P. 1
Basic Electronics Part5

Basic Electronics Part5

|Views: 77|Likes:
Published by aarco_electronics

More info:

Published by: aarco_electronics on Oct 23, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

01/01/2013

pdf

text

original

BASIC ELECTRONICS

Part 5

A Course of Training Developed for THE UNITED STATES NAVY
by the

New York

firm of

gement Consultants and Graphiological Engineers

S^ALKENBURGH, NOOGER & NEVILLE,
(CENTRAL! '1RAHXJ
1

INC.

pted to
Special
the

J3r»

and Commonwealth Usage
i

F

Training Investigation

Team

of

Roy

al

&

Mechanical EngigSj$£

3?J

^

mm

LONDON

iHE TECHNICAL PRESS, LTD
NEW YORK
THE BROLET PRESS

British

and Commonwealth Edition

first

published 1959

©
Copyright 1959 by

VAN VALKENBURGH, NOOGER &
New
York, U.S.A.

NEVILLE, INC.

All rights reserved

American Edition

first

published 1955

©
Copyright 1955 by

VAN VALKENBURGH, NOOGER &
New
York, U.S.A.
U.S. Library of Congress Catalog

NEVILLE, INC.

Card No. 55-6984

All rights reserved

.'.'JAN

&rar;es

76/32.

t

Made and printed by

Offset in Great Britain by

William Clowes and Sons, Limited, London and Beccles

PREFACE
there lies the core of an illustrated Course of Technician Training carefully planned, brilliantly simplified, and radically new which was developed some years ago at the request of the United States Navy by a distinguished New York firm of management consultants and graphio-

THESE six Manuals on BASIC ELECTRONICS and the five which have preINceded them on BASIC ELECTRICITY,

logical engineers, Messrs.

VAN VALKEN BURGH, NOOGER & NEVILLE, INC.

The Course has since become standard in U.S. Navy Training Schools. More than 50,000 men have taken it as an essential part of their training to technician level in 14 different Navy trades; their average training time has been cut by half; and supplies of Course materials are now held as part of the Navy's official War Mobilization Stores.

Course was subsequently released in a condensed form to the it has proved an outstanding success. In addition to large sales to individuals, to schools and to technical institutions of all kinds, more than a score of world-famous companies have taken the published Manuals for use in their Apprentice Training Schemes, and have found that they enable them to turn out qualified technicians both faster and at less cost than did the old methods of text-book and lecture. Several American trade unions (who take a keen interest in the "up-grading" of their members to more skilled and better-paid jobs) have chosen the Manuals as the best available training materials for their
text of the

The

general public in the United States, where

purpose.

This notable Series is now being made available, in a revised, re-worded edition, to users in Britain and the Commonwealth.

reset,

and suitably

While negotiations with the American authors were still in progress, word reached the British publishers that there had recently been set up, under command of Train-

and Mechanical Engineers, at Arborfield in Team" whose task was to devise solutions for some of the training problems which would face the British Army when National Service ended, and when the Army's increasingly elaborate electrical and electronics gear would have to be manned and serviced by recruits entering the Army with none of the technical knowledge which many National Servicemen had hitherto brought with them into the Forces. It seemed possible that most of the REME requirements for a new-style, yet technically sound, instructional approach could be met by a suitably edited British version of the VVN&N Manuals. A visit to Arborfield was accordingly arranged, where the reception given to the Manuals, with their attractive appearance and proved record of success, was enthusiastic; and after a careful evaluation of their merits and potential suitability had been made, War Office consent was secured to a proposal that the work of adapting text and illustrations to British notation and terminology should be undertaken by the Electronics Team at Arborfield. Later, while this work was still proceeding, a decision was reached to adopt the revised Manuals as basic texts for the training of future REME technicians, and an order for large numbers of complete sets of the Manuals was placed. Early interest
Berkshire, a special "Electronics Training Investigation

ing Headquarters, Royal Electrical

was also shown by several other branches of the Armed Forces, notably the Royal Corps of Signals and the Royal Air Force. Military Advisers to the High Commissioners of at least six leading

Member

Nations of the

Commonwealth submitted

early proofs of the English edition to their respective Ministries of Defence.

The original U.S. Navy Course was based on a novel technique of teaching developed by the Authors after extensive research and practical experience with thousands of students. Immense pains were taken to identify and present only the These facts were essential facts about each new concept or piece of equipment. then explained in the simplest possible language, one at a time; and each was illusNearly every page in every one of the Manuals trated by a cartoon-type drawing. carries one or more of these brilliantly simple "visualizations" of the concept
described.

The approach throughout is non-mathematical. Only the simplest equations needed for working with the fundamental laws of electricity are employed. Yet there has been no shirking of essentials, even when they are difficult; and students with higher qualifications and educational background find nothing in the Manuals They merely pass on to the next subject quicker to irritate or slow them down. than the rest.

Despite their Services background, the Manuals have been proved suitable for
civilian use.

Their purpose, however,

is

limited to the training of technicians, not

of engineers.

They aim
it.

to turn out

men

capable of operating, maintaining, and

carrying out routine repairs to the equipment described

ing or improving

—not men capable of inventThey present a unique simplification of an ordinarily complex of subjects —so
set

planned, written and illustrated as to become the best and quickest
learn

way

to teach or

BASIC ELECTRICITY and BASIC ELECTRONICS

that has ever been

devised.

In these Manuals, first things come first— and only the essentials come anywhere. Their accuracy and thoroughness, combined with their extreme lucidity, will make their publication a landmark in technical education in Britain and the Commonwealth.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Section
1

page
5
j

Introduction to Receivers

2
3 4 5 6

Receiver Aerials

5 13
5.21

TRF Receivers— R.F. Amplifier Stage TRF Receivers— Detector Stage TRF Receivers—Audio Amplifier Stage
The Superheterodyne Receiver
Fault-finding

5 29
5.38

5 43 5 j^ 5 92
5
5.

7
8 9
10

General Review of Receivers
Miscellaneous Electronic Circuits

95
100

Frequency Modulation
Index

:

Transistors

5J01

This Course in

BASIC ELECTRONICS
comprises 6 Parts

This

is

PART 5

It is

preceded by a Course in

BASIC ELECTRICITY
comprising 5 Parts

all

uniform with

this

volume.

Part

1

explained the General Principles of Electricity.
described and discussed D.C. and D.C. Circuits.

Part 2
Parts 3

and 4 described and discussed A.C. and A.C.

Circuits.

Part 5

described and discussed A.C. and D.C. Machines.

BASIC ELECTRONICS
will

be followed by a further Course in

BASIC SYNCHROS & SERYOMECHANISMS
in

two Parts

also uniform with this volume

§

I:

INTRODUCTION TO RECEIVERS
Man

5.1

The History of Communications
Since the earliest days,

he could send messages.
the latest

The modern

and most

efficient

has always tried to increase the distance over which radio transmitter and receiver are merely of a long series of devices which he has invented and

developed to the same end.

5.2

[§|

The History of Communications {continued)

Some of the more primitive methods of communication human messengers and homing pigeons, for instance today have only limited application. But we still use semaphore signals and interrupted flashes of light to convey messages. Coloured lights, rockets and flares are only more up-to-date versions of those warning hilltop fires which flashed news of the coming of the Spanish Armada across the length and breadth of England from Plymouth to "the burghers of Carlisle." Whistles and sirens are still used in ways differing only in degree from

the uses to which they were put in the days of the

Roman

Empire.

SOME JJJDUilJj/] VERSIONS OF
rJiJJJJ J
J J

J£ METHODS ARE

Signal lamps

Sirens

§'1

5.3

The History of Communications (continued)
These simple signalling systems, however, are at best slow and unreliable. If the wind is blowing from the wrong direction, sound signals may not be received. In Runners and thick fog or heavy rain, visual signals fail to deliver their message. pigeons are slightly more reliable; but their rate of travel is relatively slow. The problem of rapid and reliable communication was only finally solved by
harnessing electricity to the task.

Improvements on the inventions of Morse, Bell and Marconi have led to the development of modern telegraph, telephone and wireless communication systems which are capable of transmitting messages almost instantaneously over thousands
of miles.

tfl

*^DE COMMUTATIONS R^^^

5.4

B
(continued)

The History of Communications

t SS

COMMUN.c^,^

Transmission by telephone and telegraph is, of course, still limited to places which can be physically reached by a wire or cable; but with the advent of "wireless" communication (or, as it is more commonly called, radio communication) the
use of electricity for transmitting messages has reached its most advanced stage. This remarkable electronic system, radio, consists of two parts the transmitter

and the

receiver.

The

transmitter, as

you

learnt in Part

4 of Basic Electronics,
receiver picks

sends out the message in the form of radio waves.
these radio waves,

The radio

up

and converts them into the message which was

originally put into

the transmitter.

This Part of Basic Electronics deals with the receiving end of radio communication

—the

receiver.

§1]

5.5

The Jobs a Receiver Performs
must perform are very much the same in radio, in and in echo-sounding equipment. Both the type of signal going into the receiver and the type of signal coming out of the receiver are different for each type of equipment; but the stages which an incoming signal must go through before it emerges as a useful output are almost identical whether the receiver is used
jobs which a receiver
television, in radar

The

for radio, television, radar or echo-sounding.

The
1
.

function of any receiver can be broken

down

into five separate steps, as

follows:

Picking up incoming signals. In radio, television and radar, the incoming signals are electro-magnetic carrier waves sent out by a transmitter. When these waves cut across the receiving aerial, a very weak current is caused to flow in the aerial. This current varies in frequency and in amplitude in such a way as to duplicate the signal radiated from the transmitter aerial. In echo-sounding equipment, the "aerial" is an underwater microphone which
^converts the incoming signal to a

weak

current flow, and so serves the

same

purpose as the radio and radar

aerials.

RADIO
UNDERWATER MICROPHONE

MODULATED
CARRIER WAVE

<2%t+* ""-

A#

m,^mm
Selecting the desired signal.

RADAR
Many

ECHO

transmitters are sending out signals which reach a receiver aerial, however; and of these many signals, the receiver must be able to select the one desired. Every transmitter uses a different frecircuits

quency, while the receiver contains which can be tuned to any frequency the operator desires
to receive.

By tuning these circuits to the frequency of the signal of one of
the transmitters,

you can

select that
all others.

desired signal and reject

The more

tuned-circuits used in a

receiver, the sharper is the tuning

of that receiver.

5.6

[§l

The Jobs a Receiver Performs (continued)
3.

Amplifying the desired

r.f.

signal.

The

currents generated by the incoming

R.F. amplifiers similar to those you have already studied are used to amplify these weak signals before they reach
signals in the aerial are extremely weak.

the detector.
4. Detecting,

last r.f.

or demodulating, the amplified signal. A detector stage follows the The detector does the important job of separatamplifier in a receiver.
of the signal, a detector is

ing the "envelope" of the signal from the
the modulation

The

signal, after

demodulation,

may

communications radio receivers; or else
or television receivers.
5.

Because the envelope is r.f. carrier. sometimes called a "demodulator." be either a voice or code signal, as in a rapid change of voltage, as in radar

Amplifying the audio or video signals. In radio receivers, the audio signal which comes from the detector undergoes further amplification. Audio voltage amplifiers and power amplifiers similar to those you have already studied build up the audio signal to a sufficient strength to operate a pair of earphones or a loudspeaker, so that the signal may be heard. In radar receivers, the signal will show up as a "pip" on an oscilloscope. In these receivers, video amplifiers similar to those you have already learnt about
are then used to amplify the voltage "pips."
signal

The video
it

amplifiers take the

from the detector, and build

it

up

so that

can be seen on the radar screen.

COMMUNICATION TYPE RECEIVER

AA

f

1

2

4

5

Tuned
Circuit

Audio
Detector

Amp.

4— Y
2 3

-H4

Ajv
5

JU

RADAR TYPE
RECEIVER

Tuned
Circuit

RF
Amp.

Video
Detector

Amp.

§ I]

5-7

Receiver Sensitivity

There are several characteristics of a receiver which can be determined simply by comparing the receiver output with the input signal. These characteristics will tell you how well your receiver is working.

The

first

of the characteristics— there are three in

all— is

sensitivity.

Sensitivity can be defined as the ability of a receiver to pick

up weak

signals, to

matter what type of equipment amplify them, and to deliver a useful output. important because many input signals which the the receiver is in, sensitivity is And only a sensitive receiver can receiver must amplify are extremely weak.

No

develop a sizable output from a weak input.

Receiver Not Sensitive Enough

HI-YO

Very Sensitive Receiver

5.8

[§l

Receiver Selectivity
Sensitivity

by

itself,

however, will not

make

a receiver good enough for use.

It

must also be
Selectivity

selective.

may be

defined as the ability of a receiver to select a desired signal,

and to discriminate against all undesired signals. Even if every signal which reached the aerial was amplified, the output— although strong enough—would still be useless because of all the interference caused by the presence of the unwanted signals.

M,#

*fr$ny*R

y£ & moon *„

Selective

Receiver

Si]
Receiver Fidelity

5 9
-

can pick out one signal from the many which reach the aerial and can amplify it so as to produce a useful output even though the signal may be weak (sensitivity), the receiver is good enough to be used in quite a number of applications. For other applications, however, one more thing is important the receiver must be able to reproduce the original signal without distortion. A receiver which can do this is said to have good fidelity; a receiver which cannot has "poor fidelity." Home radio receivers usually have good fidelity, because they are made for the enjoyment of the listener. Communications receivers are made to reproduce speech,
If the receiver

(selectivity),

but only so that

it

shall

be

intelligible;

they are therefore not usually designed with

good fidelity in mind. Radar receivers, on the other hand, must have good fidelity because the operator can get a great deal of information from the exact appearance of the received signal as it is displayed on his oscilloscope.


5.10

|

The Crystal Receiver

The first receivers used in the early 1900s were called "crystal sets." In their simplest form they consisted of an aerial, a tuned-circuit, a crystal detector, and a pair of earphones. The
aerial

picked up any signals there might be about

very few of them!

— those days there were — and the tuned-circuit selected the wanted one. The
in

crystal

usually a piece of galena or

"detected" the signal in

carborundum with a "cat's whisker" contact device a manner you will learn about later. The resulting audio-

skill was needed in the adjustment of the "cat's whisker"; and, since their sensitivity was poor, consistently good results could only be obtained in the neighbourhood of the transmitter.

frequency signals were then used to energise the earphones. Simple though these crystal sets were, a fair degree of

Today these wireless modern equipments.

sets are curiosities

— but the

crystal detector

is

used

in

many

IN THE BEGINNING...

§1]

5.11

The

TRF

Receiver

RF AMPLIFIER

DETECTOR

AUDIO AMPLIFIER

radio frequency

their way out, and were being replaced by tuned which made use of valves. The first one or two valves, and their tuned-circuits, make up the r.f. amplifier which gives the TRF receiver better selectivity and sensitivity than had the old

By 1920

crystal sets

were on

(TRF)

receivers

crystal sets.

The

detector does the

same thing as did

the crystal detector, but

sometimes amplifies the signal as well. After the detector, the audio signal is amplified in the audio amplifier. The output of this audio amplifier is a fairly powerful signal, which can be used to drive a loudspeaker or a pair of earphones. TRF receivers are not very often used today, but some receivers are still of
this type.

5.12

[§l

The Superheterodyne Receiver

The most common type
today
is

of receiver used in

home

radios and in other equipment

the superheterodyne receiver.
all

the r.f. amplification takes place at the incoming achieved after the incoming signal has been converted to an intermediate frequency (i.f.), which is always the same no matter what the frequency of the desired signal may be.
signal frequency.

In this type of receiver, not

Most

of

it is

Detector

AF
Amplifier

Local
Oscillator

SUPERHET

The only parts in a superhet which are additional to those in a variable-frequency local oscillator, the mixer and the i.f. amplifier.

TRF
>

are the

The variable-frequency local oscillator is similar to the oscillators which you have already studied. The oscillator produces an r.f. signal which is "mixed" in the mixer stage with the signal from the r.f. amplifier. The resulting i.f. frequency
is

the

difference

between the input signal frequency and the local oscillator

frequency.

The i.f. is a fixed frequency, and the i.f. amplifiers are therefore fixed-tuned. This allows them to be very accurately tuned, so that high gain and selectivity can be obtained at the chosen frequency.

You

will find

the time being,

over the

TRF

how a superhet receiver works later in this Part. For enough for you to know that the advantage of the superhet receiver is that the superhet has higher gain and greater selectivity.
out exactly
is
it

§2: RECEIVER AERIALS
The Function of Receiver
Aerials
is

5.13

The purpose

of the receiver aerial

to intercept the electro-magnetic

waves

radiated from the transmitter.
ate a small voltage in
aerial-earth system.
it.

these waves cut across the aerial, they generThis voltage causes a weak current to flow in the

When

This feeble current has the same frequency as the current in the transmitter. If is amplitude-modulated, the aerial current will vary in exactly the same manner. This weak aerial current, flowing through the aerial coil, induces a correspondthe original current in the transmitter ing signal voltage in the grid circuit of the
first r.f.

amplifier stage of the receiver.

