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FM Crystal Radio Receivers

The notion of "crystal radio" is strongly associated with huge antennas and radio broadcasting on long and medium bands, in this article, the author describes the experimentally tested detector circuits of VHF receivers designed to listening to a FM stations.

The very possibility of receiving VHF FM detector was discovered accidentally. One day I was walking in the Terletskiypark in Moscow, Novogireevo, I decided to listen to the broadcast - I had a simple crystal set without resonant tank (this circuit is described in the "Radio", 2001, № 1, Fig. 3). The receiver had a telescopic antenna with length of about 1.4 m. Wonder whether it is possible to receive radio broadcast with this short antenna? It was possible to hear, but weakly, simultaneous operation of two stations. But what is surprised me is the volume of receiving was rise and fall periodically almost to zero after every

7 5

m, and it was different for each radio station!

It is known that in the LW and MW bands, where the wavelengths are hundreds of meters, it is impossible. I had to stop at the point of receive with maximum volume of one of the stations and listen attentively. It turned out - this is "Radio Nostalgie", 100.5 MHz, broadcasting from the near city Balashikha. There were no line of sight between antennas. How does the FM transmission could be received by using the AM detector? Further calculations and experiments shows that it is quite possible and is not depends on the receiver.

A simple portable FM crystal receiver is made exactly the same way as an indicator of the electric field, but instead of measuring device it is necessary to connect a high-impedance headphones. It makes sense to add an adjustment of coupling between the detector circuit and the resonant tank to adjust the maximum volume and quality of the receiving signal.

The simplest Crystal radio

The circuit diagram of the receiver suitable for these requirements is shown in Fig. 1. This circuit is very close to the circuit of the receiver mentioned above. Only the VHF resonant tank has been added to the circuit.

Only the VHF resonant tank has been added to the circuit. Fig. 1. VD1, VD2 -

Fig. 1. VD1, VD2 - GD507A - an old USSR Germanium high-frequency diodes with the capacitance of 0.8 pF (at the reverse voltage of 5V), the recovery time of reverse resistance is no more than 0.1 uS (at the I direct

pulse =10 mA, U reverse pulse =20 V, I cutoff =1 mA)

The device contains a telescopic antenna WA1, directly connected to the resonant tank L1C1. The antenna is also an element of the resonant tank, so to get the maximum power of the signal it must be adjust both the length of the antenna and the frequency of the tank circuit. In some cases, especially when the length of the antenna is about 1/4 of the wavelength, it is useful to connect the antenna to a tap of the tuning coil L1 (find the suitable tap of the coil by finding the maximum volume of the signal).

The coupling with the detector can be adjust by trimmer C2. Actually the detector is made of two high- frequency germanium diodes VD1 and VD2. The circuit is completely identical to the voltage doubling rectifier circuit, but the detected voltage would be doubled if only the trimmer capacitor C2 value is high, but then the load of the resonant circuit L1C1 would be excessive, and its quality factor Q will be low. As a result, the signal voltage in the circuit tank L1C1 will be lower and the audio volume will be lower too.

In our case, the capacitance of the coupling capacitor C2 is small enough and voltage doubling does not occur. For optimal matching the detector circuit with the tank circuit the impedance of the coupling capacitor must be equal to the geometric mean between the input resistance of the detector and the resonant resistance of the tank circuit L1C1. Under this condition, the detector is getting the maximum power of the high-frequency signal, and this is corresponding to the maximum audio volume.

The capacitor C3 is shunting the higher frequencies at the output of the detector. The load of the detector is headphones with the dc resistance of not less than 4K ohms. The whole unit is assembled in

a small metal or plastic housing. The telescopic antenna with the length not less then 1m is attached to

the upper part of the housing, and the connector or the jack for the phones is attached th the bottom of

the housing. Note that the phone cord is the second half of the dipole antenna (a counterweight).

The coil L1 is frameless, it contains 5 turns of enameled copper wire with diameter of 0.6

on a mandrel with diameter of 7

compressing the turns of the coil L1. It's better use the variable capacitor C1 with an air dielectric, for example, type 1KPVM with two or three movable and one or two fixed plates. Its maximum capacity is

small and can be in range of 7

higher), it is advisable to remove any of the plates, or connect the variable capacitor in series with a

constant capacitor or a trimmer, it will reduce the maximum capacity.

1 mm wound

8

mm. You can adjust the necessary inductance by stretching or

pF. If the variable capacitor has more plates (the capacitance is

15

The capacitor C2 is ceramic trimmer capacitor, such as a KPK or KPK-M with the capacity of 2

Other trimmers capacitors could be used too. The trimmer capacitor C2 can be replaced with a variable

capacitor, similar to C1, and it could be used to adjust the coupling "on the fly" to optimize radio receiving capabilities.

7 pF.

Diodes VD1 and VD2, can be GD507B, D18, D20 (it is old USSR Germanium high-frequency diodes. This

diodes can be replaced with modern Schottky diodes). The shunting capacitor C3 is ceramic, its capacity

is not critical and can have a value in range from 100 to 4700 pF.

Adjustment of the receiver is simple. Tune the radio by turning the knob on the variable capacitor C1 and adjust the capacitor C2 to get the maximum audio volume. The tune of the resonant tank L1C1 will

be changed, so all operations must be repeated a few more times, and at the same time find the best place for the radio receiving. It is doesn't necessarily the same place where the electric field has maximum strength. This should be discussed in more detail and explain why this receiver can receive FM signals.

Interference and conversion of FM into AM

If the tank circuit L1C1 of our receiver (Fig. 1) will be set up so that the carrier frequency of FM signal

falls on the slope of the resonance curve, the FM can be converted into AM. Let's find the value of Q of the tank circuit. Assuming that the bandwidth of the tank circuit L1C1 is equal to twice the frequency

deviation, we obtain Q = F 0 /Δ2f = 700 for both the upper and the lower VHF band.

The actual Q of the tank circuit in a crystal radio probably will be less than 700 because of the low Q-

factor of its own Q (About 150

the input impedance of the detector. Nevertheless, a weak transformation of FM into AM is possible,

thus, the receiver will barely work if its tank circuit detune a little up or down in frequency.

200)

and because the resonant tank is shunted by the antenna and by

However, there is much more powerful factor contributing to the transformation of FM into AM, - it is an interference. It's very rarely when the receiver is in the line of sight of radio station, in most cases the line of sight is obscured by buildings, hills, trees and other reflective objects. A few radio beams scattered by these objects comes to the antenna of the receiver. Even in the line of sight to the antenna comes some reflected signals (and of course, direct signal comes too). The total signal depends on both the amplitudes and phases of summing components.

The two signals are summed if they are in phase, i.e., the difference of their ways is multiple of an integer of the wavelength, and the two signals are subtracted if they are in opposite phase, when the difference of their ways is the same number of wavelengths plus half wavelength. But the wavelength, as well as the frequency varies at FM! The difference of the beams and their relative phase shift will vary. If the difference of ways is large, then even a small change in frequency leads to significant shifts in the phases. An elementary geometric calculation leads to the relation: Δf/f 0 = λ/4ΔC, or ΔC = f 0 /λ/4Δf, where ΔC - the difference of the ways of the , it's required for the phase shift ±Π/2, to get the full sum of AM signal, Δf - frequency deviation. The full AM is the total variation of the amplitude signal from the sum of the amplitudes of the two signals to their difference. The formula can be further simplified if we consider that the multiply of frequency by the wave length f 0 λ is equal to the speed of light c: ΔC = c/4Δf.

Now it is easy to calculate that to get a full AM of the two-beam FM signal, the sufficient difference between the ways of beams is about a kilometer. If the difference of ways is smaller, the depth of AM proportionally decreases. Well, but if the difference of ways is more? Then, during one period of the modulating audio signal the total amplitude of the interfering signal will pass several times through the highs and lows, and distortion will be very strong when converting FM into AM, up to complete indistinct of the sound when you receive the FM by an AM detector.

Interference with FM broadcast reception is an extremely harmful phenomenon. It is not only produces

a concomitant parasitic AM of a signal, as it is described above, but it is produces the parasitic phase

modulation, what leads to distortion even if we got a good FM receiver. That's why it is so important to place the antenna in the right location, where the only one signal prevails. It is always better to use a directional antenna, because it increases the magnitude of the direct signal and reduces reflections coming from other directions.

Only in this case with a very simple detector radio receiver the interference played a useful role and allowed us to listen to the radio broadcast, but the radio broadcast can be heard weakly or with significant distortions, and the radio broadcast can't be heard everywhere, but only in certain places. This explains the periodic changes in the volume of the radio broadcast in the Terletskiypark.

Crystal Detector Radio Receiver with a frequency detector

A radical way to improve reception is to use a frequency detector instead of an amplitude detector. In Figure 2 is shown a circuit of a portable detector radio receiver with a simple frequency detector, based on a single high-frequency germanium transistor VT1. The germanium transistors is used because it's junctions works at a low voltage about 0.15 Volts, this allows to detect very weak signals. The junctions of silicon transitions works at a voltage approximately 0.5 V, and the sensitivity of the receiver with a silicon transistor is much lower.

of the receiver with a silicon transistor is much lower. Fig. 2. VT1 - GT313A -

Fig. 2. VT1 - GT313A - an old USSR Germanium high-frequency transistor with h fe =10

I e =15 mA), h fe =3

10

(at f=100 mHz, U kb =5 V, I e =5 mA)

230 (at DC: U ke =3 V,

As in the previous design, the antenna is connected to the input tank circuit L1C1, the variable capacitor C1 is used for the tuning function. The signal from the input tank circuit goes to the base of the transistor VT1. The other tank circuit, L2C2, is inductively coupled with the input tank circuit L1C1. The tank circuit L2C2 is tuneble with the variable capacitor C2. Because of the inductive coupling between this two tanks the oscillation in the resonant tank L2C2 is phase shifted by 90° relative to the signal across the input tnak circuit L1C1. From the tap of the coil L2 the signal goes to the emitter of the transistor VT1. A bypass capacitor C3 and high impedance headphones BF1 is connected to the collector of the transistor VT1.

The transistor begins to turn on when its base and emitter has the positive half-wave of the signal, and the instantaneous voltage on the emitter is greater then its base voltage. At the same time the

smoothed detected current passes through the headphone in the collector network. But the positive half-wave of the signal is only partially overlapping when the phase shift of the signal is 90° in the resonant tanks, so the detected current reaches the maximum value determined by the signal level.

With frequency modulation, depending on the frequency deviation, the phase shift is also changing, corresponding to the phase-frequency response of the tank circuit L2C2. When the frequency deviates in one direction then the phase shift decreases and the half-waves of the signal at the base and emitter is overlapped more, as a result, the detected current increases. When the frequency deviation goes in the opposite direction, its decreases the overlap of half-waves of the signal and the current decreases. So the frequency detection of the signal occurs.

The gain of the detector depends directly on the quality factor Q of the resonant tank L2C2, the quality factor Q should be as high as possible (in the limit of 700, as we calculated earlier), therefore the coupling with the emitter of the transistor is weak. Of course, such a simple detector does not suppress the AM of the received signal. In fact, its detected current is proportional to the signal level at the input, this is an obvious disadvantage. But anyway it's the very simple circuit.

Just like the previous circuit, the receiver is built in a small housing, on the top of the housing a telescoping antenna is mounted, and the headphone socket in the bottom the housing. The knobs of the variable capacitors is located on the front panel. These variable capacitors should not be combined into one unit, because a louder volume and a better quality of reception can be obtained with separate tuning.

The coils L1, L2 if frameless, they wound with the copper wire 0.7 mm (AWG 21) in diameter on the mandrel of diameter 8 mm. L1 contains 5 turns, L2 - 5+2 turns. If possible, the coil L2 wound with silver

plated wire to improve the quality factor Q, the diameter of the wires is not critical. The inductance of the coils is adjusted by compressing or stretching of the coils L1 and L2 to get the FM radio stations in the middle of the variable capacitors tuning range. The distance between the coils L1 and L2 is in the

range of 15

soldered to the variable capacitors.

20

mm (the axis of the coils is parallel), the distance is adjusted by bending their terminals,

With this receiver can be done a lot of interesting experiments, exploring the possibility of reception of VHF radio broadcasts with the detector receiver, exploring the propagation of radio waves in urban areas, etc.Can be done experiments to further improve the receiver. However, the sound quality in a high-impedance headphones with membranes is poor. Because of it a better receiver was developed, which provides better sound quality and allows you to use a different external antennas, connected to the receiver by feedline.

Radio receiver powered by the energy of radio waves

Experimenting with a simple crystal radio set, repeatedly had to make sure that the power of the detected signal is sufficiently enough (tens or hundreds of microwatts) to provide a very loud sound in the headphones. But the quality of reception is not good because there is no frequency detector. This problem is partially solved in the second receiver (Fig. 2), but the signal strength is also used inefficiently

because the transistor is powered by quadrature high-frequency signal. Therefore it was decided to use two detectors in the receiver: the envelope detector - to power the transistor, and the frequency detector - to improve signal detection.

and the frequency detector - to improve signal detection. Fig. 3. C1, C2 - 2.2 15

Fig. 3. C1, C2 - 2.2

15

pF, C3 - 0.15 uF, C4 - 1 uF, C5 - 1 nF, R1 - 130 k

The circuit diagram of the receiver is shown in Fig. 3. An external antenna (dipoles) connected to the

receiver by a two-wire line, made of ribbon VHF cable with the impedance of 240

impedance matching between the cable and the antenna is performed automatically, and the impedance matching of the input tank circuit L1C1 is performed by selecting a suitable tap of the coil L1. Generally speaking, unbalanced connection of the feeder to the input tank circuit reduces the

noiseproofing of the antenna feeder system, but because the low sensitivity of the receiver, it doesn't matter. There is a well-known methods of balanced connections for a feeder with the use of a coupling coil or a balun.

300 ohms. The

The author's folded dipole was made of a conventional isolated connecting wire, the dipole was placed on the balcony, in a place with a maximum field strength. The length of the feeder does not exceed 5 m. With such a small length the losses in the feeder is negligible, and therefore, the balanced line can be successfully used.

The input tank circuit L1C1 is tuned to a frequency of a signal, and a high frequency voltage across L1C1

is rectified by an amplitude detector, based on the high-frequency diode VD1. Since the amplitude of FM

signal has a constant value, there is practically no requirements for smoothing the rectified DC voltage. However, to remove possible parasitic amplitude modulation in case of multipath propagation of radio signals (see above story about the interference), the capacitance of the smoothing capacitor C4 is selected sufficiently large. A rectified DC voltage is used to power transistor VT1. For the control of the current consumption and for a signal level indication is used an analog current meter PA1.

A quadrature frequency demodulator of the receiver is implemented with the transistor VT1 and phase

shifter tank circuit L2C2. The high-frequency signal from the tap of the coil L1 is applied to the base of

the transistor VT1 through the coupling capacitor C3, and it's signal is applied to the emitter of the

transistor VT1 from the tap of the coil L2 of the phase-shifting tank circuit L2C2. The work of the detector is exactly the same as in the previous design. To increase the gain of the frequency demodulator, on the base of the transistor VT1 is applied an offset voltage through the resistor R1, and because of it the coupling capacitor C3 is used. Note that the capacitor C3 has sufficient capacitance (0.15 uF) - this capacitance is chosen to shunt the low-frequency currents, i.e., for grounding the base of the transistor VT1 for the sound frequencies. This increases the gain of the transistor and increases the volume of reception.

The primary winding of the output transformer T1 in the collector circuit of the transistor VT1 is used to match the high output impedance of the transistor to the low impedance of the headphones. A stereo

headphones TDS-1 (8

and right channels) are connected in parallel. The bypass capacitor C5 is used to filter the high- frequency currents in the collector circuit. The button SB1 is used to short the collector circuit of the transistor VT1 while tuning the input tank circuit and the search for a signal. The sound in the headphones at the same time disappears, but the sensitivity of the indicator PA1 is significantly

increased.

16

ohms) or TDS-6 (8 ohms) can be used with this radio. Both the earpieces (left

The design of the receiver can be very different, but anyway it needs the front panel with the knobs of the two variable capacitors C1 and C2 (each capacitor has individual knob) and the button SB1. To reduce hand effect on the tuning, it is desirable to make the front panel of a metal plate or a copper clad laminates. It can work also as a common wire of the receiver. Rotors of the variable capacitors should have good electrical contact with the panel. The antenna socket X1 and the phone jack X2 can be placed either on the front panel or on the side or back of the receiver. Its dimensions are dependent on the available components. So let's say a few words about them.

The capacitors C1 and C2 is KPV type with a maximum capacity of 15 ceramic.

