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My name is Pete and I have been an active amateur for 58 years. I have held various call signs including my original K3IXU in 1959 and along the way KM6DD (Midway Island) W7FFL, W6JFR (42 years) and now N6QW since 2009.

At the top of the page is a 48 Cubic Inch 20M SSB transceiver just completed in July of 2017. It is a DifX --something different from a Bitx. This 5 watt rig has proven very air-worthy and has provided many hours of enjoyable QSO's. It is a single conversion with a 9 MHz IF (GQRP Club 6 Pole Crystal Filter). Two MMIC amplifiers are used in a bidirectional stage and provide quite an uumphf to the signal.The build is a combination of SMD and leaded parts.

Another DifX is a design from a 1973 (Charley Hill W5BAA) Ham Radio article that featured a 20M SSB rig using the LM373 AM/FM/SSB IC. I built a rig in the early 1970's similar to W5BAA'a design but in 2017 decided to build another whihc features an architecture similar to W5BAA's but oif course has the imprimatur tsamp of N6QW. See http://www.n6qw.com/LM373.html

I may be having a QSO with you using this rig. (See Below)

Hot off the press is my latest 60M Rig --it is a DifX (Decidedly Different than a Bitx) with innovations such as a tunable Channel 3 when that becomes authorized and built in TUNE function which is displayed when activated as TUNE in red between the words USB and CH #. Try that with your modified Bitx40!

Below is one of my latest rigs and with this same radio I may be having a QSO with you right now! It is a two band rig (40/20 Meters) SSB only and good for 15 Watts out. It has been reworked to include the 240X320 Color TFT display. This is also a DifX.

Two Band SSB Transceiver





The latest "Junk Box" rig from N6QW!


In 2016 I have built three new transceivers using boards from old projects or experimental boards that were simply put in the storage bins. The one above built in October, is in its early stages of development and uses a main board out of a hallicrafters FPM300 SSB/CW transceiver of the early 1970's. The original radio was a hybrid which featured all solid state devices up to the final and driver which were tubes. The FPM was for fixed, portbale and mobile as the unit had a self contained power supply that could be fed from 110 VAC or 12 VDC DC. It was one of the last radios built by hallicrafters. It had many problems! The first photo shows the transistion effort to an enclosure starting with the front panel. The photo below that was the original breadboard which has logged about 200 contacts. The final size will be 4 inches high by 10 inches wide by 12 inches deep. Initially it will only be on two bands, 20 and 40 Meter but will have provsisons for five bands.

Several years ago I purchased an FPM300 with hopes of curing the maladies. I was unsuccessful but did keep the main boiard and S Meter and sold the hulk for parts. My net cost was now about $20. I finally worked my way down the project list and decdided to build a new transceiver around the mainboard and S meter. The RxTx mixer stage is an SBL-1 and the LO and BFO signals are supplied by the venerable Si5351 PLL clock generator. For a readout I used a 128X160 Color TFT.

The Rx RF amplifier and Tx RF preamp are supplied using a bidirectional amplifier circuit of my own design. The Tx driver stage uses a 2N2222 driving a BD139 and the final is a 2SC2075. Much of this just happened to be in the junk box. The radio is on 40 Meters and the Pout is 3  to 4 watts. Using two outboard amps in cascade the rig will hit about 700 Watts "key down". The long term plan is a three band radio covering 80, 40 and 20 Meters. I have made several hundred contacts using what looks like a pile of junk. Initially the radio was on the air using only the driver stage at 400 Milliwatts wherein I made two contacts including a dx all the way to Reno NV. The long term plan aslso includes the "Blue" treatment.

Two other radios built in 2016 are shown below. Originally one used a crystal filter at 3.180 MHz that was once embedded in a Yaesu FT-101 transceiver known as the model XF-32A. The second follows a similar architecture only using the Yaesu XF-30A Filter. The other difference is that the second unit finished in late August sports an LCD display --yep cool blue.  Both have worked well beyond what I thought could be possible --junk into a jewel. Given the band conditions both are on 40 Meters. Both radios have now been retrofitted with 9.0 MHz crystal filters. It takes about 15 minutes for a filter change including soldering in the new filter and changing the Arduino code. Because the FPM300 used a 9.0 MHz crystal filter the code for the above display is almost identical to the code now used in the second radio. The only difference was the fine tuning of the BFO frequencies.


In 2015 I added a new website (it was easier than fixing the old one). Several new projects are in the queue including the Belthorn III and experimenting with Termination Insensitive Amplifiers. The new site is http://www.n6qw.com/.

The photo at the top is my latest transceiver called the LBS-II (Lets Build Something -2nd Generation). It features a 9.0 MHz IF and has extensive use of Surface Mount components. It is a single band transceiver operating on 40M. The power output is two watts and features a Si5351 for the VFO and BFO. Typical use is with a refurbiushed RF Brick from an Atlas 210X and the power output is boosted to 120 watts. See my webpage at http://www.n6qw.com/ and click on the link LBS 2nd generation for details on how it was built. The final size is 2.25 inches high by 4 inches wide and 7 inches deep. The color display is icing on the cake.


