IK1QFK's web siteRadio Waves below 22 Khz. This site is very comprehensive sotake your time. I downloaded Spectrum Laboratory, the spectrum software fromDL4YHF's Amateur Radio Software. This program is feature full and best of all it'sfree. It is not new user friendly so readFFT for dummies at Renato's site if all this stuff
is kind of new to you. I decided that a long wire antenna of about three hundred feetwas the most practical setup for my location. I also decided to go with the following preamplifier from Renato's web site.I had to order the OP07 andthe positiveand negativevoltageregulators for the dual polarity power supply fromDigi-Key.com. The rest I either had or bought from Radio Shack.
Testing the ELF Receiver
When I started the project I didn't have all the power supply parts or the OP07. I did have some 12 volt batteries and a few OP27's though. I used an OP27 andwired two 12 volt batteries in series to supply the dual polarity needed by the op amp. I also put a variableresistor in place of R3 with a 10 ohm resistor in seriesfor variable gain. After blowing out 3 transistors because I had them backwards I finally got the circuitworking (I always do that). I connected the long wireantenna via coax to the preamplifier and a shielded audio cable from the preamplifier output to the line input of the sound card. I immediately noticed that the preamplifier was overdriving the sound card with the 60Hz mains signal. It did not matter whether Ilowered the op amp gain to one and or lowered the sound cards line-input volume tozero.I went back to Renato's site and read
I discoveredthat a low-pass filter is absolutely necessary if you want to detect anything weaker thanthe hundreds of thousands of volts flowing through our power grid. So I followed hisdirections and put a simple RC low-pass filter in series with the long wire antenna. Ihad to play a bit with the capacitances, in particular with the bypass capacitor value butthe low-pass filter solved the overload problem. I was able to increase the preamplifiersgain to around 10 and the sound card volume without any overdriving.