25

pF. The capacitors C3-C5 are

The coils L1 and L2 are frameless (see Figure 4), wound on a mandrel of diameter 8 mm, L1 contain 5, L2

contains 7 turns. The length of the winding is 10

15

mm (do some tuning by adjusting the length). The

enameled copper wire of 0.6

0.8

mm (AWG 20

23)

is used, but it is better to use a silver-plated wire,

especially for the coil L2. The taps are made from 1 and 1.5 turns (L1) and from 1 turn (L2). The coils can

be arranged coaxially or axis parallel to each other. The distance between the coils (10

adjusted. The receiver will work even in the absence of inductive coupling between the coils - the capacitive coupling through the junction capacitance of the transistor is enough. The audio transformer

T1 is TAG-3, it has a winding ratio of 10:1 or 20:1.

20 mm) is

Fig. 4. The transistor VT1 can be replaced by any germanium transistor with maximum operating

Fig. 4.

The transistor VT1 can be replaced by any germanium transistor with maximum operating frequency ft not lower than 400 MHz. A p-n-p transistor can be used too, for example, GT313A, in this case the

polarity of the indicator PA1 and the diode VD1 should be reversed. The diode can be any germanium

type, a high-frequency. As the indicator PA1 any ammeter with a current range of 50 used.

150 mA can be

Tune the tank circuits to the frequency of a radio station, adjust the taps of the coils and the distance between the coils to get the best result (maximum volume and best quality of the reception). It is useful to adjust the value of the resistor R1 for maximum volume.

On the balcony the receiver with the antenna described above provided high quality reception of two stations with the strongest signal from the radio center at the distance not less than 4 km and with no

direct line of sight (obscured by buildings). Collector current of the transistor was 30

50 mA.

Of course, the possible design of VHF crystal radios is not limited to described above. On the contrary, this circuit should be considered only as the first experiments in this interesting field. When using an efficient antenna, placed on a roof and targeted at a radio station, it is possible to obtain sufficient signal strength, even at a considerable distance from the station. This provides a high-quality reception on a headphones, and in some cases, you can get loudspeaking reception. It is possible to improving this receivers by using a more efficient detection circuit and using a high-quality resonant tanks, in particular, spiral resonators as resonant circuits.

Power supply

1. NiCd battery charger for flashlight.

Power supply 1. NiCd battery charger for flashlight. 2. FET based voltage regulator. 3. Constant current

2. FET based voltage regulator.

battery charger for flashlight. 2. FET based voltage regulator. 3. Constant current sources . 4. Constant

3. Constant current sources.

battery charger for flashlight. 2. FET based voltage regulator. 3. Constant current sources . 4. Constant

4. Constant current source.

5. Op-amp as voltage regulator circuit. 6. Constant current source with cascode of n-p-n transistors.

5. Op-amp as voltage regulator circuit.

5. Op-amp as voltage regulator circuit. 6. Constant current source with cascode of n-p-n transistors. 7.

6. Constant current source with cascode of n-p-n transistors.

circuit. 6. Constant current source with cascode of n-p-n transistors. 7. Two-terminal constant current source.
8. Constant current sources. 9. Battery charger circuit diagram.

8. Constant current sources.

8. Constant current sources. 9. Battery charger circuit diagram.

9. Battery charger circuit diagram.

8. Constant current sources. 9. Battery charger circuit diagram.

10.

DC-DC voltage converter circuit schematic.

10. DC-DC voltage converter circuit schematic. 11. Very good battery charger circuit. 12. Replacement for high

11. Very good battery charger circuit.

circuit schematic. 11. Very good battery charger circuit. 12. Replacement for high voltage zener diode. 13.

12. Replacement for high voltage zener diode.

good battery charger circuit. 12. Replacement for high voltage zener diode. 13. Simple Geiger counter circuit
14. Battery charger circuit. 15. DC-DC converter based on CD4000. 16. Constant current source.

14. Battery charger circuit.

14. Battery charger circuit. 15. DC-DC converter based on CD4000. 16. Constant current source.

15. DC-DC converter based on CD4000.

14. Battery charger circuit. 15. DC-DC converter based on CD4000. 16. Constant current source.

16. Constant current source.

17. Replacement for zenerdiod. 18. Voltage regulator with current limiter - constant current source circuit

17. Replacement for zenerdiod.

17. Replacement for zenerdiod. 18. Voltage regulator with current limiter - constant current source circuit diagram.

18. Voltage regulator with current limiter - constant current source circuit diagram.

17. Replacement for zenerdiod. 18. Voltage regulator with current limiter - constant current source circuit diagram.

19.

Voltage regulator with solar battery for charger.

19. Voltage regulator with solar battery for charger. 20. Power supply with 50/60 Hz noise suppression

20. Power supply with 50/60 Hz noise suppression circuit.

20. Power supply with 50/60 Hz noise suppression circuit. 21. Voltage regulator with suppression for main

21. Voltage regulator with suppression for main harmonic circuit.

suppression circuit. 21. Voltage regulator with suppression for main harmonic circuit. 22. Charger powered by free

22. Charger powered by free energy.

23. Logic gate (7400) based voltage regulator. 24. Current source controlled by voltage. 25. Constant

23. Logic gate (7400) based voltage regulator.

23. Logic gate (7400) based voltage regulator. 24. Current source controlled by voltage. 25. Constant current

24. Current source controlled by voltage.

voltage regulator. 24. Current source controlled by voltage. 25. Constant current source based on voltage regulator

25. Constant current source based on voltage regulator IC.

26. Switch Mode Power Supply. 27. Isolated Power supply for digital clock. 28. DC-DC converter

26. Switch Mode Power Supply.

26. Switch Mode Power Supply. 27. Isolated Power supply for digital clock. 28. DC-DC converter with

27. Isolated Power supply for digital clock.

26. Switch Mode Power Supply. 27. Isolated Power supply for digital clock. 28. DC-DC converter with

28. DC-DC converter with current multiplier.

29. DC-DC voltage converter based on Voltage Quadrupler circuit with IC CD4093. 30. Constant current

29. DC-DC voltage converter based on Voltage Quadrupler circuit with IC CD4093.

based on Voltage Quadrupler circuit with IC CD4093. 30. Constant current source based on ТL431 IC.

30. Constant current source based on ТL431 IC.

Quadrupler circuit with IC CD4093. 30. Constant current source based on ТL431 IC. 31. Voltage to
32. Shunt voltage regulator circuit. 33. Unusual rectifier circuit diagram. 34. Powerful shunt voltage regulator.

32. Shunt voltage regulator circuit.

32. Shunt voltage regulator circuit. 33. Unusual rectifier circuit diagram. 34. Powerful shunt voltage regulator.

33. Unusual rectifier circuit diagram.

32. Shunt voltage regulator circuit. 33. Unusual rectifier circuit diagram. 34. Powerful shunt voltage regulator.

34. Powerful shunt voltage regulator.

35. Thyristor-based switching power supply. 36. Voltage regulator with current source. 37. Voltage regulator -

35. Thyristor-based switching power supply.

35. Thyristor-based switching power supply. 36. Voltage regulator with current source. 37. Voltage regulator - charger.

36. Voltage regulator with current source.

35. Thyristor-based switching power supply. 36. Voltage regulator with current source. 37. Voltage regulator - charger.
38. DC-DC voltage converter. 39. Voltage-to-current converter drives LED. 40. DC to DC converter drives

38. DC-DC voltage converter.

38. DC-DC voltage converter. 39. Voltage-to-current converter drives LED. 40. DC to DC converter drives blue

39. Voltage-to-current converter drives LED.

38. DC-DC voltage converter. 39. Voltage-to-current converter drives LED. 40. DC to DC converter drives blue

40. DC to DC converter drives blue LED.

41. Current source, controlled by voltage. 42. Led step-up converter for flashlight. 43. IC voltage

41. Current source, controlled by voltage.

41. Current source, controlled by voltage. 42. Led step-up converter for flashlight. 43. IC voltage regulators

42. Led step-up converter for flashlight.

controlled by voltage. 42. Led step-up converter for flashlight. 43. IC voltage regulators connected in parallel.
44. Voltage regulator with improved stability. 45. Voltage regulator with double pulse frequency. 46. Current

44. Voltage regulator with improved stability.

44. Voltage regulator with improved stability. 45. Voltage regulator with double pulse frequency. 46. Current source.

45. Voltage regulator with double pulse frequency.

44. Voltage regulator with improved stability. 45. Voltage regulator with double pulse frequency. 46. Current source.
47. Circuit with negative resistance. 48. Voltage converters with current coupling feedback.

47. Circuit with negative resistance.

47. Circuit with negative resistance. 48. Voltage converters with current coupling feedback.

48. Voltage converters with current coupling feedback.

47. Circuit with negative resistance. 48. Voltage converters with current coupling feedback.

1. Schmitt trigger circuit diagram.

1. Schmitt trigger circuit diagram. 2. Audio compressor. 3. Comparator with level-dependent hysteresis.

2. Audio compressor.

1. Schmitt trigger circuit diagram. 2. Audio compressor. 3. Comparator with level-dependent hysteresis.

3. Comparator with level-dependent hysteresis.

4. Capacitive sensor . 5. Voltage to current converter.

4. Capacitive sensor.

4. Capacitive sensor . 5. Voltage to current converter.

5. Voltage to current converter.

6. Bridge with current stabilisation circuit. 7. Two-terminal circuit with negative resistance. 8. Window comparator

6. Bridge with current stabilisation circuit.

6. Bridge with current stabilisation circuit. 7. Two-terminal circuit with negative resistance. 8. Window comparator

7. Two-terminal circuit with negative resistance.

current stabilisation circuit. 7. Two-terminal circuit with negative resistance. 8. Window comparator circuit diagram.
9. Phase detector circui. 10. Switch mode phase detectors. 11. Balanced phase detector circuit diagram.

9. Phase detector circui.

9. Phase detector circui. 10. Switch mode phase detectors. 11. Balanced phase detector circuit diagram.

10. Switch mode phase detectors.

9. Phase detector circui. 10. Switch mode phase detectors. 11. Balanced phase detector circuit diagram.

11. Balanced phase detector circuit diagram.

12. High Input Impedance AC Amplifier. 13. Trigger based on opto-isolator circuit schematic. 14. Frequency

12. High Input Impedance AC Amplifier.

12. High Input Impedance AC Amplifier. 13. Trigger based on opto-isolator circuit schematic. 14. Frequency doubler.

13. Trigger based on opto-isolator circuit schematic.

12. High Input Impedance AC Amplifier. 13. Trigger based on opto-isolator circuit schematic. 14. Frequency doubler.
15. Stepper motor controller based on IC 7474 circuit schematic. 16. Stepper motor working in

15. Stepper motor controller based on IC 7474 circuit schematic.

Stepper motor controller based on IC 7474 circuit schematic. 16. Stepper motor working in synchronous mode.

16. Stepper motor working in synchronous mode.

on IC 7474 circuit schematic. 16. Stepper motor working in synchronous mode. 17. Triangular wave to
18. Bidirectional intercom circuit.

18. Bidirectional intercom circuit.

19. Frequency divider with variable division ratio. 20. Sawtooth wave to sine wave converter circuit.

19. Frequency divider with variable division ratio.

19. Frequency divider with variable division ratio. 20. Sawtooth wave to sine wave converter circuit.

20. Sawtooth wave to sine wave converter circuit.

21. Changing band of variable capacitor by transformer. 22. Welding transformer circuit diagram. 23. Metal

21. Changing band of variable capacitor by transformer.

21. Changing band of variable capacitor by transformer. 22. Welding transformer circuit diagram. 23. Metal detector

22. Welding transformer circuit diagram.

Changing band of variable capacitor by transformer. 22. Welding transformer circuit diagram. 23. Metal detector circuit.

23. Metal detector circuit.

24. Superregenerative metal detector circuit. 25. Sensitive capacitive sensor circuit.

24. Superregenerative metal detector circuit.

24. Superregenerative metal detector circuit. 25. Sensitive capacitive sensor circuit.

25. Sensitive capacitive sensor circuit.

26. Voltage to frequency converter. 27. Regenerative capacitance multiplier. 28. Equalization of output resistance.

26. Voltage to frequency converter.

26. Voltage to frequency converter. 27. Regenerative capacitance multiplier. 28. Equalization of output resistance.

27. Regenerative capacitance multiplier.

26. Voltage to frequency converter. 27. Regenerative capacitance multiplier. 28. Equalization of output resistance.

28. Equalization of output resistance.

29. Wien bridge notch filter circuit schematic. 30. Compensate capacity load to avoid self-excitation. 31.

29. Wien bridge notch filter circuit schematic.

29. Wien bridge notch filter circuit schematic. 30. Compensate capacity load to avoid self-excitation. 31. Notch

30. Compensate capacity load to avoid self-excitation.

bridge notch filter circuit schematic. 30. Compensate capacity load to avoid self-excitation. 31. Notch filter circuit.

31. Notch filter circuit.

32. Notch filter based double T-shaped bridge circuit. 33. Adjustable notch filter circuit based on

32. Notch filter based double T-shaped bridge circuit.

32. Notch filter based double T-shaped bridge circuit. 33. Adjustable notch filter circuit based on bridge

33. Adjustable notch filter circuit based on bridge differential unit.

T-shaped bridge circuit. 33. Adjustable notch filter circuit based on bridge differential unit. 34. Notch filter

34. Notch filter circuit.

T-shaped bridge circuit. 33. Adjustable notch filter circuit based on bridge differential unit. 34. Notch filter

35.

Active notch filter circuit.

35. Active notch filter circuit. 36. Notch filter circuit with Wien-Robinson bridge. 37. Notch filter circuit.

36. Notch filter circuit with Wien-Robinson bridge.

35. Active notch filter circuit. 36. Notch filter circuit with Wien-Robinson bridge. 37. Notch filter circuit.

37. Notch filter circuit.

38. Adjustable notch filter circuit. 39. Adjustable notch filter circuit. 40. Variable capacitor based on

38. Adjustable notch filter circuit.

38. Adjustable notch filter circuit. 39. Adjustable notch filter circuit. 40. Variable capacitor based on Op-Am.

39. Adjustable notch filter circuit.

38. Adjustable notch filter circuit. 39. Adjustable notch filter circuit. 40. Variable capacitor based on Op-Am.
41. Phase modulator based on op-amp. 42. Increasing amplitude of single pulse. 43. Equivalent of

41. Phase modulator based on op-amp.

41. Phase modulator based on op-amp. 42. Increasing amplitude of single pulse. 43. Equivalent of resistor

42. Increasing amplitude of single pulse.

modulator based on op-amp. 42. Increasing amplitude of single pulse. 43. Equivalent of resistor with high
44. Resonant filter based on rejection filter. 45. Resistance to period converter circuit. 46. Sine

44. Resonant filter based on rejection filter.

44. Resonant filter based on rejection filter. 45. Resistance to period converter circuit. 46. Sine wave

45. Resistance to period converter circuit.

filter based on rejection filter. 45. Resistance to period converter circuit. 46. Sine wave to sawtooth
47. Frequency divider based on DIAC. 48. Nonlinear sawtooth wave to sine wave converter.

47. Frequency divider based on DIAC.

47. Frequency divider based on DIAC. 48. Nonlinear sawtooth wave to sine wave converter.

48. Nonlinear sawtooth wave to sine wave converter.

49. Sine wave former circuit diagram.

49. Sine wave former circuit diagram.

50. Regenerative notch filter circuit. 51. Replacement of the high-resistance feedback resistor on a low

50. Regenerative notch filter circuit.

50. Regenerative notch filter circuit. 51. Replacement of the high-resistance feedback resistor on a low resistance.

51. Replacement of the high-resistance feedback resistor on a low resistance.

52. Sawtooth wave to sine wave converter circuit. 53. Voltage to current converter. 54. Neutralization

52. Sawtooth wave to sine wave converter circuit.

52. Sawtooth wave to sine wave converter circuit. 53. Voltage to current converter. 54. Neutralization feedthrough

53. Voltage to current converter.

wave to sine wave converter circuit. 53. Voltage to current converter. 54. Neutralization feedthrough capacitance.
55. Regenerative frequency divider circuit. 1. Duty-cycle to dc converter.