Electromagnetic Waves

Current

nWH V
Current

TRANSMITTER
RECEIVER
RECEIVER
AERIALS INTERCEPT THE RADIO WAVES SENT OUT BY

THE TRANSMITTER

as much signal, and as little undesired interference, should be constructed so that the signal is not lost or dissipated before reaching the receiver. It should give maximum response at the frequency or band of frequencies to which the receiver is tuned.
to the receiver as possible.
It

A receiving aerial should feed

An

aerial

in the direction

can also be "directional," which means that it will give best response from which the operator wishes to receive.

The receiver aerial problem is easily solved when the receiver is operated in conjunction with a transmitter. Since the transmitting aerial is usually designed to incorporate the desirable features which have just been listed, the same aerial
can be used alternately for both transmitter and receiver. A switch or relay is used to connect the aerial to whichever piece of equipment is operating at any particular moment.

However, wireless stations are frequently receiving-stations only; and it is then necessary to erect a separate receiving aerial, paying attention to the four considerations of noise, signal loss, frequency response and directivity.
Before discussing these considerations of aerial design, you should get to something about a few of the more common types of receiving aerials.

know

5.14

[§2

Types of Receiver Aerials

One
two

of the simplest

consists of a wire,
insulators.

known

and most commonly used aerials is the "inverted L." It as a "flat-top," which is suspended horizontally between

The

length of the wire should be from 50 to 75 feet for

reception,

and from 20 to 40 feet for high frequency reception. be suspended from 30 to 50 feet above ground.

medium broadcast-band The flat-top should

A

wire

known

as the "lead-in"

is

used as a transmission line from the aerial to
flat-top,

the receiver.

It is

connected near one end of the
coil.

and brought down

to the

primary winding of the receiver aerial

Flat-top

INVERTED L AERIAL
Another

common

type of aerial

is

the "doublet," or dipole aerial.
insulator.

It consists

of a horizontal wire divided into

two equal sections by an

Each

half of the aerial should ideally be a quarter-wavelength long, for the

frequency most commonly used.

The transmission
of the aerial coil.

line

from the

aerial is connected to the

two ends of the primary

This type of aerial will give excellent high-frequency reception, and will also give
comparatively noise-free reception on the broadcast band.
It may be of interest to note that most of the television receiver aerials with whose appearance you are so familiar are little more than modifications of the

dipole aerial, with metal bars replacing the less rigid wires.

1/4 wavelength
i

1/4 wavelength
A
^

eCUO-

!~«J

Transmission y^\ Line

DIPOLE AERIAL

§2]

5.15

Types of Receiver Aerials (continued)

Where

lack of space

makes horizontal

VERTICAL
AERIAL

aerials impracticable, a vertical aerial is

used instead.
Vertical
aerials,

consisting

of

tele-

scoping metal masts from 3 to 14 feet in
length, are

commonly used

portable

receivers,

for cars and and sometimes for

home

broadcast receivers.
ordinary lead-in wire
is

An

run from

the bottom of the aerial to the primary

of the aerial coil of the receiver.

The

other end
earthed.

of

the

primary should be

Another type of
able and
aerial."

aerial

used for portis

home

receivers

the "frame

The

aerial consists of a coil of wire

which is connected to the two ends of the primary of the aerial coil. Many portable broadcast-band receivers contain a frame aerial within the cabinet.

The frame

aerial is highly directional.

When
a

it

is

pointed edgeways towards
the
signal side

transmitter,

pick-up
is

is

maximum; when
minimum.

its flat

towards
is

the transmitter, the signal pick-up

This property makes it extremely useful for radio-beacon and direction-finding equipment. When used in conjunction with
direction-finding equipment, the frame
aerial takes the

form of a loop, and

is

therefore called a "loop aerial."

5.16

.

[§2

Selecting and Installing an Aerial

—Noise

An

(commonly

important consideration in aerial installation is that of undesired radio noise called simply "noise"). Noise consists of radio waves of many frequencies, and is produced by both

man-made and natural electrical disturbances. Among the more important manmade noise producers are lifts, fans, refrigerators, vehicle ignition systems, vacuum
cleaners,

X-ray and diathermy equipment, and mains power

lines.

No aerial can differentiate between desired signals and undesired radio noise, though steps can be taken to minimize the latter. It is customary to compare the signal pick-up of the aerial with its noise pick-up. This relationship is known as the "signal-to-noise ratio."

A

high signal-to-noise ratio

is

necessary for relatively noise-free reception.

Desired
Signal

NOISE WAVES

Waves

AERIALS

CANNOT DIFFER
RECEIVER

Noisy Reception

ENTIATE BETWEEN SIGNAL AND NOISE

§2]
Selecting and Installing an

*•»
Aerial—Noise (continued)

There are various ways in which a high signal-to-noise ratio may be obtained. The first is by locating the aerial as far as possible from power lines, and any other electrical devices likely to produce noise. Placing the aerial at right angles to the mains power lines will also reduce the

amount

of noise.

HIGH SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO (Low Noise Pickup

LOW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO
(Hi£h Noise Pickup)

The second method

is

as practical considerations will allow.

by increasing the height above ground of the aerial as much This tends to increase the signal strength,

and to reduce the amount of noise. The third method involves using a good earth connection to the receiver when provision is made for one. A poor earth lead may pick up noise; it should therefore be kept as short as possible, and away from noise-producing devices. A good eartrrlead should use rubber-insulated wire, S.W.G. No. 16, or copper It should make good contact through a clamp to an earthed object, such as a braid.
radiator or water pipe.

Gas

A

good deal of noise may

pipes should never be used for earthing purposes. be picked up by the lead-in. If the lead-in uses two

wires, as in the case of the transmission line used with a dipole aerial, noise can be reduced by using twisted wires, or by reversing the positions of the wires every

few feet. Noise can also be reduced by using screened lead-in wires.

.

518
Selecting and Installing an Aerial

—Signal Losses
and
installing

B2
an
aerial is that

The second
The
walls,

factor to be considered in selecting

of signal losses.
aerial should

and

tree branches.

be placed as far as possible from metal objects, chimneys, These objects absorb radio waves, and thus reduce the

strength of the signal reaching the aerial.

A

loose or swinging aerial

may

cause the signal to fade.

FACTORS THAT CAUSE
AERIAL SIGNAL LOSSES.
.

^rAerial touching tree branches

Aerial surrounded by tall buildings

Aerial swaying in the breeze
if a high resistance is present in the aerial reduce resistance, all joints and connections should be carefully soldered; and, where possible, the aerial and lead-in should consist of a single piece of wire with no joints.

Signal losses will also be increased

circuit.

To

be further increased by leakage of current through poor supmade of materials such as glazed porcelain or pyrex glass, which do not readily absorb moisture and thus provide a leakage path for current.
porting insulators.
Insulators should be

Signal losses

may

Aerial
sant=

Wire

Insulator

Tie-Wire

REDUCING AERIAL RESISTLead-in

ANCE BY ELIMINATING JOINTS

§2]
Selecting and Installing an

5.19

Aerial—Frequency Response and
is

Directivity
is

The
length.
its

third consideration

that of frequency response,

which

related to the aerial
if

A

maximum
is

signal, at a given frequency, will

be induced in the aerial

length

either one-quarter or one-half the wavelength of the signal to

be

received.

possible to change the effective length of an aerial by placing a coil or a length of the capacitor in series with it. Adding inductance increases the electrical
It is

aerial; while

adding capacitance shortens it. (aerial front panel of certain receivers contains a control marked ae. tune capacitor, and is used to compentuning). This control varies the size of a small

The

sate for variations in aerial length.

not nearly In general, however, adjustment of the aerial to the correct length is as it is for transmitters. as important for receiving equipment The final consideration is that of directivity. All aerials, except the vertical

and type consisting of a single perpendicular wire, have directional properties, from certain directions better than they do from others. receive signals aerial horizontal or inverted L aerial will receive best when the signal cuts the

A

wire at right angles. that it produces the

For any one

station, of course, the aerial

may be

turned so

But since it is extremely unlikely position of that all transmitters will be broadcasting from the same direction, the the aerial will usually have to be a compromise for all stations. Dipole aerials may be made highly directional by arranging them into systems called "arrays," similar to those employed with television systems.

maximum

signal pick-up.

FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED IN SELECTING AND INSTALLING
AERIALS
.
.

5.20

[§2
Aerials

REVIEW—Receiver
Aerial
Function.

The

receiver

aerial
Electromagnetic Waves
Hill
Illli

picks up signals radiated by a transmitter,

and transmits these signals
or transmission line

via the lead-in

to the primary of the

receiver aerial coil.

The electro-magnetic
aerial

waves

cutting

the

induce

signal

voltages,
receiver.

which

are

amplified

by

the

Inverted

L

Aerial.

This

is

one of the

simplest and most commonly-used types of
aerials, consisting of a horizontally supported wire, with the lead-in attached near one end.

RECEIVER

-•-<ca>p-

Dipole Aerial.

This type of aerial

is

the

same as
sists

that used in transmitters, and con-

of two

quarter-wavelength

sections

supported horizontally.
high-frequency response.

It gives excellent

RECEIVER

in

Frame Aerial. The frame aerial is used many portable and home medium broadBecause
it

cast-band receivers.
directional,
it is

is

highly

also used in direction-finding

equipment.

TT

*

\
Selection
loss,

and Installation.

Noise, signal

frequency response, and directivity are the four factors which must be considered

when

selecting

and

installing

an

aerial.

§3:
The

TRF RECEIVERS-R.F. AMPLIFIER STAGE
TRF
is

5.21

Introduction to the

Receiver
the type of receiver
first

TRF

receiver

you

will study

first.

You

will recall

from the

Section of this Part of Basic Electronics, "Introducconsists of an
r.f.

tion to Receivers," that the

TRF

amplifier, a detector,

and an

audio amplifier.

So that you may have in mind the goal towards which you are working, there are shown below the circuit diagrams of the two types of TRF receiver you will learn about in this and the three following Sections.

TRF RECEIVER WITH A DIODE DETECTOR

5.22

'

B

3

The R.F. Amplifier Stage
Every
tivity

TRF

receiver contains one or

more

stages of
is

r.f.

amplification preceding

the detector.

The main purpose

of these amplifiers

to provide additional selec-

and

sensitivity.

You
signal

will recall that selectivity indicates

how

well a receiver receives a desired

and

rejects

ceiver's ability to

unwanted signals; and that pick up a weak signal. Up

sensitivity is a

measure of the

re-

stages there are in an equipment, the Let us now briefly review some of
amplifiers.

more r.f. amplifier greater will be its selectivity and sensitivity. the principal points you have learnt about r.f.
to a point, the

V
Aerial

GREATER SELECTIVITY AND SENSITIVITY OBTAINED BY USING MORE TUNED
RF STAGES

1ST

2ND

3RD

RF
AMPLIFIER

RF
AMPLIFIER

RF
AMPLIFIER

Since the r.f. amplifier stage is designed primarily for voltage amplification, any But in practice valve suitable for voltage amplification may theoretically be used. triodes are not considered satisfactory, because they have a strong tendency to produce undesirable oscillations when employed in r.f. amplifier stages. Unless
*

the triodes are carefully neutralized to prevent feedback, these oscillations are likely
to cause trouble.

this

Valves containing a screen grid do not suffer from this disadvantage; and for reason most r.f. amplifiers used in receivers employ either tetrodes or pentodes. The valve which is generally preferred as an r.f. amplifier is a variable-mu penThis type of valve not only provides considerable voltage gain, but also tode. minimizes certain types of interference from powerful undesired signals. Since varying the grid bias of a variable-mu pentode changes the amount of amplification,
this type of valve is very suitable for

use in circuits involving either manual or

automatic gain (volume) control

Only screen grid valves are used
in receiver

RF

amplifiers

Yet even when pentodes are used
amplification
is

in

r.f.

amplifiers, the

number

of stages of
inter-

limited because of a tendency towards

instability

caused by

action between the stages, which can cause oscillations. meet r.f. amplifiers containing more than two stages.

You

will therefore rarely

§3]
R.F. Transformers
In the schematic of an
amplifier has two
r.f. r.f.

5.23

amplifier stage

shown below, you

will note that the

transformers.
is

The

first,

the aerial coil,

designed to couple the aerial circuit to the grid circuit
often referred to as the
r.f.

of the amplifier.
circuit of the
r.f.

The second,

coil,

couples the anode

amplifier with the grid circuit of the next stage.

The

coils are usually

wound on

a former

made

of cardboard or bakelite.

They

are generally of the air-core type, though powdered-iron cores

may

also be used.

5.24

[§3

Band Switching Note that while

the primaries of transformers used in r.f. stages are untuned, variable capacitors are connected across the secondary coils so as to form resonant or tuned circuits. These resonant circuits are responsible for the high selectivity

and
If

sensitivity of the

TRF

receiver.

to cover a frequency range greater than one coil and one tuning capacitor will allow, it will be necessary to change the tuning-circuits. This is

a receiver

is

usually accomplished by substituting- a different coil. One system uses removable plug-in coils; while another system uses several mounted coils whose leads run to a multi-contact rotary switch known as a "selector" or

tuning capacitor, thus

"band switch." By turning the switch, any coil may be connected to the making tuning possible over the desired band of frequencies. A receiver employing band switching is illustrated below. In this receiver the selection of the frequency band is accomplished by rotating a four-position switch. Both switch sections can connect any one of four r.f. coils to a variable capacitor.

§3]

5.25

Ganged Capacitors
Every
the
r.f.

TRF

receiver has a

minimum

of

two tuned-circuits, one associated with

amplifier and one with the detector. In the early days of the TRF, every variable capacitor was connected to its own individual tuning knob. In order to tune your radio to a station, you had to turn

each knob individually
the desired station.

until

each tuned-circuit was resonant at the frequency of

The

later

TRF

receiver eliminated the need for individual tuning

knobs by having

This allowed the variable capacitors of all the tuned-circuits mounted on one shaft. with a single control, which varied all the tuned-circuits the receiver to be tuned
together and at the

same

time.

This
Since

is

called "ganged" tuning.

In a receiver having two

r.f.

amplifier stages,

plus a detector, a three-gang capacitor
all

would be used.

the tuned-circuits are varied together, all the variable capacitors should

have exactly equal capacitances at every setting of the gang spindle. All the tunedresulting circuits would then be resonant at the same frequency at the same time in maximum sensitivity and selectivity. Unfortunately, no two capacitors can be manufactured exactly alike; so the individual capacitor sections on a ganged unit will have slightly different capacitances at every setting. If nothing were done to compensate for these differences in capacitance, the tuned-circuits in a receiver would be resonant at slightly different frequencies for every setting of the tuning knob— causing poor receiver selectivity

and

sensitivity.

A

receiver with such characteristics

is

said to be "out of alignment."

A = 200 pF

B= 195 pF C=204pF

3RD

I
RESONANT TO 600 Kc/S

RF

RESONANT TO 603 KQ/s

RESONANT TO 598 Kc/s

RECEIVER

OUT OF ALIGNMENT

5.26

[§3

Trimmer Capacitors and Coils

The problem

of misalignment can be solved by adding small variable capacitors,

called "trimmer capacitors," in parallel with the

main variable tuning

capacitors.

Sometimes the adjustment
the capacitors.

is

made

in the coil of a tuned-circuit, rather than

on

In this case, an iron-cored slug is moved in and out of the coil, causing the inductance to vary. This is called "permeability," or "slug tuning." In receivers covering only one band, the trimmers are usually located on the ganged capacitors, one for each section. In receivers using band switching, the trimmers for each range are usually mounted on, and in parallel with, the individual
coils.

at

These trimmer capacitors are adjusted after the main capacitors have been set minimum capacitance at the high end of the dial. They are adjusted to make

the total capacitance of the individual tuned-circuits the

same

at every setting of

the tuning control.

The

tuned-circuits will therefore be tuned to the

over the whole width of the band
selectivity.

—the

result being high receiver sensitivity

same frequency, simultaneously, and

VARIABLE CAPACITORS

RESONANT TO 600 Ke/s

RESONANT TO 600 Kc/s

RESONANT TO 600 Kc/S

RECEIVER

IN

ALIGNMENT

It sometimes happens that, although the circuits are properly adjusted at the high end of the dial, they do not tune to identical frequencies at the other end of the dial. A correction may be made for this, in some sets, if the end rotor plates are of the slotted type. Adjustments can be made by bending a portion of the slotted

plates either towards, or

away from,

the stator plates.

When

all

of the ganged circuits of a

TRF

receiver tune to the

any particular
alignment.

dial setting, they are said to be "tracking,"

same frequency and the receiver is

at
in

§3]

5.27

Grid Bias Manual Volume Control

Since the signals arriving from different transmitters will vary in amplitude,

it is
r.f.

necessary to provide on the receiver a volume control so that the gain of the
amplifier

and the amplitude of the output signal can both be varied. One of the most common methods of controlling the gain of a TRF is by changing the bias voltage of the r.f. amplifier stage. This is done by placing a variable
resistor in the

cathode
the

circuit.
r.f.

