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Audio Filters for Classic Radioteletype Application

D.R. Sentz
Started July 11, 2015
A long time ago I acquired several of the "phone company" type
toroid transformer/inductors that are commonly referred to as
44/88 millihenry or 22/88 millihenry toroids. I still have four
of them available for use. Radioteletype (RTTY) hobby articles
refer to these toroids as being very useful for the mark and
space tone filters in homebrew "terminal units" (TUs). The
classic ham radio RTTY signaling conventions were;
1. High frequency (HF) RTTY
Frequency-Shift-Keying (FSK)
850 Hz
Mark signal
nominal RF carrier frequency
Space signal
RF carrier 850 Hz
2. Very High frequency (VHF) RTTY
Audio-Frequency-Shift-Keying (AFSK)
850 Hz
Mark signal
2125 Hz
Space signal
2975 Hz
A single terminal unit design can employ two filters, one for
each of the VHF AFSK tone frequences, and then employ a
"reversing switch" to choose the HF signaling mode or the VHF
signaling mode. If the inductor is exactly 88 millihenrys, then
the capacitor to go with it, for the 850 Hz shift "standard"
mark and space tone frequencies, should theoretically be as
2975 Hz
2125 Hz

Filter Capacitor
0.0325 uF
0.0637 uF

I do not have an audio signal generator, but I can still easily

breadboard the audio filters, and use a "select-in-test"
procedure to arrive at the proper capacitor choices. The
procedure requires only the following equipment, that I have;

Short-wave U.S.Army receiver model R-174

Fluke digital multimeter model 79
8 ohm to 500 ohm audio transformer, and 600 ohm
clip leads, misc.

Procedure- Before starting, let the receiver stabilize (i.e.,

"warm up") for a little while, say 15 to 30 minutes.
1. Set the receiver function switch to "CAL". Tune to 1800 kHz
so that you hear the beat tone. The receiver has a built-in
200kHz crystal-controlled calibrator.
2. Apply the receiver's audio output to the series resonant test
circuit via the step-up transformer and a 10kohm isolation
resistor, as shown in the figure above.
3. Refer to the figure for the following substeps;
Disconnect the circuit under test at "X".
Set the multimeter to "Hz"
Tune the tone frequency to about 2 kHz
Set the multimeter to AC voltage
Adjust the receiver's volume control to get an amplitude
reading between 1 and 2 volts. Recheck the tone frequency
after this adjustment.

4. Connect the circuit under test at "X". Tune the receiver to

vary the audio tone frequency to get the best "null", or minimum,
AC voltage across the circuit under test. Record the magnitude
of the minimum voltage. It is important to distinguish between
the true null and the normal roll-off of the amplitude as the
tone frequency increases or decreases. Use the headphones to
help out with identifying the true null.
5. Do not change the tone frequency after finding the null.
Disconnect the filter under test at the "X". Leave the
multimeter attached to the resistor. See drawing on previous
6. Switch the multimeter to "Hz" and measure the frequency and
magnitude of the audio tone. Record this reading as the measured
series-resonant frequency of the filter.
If you can't get a stable frequency reading then the volume
control on the receiver may have been set too low. Turn it up
some and try this step again (You may not have to repeat the
whole procedure). I found that a 1 volt rms tone is fine for the
multimeter to make a good measurement of the frequency.
There is, in theory, no difference between series and parallel
resonance frequency of a tuned circuit. The nulling method
should be more accurate than a "peaking" method.

July 15, 2015- Filter Testing went very well, considering the
crude nature of my set-up. Here are the results.
2975Hz- Theoretical .0325 uF
Capacitor selected:

Yellow Tubular 100V

Theoretical Resonance at 2985 Hz

Measurements with
1000Hz 1.77 volts
2000Hz 2.95 volts
2500Hz 3.08 volts
2972Hz 1.44 volts
2973Hz 1.6 volts
2975Hz 1.85 volts
3053Hz 1.7 volts
3200Hz 2.37 volts
3500Hz 1.89 volts
4000Hz 1.50 volts

Red 88MHy Toroid;

653mV - 8.7dB
373mV -18.0dB
179mV -24.7dB
50mV -29.2dB, photo
54mV -29.4dB, -0.85 dB from peak
50mV -31.4dB
52mV -30.3dB
64mV -31.4dB
96mV -25.9dB
134mV -21.0dB

Series Connected Red 88mHy Toriod and .0323uF

2125Hz- Theoretical .0637 uF

Capacitors Selected;

Yellow Tubular 200V
Green 50V
Yellow Tubular 400V
High by .00115uF 1.8%

Theoretical Resonance at 2107 Hz

Measurements with Green 88MHy Toroid;
2125Hz 1.8 volts 48mV
-31.5dB photo
2125Hz 2.6 volts 50mV
-34.3dB cannot explain 3dB diff.
---625Hz 1.35V 430mV
- 9.9dB
1000Hz 1.09V 186mV
2125Hz 2.6 V
-32.0dB (avg. two measurements)
2500Hz 2.60V
3000Hz 2.28V 166mV

Series Connected Green 88mHy Toroid and .06485uF

This data, coarse as it is, looks fine for single-section
series-resonant LC circuits. Now I have confidence that these
are good-enough parts for the two parallel-resonant tone filters.
Here are some photos from the testing activity;

Input Tone Frequency = 2972 Hz

Filter#1 2972 Hz Input Tone Amplitude = 1.44 Volts

Filter#1 2972 Hz Output Amplitude = 50 millivolts

Input Tone Frequency = 2125 Hz

Filter#2 2125 Hz Input Tone Amplitude = 1.825 Volts

Filter#2 2125 Hz Output Amplitude = 48 millivolts