55. Regenerative frequency divider circuit.

55. Regenerative frequency divider circuit. 1. Duty-cycle to dc converter.

1. Duty-cycle to dc converter.

2. Frequency divider (F i n <200мГц; IC's - MC10137 and 7400). 3. Replacement for

2. Frequency divider (F in <200мГц; IC's - MC10137 and 7400).

divider (F i n <200мГц; IC's - MC10137 and 7400). 3. Replacement for Lambda-diode. 4. Voltage

3. Replacement for Lambda-diode.

divider (F i n <200мГц; IC's - MC10137 and 7400). 3. Replacement for Lambda-diode. 4. Voltage
5. Frequency doubler circuit diagram. 6. Triangle-wave Generator. 7. Frequency comparator circuit diagram. (with

5. Frequency doubler circuit diagram.

5. Frequency doubler circuit diagram. 6. Triangle-wave Generator. 7. Frequency comparator circuit diagram. (with

6. Triangle-wave Generator.

doubler circuit diagram. 6. Triangle-wave Generator. 7. Frequency comparator circuit diagram. (with IC's

7. Frequency comparator circuit diagram. (with IC's 74121 and 7474)

8. Analog of DIAC circuit schematic. 9. Comparator with two edges. 10. Frequency divider.

8. Analog of DIAC circuit schematic.

8. Analog of DIAC circuit schematic. 9. Comparator with two edges. 10. Frequency divider.

9. Comparator with two edges.

8. Analog of DIAC circuit schematic. 9. Comparator with two edges. 10. Frequency divider.

10. Frequency divider.

11. Buffer/inverter gate made of the trigger CD4013. 12. Circuit finding difference of two frequencies

11. Buffer/inverter gate made of the trigger CD4013.

11. Buffer/inverter gate made of the trigger CD4013. 12. Circuit finding difference of two frequencies and

12. Circuit finding difference of two frequencies and phase detector circuit.

12. Circuit finding difference of two frequencies and phase detector circuit. 13. Contact bounce eliminator circuit.
14. Narrow bandpassfilte. 15. Current stabilizer for Zener diode. 16. Restore signal by DC.

14. Narrow bandpassfilte.

14. Narrow bandpassfilte. 15. Current stabilizer for Zener diode. 16. Restore signal by DC.

15. Current stabilizer for Zener diode.

14. Narrow bandpassfilte. 15. Current stabilizer for Zener diode. 16. Restore signal by DC.

16. Restore signal by DC.

17. Phase changer with constant amplitude of signal at output. 18. Phase filter circuit. 19.

17. Phase changer with constant amplitude of signal at output.

Phase changer with constant amplitude of signal at output. 18. Phase filter circuit. 19. Edge detection

18. Phase filter circuit.

amplitude of signal at output. 18. Phase filter circuit. 19. Edge detection circuit diagram. 20. Frequency

19. Edge detection circuit diagram.

at output. 18. Phase filter circuit. 19. Edge detection circuit diagram. 20. Frequency comparator circuit diagram.
21. Comparator-monostablemultivibrator based on LM139 voltage comparator . 22. Monostablemultivibrator with wide range of

21. Comparator-monostablemultivibrator based on LM139 voltage comparator .

based on LM139 voltage comparator . 22. Monostablemultivibrator with wide range of pulses

22. Monostablemultivibrator with wide range of pulses (CD4000).

Monostablemultivibrator with wide range of pulses (CD4000). 23. Monostablemultivibrator doubles number of pulses
24. Monostablemultivibrator based on inductor (CD4000). 25. Monostablemultivibrator based on inductor (CD4000). 26.

24. Monostablemultivibrator based on inductor (CD4000).

24. Monostablemultivibrator based on inductor (CD4000). 25. Monostablemultivibrator based on inductor (CD4000). 26.

25. Monostablemultivibrator based on inductor (CD4000).

25. Monostablemultivibrator based on inductor (CD4000). 26. Monostablemultivibrator based on inductor and trigger

26. Monostablemultivibrator based on inductor and trigger (CD4000).

based on inductor and trigger (CD4000). 27. Duty-cycle indicator circuit. If Duty-cycle=50% then

27. Duty-cycle indicator circuit.

If Duty-cycle=50% then U1=U2.

28. Analog of zener diode with low operating voltage. 29. Synchronous detector. 30. Output stage

28. Analog of zener diode with low operating voltage.

28. Analog of zener diode with low operating voltage. 29. Synchronous detector. 30. Output stage of

29. Synchronous detector.

28. Analog of zener diode with low operating voltage. 29. Synchronous detector. 30. Output stage of

30. Output stage of phase detecto.

31. Gyrator circuit. 32. Detector of the frequency. (CD4000)

31. Gyrator circuit.

31. Gyrator circuit. 32. Detector of the frequency. (CD4000)

32. Detector of the frequency. (CD4000)

31. Gyrator circuit. 32. Detector of the frequency. (CD4000)

33.

Regenerative filter circuit.

33. Regenerative filter circuit. 34. Comparator-monostablemultivibrator. 35. Filter for carrier frequency. 36. Voice

34. Comparator-monostablemultivibrator.

filter circuit. 34. Comparator-monostablemultivibrator. 35. Filter for carrier frequency. 36. Voice frequency

35. Filter for carrier frequency.

circuit. 34. Comparator-monostablemultivibrator. 35. Filter for carrier frequency. 36. Voice frequency doubler circuit.

36. Voice frequency doubler circuit.

37. Notch filter with Q multiplier circuit. 38. Flashes lights based on neon lamps circuit

37. Notch filter with Q multiplier circuit.

37. Notch filter with Q multiplier circuit. 38. Flashes lights based on neon lamps circuit diagram.

38. Flashes lights based on neon lamps circuit diagram.

circuit. 38. Flashes lights based on neon lamps circuit diagram. 39. Output stage of a DC

39. Output stage of a DC to DC converter circuit.

40. Simple ADC with potential divider circuit based on CD4000 series. See details 41. Simple

40. Simple ADC with potential divider circuit based on CD4000 series. See details

divider circuit based on CD4000 series. See details 41. Simple ADC with current summator circuit based

41. Simple ADC with current summator circuit based on CD4000 series. See details

42. 3D image on the screen of the oscilloscope. How to calculate coil inductance -

42. 3D image on the screen of the oscilloscope.

42. 3D image on the screen of the oscilloscope. How to calculate coil inductance - Coil

How to calculate coil inductance - Coil Inductance Calculator

The inductance of a coil depends on its geometrical characteristics, the number of turns and the method of winding the coil. The larger the diameter, length, and the larger number of winding turns, the greater its inductance.

If the coil is tightly wound, turn to turn, then it will have more inductance than a not tightly wound coil, with gaps between the turns. Sometimes you need to wind a coil with a given geometry, and you don't have a wire with required diameter, then if use a thicker wire you should increase slightly number of turns, and if use a thinner wire it takes to reduce the number of turns of the coil to get the required inductance.

All of the above considerations are related to winding coils without ferrite cores.

Inductance of single-layer coils on cylindrical winding forms can be calculated by the formula:

L=(D/10) 2 *n 2 /(4.5*D+10*l)

D=

18
18

n=

20
20

l=

L=

 

μH

Where

 
20
20

(1)

L - inductance of the coil, μH;

D - diameter of the coil (diameter of the former), mm;

l

- length of the coil, mm;

n

- number of turns of windings.

There is could be two tasks in the calculation:

A. The geometry of the coil is given, find the inductance; B. The inductance of the coil is given, calculate the number of turns and the diameter of the wire.

In the case "A" all data are given, it is easy to find the inductance.

all data are given, it is easy to find the inductance. Example 1. Let's calculate the

Example 1. Let's calculate the inductance of the coil shown in the figure above. Put the values in the formula 1:

L=(18/10) 2 *20 2 /(4.5*18+10*20) = 4.6 μH

In the second case the coil diameter and the length of the wound are known. The length of the wound depends on the number of turns and the wire diameter. Therefore, it is recommended to calculate in this order. Based on geometric considerations, determine the size of the coil, the diameter and the length of the wound, and then counting the number of turns by the formula:

n=10*(5*L*(0.9*D+2*l)) 1/2 /D

10 0.8 D= L= l= 0 n=
10
0.8
D=
L=
l=
0
n=
20
20

turns.

(2)

After you have found the number of turns, determine the diameter of the wire with insulation according to the formula:

d=l/n

(3)

l=

20
20

n=

14
14

d=

0

mm.

Where

d - diameter of the wire, mm; l - winding length, mm;

n - number of turns.

Example 2. We need to make a coil with a diameter of 10 mm and with a length the winding of 20 mm, the coil should have an inductance of 0,8 μH. The winding has one layer, turn to turn.

Put the values in the formula 2, we get:

n = 10*(5*0.8*(0.9*10+2*20)) 1/2 /10 = 14

The diameter of the wire: d = 20/14 = 1.43 mm

To wind the coil with a wire of smaller diameter, it is necessary to place obtained by calculation 14 turns across the entire length of the coil (20 mm) with equal intervals between the turns (the step of winding). The inductance of the coil will be 1-2% less than the nominal value, it should be considered in the manufacture of these coils. To wind the coil with a thicker wire than 1.43 mm, the new calculation should be done with the increased diameter or length of the coil winding. You may also need to increase both the diameter and the length at the same time, until get the desired dimensions of the coil for a given inductance.

It should be noted that the above formulas is intended to calculate the coils with the length of winding l equal to or more than half of the diameter. If the length of winding is less than half the diameter of the winding D/2, the more accurate results can be obtained by using the formulas below:

D=

n= =

l=

L=

0

μH

20
20

and

n = (10L*(4D+11l)) 1/2 /D

(5)

D=

L= =

l= =

20
20

n=

0

turns.

Hidden wire detector

If you want to drill a hole in the wall then you must be sure that there's no electrical wiring. This simple device.shown on the figure 1, can detect electrical wiring in the walls or ceiling. Resistor R1 protects IC

CD4011 against electrostatic. A rigid copper piece of wire (~ 18 AWG, with length of 5

antenna. Sensitivity of the circuit depends on the length of the antenna. When the antenna is placed

near the electrical wiring, then the circuit produces a sound with 50 or 60 Hz frequency.

15 cm) works as

produces a sound with 50 or 60 Hz frequency. 15 cm) works as Fig. 1. Simple

Fig. 1. Simple Non-Contact AC Mains Voltage Detector

This device can detect broken wires in cables - near the broken wire the sound is off. The piezoelectric speaker HA1 is connected to the bridge circuit to achieve higher loudness.

On the figure 2 is shown more complicated circuit, except audio it has visual indication based on LED VD1. Resistance of the resistor R1 should be more than 50 Megohms.

Fig. 2. LED VD1 doesn't have a resistor in series with it, because IC CD4011

Fig. 2.

LED VD1 doesn't have a resistor in series with it, because IC CD4011 can limit the current.

Radioamateur, 1998, N9,

Non-Contact AC Mains Voltage Detector

Radio, 1997, N 3

The circuit diagram of the non-contact voltage detector is shown on the figure 1. It consist of two parts - the AC amplifier and the audio oscillator, based on the Schmitt trigger DD1.1 of IC CD4093 with the network R7C2, which determines the frequency of the audio signal, generated by piezoelectric buzzer

BF1.

of the audio signal, generated by piezoelectric buzzer BF1. Fig. 1.Circuit diagram of non-contact voltage detector.

Fig. 1.Circuit diagram of non-contact voltage detector. DA1 - UA776; DD1 - CD4093; C1 - 47 mF; C2 - 33nF; Op-amp UA776 can be replaced with a 741 (then you don't need R5), but it may reduce the sensitivity.

When the antenna WA1 is located near a power supply, the interference of 50 or 60 Hz is amplified by IC DA1 and as a result the LED HL1 will illuminate. The same output voltage of the op amp starts audio generator.

The current consumption of the device is no more than 2 mA when using 9V battery, and current

consumption goes up to 6

generator then it reduces current consumption.

7

mA when the LED lights up. If disconnect the LED and use only audio

The PCB is shown on the figure 2. Antenna WA1 is made of a foil strip with size of about 55x12 mm.

WA1 is made of a foil strip with size of about 55x12 mm. Fig. 2.PCB of

Fig. 2.PCB of the non-contact voltage detector.

The PCB is enclosed in a suitable plastic box, the antenna must be as far as possible from a hands. The switch SA1, LED HL1 and piezoelectric buzzer BF1 is mounted on the front panel.

The sensitivity of the device is adjusted by the potentiometer R2 To make it smoother the potentiometer R2 220K can be replaced with another one of 22K and a resistor of 200K, connected between the lower pin and the ground.

Correctly assembled device doesn't any special adjustment.

The modernization of a crystal radio

Radio, 2001, №1

A crystal radio

For many decades, it is one of the first designs built by novice amateurs. The crystal

radio is an interesting introduction to the world of radio receivers. It allows the young enthusiasts of Radio Engineering to carry out a variety of exciting experiments with the radio receiving the local radio stations. However, what can be improved in this long-known device? But, as the author of this articles says, the potential for growth has not yet been exhausted.

In the simplest receivers (Fig. 1 a) the resonant tank is overloaded by the detector impedance. Although the volume and the sensitivity are quite acceptable, the selectivity is insufficient. Because of the low quality factor Q of the tank circuit, it is often to listen simultaneously to two or three radio stations.

Assume that the receiver is tuned to the middle of MW frequency range (1 MHz). The inductance of the coil L1 is 200 uH, the capacitance of the capacitor C1 is 120 pF (typical values). Its reactive resistance is about 1.2 Kilohms and the impedance of the resonant circuit in Q times more. With the quality factor of the coil (with no load) Q = 200 we get 240 Kilohms. For the frequency range of LW the resonant impedance of the circuit is close to 1 Megohm!

At the same time, the input impedance of the detector is considered to be equal to half the load

resistance, the load is a high-impedance headphones with an impedance at audio frequencies is only

15 10

because of the inductance of the headphones capsules).

Kilohms (the full impedance of the headphones is more than the value shown on their case

It is easy to see that the tank circuit L1C1 is shunted too much, and its real Q is less than 10 (the ratio of the load resistance to the reactance of the tank circuit). Making the coupling with the detector circuit weaker, you can improve the quality factor Q, and hence the selectivity increases. The volume will almost not change because a voltage of a signal across a resonant tank circuit with a higher quality factor Q is higher, this will compensate the decrease of the signal across the detector. The coupling is usually adjusted by connecting the detector to a selected tap of the coil (Fig. 1b).

the detector to a selected tap of the coil ( Fig. 1b ). Fig. 1. If

Fig. 1.

If we adjust the coupling, it is useful to optimize the resonant tank. In [1-3] it was shown that the maximum efficiency of the antenna circuit is achieved when the antenna circuit is directly connected to the upper end of the resonant coil L1 without a coupling capacitor. Tuning are provided by changing the

inductance of the coil, as the capacity of the resonant tank is used the capacity of the antenna. If the antenna is large and its capacity is significant, then it is necessary to include a tuning capacitor in series with the antenna (Fig. 1b).

This receiver works better than the previous one and has a higher selectivity, but it isn't convenient to regulate the coupling between the detector circuit and the resonant tank, because it would require a multi-tap coil. Therefore, the process of adjustment is not smooth.

There is a method of impedance matching using a capacitive coupling, where the capacitive resistance of the capacitor is equal to the geometric mean of both impedances. In our example (the impedances of 240 Kilohms and 6 Kilohms is matching), it will be about 40 Kilohms( R=(R1*R2) 0.5 ), and the corresponding capacity is only 4 pF! (C=1/(2*Π*F*Rc)). It turns out that the coupling can be adjusted by an ordinary trimmer of KPK or KPM type.

can be adjusted by an ordinary trimmer of KPK or KPM type. Fig. 2. VD1, VD2

Fig. 2. VD1, VD2 - D18 (an old USSR Germanium diode); C1 - 5

180

pF; C2 - 8

30

pF; C3 - 680 pF

But the coupling capacitor breaks the DC current path of the detector circuit. To avoid this problem it is possible to add the second diode to the circuit (Fig. 2). It seems we get a detector with a voltage doubler. In fact, because of the small capacitance of the capacitor C2 there is no voltage doubling effect. During the negative half-cycle of the signal across the tank circuit L1C1, the capacitor C2 is charged through the diode VD1, and during the positive half-cycle the capacitor C2 discharges through the diode VD2 and the load. The headphones BF1, shunted by the bypass capacitor C3 to smooth out ripple, is the load of the detector.

The smaller the capacity of the capacitor C2, the less the charge and the energy, respectively, taken from the tank circuit. The coupling network is adding to the tank circuit a small reactive (capacitive) resistance, which is automatically compensated while tuning of the tank circuit in resonance with the oscillations of the input signals.

In this experimental design the coil L1 is wound on a 12 mm in diameter plastic pipe with one layer of 0.2 mm (AWG 32) copper enameled wire, the coil has 240 turns. The ferrite rod of 10 mm in diameter made of ferrite 400NN (μ beg =400, μ max =800) is used for adjustment. The tuning range is from 200 kHz (when the capacitance of C1 is maximum and the ferrite rod is fully retracted) to 1400 kHz (with the removal of the rod and decreasing the capacitance of the C1).

At the apartment with a small antenna (about 7 m) and a ground (a central heating system) the receiver showed excellent results, received all Moscow LW and MW radio stations. By adjusting the coupling with the trimmer C2, it was able to get sufficient selectivity at the normal volume level.