You
tode.

will recall that the

amplifier stage usually employs a variable-mu penthis

Varying

bias

of

variable-mu

valve

causes

the

amplification

factor of the valve to vary,

and therefore the gain of the stage
r.f.

to vary.

If there are several r.f. amplifiers, the variable resistor

may be

connected in such

a

manner as The fixed

to vary the bias of all the
resistor in the

amplifiers.
is

cathode circuit

placed there in order to provide the
for

proper bias when the variable resistor

is set

maximum

gain at^the zero resist-

ance position. Variation of the grid bias volume control is achieved by means of a potentiometer, which also acts as a variable shunt across
the primary of the aerial coil.

When
meter
is

the

moving arm of the potentioto

moved

the
is

left,

the resistance

across the primary coil

reduced, while the

cathode resistance
in a

is

increased.
grid,

This results

weaker signal on the
the sliding

and reduced
to the

voltage amplification.

When
extreme

arm

is

moved

right, the resistance across the pri-

mary
ance
signal

is is

increased, while the cathode resist-

reduced.

This produces a stronger

on the

grid,

and increased voltage

amplification.

5.28

[§3
Amplifier Circuit

REVIEW—R.F.

Now
The

pause for a moment to examine the
its

r.f.

amplifier

shown above, and
r.f.

to review

the purpose of each of

components.
amplifier.

aerial coil couples the aerial to the control grid of the

The

variable capacitor enables the operator to tune the amplifier to the frequency of the

desired signal, and thus provides selectivity.
control;

The 25-K
the

variable resistor acts as a volume

while

the

330-ohm

resistor

sets
is

lower limit of cathode bias.

The

capacitor between the cathode and earth

the bypass capacitor.

The 100-K resistor in the screen grid circuit is the screen grid voltage dropping resistor, which serves to keep the screen grid at a lower positive potential than the anode. The
0*01-(xF capacitor in the screen grid circuit
is

the screen grid decoupling capacitor,

which acts as a bypass for r.f. signals and enables the screen to act as a shield between the anode and the control grid.

The
coil is

r.f.

coil in the

anode

circuit acts as the

anode load.

The secondary of

this r.f.

connected into the next stage.

§4: TRF RECEIVERS-DETECTOR STAGE
What
signal

5.29

the Detector

Does

The primary purpose

of the detector circuit is to change the r.f. signal into a which can be reproduced as sound by the headphones or loudspeaker. Withis

out the detector, radio reception

not possible.

detector,

its bare essentials, would consist of a and a pair of headphones. All other stages which are found in front of the detector in more complex receivers, such as the TRF or the "superhet," have been put there for the primary purpose of enabling the detector to do a

The

simplest radio receiver, reduced to

an

aerial,

better job.

In order to understand the purpose of the detector,
the theory of radio-telephony transmission.

it is

necessary to review briefly

In Part 4 of Basic Electronics, which dealt with radio transmitters, you learnt
that radio-telephony transmission requires the generation of a radio-frequency
carrier wave.

Intelligence

is

impressed on this wave, one method of doing so being

to vary the amplitude of the carrier wave.

A
is

known

combination of audio-frequency waves superimposed on a carrier wave is as an amplitude-modulated signal; and it is this combination of waves which picked up by the aerial of the radio receiver.
transmitted signals reach a receiver, the desired signal
rectified
is

When
circuits.

selected by tuned-

stage.

component

filtered out of the rectified signal, and the audio changed into sound waves by earphones or a loudspeaker. The process of detection thus includes both rectification and filtering.
is

The selected signal is The r.f. component is

by a

crystal or valve rectifier in the detector

THE PROCESS

OF...

pfcTECTlO*

Reproduction

5.30

[§4

The Crystal Detector

The
you

simplest of

all

detectors

is

the crystal type.

If

will

have very

little

trouble understanding the operation of the

you understand how it works, somewhat more

complicated valve detectors.

A CRYSTAL DETECTOR

The modulated radio waves which are radiated from the aerials of transmitters induce corresponding signal voltages and currents in the aerial system of the radio These signals are then transferred to the detector circuit by means of a receiver. radio-frequency transformer, the secondary of which is a tuned-circuit. It is this tuned-circuit which gives the detector some degree of selectivity. The selected signal is rectified by the detector; and the result is a pulsating d.c. signal containing two components, one of which is radio frequency and the other
audio frequency.

The The

a.f.

component passes through the headphones, and produces sound waves component
is

similar to those originally used to modulate the radio wave.
r.f.

bypassed round the headphones by the

filtering action of

a

small capacitor placed across the headphones.

HOW A CRYSTAL DETECTOR WORKS

*- Audio Frequencies

Path
Path

• Radio Frequencies

§4]

5.31

The Crystal Detector (continued)

The

crystal detector possesses the advantages of simplicity

and economy.

It

needs no batteries, nor other local sources of power. There are no filaments to burn out, or to produce hum and noise. In applications requiring the detection of ultra-high-frequency signals, moreover, the crystal possesses certain decided advantages over the valve detector.

The ordinary

crystal detector provides

developed transistors are of amplifying signals).

—as you
r.f.

will discover in Part

no amplification (though the recently 6 crystals which are capable

The

crystal detector

is

therefore characterized by low sensitivity,

and

is

usually

preceded by one or more

amplifier stages.

The
others.

crystals used in the earliest radio receivers

had another disadvantage.

Cer-

tain portions of the face of the crystal

had

better rectifying properties than

had

This

made

it

necessary to explore the face of the crystal with a wire probe
this sensitive point,

called a "cat's whisker," until a sensitive rectifying point

could easily be dislodged from
reason likely to be
In addition,
it

was found. The wire and reception was for that

erratic.

dirt,

grease or air-borne dust could spoil the sensitive spot, and

make

necessary to search for another spot.

crystal rectifiers.

have been overcome in the more modern germanium and silicon These consist of small sealed cartridges containing contact wires which cannot be dislodged. They have an extremely long life, and resist shock and vibration better than most conventional valves.

These

difficulties

OPEN TYPE CRYSTAL DETECTOR

SEALED GERMANIUM CRYSTAL

,

5.32

[§4

The Diode Detector

The fundamental
detector,

circuit of the

diode detector closely resembles that of the crystal
characteristics of these

and the operating principles and

two detectors are

very similar.

i

>h|

——
.

CRYSTAL DETECTOR

J

o o

t
I

-

i

y

T

from the diagram above that the only difference between the diode The prois the replacement of the crystal by a diode valve. cesses of selection, rectification and filtering are carried out in the same way as with
will see

You

and

crystal detectors.

the crystal detector.

When

the detector

is

operating, current flows through the tuned-circuit during

the positive half of each signal cycle.
selectivity of the tuned-circuit.

This current flow produces what

is

known

as "damping," which has the effect of reducing both the voltage gain and the

Because of these
tuned
r.f.

factors,

and because

it

is

capable of handling large signal
generally preceded

voltages without distortion, the diode detector

is

by one or more

amplifiers which provide increased sensitivity
is

and

selectivity.
.

The

detector

usually followed by one or

more

stages of a.f amplification, to

provide sufficient power to operate a loudspeaker.

§ 4]

5.33

The Grid-leak Detector

You have seen that since the diode detector cannot itself amplify, it is generally used in a receiver which contains several separate stages of amplification. If, however, you need a receiver in which the number of valves used has to be kept
low, you will have to use a more sensitive detector
as detects.

—one

which amplifies as well

In order to amplify, the detector must of necessity use a valve containing a control
grid,

Of

such as a triode, a tetrode or a pentode. the triode detectors, the one which is easiest to understand

is

the grid-leak

This is followed by a stage of audio-frequency amplification.
detector.

because the grid-leak detector is basically only a diode detector

detector,
circuit

Suppose that, to begin with, you examine the grid and cathode circuits of this and temporarily forget about the anode circuit. The result will be the

shown below.

Note that

this is basically the circuit of the
is

diode detector.
is

The

control grid

of the triode

taking the place of the diode anode, the grid-leak resistor has
acting as an
r.f.

replaced the diode load or earphones, and the grid capacitor
filter

capacitor across the load.

When
electrons

a modulated signal voltage

is

applied to this circuit, the grid will attract

from the cathode during the positive half -cycles. The flow of current through the grid-leak resistor to earth will produce a voltage drop across the gridleak resistor.
this voltage will

Because of the fact that current can flow in only one direction in the grid circuit, remain constant in polarity. The grid is thus biased, or kept at a

negative voltage with respect to the cathode.

The amount
of the signal.

of bias will vary in accordance with the amplitude or the modulation In other words, the bias will vary at an audio-frequency rate.

5.34

[§4

The Grid-leak Detector (continued)

Now

consider the complete grid-leak detector circuit.

a Schematic of grid-leak detector

You will recall that the anode current of a triode is dependent on the grid voltage. Consequently, the audio-frequency variations in bias should produce a corresponding varying anode current.
may be in the anode current is chokes placed in the anode circuit. As a result, the voltage developed across the anode load is an amplified reproduction of the audio-frequency voltage developed across the grid-leak resistor. When there is no incoming signal, no bias is produced. Consequently, the anode current is high when no signal is being detected. When a signal is received, the
radio-frequency component which there
r.f.

Any

filtered

out by capacitors or by

grid

becomes biased negatively, and the average amount of anode current decreases.

of grief bias developed is equal numerically to the amount of grid Current multiplied by the value of the resistance of the grid-leak. The larger the grid-leak resistor, therefore, the greater will be the amplitude of the signal

The amount

developed.

For this reason, grid-leak detectors which were extremely sensitive would have to use grid-leak resistors whose values were between one and five megohms.
If, however, a strong signal comes in, it is quite possible that enough bias will be created to cut off the flow of anode current during part of the cycle, thus producing distortion.

to

In practice, therefore, the value of the grid-leak resistor has to be chosen so as be a compromise between the requirements of sensitivity and of minimum

distortion.

§ 4]

5.35

The Anode-bend Detector

The anode-bend detector employs a The bias is usually provided by means
by means
will

be

at,

triode or pentode biased at, or near, cut-off. of a cathode bias resistor; or, less frequently, The anode current of a bias battery placed between grid and cathode. or near, zero when no signal is being received.

*

Anode Current

Grid Voltage

Average value

of

anode current

^Signal value applied to grid-cathode circuit

Action in anode bend detector
|

a modulated r.f. signal is impressed on the grid, there will be a pulse of anode current during the positive half-cycle, and little or no anode current during The anode current will contain an amplified and rectified the negative half-cycle.

When

version of the input signal.
filtering of the r.f. component is accomplished by connecting a small capabetween the anode and earth, and an r.f. choke in series with the anode load. It is important that a small capacitor be used, since a capacitor which is too large will tend to filter out the higher audio frequencies as well as the radio frequencies.

The

citor

5.36

[§4
{continued)

The Anode-bend Detector
bend detector

In contrast to the action of the grid-leak detector, anode current in the anodeis at a minimum with no incoming signal.

Up to a certain point thereafter, the average anode current increases in direct proportion to the amplitude or strength of the signal impressed on the grid. Another important characteristic is that if care be taken not to drive the grid
anode-bend detector will consume no input power, and there will be no damping effect on the tuned-circuit. Consequently, the selectivity and fidelity of the anode-bend detector is better than is that of the grid-leak detector. On the other hand, one of the disadvantages of the anode-bend detector is the
positive, the

fact that

its

sensitivity to

weak

signals

is

much

less

than

is

that of the grid-leak

detector.

directly provide a voltage to

produces more distortion than does the diode detector; and it cannot be used for automatic gain control. A typical anodebend detector circuit is illustrated below.
It also

Components
R.F. coil and variable capacitor

Functions

Provide selectivity, and couple detector to preceding r.f. amplifier stage
Provides cathode bias

22-K

resistor

0-5-(xF capacitor
001-jjt.F

Bypasses signal round cathode bias resistor
r.f.

capacitor and

choke

Filter

r.f.

component of

signal

270-K

resistor

Acts as anode load of detector

0-01-[aF capacitor

Couples detector to following
stage

a.f.

amplifier

§4]

5.37

REVIEW- -Detectors

You have now
detectors.

learnt the basic principles of operation of four important types of
circuits

Let us review the basic

and operating characteristics of each type.

CIRCUITS

CHARACTERISTICS
Moderate sensitivity Poor selectivity

Good

fidelity

Capable of handling strong signals Simple and economical to operate

High

reliability

(with

modern

crystals)

CRYSTAL DETECTOR

O
s&
T
..

Low
Poor

sensitivity
selectivity
fidelity

Good
High

reliability

Capable of handling strong signals Capable of supplying

AGC

voltage

DIODE DETECTOR rWWA

*-HT+

High Poor

sensitivity selectivity
fidelity

Low

Moderate

reliability

Easily overloaded by strong signals

Anode

current decreases

when a

GRID-LEAK DETECTOR
ANODE DETECTOR

signal is received

Insensitive to

weak

signals

Good

selectivity

Fair fidelity

Moderate reliability Anode current increases when a
signal
is

received

ANODE-BEND DETECTOR

.

538

§5: TRF RECEIVERS-AUDIO AMPLIFIER
STAGE

The Audio Power Amplifier
is to review what you learnt about you will need an audio power amplifier in your receiver to enable you to hear in your loudspeaker the signals you have picked up. You will remember that loudspeakers produce sounds by pushing the air and making it move. They are themselves actuated by electrical power; and it is their job to convert this electrical power into sound. To enable them to do this, the first necessity is that the power supplied to them shall be sufficient for the job. It is for this reason that an audio power amplifier

Your

next step in the study of radio receivers

the audio

power

amplifier; for

is

put in as the

last stage of

a receiver.
in

You

will find

an audio power amplifier
repair.
It is

almost every receiver you will ever

have to operate or
amplifier.

as

common

in this type of

equipment as

is

the

r.f

§5]
A.F. Amplifier Tone Control Circuits

5.39

Now,

unless something

that the sound emitted

is done to correct the matter, it will frequently happen by a radio receiver will differ considerably from the original

sound applied to the transmitter. The main reasons are that audio amplifiers do not amplify all frequencies by the same amount, and that loudspeakers do not respond equally well tofall frequencies. Other causes of distortion to the signal in transit are static and valve noise, both of which are generally reproduced as high audio frequencies of a random nature. Now, the tone or pitch of any sound depends on whether it contains a greater proportion of high-frequency or of low-frequency waves. A high-pitched sound has more high-frequency sound-waves; while a low-pitched sound consists mainly
of low-frequency sound-waves.

In order, therefore, to reduce the annoyance of interference by static and noise, and to provide the deeper bass effect which most radio listeners prefer, many radio receivers employ some means of tone control. They accomplish this by eliminating from the signal some of the higher frequencies which it contains either shunting them to earth or bypassing them round

the output transformer.

The

capacitor in the anode circuit

shown above has a value such

that

it

offers

a relatively easy path for the higher audio-frequencies; while the lower audiofrequencies encounter a path of less opposition by travelling through the primary
coil of the transformer.

In this way, the

amount of high-frequency sound reaching
control.
If the resistance is

the loudspeaker

is

considerably reduced.

The

variable resistor acts as a

means of tone

made

very high, the path through the capacitor to earth becomes one which offers high

opposition to the passage of high-frequency as well as to low-frequency signals. Less high-frequency current will therefore flow through the bypass capacitor, and
there will be a rise in the pitch of the sound

coming from the loudspeaker.

5.40

[§5

A.F. Amplifier Volume Control

You have already learnt one method of controlling the volume of a receiver. This method involved varying the bias of the r.f. amplifier stage.

Now

you

will discover

another commonly-used method of volume control, which
a.f.

involves instead the detector and

amplifier stages.

AF
v.,

AMPLIFIER

Diode Detector

To
Loudspeaker
7S»*

DETECTOR -OUTPUT VOLUME CONTROL
Notice that the detector in the circuit above
is

coupled to the

a.f.

amplifier by
divider,
is

means of an RC coupling the moving arm tapping
applied

circuit.

off the

—through the coupling capacitor—to the grid of the
receivers

The volume control is basically a voltage desired amount of signal voltage, which
a.f.

then

amplifier.

is also frequently employed in superhet receivers. employ a dual type of volume control. This type of control regulates the gain in the first and second r.f. amplifier stages by varying the cathode bias; and further controls the gain by varying the amplitude of the input signal

This type of volume control

Some

applied to the

first a.f.

amplifier.

GRID CONTROL OF RECEIVER

§5]

5.41

Comparison of R.F. and A.F. Amplifiers
Since most radio receivers you will encounter contain both r.f. and a.f amplifiers, you must possess a clear understanding of the differences between them, and of the advantages and disadvantages of each.
.

Look

carefully at the comparative table set out below.

R.F. Amplifiers
1.

A.F. Amplifiers
1.

2.

3.

Designed to amplify frequencies above 20,000 cycles. Usually have tuned-circuits, thereby adding selectivity. Usually coupled to other stages by
r.f.

2.

3.

Designed to amplify frequencies of between 15 cycles and 20,000 cycles. Untuned, and so do not add to selectivity of set. Coupled to other stages by a.f. ironcore transformers, or by resistance-

transformers.

capacitance coupling.
4.
5.

Precede the detector stage.

4.
5.