The photo below is a transceiver which I call the ZIA (Z for Impedance, I = Insensitive and A = Amplifier). The heart of this transceiver which is on 20 Meters with a whopping 4 watts is the Termination Insensitive Amplifiers developed by Wes Hayward and Bob Kopski. The VFO & BFO are handled nicely with the Si5351 and the microcontroller is an Arduino Nano. My new website has details on the ZIA.

The photo below is of the Belthorn III also built in 2015

One of the most complex projects ever undertaken was a solid state version of the KWM-2/A. This radio was first used on December 26, 2012. The power output is 5 watts and tunes 80,40,20,17,15 and 10M. It is SSB and CW capable. Bandswitching is done electronically via the K5BCQ Controller II Frequency Generator which control banks of relays to switch in the appropriate filters. The total construction was about 3 months. It is dual conversion with the second IF at 455 KHz and admirably handled by a Collins 455 KHz Mechanical Filter. A separate oscillator generates the CW signal. The dual conversion frequency scheme is shown in one of the photos.

The last project before completion of the KWM-4 was a retrofit and upgrade of a tech special, beat-up, and plain neglected Ten Tec Triton IV Model 540 which was the analog version. My effort involved figuring out how to add a digital dial from AADE, building a new 5 Watt final amplifier stage and replacing the front panel. This project is the subject of future article that will appear in QRP Quarterly from QRPARCI.

Figuring out how to read the internal signals from the 540 took a lot of "head scratching" but in the end was done with three 1N4148 diodes and two isolation amps that used a single J310 and a couple of small parts. The display follows the band switch and no other switches are required to make the display work.

A prior project was the modification/upgrade and refurbishment of a Heathkit HW-101. You can see the finished product in the photo above. Many of the marginal components were replaced as well as the addition of a digital dial. This is a 50 year old radio design but it works well even today! What a kick to use this radio --not quite like what is available today but still fun

Another project I completed in April 2011 is one of the projects published by QRP Quarterly in the Summer 2011 issue.

It is a shirt pocket sized 20M QRP SSB transceiver.The radio puts out one watt and is VXO tuned in two ranges and covers 14.160 to 14.220. My first contact with a small outboard 10 Watt PEP linear was with OM5MZ --imagine my surprise. This is a variant of a larger shirt pocket transceiver I finished in February of 2011 (2"X3"X5") . I call this radio the 2X4 --it is 2 inches wide by 4 inches long and 2 inches high. It is a single conversion transceiver with a 4.9152MHz IF (a four pole homebrew crystal filter) and a 19.1 MHz LO. The LO uses a SA612 that is used as the VXO at 12.96 MHz and as a mixer that takes two heterodyne crystal frequencies one at 6.144 MHz and the other at 6.176 MHz. The SA612 is a SOIC8 device and really small. The transceiver is bilateral and uses two amps comprised of a 2N3904 and 2N3906 combination. This is the circuit shown in EMRFD Fig 6.111.

There are three ultraminaiture relays included in the radio. Two IC's are employed in the audio sections: an LM386 for audio output and an NE5534 for the MIC amp. The final amplifier chain is a 2N4401, 2N3866 and an IRF510. This comes from Figures 6.93 and 6.96 in EMRFD. For the Rx & Tx Mixer stage I am using a Mini-Circuits Labs ADE-1L and for the Product Detector and Balanced Modulator another ADE-1L. In the first seven contacts I have worked stations in the Slovak Republic as well ascontacts with Italy and Sweden that were made with the help of a small outboard Linear Amp at 50 Watts. Not bad for something that is 0.009 of a cubic foot. This has great possibilities for a portable QRP radio and possibly pedestrain mobile. On 4/26 I made my first 1 watt to 1 watt QRP contact with W5YFN, Ken in Roswell NM. Yeah for QRP!

See the following You Tube for more info on V.2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KgbbaN7NfU and this You Tube for the original unit built in February of 2011 known as V.1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYxF_2Pk6go

I enjoy building and operating my own equipment some of which can be seen at my website www.jessystems.com. I also enjoy working on some of the boatanchors such as hallicrafters and Collins.

Pictured below is a Tri-Band (40,20 and 15M) QRP SSB Transceiver completed in the Spring of 2009. The transceiver uses the architecture employed by Heathkit in the HW/SB series. It uses the same crystal filter and heterodyne crystals with the added bonus of a Ten Tec PTO that came out out of a Triton IV. Using an outboard amp many DX contacts have been made with this radio. See http://www.jessystems.com/2009_XCVR.html for details. I lovingly and jokingly refer to this as my solid state version of the HW-100.

Pictured below is a 40M CW Transceiver that uses four TriQuint MMIC Gain Block Amplifiers (P/N AG303-86G). This is one sweet radio and small too! The size is 3" X 4" X 2.5 " high

It can be seen in full detailhere: http://www.jessystems.com/40M_MMIC.html

These MMIC amplifiers are terrific and do not need much in the way of supporting hardware to have them do their thing. I hope to do some more projects using these wonderful devices.

See my 20M MMIC Based QRP SSB Transceiver. It was on the front cover of QRP Quarterly in the Spring 2010 issue.




Am hoping that the sunspot cycle finally gets launched so I can once again experience openings like in Cycle 19 vintage 1959 --what a time to be a ham!


Pete N6QW

8231580 Last modified: 2017-07-23 02:06:36, 20390 bytes

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