There is another advantage of the receiver - because the detector is powered by a current going through

a high impedance of the coupling capacitor C2, the "step" on the current-voltage characteristics of

diodes is smoothed out. By the way, the usefulness of the detector powered by the current has been reported in [4]. In our receiver a silicon diodes (with a threshold of 0.5 V) works almost as well as germanium diodes (with a threshold of 0.15 V). Moreover, it was possible to connect to the receiver a

low-resistance (50-70 ohms) headphones, it is absolutely unacceptable in the traditional version. But in

this case the bigger capacitance of the coupling capacitor is required - up to 40

volume will be less because of the significant losses in the direct resistance of the diodes.

50 pF. The sound

in the direct resistance of the diodes. 50 pF. The sound Fig. 3 The high sensitivity

Fig. 3

The high sensitivity of the detector described above to weak signals came to the idea to try a simple resonant tank-free version of the receiver (Fig. 3). It was easy to build - all components have been soldered to the terminals of the headphones, and a 1.5 meter of insulated hookup wire with the clamp "Crocodile" at the end worked as antenna. With the "Crocodile" the antenna can be attached to the trees or other high objects. The headphones cord has some stray capacity C stray to the operator and further to the ground was used as the counterweight (instead of ground). Even with such a primitive version it was able to listen to some of the most powerful radio stations.

This receiver almost does not perceive low frequency interferences, for example, from the mains power line because the small capacitance of the coupling capacitor C1 prevents it. The audio frequency current

is completely shorted in the isolated network of the headphones BF1 and the diodes VD1, VD2.

I cannot say that the circuit diagram of this receiver is something new. Half-bridge rectifier that's used in it, was known long ago - it was used in the indicator of electrical field [5]. By the way, nothing prevents to use a full-bridge circuit based on four diodes, connect it to the tank circuit or antenna by a capacitor of small capacity.

Fig. 4 A similar circuit has been described in [6], but, unfortunately, the author incorrectly

Fig. 4

A similar circuit has been described in [6], but, unfortunately, the author incorrectly interpreted the

principle of operation of the receiver. The correct receiver circuit is shown in Figure 4. It differs from the author's circuit only in the presence of a stray capacitance Cstray between the headphones and the the earth, the stray capacitance acts as a coupling capacitor and matches the tank circuit with the detector

circuit. By a happy coincidence, the capacitance Cstray was close to optimal. But the author didn't took

it into account! As experimental results, it is proved to be excellent, as it follows from the publication

[6].

At the end, let's go back to the circuit, shown in Figure 2 and bring it to the attention of the radio amateurs. This crystal radio set has shown excellent results. Experiments with it not less interesting and attractive than with the more complex electronic devices.

Loudspeaking radio receiver with a bridge amplifier powered by "free energy"

Radio 2001, 12

Receivers without power supply are interested for radio amateurs. This article describes an improved radio receiver powered by radio waves.

While experimenting with different receivers and amplifiers powered by "free energy", it was found that

it is more convenient to connect the audio amplifier to the receiver by using only two wires for audio

signals and supply voltage. This would allow to use the radio receiver with no switches, just connecting

headphones to the output of the receiver.

In general, this receiver reminds the previously described version of "crystal" radio receiver, but it has

some interesting features.

Fig. 1 VT1, VT3 - MP37 (Germainum, h F E = 15 1MHz); VD1-VD4 -

Fig. 1 VT1, VT3 - MP37 (Germainum, h FE = 15

1MHz);

VD1-VD4 - D18 (Germainum); T1 - transformer with ratio 30:1; L1 - LW loopstick ferrite antenna.;

* - tweak the value (see text).

30,

f t = 1MHz); VT2, VT4 - MP41 (Germainum, h FE = 30

60,

f t =

The schematic diagram of the receiver is shown in Figure 1. From the detector bridge the circuit is completely symmetric, the detector is connected to the amplifier by two wires (the terminals A and B) and the output of the amplifier is connected to the loudspeaker (the terminals C and D) by two wires.

The resonant circuit of the receiver comprised the antenna capacitance and inductance of the coil L1. This solution provides a maximum power of the signal in the resonant tank circuit. The switch SA1 and the neon lamp HL1 are used to protect the receiver during thunderstorms. The static charge doesn't build up in the antenna because the antenna connected to the ground through the coil L1.

A bridge detector circuit (VD1 - VD4) is used in this receiver, it works very well for the inductive load.

The detector connected to the antenna through the capacitor C1, this capacitor is matching impedances between them. Once adjusted for maximum voltage across the amplifier, the capacitor C1 may be

replaced with a constant capacitor with proper value. The optimal capacitance of the capacitor C1 is about 47 pF for LW band.

The output voltage of the detector is symmetric with respect to ground. Through the wires A and B the voltage passes from the detector to the input of the audio amplifier. At the input of the amplifier the voltage decomposes into AC and DC parts. The AC part feeds through the coupling capacitors C3 and C4 to the transistor bases of the bridge amplifier. The DC part charges through the low-frequency chokes the capacitor C6. The DC part is used for power supply. The receiver doesn't have a common wire. The arms of the amplifier balances automatically, because the bases of the complementary transistors are connected together.

But transistors in this type of amplifiers don't have a bias, they does not work in the class "B" but rather

Fig. 2 The graph shows the dependence of the output current in one arm of

Fig. 2

The graph shows the dependence of the output current in one arm of the amplifier (for example, VT1, VT2) on the input voltage. We see a distorted output current for a sinusoidal input voltage. These distortions are especially noticeable with silicon transistors that have higher junction drop voltage of about 0.5 V. Germanium transistors has lower junction drop voltage of about 0.15 V, so they are used in the audio amplifier.

Crossover distortion is related to the moments when voltage crosses zero point, that is very unpleasant to the ear. Crossover distortions can be reduced by using a slight forward bias U bias , as shown in Fig. 2(B). The distortions disappear but some initial current i 0 appears, it makes the amplifier less efficient.

The same result can be obtained by other means. If mixing the audio signal with a high frequency signal, as shown in Fig. 2(C). This method is used in tape recorders with AC bias, because the magnetization curve of the type is very similar to the amplifier transfer characteristic of a push-pull stage without bias. By adjusting the amplitude of the "high frequency bias" the desired initial current (quiescent current) can be set, this current should not be too high, but sufficient to eliminate the distortion.

But we already have high frequency bias, we got the detected RF voltage ripple. In the bridge detector circuit the ripple has twice the frequency of the carrier signal. We just need to tweak the value of the smoothing capacitor C2 (Fig. 1) to obtain the desired quiescent current. It's better tweak the capacitor C2 when there is no audio transmission (but there is a carrier frequency of the radio station) because if there is an audio signal then the current of the audio amplifier increases. At the output of the audio amplifier the ripple don't need anymore, so there is the smoothed capacitor C5.

The coil L1 is wound with litzwire 7 x 0.07mm (7 wires x AWG 41) on a cardboard pipe with a ferrite slug of 8 mm in diameter and 160 mm long (the permeability of the slug is about 1000). The coil has about 200 turns. Actually, any other litzendraht may be used or any copper wire with silk insulation of

0.15

used as the coil L1. C1 is a ceramic or air trimmer capacitor.

0,25

mm in diameter (AWG 35

AWG

30). A standard loopstick antenna with the LW band can be

In the detector circuit the best result was obtained by using diodes D18, diodes GD507 works not too

bad, and the worst result was obtained by using diodes D311 (D18, GD507, D311 are germanium

diodes). In the detector circuit may be used any germanium diodes.

The

transformer T1 has ratio 30:1. The primary winding has 2700 turns of the wire with diameter 0.12

mm

(AWG 37) and the secondary winding has 90 turns of the wire with diameter 0.5 mm (AWG 24)

wound on a former which is mounted on a core made of permalloy E-shape plates of 15 mm 2 . Any suitable output audio transformer can be used here. A primary winding of the same transformers can be

used as chokes L2 and L3. The inductance of this chokes should be not less than 6

frequency germanium transistors may be used in this circuit. If possible, match the transistors with similar h FE .

7 H. Any low

The receiver can be adjusted in a few minutes. Disconnect the audio amplifier from the detector and

connect a high-impedance headphones to the terminals A and B, check the detector part of the receiver,

try to tune to a powerful radio station, if necessary change the number of turns of the coil L1. The tuning is performed by moving the ferrite rod in and out the coil L1. Next, connect the amplifier to the receiver

and connect a high-impedance DC voltmeter across the capacitor C6 to monitor the voltage, tune the

receiver to the frequency of a powerful radio station and adjust the capacitor C1 for the maximum reading of the voltmeter. Keep in mind that the voltage across C6 increases slowly because of the large capacitance of the capacitor C6. Connect across the capacitor C2 another capacitor with a value of a few thousand picofarads and wait for some seconds, read the voltmeter. Then tweak the capacitor C2 to get

the voltage 20

5.5 V and 4 V. There is nothing more to adjust in this circuit.

30

% below the nominal value. In the author's version of this receiver the voltage was

The receiver was tested in the city apartment located in the eastern outskirts of Moscow. An external

antenna was used. The antenna has length 30 meters of copper enameled wire with a diameter of 0.7

mm (AWG 21). The maximum height of the antenna above the roof does not exceed 7 meters. Metal pipes of a central heating system was used for grounding.

Even with this antenna it was possible to receive signals of a five radio stations with loud speaker volume. The loud speaker volume means that the volume is sufficient for normal listening in a small room when there is no ambient noise. The values of the detected voltages, currents and power, extracted from the air by the receiver of the above mentioned radio stations are shown in Table 1. The voltage was measured across the capacitor C6, and the current was measured in series with any of the wires A or B, while the receiver is working.

Frequency, kHz Voltage, V Current, mA Power, W

198

4,2

0,3

1,25

261

3,5

0,25

0,9

549

2,5

0,17

0,42

873

3

0,2

0,6

918

1,2

0,1

0,12

It should be noted that the audio amplifier loads sufficiently the detector, because the value of the

capacitor C2 that was chosen provides the best quality of the sound, so with this value the quiescent

current of the amplifier is sufficient.

The widespread opinion that the quality reception of long and middle wave signals is impossible especially in the night time are wrong, and this receiver disproved this mistaken opinion. This receiver does not suffer from interference because of its low sensitivity. The quality of the sound cannot even be compared to the sound quality of conventional portable receivers.

Loudspeaking "crystal" radio receivers

Radio 2000, 7

A lots of radio amateurs have an interest to power a simplest radio receivers with the "free energy", i.e.

the energy, taken by the receiver antenna directly from the air. The circuits described here can provide a radio reception using a loudspeaker.

The question of how much power can get out of a signal from an antenna, and how to build a loudspeaking crystal set, was already discussed in the author's articles [1,2]. However the questions "how much power we need for loudspeaking reception?" and "how to better use the power from the antenna?", still remain.

According to the old reference books, to listening a voice of a broadcaster from the distance of 1 meter

it takes the sound level of the loudspeaker about 60 dB. In this case, the radiated acoustic power is 12.6

μW. The necessary electrical power can be calculated by dividing the radiated acoustic power by the energy conversion efficiency of the loudspeaker. For the common loudspeakers the energy conversion efficiency is about 1%. Thus we get the electrical power about 1mW. It is interesting to calculate the required power for loudspeakers to get the sound level of 60 dB. The calculation results for the different

loudspeakers are presented in table 1.

Model

Power, mW

0,025GD-2

3,6

0,05GD-1

1,8

1GD-5, 1GD-28, 2GD-7

1

8GD-1PP3

0,2

Table 1.

From the table 1 we see that we need to use the high-efficiency loudspeakers. The acoustic design of the loudspeaker systems is very important, the bigger speaker cabinets is better. In the experiments the author used two loudspeakers type 4GT-2 in wooden cabinets with the enclosure volume of 50 liters.

Horn loudspeakers has three times better efficiency because of the improved coupling efficiency between the speaker driver and the air and because of the directional characteristics of the produced sound waves. The simple and effective loudspeakers was built by radioamateurs, they used paper, cardboard and plywood [3]. Horn loudspeakers with a bass reflex system with U-shaped design provides with the loudspeaker 6GD-1 efficiency of about 2.3%, and at the low frequencies about 3.4%. So, we found that the audio signal of 0.2 mW is sufficient for the sensitive acoustic system.

The second part of this "research" is related to electrical circuits of the loudspeaking detector radio.

Analysis of the detector circuit leads to the conclusion that the current should be amplified, but not the voltage, because the voltage amplification could limit the peaks of the signal. Because of this it is wise to use in this circuit the push-pull emitter follower, based on the complementary pair of transistors working in class AB. This amplifier has good efficiency and low current consumption while the quiet sounds and pauses of the signal, this allows to store the energy of the carrier and use the energy at the peaks of the audio signals.

The circuit diagram of the receiver with the amplifier based on the push-pull emitter follower is shown in Fig. 1. The AC component of the detected signal passes through the coupling capacitors C3, C4 to the bases of transistor amplifier, and the DC component passes through the choke L2 to the storage capacitor C5. This capacitor cannot be directly connected to the detector because in this case the audio signal will be smoothed and suppressed. The parameters of the choke are not critical, so you can use any choke or any transformer with a winding, containing not less than 2000 turns wound on the magnetic core with cross section not less than 1 cm 2 .

a winding, containing not less than 2000 turns wound on the magnetic core with cross section

Fig. 1.

VD1 - D311 (Germanium diode); VT1 - MP37 (Ge, h FE = 15 0.5 MHz);

R1, R2 - 560K; C1 - 17

L1 - magnetic loop antenna for MW with a moveable ferrite core; L2 - an audio choke; T1 - transformer with ratio 30:1;

Loudspeaker BA1 - 4 ohms.

30,

F t = 1 MHz); VT2 - MP39 (Ge, h FE ≥ 12, F t =

500

pF; C2 - 680 pF; C3, C4 - 0.68 μF; C5 - 68μF x 6.3 V; C6 - 22μF.

The optimal transformation ratio of the transformer T1 is about 30 for the load of 4 ohms. It is

convenient to use a small power supply transformers from transistor radios with the voltage ratio 220 V

to 6.5

9

V. A suitable output audio transformer can be used too.

The large size of the device (due to the heavy transformer and choke) is not an issue, because it uses the large antenna and a floor standing speaker system, so this is not a portable radio!

The use of a voltage doubling rectifier allows to increase the supply voltage of the circuit. Distortion on peaks of signal will be decreased. A bridge amplifier loads the voltage doubling rectifier symmetrically and furthermore decreases the distortion. This allows to get rid of the capacitive coupling at the output.

The circuit schematic of the receiver with the voltage doubling detector and the bridge power amplifier is shown in Fig. 2. The positive half-wave of the signal detected by the diode VD1, smoothed by capacitor C2 and filtered by low-frequency choke L2 and the capacitor C8, so it creates a positive supply voltage. Similarly, the components VD2, L3, C3 and C9 produce a negative supply voltage. The emitter followers based on the VT1, VT2 and VT3, VT4 are working in opposite phases, the signals to this emitter followers feeds from the different detectors. The emitter followers are loaded with the transformer T1. Just like in the previous circuit, the transformer ratio is about 30, but due to the bridge circuit the output power of the amplifier is higher than in the previous circuit. The purpose for the other components of the circuit shown in fig.2 is the same as the circuit shown in fig. 1, and the recommendation about the chokes is the same.

Fig. 2. Adjustment of the receivers powered by the "free" energy has some features. This

Fig. 2.

Adjustment of the receivers powered by the "free" energy has some features. This receivers will not work until they are tuned to a powerful radio station, because there is no power supply. But after tuning it will take some time to charge the capacitors (C5 - in Fig. 1 and C8, C9 - in Fig. 2). Charge time is directly proportional to the capacity of this capacitors, so in the first experiments the capacity should not be too large. But in this case while receiving a long loud sounds (especially in the musical passages), the power supply voltage and the detected voltage drops significantly due to increasing current of the audio amplifier, the result of it is the limitation of dynamic range. This does not lead to issues, but even improves speech perception.

When the receiver will be completely adjusted, the capacity of the smoothing capacitors can be increased even up to several thousand microfarads, it will improve the dynamics of the receiver and the audio amplifier would work out the peaks of the signals. In any case, all the capacitors should have a small leakage current (check it with an ohmmeter), to avoid the necessary load of the power supply.

Tweaking of the bias resistors in the receivers are based on the next reasons: the greater the resistance, the less the current consumption (the current when there is no signal in the receivers - see fig. 1 and 2), and the less the gain of the transistors but higher the supply voltage! A compromise can only be found empirically for a particular antenna, by getting the maximum sound volume and quality of the radio reception. The bias resistors for the circuits shown in Fig. 1 and Fig. 2 may have different values, it depends on the parameters of the transistors. The voltage at the emitters of the transistors is half of the power supply voltage (Fig. 1) and zero (Fig. 2).