Follow the detector
fication.

stage.

Designed for voltage amplification.
Triodes are rarely used, since they
lack stability
ised.

Usually designed for power ampli-

6.

6.

Very stable and not likely to
If triodes are used,
is

oscillate.

and have

to be neutral-

no

neutralization

required.

7.

Generally employ variable-mu pentodes.

7.

Generally

employ

power

tetrodes, or

triodes, beampower pentodes.

5.42

[§5
Amplifier Circuit

REVIEW—A.F.

Now
the
a.f.

review the functions of

the various component parts of

power amplifier
is

circuit

shown

opposite.

Notice that no
in this stage

provision

made

for volume or tone control.

The 0-01-fxF coupling capacitor and the 470-K

grid resistor in the control grid circuit

couple the control grid of the amplifier to the preceding detector stage.
also eliminates the possibility of any d.c. voltages

The capacitor

from the detector stage being im-

pressed on the control grid of the amplifier.

The 330-ohm resistor acts as a cathode bias resistor while the 20-jaF capacitor bypasses
;

the varying component of the anode current round the cathode resistor

—thus preventing

the production of a varying bias and the accompanying reduction in amplification.

to the loudspeaker.

The primary of the output transformer acts as the anode load, and couples the amplifier The 0*001-jaF capacitor across the primary bypasses high-frequency audio signals round the primary, and so reduces the amount of high-frequency sounds

emitted by the loudspeaker.

Components
0*01-(iF capacitor and

Functions
resistor

470-K

Couples the

a.f.

amplifier to preceding

detector stage

330-ohm

resistor

Provides cathode bias

20-fi.F capacitor

Bypasses
resistor

signal

round

cathode

bias

0*001-|aF capacitor

Prevents

high-frequency

audio

signals

from entering loudspeaker
Output transformer
Acts as anode load, and couples amplifier
to loudspeaker

§6: THE SUPERHETERODYNE RECEIVER
Introduction

5.43

receiver is the most popular type of receiver in use today. commercial home radios are of this type. You will find a superheterodyne circuit in practically every piece of electronic equipment which contains a receiver. This includes radar, echo-sounding and communications equipment any device, in short, which picks up and receives a
Practically all

The superheterodyne

signal.

Your knowledge
additional units.

of the

TRF
it

receiver gives
all

you a good

start

towards learning the

superheterodyne, because

uses

the basic components of a

TRF—with

three

The block diagram

of a superheterodyne below shows the three additional units

—a mixer, a local

oscillator,

and an intermediate frequency

(i.f.)

amplifier.

V
fit)
RF
Amplifier

Y

AA
Detector

AF
Amplifier

THE TRF

RECEIVER

RF
Amplifier

IF Amplifier

Detector

AF
Amplifier

Local
Oscillator

THE

SUPERHET

RECEIVER

5.44

[§6

The Superhet at High Frequencies

At high
sensitivity

frequencies, the

TRF

receiver does not

work

as well as

it

does at lower

radio frequencies.

Above 20 Mc/s,

the

TRF

circuit

does not have the necessary

and

selectivity.

The superheterodyne
at high frequencies

receiver avoids the difficulties encountered with the

TRF

by converting the selected signal frequency to a lower mediate) frequency (i.f.) which can be amplified more easily.

(inter-

GOOD
• SENSITIVITY • SELECTIVITY • STABILITY

SUPERHET RECEIVER
/HQSPIT-OAH
OIT.

**H

TEN DAYS

T

(/fto-

LEAVE FOR All

§6]

5.45

How the
If

Superhet

Works
will

you know why the superheterodyne was developed, you
it

easily learn

how

works.
use
r.f.

TRF receivers

amplifiers with variable tuned-circuits to select

and amplify
it

the received signal.

If the receiver

has three
that,

r.f.

stages before the detector,

will

contain four tuned-circuits.
frequency.

You know

if

the best selectivity and sensitivity

are to be obtained, each of these four tuned-circuits

must be tuned

to the

same

But it is extremely difficult to make a multi-ganged tuning capacitor each section which will tune its circuit to exactly the same frequency as will the other sections. Therefore, the gain and the selectivity of the TRF receiver are both limited; for more r.f. stages cannot conveniently be added. The superheterodyne receiver overcomes this problem by taking the incoming signal and converting the carrier frequency to another frequency. This new frequency is called the "intermediate frequency" (i.f.); and it is constant regardless of the frequency to which the receiver is tuned. The i.f. signal is amplified in a series of high-gain amplifiers which are pretuned to this fixed i.f. frequency. Because it eliminates the many-ganged tuning capacitor, the superhet with its fixed frequency i.f. amplifiers can be used to give very large gains and very fine selectivity. Here is how the signal frequency is changed in the superhet. The incoming signal and the output of the local oscillator are fed into the mixer valve. The anode current varies with both of these signals, which are of different frequencies.
of

A

beat (or difference) frequency appears in the resulting signal. This signal is then passed through the i.f. amplifiers, which are tuned to this

difference frequency.

The i.f. signal has exactly the same modulation as the r.f. change has been the substitution of the i.f. frequency for the r.f.

carrier.

The only

THE SUPERHET RECEIVERS MAKE USE

5.46
Selectivity of the Superhet

6

tune a superheterodyne receiver to a station of 880 kc/s, you are tuned r.f. circuit to 880 kc/s, and at the same time you are automatically tuning the local oscillator to 1345 kc/s. Two signals one of 880 kc/s, the other of 1345 kc/s are thus fed into the mixer stage. The output of this mixer stage contains a frequency of 465 kc/s, which is the difference between the values of its two inputs. If at the same time the aerial picks up another (unwanted) station at a frequency of 1100 kc/s, the signal (if it were strong enough to get by the first tuned-circuit) would be mixed with the local oscillator output in the mixer stage. This undesired signal of 1100 kc/s would there produce a beat-frequency of 1345 minus 1100, equals 245 kc/s.
setting the

When you

The i.f. amplifier tuning is fixed at 465 kc/s, and only the "beat" signal at this frequency will be amplified i.e. only the required (880 kc/s) station will be heard. Thus the superhet has selected the proper input signal on the basis of the frequency of the beat signal produced in the mixer stage.

THE

yaM4ped

KEEPS THE LOCAL OSCILLATOR
"TRACKING" THE TUNED RF

you wanted to hear the 1100-kc/s station, the receiver would have to be reTurning the knob changes the frequency to which the r.f. amplifier is tuned, and at the same time changes the local oscillator frequency. A two-section ganged
If

tuned.

tuning capacitor
set at

is

used for the purpose.
affect the
i.f.

Tuning the receiver does not

stages.

When

the

r.f.

tuned-circuit

is

1100 kc/s, the oscillator will be generating a signal of 1565 kc/s. The i.f. amplifier remains tuned to 465 kc/s. Now it is the 1100-kc/s signal which produces the 465-kc/s beat-frequency. The beat produced by the 880-kc/s signal is the difference between its frequency and the 1565-kc/s local oscillator frequency namely, 685 kc/s and this frequency will not be amplified by the i.f. stages. For the superhet to work properly, the local oscillator must be adjusted so that it will always tune to a frequency which is a fixed number of kilocycles different

from the desired
circuit

r.f. frequency. Thus, as the receiver that is, the r.f. tunedtuned from 550 to 1600 kc/s, the local oscillator should tune from 1015 to 2065 kc/s. Then any signal picked up at the frequency to which the receiver is tuned will produce an i.f. frequency of 465 kc/s. The designer's choice of i.f. depends on the nature of the equipment. In most domestic radio receivers intended for medium- and long- waveband reception, the i.f. lies between 450 and 480 kc/s.

is

§ 6]

5.47

R.F. Amplifier Stage
It is

not essential for a superhet receiver to contain an

r.f.

amplifier stage.

The

signal

from

the aerial

would then be fed through an

r.f.

transformer to the signal

grid of the mixer or converter stage.
will encounter many receivers which do contain stages of r.f. amplificapreceding the mixer; so you will have a better understanding of the operation tion of superhet receivers if you know the reasons which count in favour of including

But you

an

r.f.

amplifier stage.

The primary reason for having an r.f. amplifier is to improve the signal-to-noise ratio. The mixer stage usually produces more valve noise than does an r.f. stage The signal, plus this valve noise, is then amplified by the followof amplification.
ing
i.f.

amplifier stage.
if

But

the signal strength
is

is

increased by placing an
i.f.

r.f.

amplifier stage before the

mixer,, less amplification

required in the
is

amplifier stage.

And

since valve
r.f.

noise produced by the mixer

not amplified as
is

much

as

it

was when no

stage

was

present, a better signal-to-noise ratio

obtained.
is

A
is

further advantage of having an

r.f.

amplifier stage

related to radiation

from

the oscillator stage.

Do
no
aerial,

not forget that this oscillator
r.f.

is

really a
is

low-powered transmitter.

If there

amplifier stage, the oscillator
will radiate

connected through the mixer stage to the
the oscillator.

which

some energy from

This radiated signal
it

may

cause interference with reception in nearby receivers; or prevented by using one or more stages of
oscillator stage.

may

also divulge the location of the receiver.

This radiation
r.f.

may be reduced

amplification,

and by carefully screening the

RADIATION FROM A SUPERHET RECEIVER MAY REVEAL THE LOCATION OF A SHIP

5.48

6

R.F. Amplifier Stage (continued)

The

third advantage of having
will recall that in the

an

r.f.

amplifier stage
r.f.

is

concerned with

selectivity.

You

TRF

receiver the

amplifier stages enabled the

operator to select the desired signal from a group of signals whose frequencies were very close to one another. The r.f. amplifier in a superhet, on the other hand, serves to prevent interference from a signal whose frequency may be several hundred kilocycles above that of the desired signal. This type of interference is called "image-frequency," or "second-channel," interference.

Let us assume that you have a superhet receiver without an r.f. amplifier stage, and that the receiver is tuned to a station operating at a frequency of 600 kc/s. The oscillator in the receiver will be tuned to 1065 kc/s, and the resulting i.f. signal will have a frequency of 1065 kc/s minus 600 kc/s, or 465 kc/s.
If, however, there is a powerful station nearby broadcasting at a frequency of 1530 kc/s, some of the signal from this station will enter the mixer stage, where
it

will beat against the signal

from the

oscillator.

1530 kc/s minus 1065 kc/s, or 465 kc/s

—the same intermediate frequency as that

The

resulting signal will be

produced by the desired

station.

The

i.f.

amplifier stage will amplify both signals equally well, since they are

both at the correct frequency of 465 kc/s. This type of interference produces whistles, and a confusing mixture of sounds

coming out of the loudspeaker.

So,

when

the intermediate frequency
is

is

465 kc/s, second-channel interference

is

produced when there

a second station broadcasting at a frequency twice the
amplifier stage

intermediate frequency, or 930 kc/s, above that of the desired signal.
,

Second-channel interference can be reduced by the use of an

r.f.

feefore the mixer.

In any receiver in which second-channel interference might present a problem, however, one tuned-circuit is not enough to guarantee the elimination of this interference. There may be as many as two or three stages of r.f. amplification at the signal frequency before the signal is fed into the mixer.

These stages are not made as selective as are those in a TRF receiver; but they are enough to discriminate between the desired signal and the image frequency. These stages do not present the alignment problems of the TRF, since none of them needs to be sharply tuned to the signal frequency.
selective

§6]

5.49
Oscillator
is

The Local

In a superhet receiver circuit, the local oscillator

tuned by a variable capacitor

ganged to those of the tuned
It is

r.f . circuits.

tuned to oscillate at a frequency which differs from that to which the r.f. circuits are tuned by a fixed amount for every position of the tuning dial. The local oscillator output is mixed with the r.f. carrier. The fixed frequency difference (the i.f.) is part of the output of the mixer.

AF
Amplifier

Local
Oscillator

The The

process of mixing or beating two frequencies together to get a different
is

frequency

called "heterodyning."

result of this

mixing

is

a frequency which

words, a supersonic frequency. the "supersonic heterodyne."

That
will
r.f.

is

above the audio-range in other why the receiver was originally known as
is

The

particular superhet

you

operating at 465 kc/s above the

study will have a tuned-grid type oscillator frequency. The i.f. is therefore 465 kc/s. The
is

ganged with the tuning capacitor in the aerial tuned-circuit, as shown in the illustration on page 5.61. As the receiver is tuned to an incoming signal, the local oscillator is also varied to keep it at a frequency of 465 kc/s higher than the signal to which the aerial The table below gives examples of typical operating frequencies. circuit is tuned.
variable capacitor in the oscillator tuned-circuit

SOME TYPICAL OPERATING FREQUENCIES FOR THE SUPERHET
Frequency to

Frequency
of

I.F.

which R.F. Circuits
are tuned
in

Difference

Local Oscillator
in

Frequency
in kc/s

kc/s

kc/s

550 710

1015
1175

465 465

880
1440

1345 1905

465 465

5.50

6

The Local

Oscillator (continued)

There are several types of oscillators which can be employed as local oscillators. But the types most frequently used are modifications of the Armstrong and of the
Hartley oscillators.

An
1.

ideal local oscillator should possess the following characteristics:

The frequency

2. It
3.

of its output should be stable, and free from drift at should be capable of delivering sufficient voltage to the mixer.

all settings.

4.

The amplitude of the output should be constant over the entire frequency range. The oscillator should have minimum inter-action with other tuned-circuits. (If
the oscillator inter-acts with other tuned-circuits, there will be a change in
oscillator frequency every time the other circuits are tuned.)

5.

The The

oscillator should radiate a
oscillators

minimum

of energy into space.

found in

re-

ceivers used for

medium broad-

cast

band reception are usually
to

designed

produce a signal is higher than the frequency of the incoming radio wave.

whose frequency

The tuning
oscillator
is

capacitor of the

ganged with the
the
r.f.

capacitor

of

tuned-

circuit so as to

maintain a con-

stant difference in frequency as

the receiver

is is

tuned across the

band.
ing."

This

known
when
is

as "track-

A

condition of perfect
the oscil-

tracking occurs
lator

tuned-circuit

resonant
of kc/s

exactly the right
(i.f.)

number
r.f.

higher than the
all

tuned-

circuits, for

settings of the

tuning dial.

The

process of adjusting the

tuned-circuits so as to maintain
this constant difference at

both
is

degrees rotation of ganged capacitor

the high and low ends of the tuning bands

known

as "aligning."

The process of adjusting a receiver to obtain good tracking will be dealt with more completely in the Section later on in this Part dealing with the alignment and
adjustment of superhet receivers.

§6]

5.51

The Local

Oscillator (continued)
oscillator tuned-circuit so that
it

There are two ways of designing the

will

produce

a signal the right number of kc/s higher than that of the r.f. circuit. One method employs a special kind of ganged capacitor. The plates of the oscillator section of this capacitor are made smaller than the plates of the r.f.
section.
r.f.

Since the capacitance of the oscillator section is less than that of the section, the oscillator section will resonate at a higher frequency.

In addition, the plates of the oscillator section are so shaped as to produce correct tracking as the plates are meshed or unmeshed.

©

Ganged capacitors with
sections of differing sizes

Ganged capacitors with

(D

identical sections

both sections of the capacitor are identical, the total capacitance of the reduced by placing a capacitor, called a "padder" capaciThis padder is often an adjusttor, in series with the oscillator tuning capacitor. able mica capacitor. As a result of this reduction in capacitance, the oscillator The capacitance of the padder is usually circuit resonates at a higher frequency. between 500 and 1000 pF. In the process of alignment, the padder capacitor is

When

oscillator tuned-circuit is

adjusted for best tracking at the low-frequency end of the band. In order to align the superhet receiver at the high-frequency end of the band, trimmers are placed in parallel with each section of the tuning capacitor, just as they are in

TRF

receivers.

These trimmers

will usually

have a capacitance varying
split to

between 2 and 20 pF. The end vanes of each section of the ganged capacitor are usually tracking adjustment at intermediate points.

provide

TYPICAL RF
CIRCUIT

TYPICAL OSCILLATOR
CIRCUIT

5.52

6

How

the

Mixer Stage Works

The mixer works on the following principle. If two different frequencies are mixed or combined in a valve, the output will contain many different frequencies, of which the four principal ones are:
1.

The modulated

r.f.

signal

from the

r.f.

amplifier or the aerial.

2.
3.

The unmodulated

local oscillator
2.
1

r.f.

output.

The sum
The

of

1

and

4.

difference between
difference frequency
signals resulting

and

2.
i.f.

from the mixing of a modulated carrier with the unmodulated output from the oscillator will have exactly the same modulation shape as the
original carrier wave.

The The

is

the desired

signal.

The

tuned-circuits of the

i.f.

amplifier are used to select the

desired signal,

and

to discriminate against the others.

