set the goal of yet another Worked All States, this time on 80m CW which would offer a much bigger challenge for the little pair.
Over a period of about 7 months I once again managed to work all 50 states, mainly all on 3560kHz, with most of the contacts being made shortly before or shortly after my dinner hour of 1800 local time. There turned out to be a lot of good ears out there and fine bunch of great CW ops, all able to pull my signal through the noise. It was fascinating to hear the difference in propagation from one night to the next while operating at the same time period each night. Most nights produced no new states as they seemed to come in bunches, with December 9, 2021 being particularly good, producing IA, ID, MI, ME, PA and AL, while February 21, 2022 brought NH, MS and AK.
After working all 50 states, it took several more weeks to gather all of the prized cards.

80m WAS QSLs - thanks guys!

Looking back at the past two winters of nightly CW fun, it’s nice to recall just how much pleasure was derived from such a tiny investment in construction time, let alone cost. Everything, including the unused mini-boxes, was found in my parts collection with the exception of the 5763 tube in the transmitter. My junk box has been growing ever since my interest in radio began as a pre-teen back in the late 50s, smitten with the magic of radio. Fancy multi-thousand dollar radios offer truly amazing performance, but for me, can often make things too easy, removing much of the magic.
Next winter’s new one-tube project, circa 1936, is now in the mock-up testing phase and should provide some challenging DX fun on 10, 15 and 20m as Solar Cycle 25 breaths new life into the higher bands … stay tuned for an update soon!
Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

4 Responses to “Neophyte Twins – An Update”

  • Gary Foster K8HID:

    My 1st transmitter I built was a 6AQ5 crystal controlled on 80 meters. About 3 watts allowed me to talk to the world! 40 yrs later
    I still fire it up and make contacts! Thanks for the memories.

  • Steve VE7SL:

    These things are a LOT of fun and each QSO is to be treasured. Although I have a dozen or so NIB 6AQ5s, I’ve never built anything that uses that tube. I almost used a 6AQ5 in the Neophyte transmitter but went with the better tube for a xtal power oscillator … but one of these days!

  • Elwood Downey WB0OEW:

    Great story Steve, congrats to you and all those who made it possible.

  • Steve VE7SL:

    Elwood tnx and yes indeed!

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