It's better to start the experiments without bias resistors, and then try to use this resistors with value from 2.7 MΩ to 1 MΩ; if there is a "powerful" antenna than use the bias resistors with value of hundreds of kilohms, because the power supply voltage can be dropped. If a pair of complementary transistors have a sufficient initial current, it can be reduced by inserting a resistor between the bases of the transistors, or the bases could be connected together, and one of the base capacitors could be removed from the circuit. It has not mush sense to use in this circuits a bias thermal stabilization networks due to the low power of the amplifiers (some milliwatts).

This radio receivers has been tested in a country house (33 km to south-east from Moscow). The audio volume level has been enough for a small quiet room. The second circuit has been tested with especially good results. The antenna type the end fed half wave with the length of 12 m was used. The antenna was stretched from the window to the tree outside. The receivers was grounded to the water pipes of the well. The receivers was tuned to "Radio Rossii" 873 kHz, the radio stations "Radio 1" and "Radio Mayak" was received with loud volume too. The quality of the sound was excellent.

FM crystal radio receivers Optimization of a radio receiver powered by the energy of radio waves

7/8/2013

Dante Bianconi Vinci (Florence), ITALY

This report shows the results of some experiments carried out on the basis of Mr. Vladimir Polyakov (RA3AAE) researches. The original circuit was modified by the use of a more efficient detection circuit and by the use of a simple amplifier, self-biased by the radio itself. An efficient antenna (5 elements FM Yagi) was used also to permit to explore overall the weak signals close to the range between 98 - 103 MHz. Earlier it was proposed by Mr. Polyakov, to use a simple dipole as an antenna. According to the original circuit, the high frequency germanium transistor GT311A with F t = 300 MHz is used there, it provides high impedance at its output (the transistor was grounded to provide the matching with the low impedance of the resonant tank), so it was possible only to use ear speakers with at least 600 ohm impedance to listening the radio.

A further analysis of the circuit came to the idea to use a simple amplifier based on a silicon transistor (BC109C with h FE = 700), it's finally allowed to get acceptable loudspeaking reception. With the use of a more efficient detection circuit, the voltage in unloaded condition reached 2.2 volt across the capacitor C8. With two loudspeakers (are both connected in parallel), the current in the high impedance circuit was also measured by a micro ammeter and sometimes the value of this current reaches more than 100 μA. The transistor of the simple amplifier was used in common emitter configuration to lower the impedance of the output of the high frequency transistor (AF239). The impedance transformer that gave

the best results had a 14 kΩ in input and 4 Ω in output. An active low pass filter was used to reduce the noise coming from the first stage of RF amplifier to the low frequency stage.

With the directional antenna it was possible to receive three FM radio broadcast stations, two of them are located at 15 km, and the third - more than 30 km from the reception antenna. The current researches are focused on the circuit with a coaxial resonator, it would allow to reach high Q as well as the selectivity of the tuning.

to reach high Q as well as the selectivity of the tuning. Fig. 1. The circuit

Fig. 1. The circuit diagram of the FM crystal radio receiver

T: Zin 14 kΩ → Zout 4,8 Ω (K ≈ 60:1)

R1: 70+200 kΩ

R2: 30 Ω

Tr1: AF239

Tr2: BC109C

D1,D2: 1N82A

L1: 5 turns (silver wire 1 mm, coil with internal diameter of 8 mm)

L2: 7 turns (silver wire 1 mm, coil with internal diameter of 8 mm)

C1: 8.5 pF (ceramic NP0 type)

C2: 5-25 pF (KPV type)

C3, C4: 4n7 (ceramic type)

C5: 0.15 μF

C6: 3-28 pF (KPV type)

C7: 0.01 μF

C8: 1 μF

WA1: 5 elements YAGI antenna

LS1: 3.5 Ω loudspeaker (diameter 200 mm)

LS2: 3.5 Ω loudspeaker (diameter 100 mm)

Fig. 2.

Fig. 2.

Fig. 3.

Fig. 3.

Fig. 4. The FM crystal radio, called BIDA 1: the dimensions of this design are

Fig. 4.

The FM crystal radio, called BIDA 1: the dimensions of this design are only 80x35x80. In the circuit is used the variable capacitors with the silver plated coils, it allows to obtain a better quality factor Q and the high frequency germanium transistor AF239. The taps on both coils are visible on the Fig. 3, it allows to reach the better matching between the antenna impedance and the main resonant tank L1 and the second coil L2. The signal amplified by the transistor AF239. The detection circuit was composed by using a Villard voltage doubler with the use of two very sensitive germanium diodes 1N82A. This sensitive diodes has been used for radar applications after the Second World War.

Fig. 5.

Fig. 5.

Fig. 6.

Fig. 6.

Fig. 7.

Fig. 7.

Fig. 8. 5 Elements Yagi Antenna

Fig. 8. 5 Elements Yagi Antenna

Fig. 9. 5 Elements Yagi Antenna - view from the side It's clearly visible on

Fig. 9. 5 Elements Yagi Antenna - view from the side

It's clearly visible on the circuit diagram (see Fig. 1) that the HF radio amplifier stage is self biased by the main radio circuit. The output AF stage is loaded with the high impedance transformer. In the Fig 8 and 9 you can see the 5 elements Yagi antenna, the heart of the FM crystal set (the central frequency is 100 MHz). See the folded dipoles and the indicated dimensions of the RG8 cable. The impedance of this antenna is close to 52 Ω as well as the impedance of RG8 cable. The cable's length was optimized, so it is only 6 meters long.

While testing, the 5 elements Yagi antenna was pointed to the north-east direction (in the opposite site the field intensity is higher, but there is a medium voltage power line that probably interfered with receiving - unfortunately the most of the radio broadcasts are can be received in this south-east direction). The centre frequency of the Yagi antenna is 100 MHz, it allows to receive three radio stations:

Radio Lady --> 98.2 MHz (20 km from the receiving antenna); Radio SeiSei --> 101.5 MHz (20 km from receiving antenna); RTL102.5 --> 101.2 MHz (35 km from receiving antenna).

FM Crystal Radio Receivers

Radio, 2002, 7

The notion of "crystal radio" is strongly associated with huge antennas and radio broadcasting on long and medium bands, in this article, the author describes the experimentally tested detector circuits of VHF receivers designed to listening to a FM stations.

The very possibility of receiving VHF FM detector was discovered accidentally. One day I was walking in the Terletskiypark in Moscow, Novogireevo, I decided to listen to the broadcast - I had a simple crystal set without resonant tank (this circuit is described in the "Radio", 2001, № 1, Fig. 3). The receiver had a telescopic antenna with length of about 1.4 m. Wonder whether it is possible to receive radio broadcast with this short antenna? It was possible to hear, but weakly, simultaneous operation of two stations. But what is surprised me is the volume of receiving was rise and fall periodically almost to zero after every

7 5

m, and it was different for each radio station!

It is known that in the LW and MW bands, where the wavelengths are hundreds of meters, it is impossible. I had to stop at the point of receive with maximum volume of one of the stations and listen attentively. It turned out - this is "Radio Nostalgie", 100.5 MHz, broadcasting from the near city Balashikha. There were no line of sight between antennas. How does the FM transmission could be received by using the AM detector? Further calculations and experiments shows that it is quite possible and is not depends on the receiver.

A simple portable FM crystal receiver is made exactly the same way as an indicator of the electric field, but instead of measuring device it is necessary to connect a high-impedance headphones. It makes sense to add an adjustment of coupling between the detector circuit and the resonant tank to adjust the maximum volume and quality of the receiving signal.

The simplest Crystal radio

The circuit diagram of the receiver suitable for these requirements is shown in Fig. 1. This circuit is very close to the circuit of the receiver mentioned above. Only the VHF resonant tank has been added to the circuit.

Only the VHF resonant tank has been added to the circuit. Fig. 1. VD1, VD2 -

Fig. 1. VD1, VD2 - GD507A - an old USSR Germanium high-frequency diodes with the capacitance of 0.8 pF (at the reverse voltage of 5V), the recovery time of reverse resistance is no more than 0.1 uS (at the I direct

pulse =10 mA, U reverse pulse =20 V, I cutoff =1 mA)

The device contains a telescopic antenna WA1, directly connected to the resonant tank L1C1. The antenna is also an element of the resonant tank, so to get the maximum power of the signal it must be adjust both the length of the antenna and the frequency of the tank circuit. In some cases, especially when the length of the antenna is about 1/4 of the wavelength, it is useful to connect the antenna to a tap of the tuning coil L1 (find the suitable tap of the coil by finding the maximum volume of the signal).

The coupling with the detector can be adjust by trimmer C2. Actually the detector is made of two high- frequency germanium diodes VD1 and VD2. The circuit is completely identical to the voltage doubling rectifier circuit, but the detected voltage would be doubled if only the trimmer capacitor C2 value is high, but then the load of the resonant circuit L1C1 would be excessive, and its quality factor Q will be low. As a result, the signal voltage in the circuit tank L1C1 will be lower and the audio volume will be lower too.

In our case, the capacitance of the coupling capacitor C2 is small enough and voltage doubling does not occur. For optimal matching the detector circuit with the tank circuit the impedance of the coupling capacitor must be equal to the geometric mean between the input resistance of the detector and the resonant resistance of the tank circuit L1C1. Under this condition, the detector is getting the maximum power of the high-frequency signal, and this is corresponding to the maximum audio volume.

The capacitor C3 is shunting the higher frequencies at the output of the detector. The load of the detector is headphones with the dc resistance of not less than 4K ohms. The whole unit is assembled in

a small metal or plastic housing. The telescopic antenna with the length not less then 1m is attached to

the upper part of the housing, and the connector or the jack for the phones is attached th the bottom of

the housing. Note that the phone cord is the second half of the dipole antenna (a counterweight).

The coil L1 is frameless, it contains 5 turns of enameled copper wire with diameter of 0.6

on a mandrel with diameter of 7

compressing the turns of the coil L1. It's better use the variable capacitor C1 with an air dielectric, for example, type 1KPVM with two or three movable and one or two fixed plates. Its maximum capacity is

small and can be in range of 7

higher), it is advisable to remove any of the plates, or connect the variable capacitor in series with a

constant capacitor or a trimmer, it will reduce the maximum capacity.

1 mm wound

8

mm. You can adjust the necessary inductance by stretching or

pF. If the variable capacitor has more plates (the capacitance is

15

The capacitor C2 is ceramic trimmer capacitor, such as a KPK or KPK-M with the capacity of 2

Other trimmers capacitors could be used too. The trimmer capacitor C2 can be replaced with a variable

capacitor, similar to C1, and it could be used to adjust the coupling "on the fly" to optimize radio receiving capabilities.

7 pF.

Diodes VD1 and VD2, can be GD507B, D18, D20 (it is old USSR Germanium high-frequency diodes. This

diodes can be replaced with modern Schottky diodes). The shunting capacitor C3 is ceramic, its capacity

is not critical and can have a value in range from 100 to 4700 pF.

Adjustment of the receiver is simple. Tune the radio by turning the knob on the variable capacitor C1 and adjust the capacitor C2 to get the maximum audio volume. The tune of the resonant tank L1C1 will

be changed, so all operations must be repeated a few more times, and at the same time find the best place for the radio receiving. It is doesn't necessarily the same place where the electric field has maximum strength. This should be discussed in more detail and explain why this receiver can receive FM signals.

Interference and conversion of FM into AM

If the tank circuit L1C1 of our receiver (Fig. 1) will be set up so that the carrier frequency of FM signal

falls on the slope of the resonance curve, the FM can be converted into AM. Let's find the value of Q of the tank circuit. Assuming that the bandwidth of the tank circuit L1C1 is equal to twice the frequency

deviation, we obtain Q = F 0 /Δ2f = 700 for both the upper and the lower VHF band.

The actual Q of the tank circuit in a crystal radio probably will be less than 700 because of the low Q-

factor of its own Q (About 150

the input impedance of the detector. Nevertheless, a weak transformation of FM into AM is possible,

thus, the receiver will barely work if its tank circuit detune a little up or down in frequency.

200)

and because the resonant tank is shunted by the antenna and by

However, there is much more powerful factor contributing to the transformation of FM into AM, - it is an interference. It's very rarely when the receiver is in the line of sight of radio station, in most cases the line of sight is obscured by buildings, hills, trees and other reflective objects. A few radio beams scattered by these objects comes to the antenna of the receiver. Even in the line of sight to the antenna comes some reflected signals (and of course, direct signal comes too). The total signal depends on both the amplitudes and phases of summing components.

The two signals are summed if they are in phase, i.e., the difference of their ways is multiple of an integer of the wavelength, and the two signals are subtracted if they are in opposite phase, when the difference of their ways is the same number of wavelengths plus half wavelength. But the wavelength, as well as the frequency varies at FM! The difference of the beams and their relative phase shift will vary. If the difference of ways is large, then even a small change in frequency leads to significant shifts in the phases. An elementary geometric calculation leads to the relation: Δf/f 0 = λ/4ΔC, or ΔC = f 0 /λ/4Δf, where ΔC - the difference of the ways of the , it's required for the phase shift ±Π/2, to get the full sum of AM signal, Δf - frequency deviation. The full AM is the total variation of the amplitude signal from the sum of the amplitudes of the two signals to their difference. The formula can be further simplified if we consider that the multiply of frequency by the wave length f 0 λ is equal to the speed of light c: ΔC = c/4Δf.

Now it is easy to calculate that to get a full AM of the two-beam FM signal, the sufficient difference between the ways of beams is about a kilometer. If the difference of ways is smaller, the depth of AM proportionally decreases. Well, but if the difference of ways is more? Then, during one period of the modulating audio signal the total amplitude of the interfering signal will pass several times through the highs and lows, and distortion will be very strong when converting FM into AM, up to complete indistinct of the sound when you receive the FM by an AM detector.

Interference with FM broadcast reception is an extremely harmful phenomenon. It is not only produces

a concomitant parasitic AM of a signal, as it is described above, but it is produces the parasitic phase

modulation, what leads to distortion even if we got a good FM receiver. That's why it is so important to place the antenna in the right location, where the only one signal prevails. It is always better to use a directional antenna, because it increases the magnitude of the direct signal and reduces reflections coming from other directions.

Only in this case with a very simple detector radio receiver the interference played a useful role and allowed us to listen to the radio broadcast, but the radio broadcast can be heard weakly or with significant distortions, and the radio broadcast can't be heard everywhere, but only in certain places. This explains the periodic changes in the volume of the radio broadcast in the Terletskiypark.

Crystal Detector Radio Receiver with a frequency detector

A radical way to improve reception is to use a frequency detector instead of an amplitude detector. In Figure 2 is shown a circuit of a portable detector radio receiver with a simple frequency detector, based on a single high-frequency germanium transistor VT1. The germanium transistors is used because it's junctions works at a low voltage about 0.15 Volts, this allows to detect very weak signals. The junctions of silicon transitions works at a voltage approximately 0.5 V, and the sensitivity of the receiver with a silicon transistor is much lower.

of the receiver with a silicon transistor is much lower. Fig. 2. VT1 - GT313A -

Fig. 2. VT1 - GT313A - an old USSR Germanium high-frequency transistor with h fe =10

I e =15 mA), h fe =3

10

(at f=100 mHz, U kb =5 V, I e =5 mA)

230 (at DC: U ke =3 V,

As in the previous design, the antenna is connected to the input tank circuit L1C1, the variable capacitor C1 is used for the tuning function. The signal from the input tank circuit goes to the base of the transistor VT1. The other tank circuit, L2C2, is inductively coupled with the input tank circuit L1C1. The tank circuit L2C2 is tuneble with the variable capacitor C2. Because of the inductive coupling between this two tanks the oscillation in the resonant tank L2C2 is phase shifted by 90° relative to the signal across the input tnak circuit L1C1. From the tap of the coil L2 the signal goes to the emitter of the transistor VT1. A bypass capacitor C3 and high impedance headphones BF1 is connected to the collector of the transistor VT1.

The transistor begins to turn on when its base and emitter has the positive half-wave of the signal, and the instantaneous voltage on the emitter is greater then its base voltage. At the same time the

smoothed detected current passes through the headphone in the collector network. But the positive half-wave of the signal is only partially overlapping when the phase shift of the signal is 90° in the resonant tanks, so the detected current reaches the maximum value determined by the signal level.

With frequency modulation, depending on the frequency deviation, the phase shift is also changing, corresponding to the phase-frequency response of the tank circuit L2C2. When the frequency deviates in one direction then the phase shift decreases and the half-waves of the signal at the base and emitter is overlapped more, as a result, the detected current increases. When the frequency deviation goes in the opposite direction, its decreases the overlap of half-waves of the signal and the current decreases. So the frequency detection of the signal occurs.