V.+

®

Modulated

RF

Signal Input

Local Oscillator Output

Mixed Signal

®
V.-

Modulated IF Signal (Desired Output

From Mixer)

§6]

5.53
the

How
Of
first

Mixer Stage Works (continued)

the several frequencies present in the anode circuit of the mixer valve

— the

original signal, the oscillator signal, a signal

whose frequency

is

the

sum

of the

and another signal whose frequency is equal to their difference only the latter, or i.f., signal must be passed on to the next stage. This is accomplished by using the primary of a tuned i.f. transformer as the anode load. The primary and secondary coils are tuned to the intermediate frequency which, in the receiver you will consider in this Part, is 465 kc/s. In this manner, maximum response is obtained for the i.f. signal. This i.f. signal is passed on to the following i.f. amplifier stage, while the other signals are rejected by the selective action of the tuned i.f. transformer. two
signals,

HOW THE
MIXER STAGE

1000 Kc/s

WORKS . . -

To
Detector

Oscillator

OSCILLATOR SIGNAL
1465 Kc/s

5.54

6

Mixer Valves and Frequency Changers

The
below.

three types of mixer circuit

you

will

meet most frequently are

illustrated

The
r.f.

signal is injected at the control grid

grid.

employs a pentode as the mixer valve, and in the circuit illustrated the and the oscillator signal at the suppressor The oscillator signal could equally be coupled inductively or capacitively
first

to the cathode, to the control grid, or to the screen grid of the mixer.

HEPTODE
MIXER

(be
* employs a heptode a valve with seven electrodes. Heptodes are of two kinds, one of which is designed simply as a mixer valve; the other type combines the functions of mixer valve and oscillator valve. Valves of

IsUPPRESSOR

-

OSCILLATOR

The second type

of mixer circuit

this latter

kind are

known

as "frequency-changers."

at grids

r.f. and oscillator signals are injected G-l and G-3. In the heptode frequency-changer, the cathode, G-l and G-2 act as a triode in an oscillator circuit, and

In the heptode mixer, the

the

r.f.

signal is fed to the "injector grid" G-3.

-HT+

..

rf

-

-^

GRID

\

&
iiE-3


OSCILLATOR
The
third

and most common type

is

a triode-hexode fre-

quency-changer valve circuit. The triode-hexode consists of a triode and a hexode (six-electrode valve) enclosed in one envelope and sharing a common cathode. The triode portion is used as the valve in the oscillator circuit, and the r.f. signal is applied to G-l.

I
AMP
Z=!~
IF

-HT+

TRIODE HEXODE
HEXOOE ANOOE SCSEEN

s+
E:

s.

GRIDS

2 HP SIGNAL GRID

zk

RF

AMP

Trl-Al"!

OSCILLATOR SECTION

§ 6]

5.55
I.F. Transformer

The

I.F. transformers may be tuned to the correct frequency by adjusting small mica trimmer capacitors. This process of adjustment will be described later. The coils and capacitors are mounted in small metal cans which act as screens. Small holes in the tops of the cans make it possible to vary the value of the capacitors by turning adjusting screws without removing the screening-can.

Adjusting

Screws

Trimmer
Capacitor

Secondary
Coil

Primary Coil

Primary Leads

Secondary Leads

transformers have powdered iron-dust cores and fixed mica capacitors. accomplished by turning a set screw which moves the dust core in or out of the coil. This type of transformer is known as a "permeability-tuned"

Many

i.f.

Tuning

is

transformer.

used to tune the transformer, you will find that nearly This means that both primary and secondary This produces a very high degree of are tuned to the intermediate frequency.
matter what method
is

No

all ii.

transformers are double-tuned.

selectivity.

-

5.56

[§6
I.F. Amplifier

The

The intermediate-frequency
oscillator.

amplifier

is

permanently tuned to the theoretically
r.f.

constant difference in frequency between the incoming

signal

and the

local

The tuning
transformers.
the "input"

of an

i.f.

amplifier stage

is

accomplished by means of two tuned
is is

i.f.

The one
i.f.

associated with the grid circuit of the amplifier

called

i.f.

transformer, while the one associated with the anode circuit transformer.
in

called

the "output"

The
circuits

valves

Since this amplifier

may
is

i.f. amplifiers are normally variable-mu pentodes. designed to operate at only one fixed frequency, the i.f. be adjusted for high selectivity and maximum amplification. It is in

employed

is

the

i.f.

stage that practically

all

the selectivity

and voltage amplification of the
while more com-

superhet

developed.

Simple superhet receivers
plex receivers contain as

may contain only one i.f. amplifier, many as three i.f. amplifier stages.

The choice of intermediate frequency is a compromise between the desire for high selectivity and the need to reduce the possibility of second-channel interresults in high but increases the possibility of second-channel interference. high intermediate frequency reduces the possibility of second-channel interference, but
selectivity,

ference.

Use of a low intermediate frequency, such as 175 kc/s,

A

reduces the selectivity.

The choice
in this

of 465 kc/s as the intermediate frequency for the receiver described

book represents a compromise between these two undesirable extremes.

-HT+

IF

Output
Detector

IF Input

§6]

5.57
First

The Detector and

Audio Stage
i.f.

The conversion

of the

signal into

an audio

signal

is

accomplished by means

of a diode or crystal detector.

The

detector circuit in the superhet receiver will sometimes be
first

valve with the

stage of audio amplification.

The

receiver's

combined in one manual volume

control and automatic gain control are also often included in this part of the circuit.

The

valve employed for this purpose

may be a

double-diode triode.

The diode

section acts as the detector,

and the triode

section as the audio amplifier.

Since a detailed explanation of the operation of diode detectors has already been
given, the operation of the diode detector which
circuit
is

shown

in the

accompanying

diagram

will

be only briefly described.

HT+

and conducts current during that half of the signal positive with respect to the cathode. During the other half-cycle, when the anode is negative, no current flows. This produces a pulsating d.c. which contains two components, one of which is audio frequency and the other intermediate frequency. The filter circuit, consisting of the 47-K resistor and the two 200-pF capacitors, filters out the i.f. component. The audio component of the pulsating d.c. produces an a.f. voltage across the 47-K fixed resistor and the 500-K potentiometer. The a.f. voltage is applied to the grid of the first audio amplifier, and amplified at the anode as shown. RL and C2 are part of the Automatic Gain Control (AGC) circuit which you will study later.
acts as a rectifier,

The diode

cycle in which the

anode

is

made

5.58

[§6
First

The Detector and

Audio Stage (continued)

The audio signal developed across the 500-K potentiometer is taken off the sliding arm, and applied to the grid of the first audio amplifier. The potentiometer is connected as a voltage divider, and functions as a detector-output type of volume control. The triode acts as an audio amplifier, which increases the voltage of the signal and passes it on to the last stage, which is known as the "second audio," a.f.
or "output" stage.

The purpose
until
it is

of this stage

is

to amplify the signal output of the

first a.f.

stage

strong enough to operate a loudspeaker.

Power output

is

the

main con-

sideration in this stage.

How

Automatic Gain Control Works Atmospheric conditions may sometimes cause fading of signals coming from certain stations. The resulting output of the receiver may at one moment be loud

enough

to blast the listener

from

his seat, while at the next

moment

it

may

fade

to the point of inaudibility.

in the

Moreover, as you tune from one station to another, the signal strength may vary same way. One method of preventing this is to have the operator continually adjust the manual volume control in such a way as to keep the output constant despite variations in signal strength. A better way is by the addition of a circuit which will accomplish this task automatically an automatic gain control or AGC circuit.

The function
in

of the

AGC

circuit is to vary the sensitivity or gain of the receiver
It

accordance with the strength of the signal.

reduces the sensitivity
the signal

when

a

strong signal

comes

in,

and increases the

sensitivity

when

becomes weaker.

The

result

is

that the output of the receiver remains fairly constant despite variations

in signal strength.

RECEIVER WITHOUT
Two
i

AGC
signals

of unequal

strength

/\/\/\Ay\
'#'l|||l'i||IM||M|||.i

COMPENSATES FOR VARIATIONS

IN

SIGNAL STRENGTH

§6]

5.59

How

Automatic Gain Control Works {continued)

detector stage.
.

most frequently encountered is incorporated in the diode and preferably all, of the preceding i.f amplifier, mixer, or r.f. amplifier stages employ the variable-mu type of valve. It also requires some means of transferring the negative voltage which is developed by the AGC circuit to the control grid of these variable-mu valves.
circuit
It

The

AGC

requires that at least one,

Ao*Plif

U

In the diagram above, the resistor

R-l

is

the diode load, the

i.f.

filter

being omitted for clarity.

When

the

anode
from

is

positive with respect to the

cathode,
(a)

current
to
(b).

flows

through
(a)

Thus

R-l becomes
at

negative with respect to (b).

The

waveform

appearing
is

the

negative end of R-l (a)

audio wave with a negative
ponent.

The

negative d.c.
filter

an comcomponent varies with the
actually
d.c.

signal strength.
filters

The

AGC

circuit, consisting of
d.c.

R-2, C-2,
It is this

out the audio, and C-2
is

charges up to the negative

component.

negative voltage that

applied

line to the grids of the variable-mu valves in the preceding stages. through the The amount of negative voltage developed at (a) will vary with two factors. One is the relatively rapid variation in strength and amplitude produced by the audio

AGC

signal at the transmitter during the process of modulating the carrier wave.

The

second

is

the slower variation in negative

AGC

voltage produced by variations in

signal strength
If the

due

to atmospheric conditions.

rapid variations produced by the audio modulating signals were allowed line to the preceding i.f. or r.f. stages, undesirable effects to travel down the filter circuit, consisting of R-2 and C-2, is added would be produced. The

AGC

AGC

to

remove these audio frequency variations of the negative AGC voltage. The slower variations in signal strength which show up as a slowly-varying

negative d.c. voltage are not bypassed, but pass
of the preceding amplifier stages.

down

the

AGC

line to the grids

5.60

[§6

How

Automatic Gain Control Works (continued)
i.f.

Since these preceding
control grid.

and

r.f.

of gain produced in each stage

is

stages employ variable-mu valves, the amount dependent on the amount of bias present on the

When the signal increases in strength, a high negative AGC voltage is developed between one end of R-l and earth. This negative voltage is applied through the AGC filter circuit and the AGC line to the control grids of the preceding stages, thus increasing the negative bias on these valves. Because of this increased bias, there is a considerable decrease in the amount of In other words, the sensitivity of the receiver has amplification or voltage gain.
been reduced.

On

the other hand,

when a weak
is

signal enters the receiver, a

much
is

smaller

negative
the

AGC

voltage

developed.

The

bias on the amplifier valves

reduced,

resulting in considerably greater receiver sensitivity

and voltage amplification for

weak

signal.

As

far as the

human

ear

is

concerned, these variations in receiver sensitivity as

the signal strength varies occur almost instantaneously, thus producing an output

whose volume

is

reasonably constant.

IF AMPLIFIER, DETECTOR

AND FIRST AUDIO AMPLIFIER

§6]

5.61

Complete Circuit Diagram of a Superheterodyne Receiver
*

The

stages

shown below include

i.f.

amplifier, a diode detector,

the following: a mixer, a local oscillator, one an audio voltage amplifier, an audio power ampli-

fier,

and a

rectifier.

»

5.62

[§6

Receiving

C.W.

Signals

of impressing intelligence

from your study of transmitters that there are several methods upon a carrier wave. One of these methods is known as "amplitude modulation." The superhet receiver we have considered up to this point is designed for use with amplitude-modulated (AM) signals. Another method of conveying intelligence involves the interruption of a carrier wave in accordance with a code such as the Morse Code. These signals are called "interrupted continuous wave" or "CW signals." Since there is no modulation in this type of signal, it cannot be detected by crystal
recall

You may

or diode detector circuits.

In order to hear the signal,

it

is

necessary to use a

detector which employs the heterodyne principle.
signal with a signal obtained The heterodyne principle involves mixing the from an oscillator. The result of this mixing is an signal which is interrupted signal. in the same manner as was the original This signal can then be detected, and the familiar "dit-dah" sound of code will be heard in the earphones or loudspeaker.

CW AM

CW

AM

NO SOUND

DAH-DIT-DAH

§ 6]

5.63
Principle

The Heterodyne

You may have
same

time, a distinct throbbing

observed that when two adjacent piano keys are struck at the sound can be heard. This throbbing sound, known

as a beat, has a frequency equal to the difference between the frequencies of the two notes struck. If the two notes struck have frequencies of 264 and 297 cycles respectively, the beat frequency will be equal to the difference between them, or 33 cycles. Similarly, when two alternating voltages of slightly different frequencies are combined in a detector, the resultant voltage produced in the output will include a frequency which is equal to the difference between the frequencies of the two original
voltages.

This

is

the basis of the heterodyne principle.

For example, if two inaudible r.f. waves whose frequencies are 465 kc/s and 466 kc/s respectively are applied to a detector valve, the smaller wave (A) will add and subtract from the larger wave (B) to make the amplitude of the larger wave (B) vary in the manner shown below. The rate of variation of the amplitude of wave B is the difference between the frequencies of the two waves in this case

1

kc/s.

Observe that wave B, because of the introduction of wave A, has been transformed into an amplitude-modulated wave. The audio modulation can be heard by detection of this signal.

AM

llllllliitiiiiiiiiiiiiiii______l____HKR!19K___wl

Wave A

j\

A A A

/

!

1

Volt Volt *—

:\j\jv
+6 6 KC/S
I

/

1
-+-

-

A

1A

^ A
*

iA

A,

r

P\

*

(\.

)t\

Wave B
f-f
-f-4 -1—

t-

\

U_U.j4.44-H

-4-4-

lKc

s

Difference Frequency

Wave B
Modulated

'

\/|
J

i

!•

i

voit

s

4 66 Kc/s

5.64

6

The Beat Frequency

Oscillator

In superhet receivers the reception of
to the diode detector or into the previous

CW signals
i.f.

is

accomplished by means of a

separate oscillator called a "beat frequency oscillator" (BFO), capacitively coupled
amplifier.

be a Hartley oscillator tuned to a frequency 1 kc/s above or below that of the intermediate frequency. Thus, if the i.f. is 465 kc/s, and the frequency of the BFO is 466 kc/s, a 1-kc/s audio signal will be produced in the diode detector. The frequency of the BFO is variable over a small range, making it possible to vary the pitch of the resulting beat note until a satisfactory tone is produced. Coupling between the BFO and the detector or i.f. amplifier is sometimes achieved through the stray capacitance of the wiring, and the coupling capacitor is then
omitted.

The

BFO may

HT+

;

5.65

Analysis of the Local Oscillator Stage

THE
HT+
To mixer
grid

200p

1

I
500p
SOOp
22K

005

Local
Oscillator

ll-wvw
iok

\—y

V5 6C5GT/G

620pPadder

Now that you have seen the complete circuit of a superhet, it will be worth your while to spend a little time analysing the functions of the circuit components used in the oscillator, the mixer, and the detector stages. The local oscillator circuit is basically that of an Armstrong oscillator. Feedback The variable tuning capacitor is is accomplished inductively, using coil T-4. ganged to the variable tuning capacitor of the mixer stage. The 620-pF capacitor is a padder capacitor, used to make adjustments in the process of aligning the
oscillator tuned-circuit.
It

also serves to reduce the total capacity of the oscillator

tuned-circuit so that the oscillator resonates at a frequency higher than that of the

incoming signal. The 500-pF capacitor
grid, while the

is

a grid capacitor used to couple the tuned-circuit to the

22-K resistor is the grid-leak resistor. The r.f. choke is the anode load it also prevents r.f. from going towards the power supply. The 005-fj.F capacitor couples the r.f. output of the anode circuit back to the coupling coil, while effectively
blocking the flow of direct current.
Finally, the

200-pF capacitor

is

used to couple the output of the oscillator to the
resistor

suppressor grid of the mixer.

The 10-K

connected to the valve grid helps to

keep the

oscillator frequency stable.

5.66

[§6

Analysis of the Mixer and I.F. Stages

*7/ie

Mvxjgn Staae

To

AGC

39 tfrnpLfden Stage

T-l

is

the aerial coil used to couple the aerial to the control grid of the mixer.
is

The
is

variable tuning capacitor

used to tune the receiver to the desired station.

It

ganged to the variable capacitor of the oscillator tuned-circuit. The signal from the oscillator is impressed on the suppressor grid, and the 22-K resistor is used to provide a path to earth for electrons which may collect on the suppressor grid. The 680-ohm resistor is a cathode bias resistor, while the 0-l-[xF capacitor in parallel with it is used to bypass the r.f. signal round the cathode bias
resistor.

The 100-K resistor and 01-(xF capacitor connected to the bottom portion of the secondary winding of the aerial coil act as a decoupling network whose function is to keep the r.f. signal out of the AGC line.

The 100-K
T-2 anode
is

resistor

the screen grid voltage dropping resistor the input
i.f.

and 01 -[xF capacitor connected to the screen grid function as and decoupling capacitor respectively. transformer which couples the 465-kc/s i.f. signal found in the

of the mixer to the grid circuit of the following i.f. amplifier. The 680-ohm resistor and 0-1 -[xF capacitor in the cathode circuit of the i.f. amplifier serve as the cathode bias resistor and bypass capacitor respectively.
circuit

The 100-K
capacitor.

resistor in the screen grid circuit

is

the screen grid voltage dropping

resistor, while the

1-[xF capacitor in the screen circuit is the screen grid

decoupling

T-3

is

the output

i.f.

transformer used to couple the

i.f.

amplifier with the diode

detector.

