Wednesday, March 21, 2018

2018 ~ The Year of SSB Transceivers

Meet Stormy!

Something from 1959 ~ Almost 60 year ago

In the photo above we see K3IXU's  Big Gun DX station circa 1959 from Western Pennsylvania (Connor Lamb Country) where the station line up includes a DX-100B, SX-99, Johnson Adventurer and a Heathkit QF-1. We see K3IXU diligently working on a Toob QRP transceiver. The antenna was a 40 Meter Dipole and the TR Switch was some concoction involving a couple of lightbulbs later changed over to a Dow Key Relay. Once the west coast was worked on 40M AM Phone from this station. The Johnson Adventurer had the Screen Grid Modulator accessory albeit still crystal controlled. 

In 1965 uncertain that K3IXU would return home alive from Chu Lai, South Vietnam, K3IXU's dad sold this whole station plus a huge junk box of parts and other rigs for $100 to a new ham. Wonder what that stuff is worth today?. Prior receivers included a National SW-54 (pure junk) and a Hallicrafters S-85 a close second to the SW-54. 

Yes Virginia --we are seeing the "Knack" being demonstrated here!

Now on to "Stormy":

For the last two days we have had rain in Southern California and more is forecast for tonight and tomorrow. There will ensue what is called an atmospheric river -- a condition where there is so much rain in a short period of time --it is like a river. Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties could experience 6 inches of rain in a 36 hour period. When I lived in the Pacific Northwest there was a landslide standard that said 2 inches in 24 hours almost a sure certainty of a landslide.

What is a problem here is that the areas affected just recently (December 2017)  went through a major fire where all the vegetation is gone and shortly thereafter a major storm that caused mudslides where 22 persons were killed. Several bodies still remain missing. Thus mass evacuations.

So that prompted me to think what I would do if faced with an evacuation and what rig would I bring with me. I see your wheels turning, as a reader, and your thoughts about which rig would you bring. This is not a time to think about an ICOM 7851 --but a rig that would produce something more than nano-watts yet be small and light.

So here is my choice which I like to call "Stormy" as something to use during a storm.


By way of background this radio started life as a TIA since it has the Hayward Kopski Termination Insensitive Amplifiers (TIA) for the bilateral amps ahead and following the 9 MHz filter. The rig also has my bi-directional amp stage that is used for the receiver RF amp and the transmit pre-driver. The driver stage is the 2N2222 driving the BD139 and the final is an IRF510. The Arduino/Si5351/Color TFT is used for the LO and BFO. The code was reworked in IDE 1.8.5. It is USB/LSB selectable and includes a Tune functionality. the power output is 5 watts. SBL-1's are used for the TxRx Mixer and the Product Detector/ Balanced Modulator. The audio amp is a 2N3904 driving a LM386. the Microphone Amp is a 2N3904

I felt compelled to rename this rig Stormy given it is "topless" where all is bared for us to see the inside details and the large "knobs" tell a tale of their own. It doesn't hurt that the motif is "Oasis Blue". This is truly the rig to ride out the "storm".

The Main Board with TIA Amps

This view above shows the detail of internal shielding between stages. By selecting two resistors in the TIA stage --it is possible to set the stage gain from 15 to 24 dB yet the Zin/out remains at 50 Ohms.The overall size is about 6 inches wide by 8 inches deep and 2.5 inches high. I have run this off of a small 12 VDC battery but obviously the transmit time would be limited. 

The Topless Bare Essentials!

In the blank space below USB and the text, when you hit the TUNE button the word TUNE appears in RED in that space and that action places the rig into transmit, while simultaneously producing a pulsed 10 second 988 Hz tone. This tone is fed into the balanced modulator after RC filtering to look like a sine wave versus a square wave coming directly out of the Arduino. No whistling or shouting Hola needed.. The default step tuning rate is 100 Hz but step rates of 10, 1K, 10K, 100K and 1 M are available.

Drop me a line and let me know what your Stormy Radio would be.

Lest I forget there was a bit of a toss up whether it should be Stormy or Karen (her sister rig) that would be chosen as the storm rig. Karen has similar specifications but a smaller size (and smaller knobs). The yellow case sure makes it easy to spot. So many rigs so many choices!

Pete N6QW


  1. Shouting Hola? Yes, I can sense your proximity to Mexico ... Here in NZ (and I suspect most English-speaking nations) it's "calling for Mr. Harlow": haaaaaaalo. :)
    73 ...

  2. The perforated cabinet is giving me ideas! I like... Reminds me of the S-Line/KWM-2 and their copycats.


So How To Do CW on a Homebrew SSB Rig?

3/16/2019 ~ Remote Antenna Tuning 3/14/2019 ~ Calling All Junk Boxes???? Calling all Junk Boxes, N6QW is looking for a part! ...