The gain of the detector depends directly on the quality factor Q of the resonant tank L2C2, the quality factor Q should be as high as possible (in the limit of 700, as we calculated earlier), therefore the coupling with the emitter of the transistor is weak. Of course, such a simple detector does not suppress the AM of the received signal. In fact, its detected current is proportional to the signal level at the input, this is an obvious disadvantage. But anyway it's the very simple circuit.

Just like the previous circuit, the receiver is built in a small housing, on the top of the housing a telescoping antenna is mounted, and the headphone socket in the bottom the housing. The knobs of the variable capacitors is located on the front panel. These variable capacitors should not be combined into one unit, because a louder volume and a better quality of reception can be obtained with separate tuning.

The coils L1, L2 if frameless, they wound with the copper wire 0.7 mm (AWG 21) in diameter on the mandrel of diameter 8 mm. L1 contains 5 turns, L2 - 5+2 turns. If possible, the coil L2 wound with silver

plated wire to improve the quality factor Q, the diameter of the wires is not critical. The inductance of the coils is adjusted by compressing or stretching of the coils L1 and L2 to get the FM radio stations in the middle of the variable capacitors tuning range. The distance between the coils L1 and L2 is in the

range of 15

soldered to the variable capacitors.

20

mm (the axis of the coils is parallel), the distance is adjusted by bending their terminals,

With this receiver can be done a lot of interesting experiments, exploring the possibility of reception of VHF radio broadcasts with the detector receiver, exploring the propagation of radio waves in urban areas, etc.Can be done experiments to further improve the receiver. However, the sound quality in a high-impedance headphones with membranes is poor. Because of it a better receiver was developed, which provides better sound quality and allows you to use a different external antennas, connected to the receiver by feedline.

Radio receiver powered by the energy of radio waves

Experimenting with a simple crystal radio set, repeatedly had to make sure that the power of the detected signal is sufficiently enough (tens or hundreds of microwatts) to provide a very loud sound in the headphones. But the quality of reception is not good because there is no frequency detector. This problem is partially solved in the second receiver (Fig. 2), but the signal strength is also used inefficiently

because the transistor is powered by quadrature high-frequency signal. Therefore it was decided to use two detectors in the receiver: the envelope detector - to power the transistor, and the frequency detector - to improve signal detection.

and the frequency detector - to improve signal detection. Fig. 3. C1, C2 - 2.2 15

Fig. 3. C1, C2 - 2.2

15

pF, C3 - 0.15 uF, C4 - 1 uF, C5 - 1 nF, R1 - 130 k

The circuit diagram of the receiver is shown in Fig. 3. An external antenna (dipoles) connected to the

receiver by a two-wire line, made of ribbon VHF cable with the impedance of 240

impedance matching between the cable and the antenna is performed automatically, and the impedance matching of the input tank circuit L1C1 is performed by selecting a suitable tap of the coil L1. Generally speaking, unbalanced connection of the feeder to the input tank circuit reduces the

noiseproofing of the antenna feeder system, but because the low sensitivity of the receiver, it doesn't matter. There is a well-known methods of balanced connections for a feeder with the use of a coupling coil or a balun.

300 ohms. The

The author's folded dipole was made of a conventional isolated connecting wire, the dipole was placed on the balcony, in a place with a maximum field strength. The length of the feeder does not exceed 5 m. With such a small length the losses in the feeder is negligible, and therefore, the balanced line can be successfully used.

The input tank circuit L1C1 is tuned to a frequency of a signal, and a high frequency voltage across L1C1

is rectified by an amplitude detector, based on the high-frequency diode VD1. Since the amplitude of FM

signal has a constant value, there is practically no requirements for smoothing the rectified DC voltage. However, to remove possible parasitic amplitude modulation in case of multipath propagation of radio signals (see above story about the interference), the capacitance of the smoothing capacitor C4 is selected sufficiently large. A rectified DC voltage is used to power transistor VT1. For the control of the current consumption and for a signal level indication is used an analog current meter PA1.

A quadrature frequency demodulator of the receiver is implemented with the transistor VT1 and phase

shifter tank circuit L2C2. The high-frequency signal from the tap of the coil L1 is applied to the base of

the transistor VT1 through the coupling capacitor C3, and it's signal is applied to the emitter of the

transistor VT1 from the tap of the coil L2 of the phase-shifting tank circuit L2C2. The work of the detector is exactly the same as in the previous design. To increase the gain of the frequency demodulator, on the base of the transistor VT1 is applied an offset voltage through the resistor R1, and because of it the coupling capacitor C3 is used. Note that the capacitor C3 has sufficient capacitance (0.15 uF) - this capacitance is chosen to shunt the low-frequency currents, i.e., for grounding the base of the transistor VT1 for the sound frequencies. This increases the gain of the transistor and increases the volume of reception.

The primary winding of the output transformer T1 in the collector circuit of the transistor VT1 is used to match the high output impedance of the transistor to the low impedance of the headphones. A stereo

headphones TDS-1 (8

and right channels) are connected in parallel. The bypass capacitor C5 is used to filter the high- frequency currents in the collector circuit. The button SB1 is used to short the collector circuit of the transistor VT1 while tuning the input tank circuit and the search for a signal. The sound in the headphones at the same time disappears, but the sensitivity of the indicator PA1 is significantly

increased.

16

ohms) or TDS-6 (8 ohms) can be used with this radio. Both the earpieces (left

The design of the receiver can be very different, but anyway it needs the front panel with the knobs of the two variable capacitors C1 and C2 (each capacitor has individual knob) and the button SB1. To reduce hand effect on the tuning, it is desirable to make the front panel of a metal plate or a copper clad laminates. It can work also as a common wire of the receiver. Rotors of the variable capacitors should have good electrical contact with the panel. The antenna socket X1 and the phone jack X2 can be placed either on the front panel or on the side or back of the receiver. Its dimensions are dependent on the available components. So let's say a few words about them.

The capacitors C1 and C2 is KPV type with a maximum capacity of 15 ceramic.

25

pF. The capacitors C3-C5 are

The coils L1 and L2 are frameless (see Figure 4), wound on a mandrel of diameter 8 mm, L1 contain 5, L2

contains 7 turns. The length of the winding is 10

15

mm (do some tuning by adjusting the length). The

enameled copper wire of 0.6

0.8

mm (AWG 20

23)

is used, but it is better to use a silver-plated wire,

especially for the coil L2. The taps are made from 1 and 1.5 turns (L1) and from 1 turn (L2). The coils can

be arranged coaxially or axis parallel to each other. The distance between the coils (10

adjusted. The receiver will work even in the absence of inductive coupling between the coils - the capacitive coupling through the junction capacitance of the transistor is enough. The audio transformer

T1 is TAG-3, it has a winding ratio of 10:1 or 20:1.

20 mm) is

Fig. 4. The transistor VT1 can be replaced by any germanium transistor with maximum operating

Fig. 4.

The transistor VT1 can be replaced by any germanium transistor with maximum operating frequency ft

not lower than 400 MHz. A p-n-p transistor can be used too, for example, GT313A, in this case the polarity of the indicator PA1 and the diode VD1 should be reversed. The diode can be any germanium

type, a high-frequency. As the indicator PA1 any ammeter with a current range of 50 used.

150 mA can be

Tune the tank circuits to the frequency of a radio station, adjust the taps of the coils and the distance between the coils to get the best result (maximum volume and best quality of the reception). It is useful to adjust the value of the resistor R1 for maximum volume.

On the balcony the receiver with the antenna described above provided high quality reception of two stations with the strongest signal from the radio center at the distance not less than 4 km and with no

direct line of sight (obscured by buildings). Collector current of the transistor was 30

50 mA.

Of course, the possible design of VHF crystal radios is not limited to described above. On the contrary, this circuit should be considered only as the first experiments in this interesting field. When using an efficient antenna, placed on a roof and targeted at a radio station, it is possible to obtain sufficient signal strength, even at a considerable distance from the station. This provides a high-quality reception on a headphones, and in some cases, you can get loudspeaking reception. It is possible to improving this receivers by using a more efficient detection circuit and using a high-quality resonant tanks, in particular, spiral resonators as resonant circuits.

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You need free power? This schematic transforms the surrounding radio waves to usable current. The levels of power can be stepped up by using more diodes. The critical points in this device are first the type of diodes and second the antenna construction. The more diodes the more power out! And guess what, no ground needed

Lets begin with the antenna first. It has to be an Ferrite antenna Get a

Lets begin with the antenna first. It has to be an Ferrite antenna Get a wire 18 feet long and wrap it around the the largest ferrite rod you can find! You can put many ferrite rods glued to make the length of the antenna you need. A 30 inch or more antenna, would be ideal. As for the diodes, try to find the lowest loss Germanium diodes, with the lowest breakdown junction voltage ~ 0.2 - 0.4 Volts. Keep in mind that in a heavy radio polluted area each diode will put out about 30mV. More details and testings results comming soon

about 30mV. More details and testings results comming soon The above diagram is known to contain

The above diagram is known to contain some flaws and it is recomended you take more notice of the follow diagram from the US patent as below

Tate Power from the air Tate Ambient Power Module. Joseph Tate Last Known Address 760

Tate Power from the air

Tate Ambient Power Module. Joseph Tate Last Known Address 760 Waldo Point Sausalito Ca (4965) 415 331 8150 332 9918 U.S. Patent 4,628,299

This design converts radio frequency energy to power that can be usefully applied in power devices such as clocks,radios and smoke detectors.

This design makes use of a doubler, splitter and rectifier.

The device has been known to give 36 volt/9 watts.

This devices does away for the need for batteries by extracting energy from natural and man made radio waves.

THe device uses a coil made of the following design 479 turns of #22 wire on a 3" plastic tube, the coil should be loosely wound as a close wound coil tends to reduce power collection. One end should be connected to unit at antenna connection point and the other to an antenna of your choice .

Other coil types could be used in your experiments such as sliding induction coils that is inside one another and find the best position by moving them in different positions.

Other coil types can be found by referencing any good book on radio fundamentals. Check out the Telsa type coils as well.

Power could be also enhanced by placing a tin foil pyramid under the coil as this seems to also improve power.

The power produced also seems to improve near bridges,ships and any thing containing a great deal of metal.

A high antenna wire seems to improve the running of unit although a 7 foot whip antenna worked reasonably well too.

A interesting side line is the inventor claims to be able to detect earthquakes by the rise and fall of

energy levels.

Subject: Re: [nuenergy] Re: Tate power ambient circuit update Reply-To: nuenergy@yahoogroups.com

Geoff , the reason the power is so low is the capacitors being used. If larger capacitors such as used for power audio systems or the newer super capacitors such as the 50-500 Farad units You will begin to see real power. The schematics shows a great deal of naivety on the part of the Inventor and the issuing Patent Office. The basic idea is 1000% It relates to My Earth Electrical System II from 15 years ago.

from an email recieved from Don L.Smith

Introduction

The Ambient Power Module (APM) is a simple electronic circuit which,when connected to antenna and earth ground, will deliver low voltage up to several milliwatts.

The amount of voltage and power will bedetermined by local radio noise levels and antenna

The amount of voltage and power will bedetermined by local radio noise levels and antenna dimensions.

bedetermined by local radio noise levels and antenna dimensions. JesAscanius Version of Nikola Tesla's Aerial System

JesAscanius Version of Nikola Tesla's Aerial System

Generally a long wire antenna about 100' long and elevated in a horizontalposition about 30' above ground works best. A longer antenna may be requiredin some locations. Any type copper wire, insulated or not, may be used for the antenna. More details about the antenna and ground will be discussedfurther on.

about the antenna and ground will be discussedfurther on. The actual circuit consists of two oppositely

The actual circuit consists of two oppositely polarized voltage doublers (Figure 1). The DC output of each doubler is connected in series with the other to maximize voltage without using transformers. Single voltage doublers were often found in older TV sets for converting 120 VAC to 240 VDC. In the TV circuit the operating frequency is 60 Hz.

The APM operates at radio frequencies, receiving most of its power from below 1 MHz.

The APM operates at radio frequencies, receiving most of its power from below 1 MHz. The basic circuit may be combined with a variety of voltage regulation schemes, some of which are shown in Figure 2. Using the APM-2 to charge small NiCad batteries provides effective voltage regulation as well as convenient electrical storage. This is accomplished by connecting the APM-2 as shown in Figure 2B.

accomplished by connecting the APM-2 as shown in Figure 2B. Charging lead acid batteries is not

Charging lead acid batteries is not practical because their internal leakage is too high for the APM to keep up with. Similarly, this system will not provide enough power for incandescent lights except in areas of very high radio noise.

It can be used to power small electronic devices with CMOS circuitry, like clocks and calculators. Smoke alarms and low voltage LEDs also can be powered by the APM.

alarms and low voltage LEDs also can be powered by the APM. Figure 3 is a

Figure 3 is a characteristic APM power curve measured using various loads from 0-19 kOhm. This unit was operating from a 100' horizontal wire about 25' high in Sausalito CA. As can be seen from the plot, power drops rapidly as the load resistance decrease from 2 kOhm. This means that low voltage, high impedance devices, like digital clocks, calculators and smoke alarms are the most likely applications for this power source. Some applications are shown in Figures 4 through 7.

smoke alarms are the most likely applications for this power source. Some applications are shown in
Figure 4. A digital clock is shown powered by the APM-2. The 1.5 volt clock

Figure 4. A digital clock is shown powered by the APM-2. The 1.5 volt clock draws 28 microamps. Its position on the power envelope curve would be off the scale to the right and almost on the bottom line, dissipating only 42 microwatts.

Figure 6 shows a clock which has the APM-2 built into it so it is only necessary to connect the antenna and ground wires directly to the clock. The antenna for this clock, which is a low frequency marine type, is shown in Figure 7.

These antenna are expensive, not generally available, and usually don't work any better than the long wire mentioned above. But it may be necessary to use them in urban areas where space is limited and radio noise is high.

wire mentioned above. But it may be necessary to use them in urban areas where space

Building the Module

The builder has a choice of wiring techniques which may be used to construct the module. It may be hand wired onto a terminal strip, laid out on a bread board, experiment board, or printed circuit. Figure 8 shows some of the different ways of constructing the APM-2.

Figure 8A is constructed on a screw strip terminal; Figure 8B is constructed on a perforated breadboard; Figure 8C is built on a standard experiment board; Figures 8D, 8E, and 8F are all printed circuits; Figure 8F is made up on a solder strip terminal.

circuits; Figure 8F is made up on a solder strip terminal. If you wish to make

If you wish to make only one or two units, hand wiring will be most practical, either on a terminal strip or breadboard. Assembly on the terminal strip (Figure 8A) can be done easily and without soldering. It is important to get the polarity correct on the electrolytic capacitor. The arrow printed on the side of the capacitor points to negative.

Figure 9 is a closer view of the terminal strip with an illustration of the components and how they are connected.

The breadboard unit is shown in Figure 10 with all components on one side and

The breadboard unit is shown in Figure 10 with all components on one side and all connections on the other. All you need is a 2" x 2" piece of perforated breadboard (Radio Shack #276-1395) and the components on the parts list. Push component wires through the holes and twist them together on the other side. Just follow the pattern in the photo, making sure to observe the correct polarity on the electrolytic capacitors and the diodes. The ceramic capacitors may be inserted in either direction.

The experiment board unit is assembled by simply pushing the component leads into the board

The experiment board unit is assembled by simply pushing the component leads into the board as shown in Figure 11. This unit is powering a small red LED indicated by the arrow.

unit is powering a small red LED indicated by the arrow. The solder strip unit is

The solder strip unit is made up on a five terminal strip. The antenna connection is made to the twisted ends of the ceramic capacitors. When soldering the leads of the 1N34 diodes, care must be taken to avoid overheating. Clip a heat sink onto the lead between the diode and the terminal as shown in Figure

It is beyond the scope of this pamphlet to show how to make printed circuits,

It is beyond the scope of this pamphlet to show how to make printed circuits, but the layout of the board is provided in Figure 13.

but the layout of the board is provided in Figure 13. Figure 14 shows the front

Figure 14 shows the front and back view of the completed printed circuit.

A small switch may be installed on the board to activate the zener regulator (Figure

A small switch may be installed on the board to activate the zener regulator (Figure 15).

This board was designed for use in clocks.

(Figure 15). This board was designed for use in clocks. Antenna Requirements The antenna needs to

Antenna Requirements

The antenna needs to be of sufficient size to supply the APM with enough RF current to cause conduction in the germanium diodes and charge the ground coupling capacitors. It has been found that

a long horizontal wire works best. It will work better when raised higher.

Usually 20-30 feet is required. Lower elevations will work, but a longer wire may be necessary.

In most location, possible supporting structures already exist. The wire may be stretched between the top of a building and some nearby tree or telephone pole. If live wires are present on the building or pole, care should be taken to keep your antenna and body well clear of these hazards.