Both

i.f.

transformers are permanently tuned to the intermediate frequency of

465 kc/s.

§6]
Analysis of the Diode Detector and First Audio Stages

5.67

is

The two 200-pF capacitors function as the detector filter capacitors. Their purpose to bypass the i.f. component of the signal to earth round the 47-K and 500-K diode
The 47-K
resistor
is

load resistors.
part of the
filter

network, while the 500-K potentiometer also
It

acts as a bleeder resistor across the

filter.

controls the

amount of detector output
first

delivered through the
amplifier,

01-jxF coupling capacitor to the grid of the

audio

and thus

serves as a

volume

control.

The 1-meg.
They allow

resistor

and

1

-[xF capacitor in the

AGC

line filter

out the relatively
the signal.
in signal

rapid variations in
strength to pass

AGC

voltage produced by the audio

component of

the slower variations in

AGC voltage unimpeded down the AGC line.
the grid.

produced by variations

The 1-meg.
electrons that

resistor

connected to the control grid serves as a path to earth for any

may accumulate on

The 270-K

resistor acts as the

anode

load of the

audio stage, while the 001-(xF capacitor in the anode circuit couples the ouipui of the first audio amplifier to the grid of the audio power amplifier.
first

5.68

[§6
Is

What Alignment

as carefully as a jeweller adjusts a watch.

For optimum performance, the superheterodyne receiver must be adjusted almost The process, called "alignment," is the same for all superheterodyne receivers.

The purpose
for

of alignment

is

to get the

maximum

gain in the superhet receiver

main tuning dial. When the dial is set to receive a station transmitting at 980 kc/s, you want the receiver to give the greatest gain at 980 kc/s. The same must be true for every setting on the dial. The tuned-circuits r.f., local oscillator, and i.f. must be adjusted so as always to give the maximum output.
any
setting of the

How
1.

does the superhet circuit have to be tuned to give the greatest gain for each

dial setting?

The following aims must

all

be achieved:
i.f.

2.
3.

The The The
dial

i.f.

transformers must be tuned to the fixed
tuned-circuit

frequency.

r.f.

must be tuned to the frequency on the dial. local oscillator must be tuned to give an output at each setting of the main which is above the dial setting, or r.f. frequency, by a difference exactly
i.f.

equal to the
If

frequency.
circuit

you examine the superhet

diagram below, you

will see

which parts of

the circuit have to be adjusted in the alignment procedure.

§ 6]

5.69

Sensitivity

Measurements measurements are used to determine how sensitive a receiver is. A operating normally as far as your ear can detect; but if the overall

Sensitivity

receiver

may be

gain of the set

is low, you may not be able to receive some weak signals. This failure would only show up by measuring the overall gain of your receiver, and comparing the results with the specification laid down by the manufacturer. If a receiver was tested and found to have low sensitivity, the cause would be

determined by checking the gain of each amplifier stage and comparing the results
with the specification, thereby determining which stage has the low sensitivity.

Consider a typical
the receivers.
turn

medium broadcast-band

receiver.

Broadcast receivers are

not designed to be very sensitive, since very powerful stations are relatively close to

In these receivers, a loss of sensitivity would

mean

that

you would

up

the

volume control and nothing more.

Therefore, sensitivity measurements

are not necessary.

Only when reception becomes so poor that

it is

uncomfortable or impossible to

hear a station would you attempt to repair the receiver.

5.70
Sensitivity

[§6

Measurements (continued)
receivers, sensitivity

In

some

receiver, lack of sensitivity

would not be noticed

at

measurements are very important. In a radar would mean that distant targets which should be detected all. Decreased gain in a communication receiver would
sensitivity,

mean
If

that

weak

signals could not be heard.

any of these devices have low

you could not (unless you are a very

experienced operator) discover the fact merely by operating them, since you usually

have no way of obtaining all the necessary data. You cannot tell that a distant is present unless you pick it up; you cannot tell that a weak, distant transmitter is calling you unless you hear the message. The best check on the performance of the receiver is through sensitivity checks. Here is a typical way sensitivity measurements would be made with receiving equipment. An output meter is used to measure the output of the last stage of the receiver. The instruction book for the piece of equipment will tell how many micro-volts are
target

required as the input to this receiver for a standard output as measured on the

output meter.

Using a signal generator which has a calibrated output, you

inject

a signal of the proper frequency into the receiver input.
generator output until you read the standard

You

adjust the signal

By comparing
if

the input
is

amount of output on the output meter. you needed with the instruction book's data, you can tell
is

the receiver
If the

up

to specification.

input you used

larger than that stated in the instruction book,

your

receiver has too low a sensitivity.

You would
stage.

then take stage-by-stage sensitivity
inject a signal of correct frequency,

measurements to determine the weak

Starting with the last stage of the receiver,

you

and adjust the audio
obtained.
If the

signal generator output until the standard receiver output is

the last stage of the receiver

input you used compares well with the instruction book data, is working properly.

You repeat this procedure for each stage, working backwards from the last stage. That stage which requires a larger input than that specified in the instruction book is the stage which has too low a gain.

TABLE
DIRECTION OF SIGNAL INJECTION

A-F INPUTS
INPUT TO VOLTS

OUTPUT

1.5

(I &fH

*f

ifadU

2ndAF
^ 1st AF
* 1,000

0.8 0.15

CYCLES OF

^RDDOEj
ttZT INSTRUCTION BOOK

^-

DATA

§6]
Aligning the I.F. Section
If

5.71

the gain of the
is

i.f.

amplifier

is

low, realignment

may be

necessary.

The

procedure for this
grid to earth.

as follows.

First stop the oscillator
its

from

oscillating

by removing the valve, or by shorting

This prevents any signal other than that of the signal generator
i.f.

from entering the
the

amplifier.

AGC circuit,

if

operative,

You must also short the AGC line to earth, since would tend to broaden the receiver response and thus
the speaker,
i.f.

make it more difficult to align the receiver sharply. The output meter leads are then connected across
generator test leads are applied to the various

and the signal
section.

test points in the

With the manual volume control
injected into point
1,

at

maximum, a modulated 465-kc/s
amplifier.

signal is

the grid of the

i.f.

Using a trimming
output.

tool, adjust

the trimmers

on the

i.f.

output transformer for a

maximum

Next, inject the
the trimmers of the

i.f.
i.f.

signal into point 2, the grid of the

mixer stage, and adjust

input transformer for a

maximum

output.

obtain

The trimmers on both the i.f. transformers optimum alignment of the i.f. section.

are then again retrimmed slightly to

A

further test which
i.f.

would also be carried out

at this stage is the

measurement

of the

amplifier bandwidth.

5.72

6

Aligning the

Mixer and
i.f.

Oscillator
r.f.

With the

amplifier aligned, the

tuned-circuits in the grid of the mixer

and

the local oscillator are the next to be aligned.

Replace the oscillator valve (or remove the short from grid to earth), but leave AGC circuit shorted to earth. Then apply signal generator output between the aerial terminal and earth (chassis); and set the signal generator to give a modulated r.f. output of 1500 kc/s.
the

The
meter.

receiver dial

is

then set to 1500 kc/s, and a signal
tool adjust the oscillator

is
r.f.

With the trimming
the
r.f.

and

observed on the output trimmers to give maxiis

mum

output.
circuit is

Now

tuned to resonate at 1500 kc/s, and the oscillator

tuned to

oscillate at 1965 kc/s.

§ 6]

5.73

Aligning the

Mixer and

Oscillator {continued)

The mixer and
of the band.

oscillator tuned-circuits

must now be aligned
dial to

at the

low end

Set the signal generator to 600 kc/s

and the receiver

600 kc/s.

Then

adjust the oscillator padder capacitor to give
oscillator to oscillate 465

maximum
is

output.

Now

adjust the

kc/s above the incoming signal of 600 kc/s.

Although the
circuit is

dial

is

set at

600 kc/s, there

no assurance that the

r.f.

tuned-

tuned to 600 kc/s.

The

ideal alignment for

maximum

output

is

to

have

the

r.f.

tuned-circuit exactly resonant at 600 kc/s, with the oscillator tuned to 465

kc/s above 600 kc/s.
First note the reading of the output meter,

and then tune the receiver

in

one

direction slightly

away from a

receiver dial reading of 600 kc/s.

Now

readjust

maximum output. If the output reading is greater than it was you have changed the setting of the tuning dial in the right direction. If the output reading is less, you must tune the receiver in the opposite direction from the
the padder for
before,

600-kc/s dial reading.

Having found the right and to adjust the padder
r.f.

direction, continue to vary the setting of the tuning dial
until

circuit is
so,

Even

a maximum output is obtained. At this point the tuned exactly to 600 kc/s, with the local oscillator tuned to 1065 kc/s. however, the pointer on the tuning dial may not yet be opposite the
dial.
It is

600-kc/s mark on the
to the dial without
(e.g.,
is

necessary, therefore, to

move

the pointer relative

moving the tuning capacitor spindle. The pointer is loosened unscrewed) and moved until it is opposite the 600 kc/s mark on the dial. It

then re-tightened.

final step in the alignment procedure is to re-check the alignment at the high end of the frequency band, and to re-adjust where necessary.

The

5.74

[§6

REVIEW

—Superheterodyne Receiver
A
r.f.

Superheterodyne.
ceiver in which the

type of resignal is conr.f.,

verted to a lower frequency

and
It

then

amplified before

detection.

has much higher sensitivity, selectivity

and

stability

than has the

TRF.

Mixer.

This

is

the circuit in a
r.f.

superhet which takes the

signal

and beats

it

against the signal gene-

rated by a local oscillator.

The resulis

tant constant-frequency signal
in frequency than the
r.f.,

lower
thus

and

is

easier to amplify.

Local Oscillator.
tuned
simultaneously

This circuit
with
the

is

r.f.

tuned-circuits in such a

way

that

its

output frequency

is

always a fixed
Local

amount greater or
Its output is

less than the frequency of the signal being received.

30p"

"JSOOp ^22K

Oscillator

combined with the

r.f.

signal in the mixer.

620p
I.F. Amplifier.

This

is

the section

of the

superhet

which selects and
Its input

amplifies one of the signals coming

from the mixer.

and output
IF Input

are usually coupled by transformers of

which the primary and secondary are both tuned. This results in high
selectivity.

Detector and A.F. Amplifier. These
circuits

kz:
200
200
S MIXER GRIDS

perform the same functions as
In the superhet,
often combined
is

in the

TRF receivers.
first a.f.

the diode detector

with the

amplifier stage.

AGC LI*

§«1

5.75

REVIEW

—Superheterodyne Receiver (continued)
Gain Control (AGC).
Amplifier

Automatic

This circuit compensates for variations
in signal strength.

Diode Detector

A

diode rectifies

the signal, and the negative d.c.

ponent

is

applied to the

r.f.

comand i.f.

amplifier grids.

When

the signal in-

creases, the diode output increases

thus putting
r.f.

more negative

bias

on the

and

i.f.

amplifiers and lowering

their gain.

AGC /±
t
'

Tracking.

When

the

difference

j

R-2 / C-2+_/

To

first

AF

amplifier

between the local oscillator frequency and the r.f. signal frequency is constant over the entire tuning range of

RF

/

Oscillator
Padder

the superhet,
tracking.

it is

said to have perfect

This,

however,

is

never

O Trimmer

achieved in practice.

TRACKING
Beat Frequency Oscillator (BFO). is an oscillator used when it is

V
:

^#

465 Kc/s difference over entire tuning range

This

desired to receive
superhet.
Its

CW signals with the
is

output

tuned close to

I

DFO

the frequency of the the detector or
i.f.

i.f.,

and

is

fed into
It

amplifier.

beats

with the incoming signal, producing a beat note in the audio range.

With a
Signal

BFO,
tone.

a

CW signal

is

heard as a pure

Without a BFO,

CW

signals
all.

are heard as a soft hiss, or not at

Second Channel Interference. If i.f. is 465 kc/s, then two signals (one 465 kc/s above, and the other 465 kc/s below, the oscillator frethe

quency)
the
i.f.

will

both send a signal through

amplifier

and to the loudis

550KC/8

speaker.

One

of them

the desired

signal; the other is

an image.
coil

The
and

purpose of a tuned aerial
tuned
r.f.

amplifiers is to eliminate this

second channel interference.

5.76

§7: FAULT-FINDING

Introduction
It is now time for you to tackle the problems of finding the various types of fault which are likely to occur in electronic equipment. Before you begin to practise fault-finding of any kind on actual equipments, however, there are two matters of the utmost importance to which you must give your

careful attention.
(i)

You must You must

learn to develop a logical approach to the whole problem of faultlearn

finding in general,
(ii)

how

to select

and how to use various types of

test instrument.

THINK ABOUT
FAULT FINDING.
. .

.

A LOGICAL PROCEDURE LEADS TO A
QUICK SOLUTION

Though you

will learn

piece of equipment

— the superhet—which you have already studied, remember that
you
will learn
is

how

to set about the logical finding of faults

on an actual

the general priciples of fault-finding which
electronic equipments of

can also be applied to merely problem-solving. Learning how to use test instruments properly, however, is essentially a matter Full instructions on of practice, and cannot be satisfactorily learnt from a book. how to use any particular test instrument, however, are given in the appropriate manufacturer's handbook.

any other kind.

Fault-finding

§7]
Fault-finding Procedure

5.77

Step I

—Collate the Symptoms
first

The

step in fault-finding

is

to ascertain the

symptoms of the fault.

in the signals can be received over the whole of the tuning range, and when the volume of the output can be varied without causing noticeable distortion. Under service conditions, you will either be told the symptoms of a fault by the operator of the equipment, or you will have to find them for yourself. In the

Before you can do this, you must obviously be in a position to recognize the normal state of the equipment. In the case of the superhet on which you will do your fault-finding practice, for example, the equipment is considered to be

normal

state

when

latter
it,

case you find out

how

the equipment differs from

its

normal

state

by operating

and by using built-in metering facilities where they exist. In more complicated and larger equipments, extensive metering and monitoring facilities are normally provided— for example, a switched meter or meters may be built into a large transmitter which can be used to measure various currents in the
circuit.

On radar equipments it is often possible to use one of the cathode ray tubes of the set to display waveforms at different points in the circuit.

1

I" ! Ih.'llll.

Step 2
It

—Decide which Stage

is

Faulty

possible at this point, from, your knowledge of the symptoms, to decide in which stage or group of stages the fault is likely to be.

may be

Always, however, think carefully about the symptoms before you actually do anything to remedy them.

5.78
Fault-finding Procedure (continued)

B7

Step 3

—Inspect the Equipment
defects can be found at once

by using your senses of sight, hearing, touch, a transformer sizzle and smelt the smoke, you and smell. Once you have heard the chassis will be able to spot a burned-out power transformer without even turning

Many

over

Loose
vajve

_ _„ JUtSsT/5^?^
,..

_. Discoloured

resistor

SSSi«« connection

Leaking transformer

to see the trouble,

Visual inspection does not take long. In about two minutes you should be able if it is the kind that can be seen at all. Start your inspection with the equipment switched off, and look for:

(i)

Loose Valves— A valve which is not properly seated making proper contact with the rest of the circuit.
into place,

in its socket

may

not be

Push

all

valves firmly

(ii)

Shorts

Any terminal or connection which lies close to the chassis or to another terminal should be examined for the possibility of a short. Look for and remove any stray blobs of solder, bits of wire, nuts or screws.
It

possible), listening for

sometimes helps to give the chassis a not-too-vigorous shake any tell-tale rattle.
to correct any condition
it

(if

that be

Remember
(iii)

which may cause a short
so in the future.

circuit.

If it isn't

causing trouble now,

will begin to

do

Loose, broken or corroded connections
of the trouble.

—These could quite

easily

be the source

(iv)

Damaged Components
oil-filled

—Look for discoloration, melting insulations, leaks from
Remember, however,

been damaged by the

that these components may have and may not necessarily be the cause of it. The component may be protected by a fuse. Check whether the fuse has blown and if it hasn't, find out why it hasn't. A fuse with too high a rating may have been fitted, or there may be a short across the fuse holder.

transformers.

fault,

After inspecting the switched-off equipment and remedying
switch on and continue your inspection.

all

obvious defects,

(i)

After switching on the equipment, look for: Overheating parts—If any part smokes, or
like boiling or spluttering, switch off

if

immediately.

you hear anything which sounds There is a short circuit
inspection.

somewhere which you have missed

in

your

first

§7]
Fault-finding Procedure (continued):

5.79

Step

3—Inspect the Equipment (continued).
it,

(ii)

Use your ohmmeter, if necessary, to locate hood of the smoking part, Cold Valves In some valves it is possible to

beginning in the neighbour-

ment; with others

warm

see the glow of the heater filanecessary to wait until the filament has had time to up, and then to touch the valve to see if it is warm.
it

is

is cold, either the valve is unservicea break in the heater connections. Remove suspect valves, and test for continuity across the heater pins. If the ohmmeter reading is very high, or infinity the valve is unserviceable.

