Radio Bebek 2nd If Amp and 2nd Mixer

Radio Bebek Receiver Almost Complete

So today I populated the 2nd IF mixer, the 2nd mixer and some of the switching circuitry and gave all those elements a little bit of a test.

To follow on from the test of the first IF amp, I put a 10mv signal into the first IF amp and tested the whole IF strip through the Xtal Filter and out the 2nd IF amp buffer and it all seems to be working quite well.

But there is one issue and I am not sure what the cause is. The 470R resistor from voltage divider on Q6 does not go straight to ground and trying to find its ultimate path to ground has been elusive.

To make matters worse there are q Q10 in the schematic and Q10 and 21 on the board, there are 2 diode on the board not on the schematic and I cannot for the life of me work out what the actual cause is here. Either one of the Q10’s is not being biased on or there is some part missing or either VR7 or VR2 are not providing the emitter ground path on the emitters of those Q10 transistors.

Anyway, I think what i will do is pull both the Q10’s out and related circuitry, part of which is for a signal meter and just hard wire the 470R voltage divider to ground. That will at least leave me to be able to complete the receiver and actually test it.

At one point today I had fed a 9mhz signal into the IF strip and was getting a 600Hz tone out the audio amp, so that in itself is promising as I was worried about the dodgy design 2nd mixer. Which looks like a ring mixer but does not have trifilar windings on the inputs and outputs, but some crazy bifilar winding on one side and a variable resistor and cap divider on the other. I am not sure about this mixer design and I have not done any google foo to see if i can find it, but it does work

Oh and for the diodes in the mixer i did not use the typical 1n4148 diodes that everyone uses, but rather I used a Schottky Diode 1N5711, it probably means i have way to much drive from the BFO as the switch on of these are much lower, but its working and for now, I call that a win, particularly so when i really do not understand the mixer topology being used.

Oh and as far as audio goes, of the 2 AF stages, I am only using the LM386 first stage because the TDR2003 is motor boating or oscillating or just acting like a tard and I am not sure why here either

I do hope the next post will be a video of it receiving signals. Failure is always an option here, but so far this build has been very challenging, but its been rewarding and even if it ends up being a pile of junk, i will have learned a lot.

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Radio Bebek 1st IF Amp

Radio Bebek First IF Amp

I did a bit more on this today, went through and added in the first IF amp and tested it to ensure it was working. After sorting out some probe issues with my scope, it was all systems go.

Radio Bebek First IF Amp

After working out where the input to the first IF amp was and also buzzing it out back to the first mixer, I fed a 100mv signal into the amp and scoped the output on the other end of the xtal filter to ensure signal was going in and coming out. As you can see from the oscilloscope output above it works.

The blue trace is the 100mv signal from function generator and the yellow trace is the signal on the other side of the xtal filter. Now to build the 2nd IF amp and test it also.

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Radio Bebek Xtal Filter

Radio Bebek Xtal Filter

I thought before i added in the IF Amps i would build the xtal filter first and see how it looked. The values of 33pf seemed very small and would end up with quite a wide filter. Typical values for a 2K wide filter are usually around the 100pf mark, so i started there.

Obviously i was wrong, but i am thinking 50pf might be closer to the mark after looking at the bode plot. Its not going to break any performance records and the skirts are kind of garbage for a 5 xtal filter. But, I will see how it goes on receive once i have the rest of the radio built.

Radio Bebek Xtal Filter Bode Plot

As far as xtal filters go, this is one of the better looking ones I have built HEHE, so I guess the others have been really crap. It is kind of symmetrical looking and only 3db-ish of ripple. Might be ok. We will see.

2200hz IF Filter

Ok, so after playing with cap values i got the filter about the right width, but there is a lot of variance in the passband. 8db to be exact. Way to much. But as there is no way to impedance match this, there is not a lot i can do. It is what it is as they say and as I am only building this as a receiver, I can live with it.

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Radio Bebek LP and BP Filters

Ok, this has been a fun section to build. I spent the better part of an hour scratching my head over this and wondering why it was not working. Well, this is how I approached this section of the build.

First thing i did was rummage around in my parts bins for canned inductors. I do not have a lot of these things, but i do have a few and those are of a few different types. From what I understood from the few bits in information i have been able to glean from the internet, they used 10.7Mhz IF cans. This then narrows it down to 3 or 4 actual IF Transformers.