To mount the wire, standard commercial insulators may be sued as well as homemade devices. Plastic pipe makes an excellent antenna insulator. Synthetic rope also works very well, and has the advantage of being secured simply by tying a knot. It is convenient to mount a pulley at some elevated point so the antenna wire may be pulled up to it using the rope which doubles as an insulator (Figure 16).

it using the rope which doubles as an insulator (Figure 16). Figure 17 is an illustration

Figure 17 is an illustration of a horizontal wire antenna using a building and tree.

Grounding Usually a good ground can be established by connecting a wire to the water

Grounding

Usually a good ground can be established by connecting a wire to the water or gas pipes of a building. Solder or screw the wire to the APM-2 ground terminal. In buildings with plastic pipes or joints, some other hookup must be used. A metal rod or pipe may be driven into the ground in a shady location where the earth usually is damper. Special copper coated steel rods are made for grounds which have the advantage of good bonding to copper wire. A ground of this type usually is found within the electrical system of most buildings.

Conduit is a convenient ground provided that the conduit is properly grounded. This may be checked with an ohmmeter by testing continuity between the conduit and system ground (ground rod). Just as with the antenna, keep the ground wire away form the hot wires. The APM's ground wire may pass through conduit with other wires but should only be installed by qualified personnel.

Grounding in extremely dry ground can be enhanced by burying some salts around the rod. The slats will increase the conductivity of the ground and also help retain water. More information on this subject may be found in an antenna handbook.

Good luck getting your Ambient Power Module working. It is our hope that experimenters will find new applications and improve the power capabilities of the APM.

Parts List for the APM-2 Four 1N34 germanium diodes ~ Figure 1, X1, X2, X3,

Parts List for the APM-2

Four 1N34 germanium diodes ~ Figure 1, X1, X2, X3, & X4 Two 0.2 mfd 50 V ceramic capacitors ~ Figure 1, C1 & C2 Two 100 mfd 50V electrolytic capacitors ~ Figure 1, C3 & C4 Copper wire for antenna & ground connections

C3 & C4 Copper wire for antenna & ground connections Nikola Tesla Free energy Circuit More

Nikola Tesla Free energy Circuit

A 6 V battery can provide 100-150 Vdc center-tapped at a high internal impedance (not dangerous though it can inflict an unpleasant jolt). A 6.3 V transformer is connected ' 'in reverse'' with a transistor used in a Hartley oscillator configuration. The frequency of operation may be controlled by varying the value of the 10 ohm resistor.

oscillator configuration. The frequency of operation may be controlled by varying the value of the 10

An FM Crystal Set

Updated 2010-11-28:

Since this page was first posted in June 2010, I have made a number of improvements to the receiver described below. I've also received a few requests for additional information. In reviewing this page, I realized that it was long overdue for an update. The original information is unchanged. The updated information appears at the bottom of the page.

Introduction

Crystal setstotally passive receivers without any amplificationhave been popular for many years. The vast majority of them are designed and built for the Medium Wave band, 530 to 1700 kHz. However, there have also been some built for the shortwave bands, and occasionally some for the FM band (88 to 108 MHz).

Having several local powerful FM stations, I'd occasionally noticed that I was picking up FM on a medium wave crystal set. Considering that there was a strong enough signal to receive FM when it wasn't wanted, it should be possible to build a receiver to pick up the signal intentionally.

Most FM crystal sets use slope detection. That is, they are tuned slightly off the centre frequency of the station, and as the frequency modulated carrier moves in and out of the receiver's resonant frequency, an audio signal approximating the original modulation is produced. True FM detection requires a frequency discriminator circuit, and the complexity generally makes it unsuitable for a passive receiver. I'm only aware of one such project. It was designed and built by Edward Richley, and was written up in the Xtal Set Society Newsletter, January and March 1996. In order to achieve the high Q required, the circuit used a coaxial resonator constructed from 2 inch copper pipe. It was ingenious in that, while most FM discriminators have two tuned circuits, this one only required a single tuned circuit. This was an important feature, because trying to adjust two tuned circuits when tuning to different stations, would be extremely difficult, if not impossible.

I've redrawn the Richley circuit here:

A very brief description of the circuit follows. For a more thorough discussion, please refer

A very brief description of the circuit follows. For a more thorough discussion, please refer to the

original newsletter articles.

As described in the diagram notes, the resonator is constructed from a two foot piece of 2 inch diameter copper pipe, with a centre conductor of 1/2 inch copper pipe. The resonator is designed for an unloaded

Q of 2000, and a loaded Q of about 500, which is required for acceptable selectivity. FM channel

bandwidth is 200 kHz, or 0.2 MHz. Therefore, at a frequency of 100 MHz, required Q will be

100/0.2=500.

Transformers T1, T2, and T3 are made from standard 300:75 ohm baluns which are included in the kit of parts that come with virtually every new television or radio. T1 is used unmodified. T2 is rewound as 1:3 autotransformer. T3 has a two turn primary and a two turn secondary. Transformer T1 converts the incoming unbalanced signal to a balanced signal which then feeds T2 and T3. The secondary of T3 is loosely coupled via the 8 pF capacitors to the resonator coupling loops, which develop a 90° phase shifted signal due to the normal behaviour of a coupled circuit at resonance. The secondary of T2 is connected to the common point between the diodes. This signal is 180° out of phase with the incoming RF. Hence, there are quadrature signals applied across the diodes which act as a synchronous detector. As the frequency modulated radio carrier moves above and below the resonant frequency, the phase

shift varies above and below 90°. The detector converts this phase shift into an audio frequency signal which matches the original audio source.

Initially, I planned to build a copy of this receiver, but after doing a bit of research, I concluded that a helical resonator would be more practical at these frequencies. My new plan was to duplicate this circuit, except that I would substitute a helical resonator for the coaxial resonator.

The first step then was to design a helical resonator with an unloaded Q of 2000 at a resonant frequency of 110 MHz, the top of the FM band.

was to design a helical resonator with an unloaded Q of 2000 at a resonant frequency
Using standard helical resonator design formula, the resulting resonator has an inner coil constructed from
Using standard helical resonator design formula, the resulting resonator has an inner coil constructed from

Using standard helical resonator design formula, the resulting resonator has an inner coil constructed from 4.3 turns of 9.5mm (3/8") copper tubing. Coil outside diameter is 65mm (2.6"), and coil length is 84mm (3.3").

The shield is constructed from copper sheet, and is 84mm (3.3") square by 200mm (8") long. It is housed inside a wood enclosure for rigidity. The shield is about 2" longer than required to allow room for coupling loops at the bottom, and for a tuning assembly at the top.

is about 2" longer than required to allow room for coupling loops at the bottom, and
The photo to the right shows the shield parts prior to assembly. The tuning mechanism
The photo to the right shows the shield parts prior to assembly. The tuning mechanism

The photo to the right shows the shield parts prior to assembly. The tuning mechanism is a small plate attached to a length of brass tubing which runs through the end cap. The rod is moved in and out by means of a screw. This changes the fringing capacitance at the open end of the coil. The closer the plate is to the coil, the lower the resonant frequency. The next photo shows the top cap with tuning mechanism assembled. The tubing has a square cross section to prevent the assembly from turning.

the top cap with tuning mechanism assembled. The tubing has a square cross section to prevent
It slides inside a slightly larger piece of square tubing. This type of tubing is
It slides inside a slightly larger piece of square tubing. This type of tubing is

It slides inside a slightly larger piece of square tubing. This type of tubing is available at hobby shops and comes in a range of sizes suitable for close sliding fits. The coil and the inside of the shield were polished to remove oxidization, and hence maximize Q. The partially assembled resonator is shown in the next two photos. The photo on the left is of the top end, and the photo on the right is of the bottom end.

is shown in the next two photos. The photo on the left is of the top
The next photo shows the top cap installed and the exterior part of the tuning
The next photo shows the top cap installed and the exterior part of the tuning

The next photo shows the top cap installed and the exterior part of the tuning mechanism:

The next photo shows the top cap installed and the exterior part of the tuning mechanism:
I decided that for initial testing, it would be best to keep things simple and
I decided that for initial testing, it would be best to keep things simple and

I decided that for initial testing, it would be best to keep things simple and use a slope detector circuit. This is shown in the following schematic:

The 27uH choke and 150pF cap are a low pass filter to trap out a
The 27uH choke and 150pF cap are a low pass filter to trap out a

The 27uH choke and 150pF cap are a low pass filter to trap out a local high powered AM station that was causing some interference problems. For a diode, I used a 1N34A initially, but found another unknown type in my parts box which worked slightly better. It may in fact also be a 1N34A from a different manufacturer. The detector and coupling loops were built on a small circuit board and mounted on a block of wood so that the assembly could be repositioned easily to obtain the best performance. The assembly is shown below.

to obtain the best performance. The assembly is shown below. The RF and detector coupling loops

The RF and detector coupling loops are blue hook-up wire. The little postage stamp sized circuit board is a low power headphone amplifier which was used in conjunction with my relatively insensitive headphones to make testing a bit more painless. The initial working set-up is shown below:

Reception was fairly good. The signal was weak using my piezo phones without any amplification.

Reception was fairly good. The signal was weak using my piezo phones without any amplification. So, I connected in the headphone amplifier, and did all the remaining testing with it. Selectivity was very good. However, I don't have any easy means to measure the Q. I found that I could easily pick either side of a station's centre frequency for detection, and if I tuned dead centre, the signal became very distorted. That leads me to believe that the Q is very high. I couldn't get that kind of precision with earlier experimental sets which used a coil/capacitor tuned circuit.

So with that bit of success, I started thinking about making a true discriminator. As mentioned above, I had intended to duplicate Ed Richley's circuit except that the coaxial resonator would be replaced with the helical one. However, after reviewing the original circuit, I concluded that two of the transformers could be eliminated. The first transformer is a balun to convert from an unbalanced RF signal from the antenna to a balanced one. Since I intended to use a dipole antenna, this was unnecessary.

Rather than excite the resonator via coupling loops through the small capacitors, I decided to drive the resonator directly at a tap near the ground end of the resonator coil. This eliminated the need for the balanced secondary winding on T3.

I decided that I could combine T2 and T3 into a single transformer. I had disassembled several baluns and found some to have two-hole cores and some were simple toroids. I used the toroid from one of these and wound a 4-turn primary, and 4-turn secondary. The secondary has a tap after the first turn which is grounded. The schematic follows:

the first turn which is grounded. The schematic follows: The secondary arrangement still gives the same

The secondary arrangement still gives the same 3:1 power ratio between the diodes and the resonator excitation, but the circuit is much simpler. The revised coupler/detector board is shown below:

The black wire with the brass clip is for connecting to a tap on the

The black wire with the brass clip is for connecting to a tap on the resonator coil. I made it this way so that I could quickly try different positions. Optimum turns out to be about 40mm (1.5") from ground.

The pickup loop is the single loop of blue wire with the audio output tap at the halfway position (black wire).

Diodes are socket mounted so that different ones may be tried without fuss. I didn't put in an AM trap this time, because the circuit arrangement is not conducive to AM pickup, since the diodes are essentially shorted at MW frequencies by the pickup loop.

Here's a brief description of how the circuit works:

Input transformer T1 splits the incoming RF (untuned) into two signals 180 degrees out of phase with reference to ground. The low level side goes to the resonator and the high level side goes to the common point of the diodes. The voltage induced by the resonator into the pickup loop will be 90 degrees out of phase with the the input signal. This is the nature of a loosely coupled tuned circuit at resonance. The phase of the signal on the pickup coil will vary on either side of 90 degrees as the carrier is frequency modulated. The "90 degree" signal is applied to the outside ends of the diodes while the

180 degree signal is applied to the diode common point which then act as a quadrature detector. Hence it is essentially the same mode of operation as Richley's original circuit.

The following photo shows the discriminator assembly in position:

photo shows the discriminator assembly in position: Now, with everything connected up, and after finding the

Now, with everything connected up, and after finding the best position for the pickup coil I found that the discriminator appears to be working correctly. Tuning is sharper, and there are no double slopes to select as I could previously. In fact tuning this receiver has very much the same feel as tuning a commercially made FM receiver. Audio level has increased significantly too. This is something I had been wondering about. I was concerned that a true discriminator might be less sensitive than a slope detector, but it appears not to be the case.

2010-11-28 Update:

Since the original material first appeared on this page, I've continued to tinker with this circuit, resulting in several incremental improvements. Although the improvements came in many small increments, the cumulative result is that this is now a very good performing receiver. Improvements listed in order of importance (most important first) are:

2.

•Changing the turns ratio on the RF input transformer;

3. •Getting a good set of sound powered headphones;

4. •Permanently mounting the detector loop;

5. •Finding a good antenna location;

6. •Shortening the resonator helix.

Diodes

The Avago (formerly Agilent) HSMS-2850 diodes are rather odd ones. I had purchased these along with a number of other different types of detector diodes, more or less at random, to test their effectiveness. These particular diodes were described as "zero bias" which made them too intriguing to pass up. When they arrived, I set them aside and didn't think about them again until I ran across this page on Dick Kleijer's site. He had also built an FM crystal set and had tested a number of different diodes. Among them were the HSMS-2850's which turned out to be his best performers. I dug through my diode assortment and confirmed that they were the same ones I had. These are surface mount, and so I had to construct a small printed circuit adapter board. Otherwise, I would have tried them much sooner. When I tried them, there was a considerable improvement in performance. I mentioned that these diodes are odd ones. They have a very low R0 (zero crossing resistance) of about 5000 ohms (many thanks to Mike Tuggle who measured them for me). Coincidentally, this is about the same R0 as a galena detector. The low R0 would normally make them a bad choice as a crystal set detector (galena aficionados notwithstanding). However, it appears that this particular resonator circuit has a very low resonant RF output resistance, which turns out to be a good match to the diodes. For more info on this, see Article #4 on Ben Tongue's site. This low RF resistance has another consequence which is discussed below.

In addition to the above mentioned diodes, I also recently tested Sanyo 1SS351 diodes. These are a surface mount type, with two diodes in a single package, and while not quite as sensitive as the HSMS- 2850's they are significantly better than any of the germaniums or other Schottkys that I've tested. I also tried paralleling two of these, and got a further improvement in performance. In a listening test (which was completely subjective) I found it difficult to tell much difference between the parallel 1SS351's and the singleHSMS-2850's.

RF Input Transformer

Getting the best turns ratio for the RF input transformer was an iterative procedure which also affected the optimum input tap position on the resonator. The schematic appearing earlier on this page shows a primary with 4 turns, and a secondary with 4 turns, with a grounded tap at 1 turn. After much experimentation (and wire breakage), I currently have a primary with 6 turns, and a secondary with 8 turns, with the grounded tap again at 1 turn. This is the current schematic:

I might have arrived at this turns ratio a bit sooner if I hadn't made
I might have arrived at this turns ratio a bit sooner if I hadn't made

I might have arrived at this turns ratio a bit sooner if I hadn't made a bit of a blunder, confusing a dipole antenna with a folded dipole antenna, and thinking my antenna impedance was 300 ohms when in fact it is 75 ohms. (You may pick up on this goof in the earlier text of this page, which I haven't corrected yet.) I'm not yet at the point where I will claim this transformer configuration to be optimum, but it is much improved over what I had before.

Another addition is the 27µH choke connected between the centre tap on the detector loop and the phones. This seems to help isolate the audio wiring from the RF part the circuit, and vice versa. This improvement is subjective at this point (it seems to increase volume), but regardless, it doesn't appear to be a bad idea.

There were a few other changes made to the circuit as well, but in the end, except for the diodes, the revised RF transformer windings, and the addition of the 27µH choke, the other changes resulted in negligible improvements. Hence, they were dropped.

While on the subject of the schematic diagram, alert readers will note the apparent short circuit at audio frequencies if the diodes happen to be conducting. The consequence of this is that when receiving a very strong signal, there is an upper limit to how much audio the detector will produce. My earlier circuit simulation verified this, but I haven't yet encountered a real life signal strong enough to hit this limit.

However, I have allowed for circuit modifications should this ever become a problem. It would

However, I have allowed for circuit modifications should this ever become a problem. It would involve the addition of a resistive or reactive component (Z1) between the diodes as shown in the diagram here. The circuit model used in the simulation does not yet have sufficiently accurate parameters for the diodes or other components, to give a good idea what values to use for Z1 or the coupling capacitors. My circuit board has several strategically located jumper plugs to allow for this future addition without the need for any soldering or de-soldering.

Sound Powered Phones

There's not much I can say about sound powered phones other than: If you're serious about crystal radios, eventually you'll have to get a pair. There is nothing else that compares in sensitivity. Piezo phones are not bad if you have nothing else available, but simply don't compare to sound powered phones . I was lucky enough to get a pair of Western Electric SP phones (thanks to Darryl Boyd), and with the other improvements that were made in the receiver, there is no longer any need for an amplifier, not even for testing purposes.

