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Crystal Sets to Sideband

Crystal Sets to Sideband

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Published by: bbqshirt on Dec 13, 2010
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By Frank W. Harris, KØIYE© Frank W. Harris 2002© Frank W. Harris 2006, Revision 10.
Dear Radio Amateur,I began writing this book when I realized that my homebuilt station was almost unique onthe air. For me, the education and fun of building radios is more than half of the benefit of myradio hobby. It seemed to me that the best part of ham radio was disappearing, so I wrote articleson homebuilding for my local ham radio club newsletter. My ham friends liked the articles, butthey rarely built anything. I realized that most modern hams lack the basic skills and knowledgeto build radios usable on the air today. My articles were too brief to help them, but perhaps adetailed guide might help revive homebuilding.I tried to write the book that I wish had been available when I was a novice operator back in 1957. I knew that rejuvenating homebuilding was probably unrealistic, but I enjoy writing so I pressed on. I thought of myself as Don Quixote battling the windmills of modern apathy towardthe details of technology and science in general. It seemed to be a hopeless quest. But even if itturned out that no one else cared, I found the project satisfying and extremely educational.Modern book publishers don't publish books that will have few readers. Because of itslength and numerous color illustrations, this book would be expensive to print on paper. Notsurprisingly, several publishers of electronics books had no interest in it. Fortunately, CDs costno more than a postage stamp, so I began sending out CD copies with my QSLs to those radiocontacts that showed an interest in my rig. It was great fun. I often got back thank-you lettersand pictures of their homebrew stuff with their QSL cards.
The Internet invades ham radio
One day Pete DeVolpi, K3PD, called me on the phone. He said he had a CD copy of the book and wanted to know if he could put it on his website. I instantly agreed. I didn't remember working him, so I asked where he had gotten his copy. He told me the name and call of the hamwho gave it to him and I hadn't worked him either. Interesting! My book had a life of its own.Pete had an early "REV" of the book so I mailed him an up-to-date version and he put it on hiswebsite,www.QSL.net/K3PD. Three years later Pete and I still regularly rag chew by e-mail.It's ironic of course that we've only talked once by radio. The skip for sideband to Pennsylvaniawas rarely favorable during the period when we were trying.Bill Meara, MØHBR, posted a testimonial about the book on a QRP website and I soonhad dozens of new e-mails. Hans Summers, GØUPL, put it on his high speed website,www.HansSummers.com. Next it was picked up by Juan Carlos Cucarella, EA5EXK, in Spain.Juan asked me if I would mind if the Spanish Radio Union translated the book into Espa
ol.Mind? I was honored! I never imagined this book would be read by anyone outside the UnitedStates. Juan recruited his friends to help him translate the book, chapter by chapter. Translatingit accurately was a gigantic project. I am in awe of those talented fellows and greatly in their 
2.debt. So, if you want to practice your Spanish, you can find it atwww.URE.ES. (And alsowww.QSL.net/K3PD) Guys who are fluent in both English and Spanish tell me that thetranslators did a great job preserving the flavor of my American slang. On the other hand, I hadan e-mail from a guy in Uruguay who told me the Spanish is awful. Apparently Spanish variesfrom one country to another. Recently the Spanish version has also become available atwww.ea2ry.com/libroradio. If you don't have a high-speed connection, this site allows you toread it one page at a time.Since the book has been on the Internet, hams in about a dozen countries have written meto praise, criticize, and offer suggestions about the book. I am delighted with all this feedback.This is the tenth revision of the book. Many of the changes over the past 4 years were the resultof comments from readers. That's the beauty of Internet publishing. When errors are uncovered,they can be readily fixed.The only factual changes in this 10
revision are a correction in a circuit diagram on page23 of chapter 13. Two of the transistors had their emitters and collectors reversed in the cascodeIF amplifiers. Also, on page 17 of chapter 5 the formula
= 1/LC was written incorrectly.Other changes are corrections of typos and bad grammar. Also, I tried to improve the clarity of some sections. I added numerous photographs of components and drawings to show the pinoutsof specific transistors. In a few places I added paragraphs to bring the text up to date or to addanecdotes that, I hope, will add interest.We homebrewers are nearly extinct, but there are still hundreds of us scattered all over the world, even in the USA. Yes, there ARE American homebuilders! We homebuilders arerare, but we aren't extinct. Even if we don't change the world, I guarantee you will enjoy learningradio technology and making your own equipment. Someday I hope to meet you on the air.73s, Frank Harris, KØIYEFrwharris@aol.com
1. Chapter 1, Harris
A guide to building your own amateur radio station
By Frank W. Harris, KØIYE3850 Pinon DriveBoulder, Colorado 80303-3539© Frank W. Harris 2006 , Rev 10
**********************************************************Chapter 1
Radio produces action at immense distances with no physical connection that can be perceived by our senses. A modern way to demystify radio is to say that radio is simply a kind of light that our eyes cannot see. To those of us addicted to shortwave radio, it’s an adventurousrealm that can be explored. When we listen to our radio receivers it is comparable to using theHubble telescope to explore the heavens. Shortwave is fascinating because you can’t predictwhat you are going to hear. You might hear a radio broadcast from an exotic foreign capitol.You might pick up an SOS from a ship sinking in a storm or maybe weather reports from a radioamateur on Pitcairn Island. The next evening the same frequency band might be completelyempty except for two hams on the other side of your own town discussing the Super Bowl. Or you might receive coded messages intended for some undercover spy lurking in our country.I’m not kidding. I routinely hear such coded messages consisting of groups of letters onthe 10.1 and 28.1 MHz ham bands. The codes are usually sent in Morse code, but sometimesyou will hear a voice reciting the letter groups. Sometimes the woman announcer finishes bysaying, “Thank you for decoding this message!” Since hams are forbidden to use codes or modulation modes that are not easily decoded, these communications are at least illegal.Yes, it’s true that shortwave isn’t as vital to world activities as it once was, but if there’sany romance in your soul, shortwave is still entrancing and always will be. This book is aboutusing amateur radio to recapture the adventure of early day radio and bring it into the present. Itis also about learning electronics and radio technology. If you can get through this book,shortwave radio will still be fascinating, but no longer mysterious.
Admiral Byrd at the South Pole
I first became intrigued by shortwave when I read Admiral Byrd’s book on his lastexpedition to the Antarctic. Admiral Richard Byrd was in the business of launching expeditionsto explore the Earth’s poles. These expeditions had no inherent commercial value except for  book sales and sponsoring grants from companies hoping to gain visibility for their products. Inorder for Byrd to get those grants, the public had to be sufficiently interested in the expeditions togenerate advertising value. With each polar expedition, finding new expedition goals that would be exciting to the public became increasingly difficult. Studying rocks, glaciers, and penguinswas scientifically important, but not particularly interesting to the public. By the 1940’s all the

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