Of the ones i have in my parts trays, only one looked like it had suitable values for a 7mhz filter, with windings that measured 120nH and 2.2uH. That was going to get me ballpark and allow me to simulate the required capacitor values.

LTSpice Simulation of Bebek Bandpass Filter

The fun begins when you go to buzz out the actual pcb, because the input series cap is not on the board, but its on the schematic, first issue that did my head in. The output series cap is on the board and on the schematic. Simulating without the input cap seemed to make no difference at all. So i just left it out rather than cutting traces and soldering it to the bottom side of the board. This is not the first time in this build that i have found such discrepancies either. In fact, it would be a miracle indeed if someone could stuff the board with parts and it just worked.

LTSpice Simulation of Bebek Lowpass Filter

Not feeling very confident at this point, I thought it would be best to simulate the lowpass filter just to make sure it was ballpark and surprise it was actually quite ok. Perfect in fact.

Radio Bebek filters built and ready for testing

Ok now this is where the fun began. First thing i do when building something is buzz it out to make sure there are no shorts. Well the low value windings on the canned inductors are only 100nh. They look like a short to ground at DC. So sticking my continuity meter on both the antenna pins caused it to go beep and I spent the next 30mins trying to track down the mystery short to ground, before i worked out what was happening

Testing the Bebek filters

So finally I wired up some power and injected a signal and started to trace it though the board all the way to the input port of the mixer footprint. Initially there was nothing, so i probed around and found RF at a mystery pad showing a 6.8uh inductor, which is in series with the 7pf coupling cap. After some head scratching, I think that this meant to be a capacitor so that you can series 2 caps together to get a lower value. I dropped a wire link in there and things finally worked.

Signal scoped at the RF Post of the First Mixer

0.02V signal injected at the antenna port, through the lowpass filter, through the bandpass filter into the RF Preamp and we have 50mV. I do not think the losses in the filters are all that high.

So that end this nightmare 🙂 Its all worked so far, just some IF amps, IF filter and 2nd mixer to go to have the receiver working. Still plenty that can go wrong from here, but its getting there.

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Radio Bebek RF PreAmp

Radio Bebek RF Preamp
Powered Up and Testing
100mV in and 500mV out

So the RF preamp has about 5x gain. On 40m its probably not really needed unless there is a lot of loss in the filters. Which in this case might actually be the case as the RF path from the antenna goes through the LPF, into the Relay and then into the BPF. So a little gain ahead of the mixer might be a good thing.

One thing that I left out for now were the back to back clipping diodes. I am only building this as a receiver pretty much to begin with and I am not sure clipping diodes are really necessary. Next I will be working on the LPF and BPF. Need to do some LTSpice here to make sure my values are correct.

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Radio Bebek LO Buffer Amp

Ok, back to doing some work on the Bebek. In this block the only real issues are that there is an extra DC blocking cap on the board that is now shown on the schematic and that the Cap values on the schematic are not the same shown on the board. In this case I have defaulted to using the values on the board. 10nf and 100nf on the board are 1nf and 10nf on the schematic. The former values just seem more logical to use and the latter are most obviously an error on the part of the designer.

Bebek LO Buffer Amp
250mV in and 2.5V out

So the LO Buffer Amp has a 10x gain. I injected it with a 250mV signal to get 2.5V out. Now obviously this is not good if you are using a SI5351A as it puts out 1.5V. But this should work quite well with an AD9850 which puts out 200mV. It still might be a little to much drive for a -7dB mixer, but it should be ball park upper limit.

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Receiver RF Front End

VK4FFAB Receiver Front End

Ok, I am posting this mostly because I can, but I wont publish the gerbers yet because I actually want to layout the board better, fix some footprints and have the boards remade. Not because they are bad or do not work, but because I know i can make them so much better

So this it my receiver front end. RF comes in from the antenna, through the TX-RX relay into a 0-31dB attenuator module, into a 5 to 15dB RF Preamp.

The RF amp is a pair of J310 as a dual gate mosfet as designed by Pete Juliano here: SimpleCeiver

Variable RF Preamp Schematic
Prototype Built and Tested
PCB as originally laid out.

I might add some more info here later, or will just post anew when i have redesigned the board. The main thing i want to do is to remove those wire links joining the attenuator to the rest of the circuit and replace that with some right angled SMA connectors as the attenuator board comes with SMA connectors on it already. I will probably change the relay also as I now have some better RF relays, not just chinesium grade floor sweepings.