If there is

no heater glow and the valve
is

able or there

indicates continuity through the heater, the fault lies in the heater supply circuit. Check that the valve is making proper connection with
If
its

the

ohmmeter

socket,

and then use an

a.c.

voltmeter to find the break in the path from
If

the heater voltage source to the valve base,
(iii)

Sparking—Tap or shake

the chassis.

you

see or hear sparking

you have

located a loose connection or a short.

Smoking parts
Sparking

Cold

valves

find and repair a defect, you must still prove operating properly and that there are no other defects. Usually, there will be only one fault in a piece of equipment, unless the faulty component has become unserviceable because of some other fault.

Remember

that even though

you do
is

to yourself that the

equipment

When you find a fault by inspection, try to imagine another fault which could have caused the one you have located. If you merely replace the faulty component and then turn the equipment on, the replacement part itself will very likely be damaged. The most obvious example of this is a fuse which burns out, is replaced, and then the replacement burns out. You must locate the cause of the trouble before you replace faulty parts.

5.80
Fault-finding Procedure (continued)

B7

Step 4

Signal Injection and Tracing Devices such as radar and communications equipment are very complex. If, therefore, you attempted to do fault-finding on a radar receiver, for instance, by means of voltage and resistance checks alone, you would have a long and tiresome
task ahead of you.

hundreds of voltage, current and resistance checks for you to perform— not to mention valves and tuned-circuits to be

There would be

literally

tested.

then there would always be a good chance that none of your checks would show you what was wrong; for static testing will rarely show up such faults as misaligned tuned-circuits, certain valve defects, or defective automatic control

And

circuits.

The procedures
the fault quickly

of signal injection
easily

and

signal tracing, however, enable

you to

find

and

by

greatly reducing the

number

of points to be tested.

By these procedures, you can locate the stage which contains the fault; and sometimes, depending on the nature of the fault, the faulty part itself. In this way you can quickly narrow down the possible causes of trouble, with a minimum number of checks of those stages which are functioning properly.
you decided which stage was likely to contain the fault, only necessary to inject an appropriate signal into that stage, and check the output, to confirm or disprove your deduction. If, however, you were unable to deduce from the symptoms which stage was faulty, you must check the complete
If in step 2, for instance,
is
it

equipment.

The
1

general procedure

is

as follows:

Test each section of the equipment by putting in a signal, and by checking either the signal at the equipment output or the signal at the section output.

2.

Once you know

to a particular stage within the section

the section which contains the fault, you can isolate the trouble by injecting signals of the proper frequency

and amplitude into the grids of the various valves, starting at the output and working back towards the input. The stage at which the signal disappears, or becomes distorted, is the place to look for trouble.

Step 5

— Voltage and Resistance

Tests

the defective stage has been found, the defective by using voltage and resistance checks.

Once

component can be

isolated

§7]
Fault-finding by Signal Tracing

5.81

Signal tracing and signal injection are basically the same thing. Each has some advantages over the other for the testing of different types of circuit. The basic purpose of both these methods is to locate the exact area of trouble. Any break or short in the signal path can be located, because the signal will dis-

appear at that point. If the trouble is due to an incorrect voltage on a valve, or to a faulty valve, the signal will not pass (or will be distorted) between the grid and anode circuit of the valve. If the trouble is of this nature, it can be localized immediately to the specific valve; and then the exact fault can be located by voltage and resistance checks, or by trying a valve known to be a good one.
In the procedure for signal tracing, the normal signal input for a piece of equipis connected to the input terminals. An oscilloscope or meter is then used to trace the signal from the input towards the output. The point at which the signal

ment

disappears or becomes distorted

is

the point to look for the fault.

Signal tracing can be used with practically every type of circuit that

you

will

come

across; but in receivers, the tracing of signals
r.f.

is difficult

because of the low

voltage

signals present in the early stages of the circuit.

Sequence U4ed Ut

Su^ud

*7*actHy

Fj
/

O
N|

H Generator
Signal

S3 H H
Input
|

|

±11

3 ^H

1 B

Meter
tn-

H
M

1 Oscilloscope

5.82
Fault-finding by Signal Injection

7

In the procedure for signal injection, an oscilloscope or output meter nently connected to the output of a piece of equipment.

is

perma-

A

signal generator is used to inject a signal of the proper amplitude

quency

into the various test points, starting at the output

and freand working towards

the input. Signal injection
is

used mainly with receivers, and with other similar equipment

containing high frequency amplifiers whose output cannot easily be checked.
Signal injection solves this problem by using a signal generator to inject signals
into various parts of the equipment.
will give a large

The

amplifiers in the equipment under test

enough gain so
is

that the signal can be observed at the output.
If this last

The
stage

first

stage to check

the last stage of the piece of equipment.
is

is

operating normally, the next-to-last stage

checked by feeding a signal

into that stage,
It is

and then by checking the output at the same point as before. because you are always observing the output of the equipment as a whole in signal injection that the last stage in the equipment is the first one to be checked.
Just as in signal tracing, the point

where the

signal

becomes distorted or

dis-

appears is the point to look for the fault. The last stage, for example, may be checked and found correct. So the signal is put on the next-to-last stage; and if the output of the equipment as a whole then ceases to be normal, you can be sure
that the trouble
is

in the next-to-last stage.

§ 7]

5.83

Testing Within Stages

Having localized the
cedure
is

to

make

fault to a single stage, the last step in fault-finding prodetailed checks within the stage to find the faulty component..

The
(i)

types of test

made

within stages are:

Voltage and Current Measurements.
will give correct operating voltages

Equipment handbooks and data sheets and currents for the stage,
If

(ii)

Resistance and Continuity Tests.
to earth

Resistances from various points in the stage

given,

may be quoted in the equipment handbook. it may be deduced from the circuit diagram.

such information

is

not

Where a resistor lies in one of a number of parallel paths, it is better to disconnect one end before measuring its resistance. Where the wiring of the stage is suspect, continuity tests with an ohmmeter
can be used to find the
(iii)

fault,

Substitution.

sometimes more convenient to check whether a component is fulfilling its function by substituting a known good component. The best example of this is the valve of a suspect stage. Where voltage or current checks indicate the valve as a possible source of trouble, the substituIt is

tion of a

known good valve will

quickly confirm or refute your suspicion.

5.84
Fault-finding in the Superhet Receiver

[§7

V
Detector

Y

AF
Amplifier

Local
Oscillator

a n
Heater Voltage

HT+ Voltage

Power
Supply

The Power Supply power supply unit consists of at least three stages; mains transformer, and filter. Your procedure for fault-finding should therefore be either:
1.

A

rectifier,

(i)

Check the input and output
to the primary; or preferably

of each stage, beginning with the a.c. mains input

(ii)

Check from the

d.c.

output back towards the

a.c.

mains input.

2.

The Audio Amplifier

to use fault-finding in the audio amplifier stages of a receiver, it is better method for the rest the signal injection method, because you will have to use that

When

of the receiver.

'scope or output meter should be connected across the loudinto the speaker at the output transformer secondary. An audio signal is injected the detector. The point at which various test points from the loudspeaker towards the fault. the signal disappears or becomes distorted is the place to look for

The

3.

The Detector The detector takes a modulated r.f. (or i.f.) signal and separates the audio from The high-frequency component is bypassed to earth and the the r.f. component.
audio signal
is

connected to the audio amplifier.

§7]
Fault-finding in the Superhet Receiver (continued)

5.85

When
(or
i.f.)

checking a detector, therefore, the procedure
signal into the detector input.
If
is

is to inject a modulated r.f. an audio signal corresponding to the

modulation does not appear at the output, there

a fault in the detector.

4.

The I.F. Amplifier The i.f. amplifier is an r.f. amplifier operating at a fixed frequency of 465 kc/s. The operation of the i.f. amplifier is similar to that of the r.f. amplifier described
in the amplifier section

—the only difference being that the
may

i.f.

amplifier operates at

a fixed frequency, and

for this reason be designed for a

much

higher gain.

modulated 465-kc/s signal, you can first test the i.f. output transformer, then the valve, and finally the input transformer. In all cases an audio signal should appear at the output.
injecting a

By

5.

The Mixer and the Oscillator The mixer stage selects the desired modulated
it

r.f.

signal

from the

aerial,

and

mixes

with the unmodulated signal from the local oscillator.

The

local oscillator

and the mixer tuning circuit have mechanically-ganged tuning capacitors which keep the frequencies of the selected signal and of the oscillator 465 kc/s apart. As a result of the mixer valve action, a modulated 465-kc/s signal is fed into the i.f. amplifier no matter what the frequency of the selected r.f. signal. The mixer is tested by first injecting a modulated 465-kc/s signal into the grid. If this signal passes through the mixer and appears as an audio signal at the final output, the mixer valve is operating correctly.

Then a modulated
to this signal.

r.f.

signal

is

injected at the

same

point,

An

audio signal should appear

at the output.

and the receiver is tuned If no signal appears,
it

there

is

a fault in the oscillator circuit.
of testing an oscillator stage to verify that
is

The methods

oscillating are

described on page 5.90.

6.

If

The Aerial Input Circuit the mixer and oscillator
by
injecting a
If

stages are proved correct, the final step
r.f.

is

to test the

aerial circuit

modulated

signal at the aerial input terminal
fault lies

and

no audio output is obtained, the terminal and the grid of the mixer valve.
tuning the receiver.

between the input

5.86

7

Test Instruments
In the fault-finding procedures described in the preceding pages, a number of You need not at this stage test instruments have been mentioned.
the circuits and principles of the test instruments you will use; but you should

requirements for

know

be familiar with the facilities they offer. Before you attempt to use test instruments in fault-finding, you must be familiar with the operating instructions issued by the maker, and also know how to interpret the results indicated

The

facilities offered

by the instrument. by the more common

test

instruments are summarized below.
r.f.

R.F. Signal Sources.

These are called Signal Generators, and give an

output

whose frequency

is

variable over a wide range.

The output

is

accurately calibrated

in terms of voltage, but the instrument should not

be regarded as an accurate

frequency standard.

The instrument also includes facilities for modulating its own output either by amplitude modulation (AM) or by frequency modulation (FM), for which see Part 6.
Frequency Standards.


is

The instrument used
r.f.

to check the frequency of a trans-

mitter or to inject a signal at a precise

frequency into a receiver

called a
built-in

Wavemeter or a Frequency Meter.
calibration checking system.

Such an instrument normally has a
r.f.

The wavemeter does not
A.F. Sources.
Signal
lator

usually provide modulated

The instrument which provides an a.f. signal is called an Audio Generator. One source of a.f. commonly used is the Beat Frequency Oscilof such instruments can be varied in amplitude
a.f.

(BFO).

The output

and frequency over

the whole of the

range.

Instruments for Tracing Signals.
tracing signals are the
facilities offered

The

three instruments most

CRO,

the Output Meter,

and the Valve Voltmeter.
is

commonly used for The

by a

CRO have already been described in Part 4 of Basic Electricity.
a.f.

Output Meters.

In an output meter,

power

dissipated in a fixed impedance

within the instrument.

is measured by a meter across a rectifier bridge. The meter is calibrated to read power directly. The fixed impedance is matched to the output impedance of the circuit in which the power is being measured by a tapped transformer incorporated in the instrument. The AVO Model 7, when switched to the power range, can be used as an output meter of this type.
a.f.

The

voltage across this fixed impedance

Valve Voltmeters. Voltmeters of the kind described in Part 1 of Basic Electricity cannot be used to measure accurately the voltage across very high impedances or resistances, because of the shunting effect of the meter. In such cases (for example, when measuring the voltage on the grid of a valve) a valve voltmeter, which itself has a very high input impedance, is used instead.

#o<> # oooooooo

§

7]

'5.87

Valve Testing

Although

it

is

sometimes convenient to find out whether a valve
it

is

functioning

properly in a circuit by substituting for

a

known good
this

valve, there will
will

be times

when it will be necessary known as "valve testers."

to test valves.

For

purpose you

use instruments

Since burned-out filaments cause the majority of valve failures, it is usually possible to discover such defective valves by removing them from the equipment

and

testing

them with an ohmmeter.

method of determining whether some of the valve electrodes are shorted, and whether the emission or mutual conductance are normal for its type, is to use a tester.
Note, however, that the valve tester cannot always be looked on as a final authority for determining whether or not a particular valve will operate satisfactorily in a given equipment. This is because the valve might be operating in
the equipment on a portion of
tester;

In general, however, the most satisfactory

or

it

its characteristic curve which is not covered in the might be operating in the equipment with voltages much higher or much

lower than those used in the tester. The check for filament continuity and for shorted valve electrodes is generally performed as the first part of the testing procedure. If the filament is found to be open-circuited, it is useless to attempt further testing of that valve. If shorted
electrodes are discovered,
it is

not advisable to test further, as the shorted electrodes

may blow

fuses or

damage

the tester.

Filament continuity and shorted electrodes are indicated by the lighting of a small neon or pilot lamp on the instrument panel, or by an indication on a meter. The next step is to test the mutual conductance of the valve. When doing this,

by applying a known signal and measuring the strength of the amplified signal in the anode circuit by means of an output meter. Since this procedure is performed under conditions which resemble the actual operating of the valve in an equipment, the results obtained give a good indication of the valve's serviceability.
to the grid,

the tester simulates the normal operation of the valve

Output

meter

Valve conductance indicated by strength of amplified signal
Manufacturers supply, in addition to instructions on the use of a valve tester wide range of valves.

testing data for a very

5.88

[§7
of Fault-finding in the Superhet
in the

Some Examples

Let us now go through the correct procedure to locate four typical faults
superhet receiver.

The

first

fault

is

an open-circuited coupling capacitor between the anode of the
valve.

first a.f.

amplifier

and the grid of the output

an audio signal is applied to the grid of V-4, an output will be observed on an oscilloscope or output meter. When an audio signal is applied to the grid of V-3, no output signal is observed. Using a 001 -pF blocking capacitor in the lead from the audio signal generator (in order to prevent H.T. being fed back and damaging the a.f. generator), apply the No signal is observed at the output. The fault area is signal to the anode of V-3. therefore between the anode of V-3 and the grid of V-4. The coupling capacitor is immediately suspected, as it is the only a.c. connecting Substitution of a known good capacitor will show link between anode and grid. fault has been cleared. that the

When

AUDIO SIGNAL

SCOPE PICTURE

POINT

©
(2
CONCLUSION

POINT

C/RCUITJ

from the slider of the volume control. an output is observed when an audio signal is placed on The same signal applied to the grid of V-3 the grid of V-4 and the anode of V-3. also produces an output.

The second

fault is a short to earth (chassis)
injection,

Using signal

SCOPE PICTURE

§7]

5.89

Some Examples
It is

of Fault-finding in the Superhet (continued)

the

a.f.

Injecting as well at this point to check the action of the volume control. signal at the top-end of the volume control results in no output, and rotating
effect.

the control has no

With the receiver switched

off,

a resistance check from

the potentiometer slider to earth reads zero with the control in

any position.

This

proves that the slider

is

shorting to earth.

A

visual inspection of the

component may reveal the

replacement volume control

will restore the receiver to

fault, or failing that a a working condition.

The third fault is a short-circuited i.f. trimmer capacitor. By injecting modulated signals, it is found that when a 465-kc/s
the detector anodes of V-3 an output
is

signal

is

applied

modulated signal to on to the grid of V-2, however, gives no output. Applying a signal to of 465 kc/s the anode of V-2 (through a d.c. blocking capacitor) still gives no output. The fault has then been isolated to the i.f. amplifier stage V-2.
observed.
Injecting a

The valve
Next,
d.c.

is

replaced, but the fault

still

remains.

voltage readings are taken, which appear quite normal.

Suspicion

is

now localized to the i.f. transformer. The receiver is switched off, and a resistance check is made from anode to H.T.(+). The result is a reading of zero, instead of the correct reading of 6 ohms.
This confirms that the
i.f. transformer is faulty. replacement transformer, after being correctly aligned to 465 kc/s, would cure the fault; but if a new ii. transformer is not available, it is necessary to remove the screening can from the faulty one and (by disconnecting the trimming capacitor from

A

the coil) to check by resistance short circuited.

measurement whether the capacitor or the

coil is

In this case

it is

a faulty capacitor

—and replacement of
i.f.

this

component

is

much

cheaper than

is

the cost of a complete

transformer.

RB
IRfl

RF SIGNAL

SCOPE PICTURE

465k<ys


READING

Us! B

kSS

powt (2)
RESISTANCE

SI

^^.^

m

^PT@TO PT(3)

^

On

coN(FUSION

5.90

[§7
of Fault-finding in the Superhet {continued)
is

Some Examples
The

fourth fault

an unserviceable local

oscillator valve.

Signal injection shows that a modulated 465-kc/s signal applied to the control
grid of the mixer valve
to the

same

point, however, gives

V-l gives an output. A modulated 1000-kc/s signal applied no output when the tuning capacitor is varied

over

its

range.

V-5 were working properly there would be a point, as its tuning was varied over the tuning range, at which the difference between the oscillator frequency and the applied modulated signal of 1000 kc/s would be 465 kc/s; and this would pass through the superhet and be observed at the output. Since no signal appears, however, the oscillator stage is suspect. Three methods which can be employed to verify if an oscillator stage is
If the oscillator

capacitor

oscillating are:
1.