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Transceiver Control Board

Control board PCB design files

It seems like now days every man and his dog has a DDS/Digital Synth VFO project happening. I have had a couple and I am pretty sure that there are even Gerbers floating about on my blog for that very thing and was one of the very first boards I ever designed and laid out.

Well, times are a changing and rather than just a simple VFO, I have designed a board to control all aspects of radio control. To fit all the functions into one microcontroller required a bit of a step up and the use of an ATMega because I needed that many digital pins.

So what does it do? Well:
1. Real time clock and keyboard for logging contacts, digital modes like RTTY and keyboard CW.

2. Rotary encoder for the SI5351a VFO obviously.

3. 8 push buttons for various functions like band changing, mode changing and setting the attenuation level. On my front end board i have a 32 step rf attenuator in 0.5db steps, and for selecting 1 of 2 audio filters, but this might change yet and become DSP audio filtering with a lot more options at a latter stage.

4. Setting relays both bandpass and lowpass filters for 4 bands and selecting one of 2 IF Filters.

Now i am only releasing the board files, the software is something you are going to have to write yourself, because my code is not complete and probably wont be complete for sometime. I have most of the basic functionality written, but it all needs fleshing out and cleaning up. Now its nice when someone does it all for you, but, this will be pretty slick when complete and well, i dont want anyone making a commercial product out of my work and so the code will probably never be released. But these board files will save you hours of work, even if you have to code it all yourself.

The latest iteration of the control board


Early prototype board working and functioning. 

Gerber files for this board can be downloaded from here: http://vk4ffab.info/Files/ControlBoard.zip

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4 Band Bandpass Filter Board

The relays are double pole double throw in a standard 18x9mm package size. The transistors are anything you have in CBE footprint, I used 2n3904 and the resistor is there for current limiting, just pick a typical value, i think i used 4.8K. The trimmer caps I use are 3 leg 100pf max value to tune and align each filter.

SMA edge connectors bring RF in on the left side of the board. By default all relays are in the OFF position and no RF can pass through. The 6 pin header brings control signals and power to the board. To turn a relay on, a 5v control control signal is placed on one of the first 4 pins to turn 1 pair of relays on. The last 2 pins are ground and VCC of the relays you used.

Aligning each filter can be a bit tricky, it is best to use a spectrum analyzer and tracking generator if you have one, or a noise source and spectrum analyzer or even in a pinch if you slow down the seconds/division on the oscilloscope so you can see the filter shape. The reason being, if your filters are not quite tuned right, you will end up with 2 peaks and some attenuation in the bandpass you just do not want.

The filters themselves are Double Tuned circuits. To design the values needed for each band I used some software called DTC.exe which can be found on a CD in the book Experimental Methods In RF Design. I have linked it here for download, but I am not sure if I am allowed to and i will pull it down if asked by the authors: DTC DOWNLOAD

The gerber files for the board can be downloaded from here: Bandpass Filters

Here is a schematic of the filters with values for 80, 40, 20 and 15m.


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4 Band Lowpass Filter Board

Board Design 

Ok, in the spirit of sharing and making things easy for people, I am going to start releasing some gerbers for the various boards I have designed for my various projects, that work HAHAHA, because, yes, not everything i do works.

I am not into this for making money, I do everything that i do simply for the love of it and for the learning experience. So selling boards and things is not high on my agenda. And besides, you can get 10 boards made and send to you from JLCpcb in China for not much more than it would cost me to send you one from Australia.


First cab off the ranks 7th order low pass filter boards. So you will notice there are no part values on the boards. Why? Well because i do not know what bands you might like to build for. The relays are double pole double throw in a standard 18x9mm package size. The transistors are anything you have in CBE footprint, I used 2n3904 and the resistor is there for current limiting, just pick a typical value, i think i used 4.8K.

SMA edge connectors bring RF in on the left side of the board. By default all relays are in the OFF position and no RF can pass through. The 6 pin header brings control signals and power to the board. To turn a relay on, a 5v control control signal is placed on one of the first 4 pins to turn 1 pair of relays on. The last 2 pins are ground and VCC of the relays you used.

For designing the filters I use an online calculator like this one at Calculators Edge: http://www.calculatoredge.com/electronics/bw%20pi%20low%20pass.htm Or a software tool like Elsie.

Lowpass Filter Board

Gerber Files can be downloaded from HERE:  http://vk4ffab.info/Files/LowPass_Filter.zip


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