Disconnect the earthy end of the grid resistor and check
grid current, using a suitable milli- or micro-ammeter.

if

there

is

any

d.c.

2. 3.

Check Check

if if

there

is

any

d.c. voltage

on the grid of the valve.

there are a.c. oscillations present at the grid or anode of the valve.

Checks (2) and (3) above have to be carried out with a valve voltmeter. The impedances from grid to earth, and from anode to earth, in an oscillator circuit are high. The input impedance of a meter such as the AVO 7 is comparatively low; and if such a meter were connected to an oscillator circuit, it would shunt the anode or grid circuit thus seriously impairing the performance of the oscillator, or even

stopping

it

oscillating altogether.

to

valve voltmeter, however, has a high input impedance; so it can be connected an oscillator circuit without these adverse effects. Using any of the three methods given, the result in the case we are considering
be:

The

would
1.

2.
3.

No No No

grid current.
d.c.

voltage on the grid.
is

oscillations at the anode; so the stage
is

not oscillating,

The most

likely

cause

a faulty valve.

A change of valve will therefore make the receiver operative in this particular case.
RF SIGNAL
1

SCOPE PICTURE

POINT

(J)

465

kc/S

POINT (T)lOOOkc/s

DC VOLTAGE CHECK
POINT

READNG

(2
CONCLUSION

OV

§7]

5.91

REVIEW—Fault-finding
The
correct sequence of steps in fault-finding is as follows:
(i)

Collate the

symptoms of the

fault.

(ii)
(iii)

Consider the symptoms and deduce a possible cause,
Inspect the equipment for obvious defects.

(iv)

Test the suspect stage (or every stage in the equipment

if

the

symptoms

do not lead you to suspect one particular stage).
(v)

Having located the

faulty stage,

make

voltage, current and/or resistance

checks to detect the faulty component.
(vi)

Replace the faulty component and check that the equipment
normally.

is

operating

Steps
1.

in

Fault Finding

Isolate defective staqe by siqnal injection. 2. Check d.c. voltaqes from valve pins to earth. 3. Check resistance from valve pins to earth.

As you

gain experience in fault-finding, you will be able to

make more

use of the

evidence and will have to test fewer stages before you find the faulty one.
Fault-finding is not a matter of gambling on a chance

it is

a matter for logical thought.

5.92

§8: GENERAL REVIEW OF
The purpose of a
aerials.

RECEIVERS
lllllli»M|||ll

Aerial.
is to

receiving aerial

Electromagnetic Waves

pick up electro-magnetic waves radiated
transmitting

by

These

waves,
it,

in

cutting the aerial, induce voltages in

causing
into the

currents to flow.
input

The currents flow

V))
TRANSMITTER

jvy

of the receiver,

where they generate

signals which are amplified by the receiver
circuits.

Directional Characteristics.

The

position

of a receiving aerial relative to the transmitting
aerial will

determine the strength of signal
If the

picked up.
is parallel to

frame aerial of a receiver
will

the frame aerial of a transmitter,

the signal picked up

be of

maximum

amplitude.

If the receiving aerial is turned so

that its edge faces the broad side of the trans-

mitting aerial, a very
up.

weak signal will be picked
aerial
is

Therefore,

the

said

to

have

directional characteristics.

R.F.

Amplifier

Stage.

An

r.f.

amplifier

stage in a receiver improves the sensitivity and

The added sensifrom the amplification of the desired signal, and the added selectivity results from the use of tuned-circuits which discriminate between the desired and undesired
selectivity of the receiver.
tivity

results

signals.

Audio Amplifier Stage.
signal.

An

audio amplifier

stage in a receiver amplifies the detected audio

stage,

are

Audio stages, which precede the amplifiers whose voltage
is to
it is

last

sole

function

increase the amplitude of the audio
large enough to drive the

to the level where
last stage.

The

last stage, called the

"power

out-

put stage," supplies the large current variations

necessary to drive the loudspeaker.

§8]

5.93

GENERAL REVIEW- -Receivers (continued)
Detectors.
receiver
is

The

function of a detector in a

remove the audio component from a modulated r.f. signal so that it can be ampliA simple detector consists fied by a.f. stages. of a tuned-circuit, a rectifier, and a filter.
to

Grid-leak Detector.

This type

is

basically

a diode detector with amplification added.

The

grid and cathode

form the diode detector,

with the grid acting as the anode.
amplified in the anode circuit.
s

The rectified
This detector

signal developed across the grid-leak resistor is

more

sensitive than the diode type.

Anode-bend Detector.

This detector em-

ploys a triode or pentode, biased near cut-off.
Rectification takes place in the anode circuit,
since the negative half of the modulated
r.f.

grid signal drives the valve into cut-off.

TRF

Receiver.

This receiver employs

r.f.

'

s
RF

y

\

/

\

amplifiers, a detector,

and
is

a.f. amplifiers.

The

tuned-circuits are ganged-capacitor tuned.

A

Detector

AF
stages

stages
r

shortcoming of the

TRF

that since the tuned-

circuits are not fixed-tuned, constant sensivity

rR F RECEfVEF

and

selectivity

cannot be realized over a tunable

All tuned circuits ganged

band.

5.94

[§8

GENERAL REVIEW—Receivers (continued)
Superheterodyne Receiver.
tage of the
receiver, in

The disadvanin the superhet
r.f.

TRF

is

overcome
desired

which

all

signals are

converted to the same fixed lower frequency
signal (called the "intermediate frequency"))

1* \W
nr
AmptafUr

....

1

H
iml

where the signal
cuits before
it is

is

amplified by fixed tuned-cir-

detected.

To accomplish

this,

the superhet incorporates
oscillator,

a mixer, a local

and an

i.f.

amplifier in addition to

the usual

TRF

stages.

Obtaining the I.F. Signal.
signal is obtained by beating signal with the signal

The

fixed

i.f.

the incoming

To Mixer Grid

from a local oscillator which is always a fixed amount away from the incoming signal. This is accomplished by ganging the capacitors of the oscillator and the r.f. amplifier so that the difference between the r.f. resonant frequency and the oscillator
resonant frequency
of the tuning
dial.
is

constant for

all settings

The

oscillator resonant frer.f.

quency

is

said to "track" the

resonant

620p

frequency.

Automatic
function
is

Gain

Control.

The superhet
circuit

receiver incorporates an

AGC

whose
It

to equalize the receiver output for

iHT* IF Amplifier

Diode Detector

both strong and
this

weak incoming signals.
r.f.

does This

by using a

filter circuit

which charges up to
wave.

the d.c. level of the rectified
d.c.
is

voltage (negative with respect to earth)
i.f.

then applied as bias to the grids of the
r.f.

and

stages,

all

of which
In this

may employ
the bias voltis

variable-mu valves.

way

age, and therefore the gain, of these stages

;—Lj c -'t

To

first

f

AF

amplifier

directly related to the intensity of the received
signal.

Aligning.

A superhet is said to

be "aligned" when

it is

giving

optimum performance

over

its

frequency range.
aligning a superhet the

i.f. stages are adjusted first. Then the trimmers of the and local oscillator are adjusted at the high end of the band. The adjustment of the low frequency end of the band is made with a padder capacitor.

When

r.f.

tuned-circuits

§9: MISCELLANEOUS ELECTRONIC
Most
of the very large

CIRCUITS

5.95

number

of electronic circuits which have been devised to

perform an almost bewildering variety of duties in modern industry and modern defence equipment employ principles already familiar to you from your study of
the three-stage transmitter

They can nearly
basic valve circuits

all

and the superhet receiver. if you remember the principles of the three the rectifier, the amplifier, and the oscillator.
be understood

THESE ARE BASIC TO ALL ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT

glliliS^*^

Here are three particular
equipment:
(i)
(ii) (iii)

circuits

you are

likely to

meet

in

working with electronic

The cathode

follower,

A typical A typical

time-base generator,
voltage stabilizer.

5.96


circuit of the

The Cathode Follower

The

cathode follower

is

illustrated below:

-HT+

*-HTThe input signal is applied between grid and earth, and the output taken from across the resistor in the cathode of the valve. The undecoupled cathode introduces negative feedback; so the output signal (which is the fluctuating component
of the cathode current)

Fout

is

is in opposition to the incoming signal. a faithful reproduction of Ki N , but is of lower amplitude.

In other words, the cathode follows the

A
1.

grid—hence the name of the cathode follower has the following properties:
voltage gain

circuit.

2.

is always less than one (normally of the order of 0-9). cathode follower does not amplify the input signal. The circuit has a low output resistance and a high input resistance.

The

That

is

to say, the

You will find cathode followers in use where it is necessary to match a high impedance into a low impedance without the need of amplification. Such a system would be required if the output of an amplifier of, say, 1 -megohm output impedance was required to feed into a cable of 300-ohm impedance. The .cathode follower would be inserted between the amplifier and the cable.
You
saw,

when you were
to

to maintain a

follower

is

learning about video amplifiers, how important it was good square or rectangular waveform. One use of the cathode maintain a waveform shape while at the same time matching two

impedances.

§9]

5.97

A

Typical Time-base Generator

plates of a time-base generator generates the voltage which is applied to the right across the tube, CRO, with the object of causing the spot to move from left to and then to fly back again. The voltage waveform required for this purpose is

A

X

illustrated in the first

diagram below.
j)k

Voltage applied
to

X

plates

«« *^v^-| /^Fly back time Time occupied by sweep \J_/

Time

Now

consider the simple circuit illustrated below:

-&**£

»-HT+

Voltage
applied to

X

plates

*-HT-

The

valve

of Basic

a gas-filled triode, similar to the gas-filled diode described in Part 1 Electronics except that its striking voltage can be controlled by varying
is
its

the negative potential on

grid.

H.T. is applied to the circuit, the capacitor C begins to charge through and therefore It continues to charge until the voltage across resistor R. the across the gas-filled triode— reaches the valve's striking voltage, which is in turn controlled by the negative potential on the grid.

When

C—
and

Once

the valve has struck,
r

its

resistance

becomes

negligible;

C

discharges

through resistor

and the

valve.

This process is repeated, the gas-filled valve remaining cut-off until its striking voltage is reached again. The time-constant for charging the capacitor (RC) and the time-constant for discharging the capacitor (rC) are very different; and the output waveform across C is
as illustrated below.

*-T

You

can see that the waveform of

this voltage is not identical

with the ideal

circuit whose output approaches time-base voltage waveform illustrated above. on the next page. more nearly to the ideal is described

A

5.98

[§9

A

Typical Time-base Generator {continued)

The output
capacitor C.

voltage of the cir< circuit illustrated below

is

the voltage across the

-*~HT+

Synch

*~HTH.T. is applied to the circuit, C begins to charge, its charging current flowing through the pentode V-l. You have already learnt that the current through a pentode is constant over a wide range of anode voltages. The magnitude of the current through the pentode is determined by the voltages applied to the control grid and screen of the valve. Therefore the pentode acts as a constant current device, and C charges at a linear
rate.

When

When
The

the voltage across

this valve strikes;

process

is

C reaches the striking voltage of the gas-filled triode V-2, discharges rapidly. repeated, producing the "saw-tooth" output illustrated below.
and

C

The

control

P

varies the grid voltage of V-l,

and therefore controls the current
slope of the saw-

through V-l and through capacitor C. tooth waveform.

It therefore controls the

The

control

Q

varies the striking voltage V-2,

and therefore the amplitude of

the saw-tooth waveform.

§9]

5.99

A

Typical Voltage Stabilizer Circuit
In Part
1

of Basic Electronics you learnt

how

gas-filled diodes

could be used to

output of a power-supply unit. The output voltage of a power supply unit using gas-filled diodes as stabilizers principally because of the current is, however, only stable within narrow limits
stabilize the

limitations of gas-filled valves.

A

stabilizer circuit

which

will operate

between wider

limits is illustrated below.

+ 6
UnstabHiscd

6+
Stabilised

dc output voltage

output voltage in the above circuit increases, the voltage at the grid of V-2 This will increase also, since it is taken from a resistance-chain across the output. an increase of current through V-2, and the voltage at its anode will will cause This anode is connected directly to the grid of V-l, which acts as a decrease.
If the

variable resistance.

As the voltage on the grid —the current through V-l
previous value.
Similarly,
if

of V-l
is

is

decreased—that

is

to say,

made more
is

negative
its

reduced, and the output voltage
the "resistance" of V-l
is

restored to

the output voltage

falls,

decreased, current

through the valve increases, and the output voltage attains its The variable control VR-1 determines the voltage applied to the grid of V-2, and hence determines the value of the stabilized d.c. output voltage.
diode V-3 keeps the cathode V-2 at a constant potential, so that only changes at the grid of V-2 affect the current through V-2— and therefore the "resistance" of V-l. You will learn more about these and other special circuits when you get on to

correct value.

The

gas-filled

your study of Basic Radar.


s.100

§10: FREQUENCY MODULATION:
TRANSISTORS
study of the basic circuits used in electronics:

You have now completed your
fier

You have also learnt how the valve amplican be used as an oscillator, and you have seen how all these circuits can be combined to form an wireless communications system. Before you leave what may be called the "Basic Fundamentals Area" of this
namely, rectification and amplification.

AM

fascinating subject, however,

and pass on to the study of such

practical applications

as Telecommunications Equipment, Radar, Echo-sounding, Fire Control Equip-

ments, Missile Guidance Systems, or Servo-mechanisms, you should

first

learn

something of two other subjects: Frequency Modulation and Transistors. Frequency Modulation (or FM, as it is usually abbreviated) can be simply described as another method of modulating wireless waves in order to transmit
intelligence.

In this method of modulation, the frequency of the carrier

wave

is

varied at a rate depending on the frequency of the modulating wave, and to an
extent depending on the amplitude of the modulating wave.
lation offers
static

This method of modusome advantages over AM, particularly in the matter of freedom from interference; and it is being increasingly used in commercial and military

communication networks. Transistors were invented as recently as 1948 by three American scientists, Shockley, Brattain and Bardeen. They are being used to replace valves in many

electronic circuits;
offer

since they
in

economies

space,

and power which make them very
weight
for use in

output
suitable

equipments where
are

these

factors

of import-

ance.
It is

these

Frequency
Transistors

two new topics Modulation and which form the
of

subject-matter

Part

6

of

Basic Electronics.

Part 6

FREQUENCY MODULATION

AND
TRANSISTORS

INDEX TO PART 5
(Note:

A

cumulative index covering

all six

Parts in this series will be found at the end of

Part 6)
Aerials, receiver, 5.13, 5.20
selecting
].F. amplifier, 5.56, 5.66 I.F. transformer, 5.55

and

installing, 5.16

types of, 5.14

Local oscillator, 5.49, 5.65
Mixing, 5.52

A.F. amplifier, 5.41
in the superhet receiver, 5.57, 5.67 in the

mixer stage in the superhet receiver, 5.53,
5.66

TRF

receiver, 5.38, 5.42

tone control, 5.39

mixer valves, 5.54
Oscillator, beat frequency, 5.

volume

control, 5.40

64

Alignment, 5.68, 5.71, 5.72

Oscillator stage in the superhet receiver,
5.65

Anode-bend detector, 5.35 Automatic gain control (AGC),

5.58

Band switching
Capacitors

in receivers, 5.24

Receiver, 5.92
crystal, 5.10
fidelity, 5.9

gauged, 5.25
introduction to,
5.1

padder, 5.65, 5.73

trimmer, 5.26, 5.72

selectivity, 5.8, 5.46

Cathode follower, 5.96
Crystal detector, 5.30

sensitivity, 5.7

superhet, 5.12, 5.43, 5.61, 5.74

Crystal receiver, 5.10

the jobs performed by, 5.5

Detector, 5.37

TRF,

5.11, 5.21

anode-bend, 5.35
crystal, 5.30

R.F. amplifier, 5.41
in the superhet receiver, 5.47

diode, 5.32
grid-leak, 5.33
in the superhet receiver, 5.57, 5.67

in the

TRF

receiver, 5.22, 5.28

R.F. transformer, 5.23
Selectivity in a receiver, 5.8, 5.46

in the superhet receiver for

CW

Sensitivity in a receiver, 5.7

working, 5.64
in the

measurements, 5.69
Superhet receiver, 5.12 complete circuit of, 5.61
fault-finding in, 5.84

TRF

receiver, 5.29

Diode

detector, 5.32

Fault finding, 5.76, 5.91
in the superhet receiver, 5.84

Test instruments, 5.86

procedure, 5.77
signal injection, 5.82 signal tracing, 5.81
testing within stages, 5.83
Fidelity, in a receiver, 5.9

Time base generator, Tone control, 5.39

5.97

TRF

receiver, 5.11, 5.21

Valve testing, 5.87 Voltage stabilizer circuit, 5.99

Frequency changing valves, 5.54 Grid leak detector, 5.33 Heterodyne principle, 5.63

Volume

control

automatic (AGC), 5.58

manually operated,

5.27, 5.40

WIGAN
CENTRAL]
LIBRARY.

621

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->