The Western Electric phones (model D173014) have an impedance of about 600 ohms per element, and I have them wired in series for a total impedance of 1200 ohms. This turns out to be such a good match for the low impedance detector, that I have not found any advantage to using an audio matching transformer. Originally, I tested these with a Bogen T725 transformer wired as an autotransformer. The best transformer configurations were the 2:1 and 4:1 ratios. However, I couldn't honestly detect any improvement over the direct connection using no transformer at all. I did notice a slight difference in frequency response (better bass with the transformer), but no net improvement in volume using the transformer. I'm guessing that the optimum impedance would be somewhere around 2400 to 3000 ohms, but the transformer's insertion loss probably negated any benefits from the better impedance match.

Detector Loop Mounting

Originally, as shown in the early photos above, I mounted the diodes and detector loop on a separate moveable base. Once I'd determined the optimum position for the loop, I mounted it permanently

through the side of the enclosure. This eliminated quite a bit of excess wire which is never good to have when dealing with VHF. The RF transformer and diodes are now mounted on the side of the enclosure where the leads come through. Here is a detail of how the detector mounts:

come through. Here is a detail of how the detector mounts: The detector loop is 50

The detector loop is 50 mm (2") diameter #14 AWG (1.6 mm) copper wire, which is stiff enough to maintain optimum shape and position, once those have been determined. It is a friction fit through the side of the enclosure. Both leads are insulated where they pass through the shield.

The detector loop could mount through any of the four sides of the shield. However I chose the arrangement shown here, where both ends of the loop cross the ground end of the helix at 90°. It's my belief that this would minimize any possible unbalance in the loop due to ground capacitance effects.

What isn't shown in the photo, is the separation between the detector loop and the bottom of resonator helix. The distance is approximately 16 mm (5/8"). The loop has a bit of a twist in it, to follow the pitch of the helix, so that separation is a fairly constant 16 mm at all points, except where it bends around the ground end of the helix. Audio is taken off at the middle of the loop through the 27µH choke. The input tap (black wire) is connected to the resonator helix about 75 mm (3") from the grounded end.

Antenna Location

Unfortunately, antenna location is much more critical when dealing with VHF than when dealing with medium wave. A change in position of less than a metre can drastically affect reception. Initially, I found that to receive some stations, the antenna would have to be in one position, and to receive other stations, the antenna would have to be moved somewhere else. In all cases the antenna would have to be rotated to get the strongest signal.

My antenna is a simple set of rabbit ears (dipole) that was supplied with some long forgotten television receiver. I have it mounted on a camera tripod with a pan head, making it easy to rotate.

Currently, it sits in one corner of my house where I find that it gives good reception for all of my local FM stations (except one; more on that below). I have no explanation for why this particular location is best. No doubt, there are many complicated factors. However, I do note that this is in a far corner of my house which likely has the least amount of electrical wiring in the walls and ceiling.

Resonator Helix Length

Originally the helix was 4.3 turns of tubing. According to my design calculations this should have given a resonant frequency of about 110 MHz, just above the top of the FM band. In practice, it gave a resonant frequency of just a bit over 103 MHz. I expect this is mainly because I wasn't able to make the helix diameter exactly as designed.

The resonant frequency is also affected by fringing capacitance between the ungrounded end of the helix and the outer shield. If the helix is not perfectly centred in the shield (particularly the ungrounded end) the fringing capacitance will be higher and the resonant frequency will be lower. The resonant frequency can often be increased slightly by adjusting the position of the helix (ie., making sure it's exactly centred). However I wasn't able to increase the resonance enough, using this method. So, I trimmed pieces off the end of the helix until the resonance increased to an acceptable value.

After trimming, the helix was stretched out lengthwise to return the overall length to the design value of 84mm (3.3").

Currently, the the helix is 3.75 turns, and it tunes up to 106.3 MHz which covers all of the FM stations in my area, but not quite the whole FM band.

Performance

Shortly after building the phase discriminator version of the detector circuit, I was askedquite legitimatelywhether I was certain that the circuit was behaving as a proper phase detector, and not just an oddly configured slope detector. So, it was quite important that I verify its operation. Previously, I'd run a circuit simulation which indicated it would work. Then subsequently, I put a digital voltmeter on the audio output and verified that as an unmodulated carrier was slowly and manually swept across the resonant frequency of the receiver, the output went negative, crossed through zero, became positive

and then dropped to zero again. But that's a far cry from actually seeing a decent response curve on a scope.

Unfortunately, I don't have a VHF signal generator which can be suitably frequency modulated. However, I do have a cheap FM modulator (intended for playing portable music players through a car's FM radio). It uses a Rohm BA1404 FM modulator IC. The RF output is tied back into the 12V power cable which plugs into the car's cigar lighter. This was not suitable for providing a reliable and consistent signal to the receiver. So, I had to perform some surgery. Thanks to an online data sheet for the BA1404, I was able to locate the RF output (pin 7, for anyone interested), and connect a separate RF output lead.

Once I managed to separate the RF output, I got a nice clean signal. My audio sweep source is a sine wave from an audio generator. The only remaining complication was that the FM modulation was slightly out of phase relative to the input audio signal. So, I had to build an adjustable phase shift circuit to go between the audio generator and the scope X-input. Once it was adjusted properly, the waveform cleaned up very nicely, and I was quite thrilled to see a fairly good S-shaped discriminator response curve which is shown here:

S-shaped discriminator response curve which is shown here: This is the actual DC response of the

This is the actual DC response of the detector with an input FM signal of about 100 MHz. Mid position on the graticule is 0 Volts DC. Some asymmetry can be seen in the response curve; the skirt on the right tapers off much more gradually than that on the left. At some point I will probably investigate why this is happening, though I'm not too concerned about it. The flat section on the left is an artifact of the FM modulator. All things considered, I'm quite happy with the results.

Unfortunately, because the modulator is uncalibrated, I'm unable to say just what the actual bandwidth is. I hope to address this in the future.

As a side note, it can be seen that the trace is somewhat fuzzy. This is because there is a superimposed 19 kHz stereo pilot tone which is produced by the FM modulator. This had me baffled for a while until it dawned on me what it was. By adjusting the audio generator frequency, the 19 kHz signal can be made almost stationary, but still moves too fast for the camera to catch it.

The test set-up, used to generate the above response curve, is shown here:

used to generate the above response curve, is shown here: Listening Test I have twelve local

Listening Test

I have twelve local FM stations (within approx. 30 km). With this receiver I can clearly hear all except for two of them. Of those two, the first (91.7 MHz) seems to be temporarily off the air (although I can pick up its unmodulated carrier on other receivers). The second (100.3 MHz) is so weak that I can barely pick it up on a regular FM receiver, and even then, it is buried in noise and is barely intelligible. So, I wasn't too upset about not picking it up on the crystal set.

The ten local FM stations, which I can hear clearly, range in power from 1300 Watts to 100,000 Watts. All of them can be heard at pleasant volume in a reasonably quiet room. The 1300 Watt station is one of the loudest. However, its transmitter is probably closer to my listening location than the others. The receiver is selective enough that there is absolutely no overlap in stations. Audio quality is very good with the sound powered phones.

Four of the stations are strong enough that they can be heard fairly well with Sony MDR-W08 Sport Walkman phones when properly matched with a Bogen T725 transformer. Although the volume was considerably lower than with the sound powered phones, it was still quite intelligible.

Here is an audio clip tuning through the ten local stations starting at 88.7 MHz and ending at 105.5 MHz, which gives a general idea of the audio quality. File size is 1.6 MB. It was created by connecting the crystal set audio output through a simple RC de-emphasis filter, into a microphone preamp and then into the audio input of my computer running Audacity 1.25 software. The audio is exactly as recorded with no editing or other processing. You will notice that the sound quality changes rather erratically during tuning. This is due to backlash in the tuning mechanism (particularly troublesome at the bottom of the band), and simultaneous adjustment of antenna direction.

More to Come

While this project is close to being complete, a few things remain to be done.

Firstly, the tuning mechanism is very non linear. Tuning at the low end of the band is very touchy, and backlash in the adjusting screw makes tuning these stations a bit frustrating. I'm currently looking at an alternative tuning method which should result in more linear tuning.

Secondly, I would like to test the receiver with a good quality outdoor FM antenna.

Finally, I need to do some final clean-up of the construction, and make the case a bit more presentable.

Construction Data Summary (as of 2010-11-06)

Since a number of the circuit parameters have changed over the course experimentation, and the numbers are scattered around this page, I've consolidated the pertinent information into the following summary:

Resonator

1. •Helix conductor: 9.5 mm (3/8") diameter copper tubing;

2. •Helix outer diameter: 65 mm (2.6")

3. •Helix length: 84 mm (3.3")

4. •Helix number of turns: 3.75

5. •Helix input tap position: 75 mm (3") from ground end of helix

6. •Shield material: 16 oz. copper flashing; 0.56 mm (0.022") actual thickness

7. •Shield width: 84x84 mm (3.3" x 3.3")

8. •Shield length: 200 mm (8")

9. •Distance - helix mounting hole centre to bottom edge of shield: 50 mm (2")

Detector Loop

1.

•Material: #14 AWG (1.6 mm) bare copper wire

2. •Diameter: 50 mm (2")

3. •Spacing from helix: 16 mm (5/8")

4. •Estimated detector output impedance: 2400 to 3000 ohms

RF Input Transformer

1. •Core Type: Ferrite toroid

2. •Core Material: Unknown ferrite mix, but presumably suitable for VHF broadband transformer use

3. •Core outer diameter: 8 mm (5/16")

4. •Core inner diameter: 4 mm (5/32")

5. •Core length: 4 mm (5/32")

6. •Primary winding: 6 turns, #30 AWG, Kynar insulation (AKA: wire-wrap wire)

7. •Secondary winding: 1+7 turns, #30 AWG, Kynar insulation, grounded tap at 1 turn

Miscellaneous Components

1.

•Detector diodes: Avago HSMS-2850 Alternate type: Sanyo 1SS351

2.

•Detector RF choke: 27 µH, JW Miller 79F270K (Note, due to the low self-resonant freq. of 14 MHz, this choke may not the best choice)

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This page last updated: March 15, 2012

Copyright 2010, 2012, Robert Weaver

Crystal Set Analysis

(First published in German in 1993/94; see references at end. Updated 12/03/2002) (See some of Berthold Bosch´s realized xtal sets here)

Contents: 1.Voltages and Powers in Set, 2. Antenna/Earth as Signal Source, 3. Set with Parallel- Tuned Circuit, 4. Diode Properties, 5. RF Matching, 6. AF Matching, 7. Computer Simu- lations, 8. Series-Tuned Circuits .

Since my schoolboy days I have been fascinated by crystal radio reception: radio in its most basic form. However, in many cases I was not really satisfied with what I read on the subject in the literature. In the treatises I came across, the descriptions often remained rather vague, presenting little convincing foundations. Partly they were rather speculative and even presented contradicting conclusions. For this reason I found it advisable to carry out my own investigations. My intention was to obtain more quantitative results, for example as regards the best diode and the understanding of the obvious interdependence between the radio-frequency (RF), audio-frequency (AF), and DC subcircuits, what it meant for an optimum design. In the following I present results obtained over the years. Only medium- wave reception is considered.

1.Typical Values of Voltages and Powers in Set

Let us first see of what order of magnitude the RF and AF voltages and powers are which we have to deal with.

According to amplitude-modulation theory, the AF power contained in the total AM signal of power PRF is given by m2 PRF / (2+m2) where m is the modulation factor. If we assume m=0.5 we thus have 11 percent of AF power in the AM signal. Sometimes broadcasting stations use modulation factors of up to m=1 (100 percent) which then causes a correspondingly higher AF power component. At my urban location, in the West of Germany (Ruhr District), the strongest station (15 km away) produces an electric field strength of 0.18 V/m and, with my antenna and earth arrangement, an RF power of about 3 mW is available in the crystal set. Hence 330 µW of AF are contained in the RF if we assume m=0.5. A practical (linear) diode detector coupled to a tuned circuit delivers 70 to 80 percent of this to the AF load. This means that ideally I can expect about 240 µW of AF being available from my local station, sufficient for moderate operation of a loudspeaker.

In the crystal set that I am going to investigate (Fig. 2 below) I measured the following RF voltages across the tuned circuit when RF and AF matching existed (Secs. 2, 5 & 6):

a) Tuned to the local station (WDR 2, 720 kHz, 200 kW, 15 km away):8.9 V

b) From of my "district station" (DLF, 549 kHz, 100 kW, 35 km, field strength 40 mV/m, 0.2 mW of RF

c)

At night - with a wave trap for the local station - more than a dozen stations appear from all over

Europe with 1 to 5 mV/m, producing 130 mV across the circuit as a mean value (0.5 µW of RF). Such low voltages will move the working point over only a rather limited part of the diode characteristic where

the relative curvature is low. Consequently, the detector efficiency now drops to below one percent.

d) Good headphones produce an audible signal down to 10 pW of applied AF power. Employing a signal

generator and using a sensitive diode (see below) I found that an RF power of about 10 nW is required to generate this 10 pW of lower-limit AF. The detector efficiency has at this very low RF level thus fallen to a mere one per mille. Obtaining an RF power of 10 nW in my set requires a field strength of about 0.3

mV/m. According to estimates based on groundwave propagation theory, a 1000 kW transmitter operating near 1500 kHz should generated 0.3 mV/m at a distance of 190 to 200 km; the electric field strength is roughly proportional to Radicle (PTX)/(f2d2), where PTX = transmitter power, f = frequency, and d = distance. The particular example is chosen because at 1440 kHz I can during the day just hear the signal of RTL Luxembourg, being 195 km away and reported to radiate 1200 kW. The voltage measured across the tuned circuit was 40 mV in this case. To be able to receive RTL I carefully have to suppress the local as well as the district station.

e) When I connect an AF amplifier to the crystal set, a number of stations located about 150 to 250 km

away can additionally be heard via groundwave propagation in the daytime. The diode thus provides (some) detector action at RF levels even lower than 10 nW. But the AF power generated is then too

small to produce an audible signal in the phones directly.

The above numbers show the considerable variations in the RF voltage generated across the tuned circuit. Hence it is not surprising that a crystal diode found to be best suited for DX reception is not necessarily the optimum choice for achieving best loudspeaker operation from the local station. But before I present results on diode behaviour I am going to describe the circuit I employed. Let us start with antenna and earth as an integral part of the total circuit.

2. Antenna and Earth as Signal Source

Let us start with antenna and earth as an integral part of the total circuit. 2.

(Fig. 1: Equivalent circuit of antenna/earth combination.)

I use an inverted L-type antenna of 43 m length, about 10 m above ground. The earth connection is provided by three metal rods of 2 m length each, driven into marly, i.e. a not particularly well conducting, soil. The antenna/earth combination can be represented by the equivalent circuit shown in Fig. 1, giving measured values for the various elements. The antenna capacitance is denoted by CA, the inductance by LA, RE is the earth loss resistance, RR the radiation resistance, and VA,O the antenna source voltage. The two last elements increase in value with the antenna's height and length. For the source voltage I measured a value of 1.6 V, using a selective RF voltmeter. The knowledge of this quantity, which is produced by the strong local station, permits to easily determine the earth resistance. For it 210 ohms were obtained, a relatively high value. Reducing it by installing a better ground system would pay high dividend. Note added in 2002: Meanwhile I installed an extensive counterpoise net in the garden as earth terminal. This reduced the earth resistance to about 25 ohms, with an associated marked increase in available RF power.

Maximum power is transferred to the load, i.e. from the antenna to the crystal set connected to A-E, when we arrange for impedance matching and for resonance in the resultant antenna/earth series circuit. The set will presents, in general, an inductance which is too small for achieving resonance in the antenna circuit. Therefore, an additional coil must be inserted (Fig. 2). The resistance of about 400 ohms in the series-tuned circuit (200 ohms source resistance plus 200 ohms resistance of set when matched) yields a Q-factor of only 4. But this is still helpful regarding sensitivity, but also selectivity (sharpness of tuning), since the delivered current (voltage) is increased by this factor of 4, meaning 16 times in power.

3. Crystal Set with Parallel-Tuned Circuit

As a sort of "standard set" I used and investigated the popular arrangement shown in Fig. 2 which employs two tuned circuits. The inductance LC couples the antenna to the coil of the tuned circuit, the degree of the variable coupling chosen so that matching is achieved. The fixed L1 has a somewhat larger value than required for tuning the antenna/earth circuit of Fig. 1. The variable capacitor C1 is then used for tuning to resonance. The numbers for L1 and C1 apply to my particular case. C3 serves as AF storage capacitor for obtaining a maximum of AF amplitude at the phones, and it additionally provides a short for the RF. In practice, however, it often can be omitted without audible drop in AF. - To be able to properly match the diode detector to the parallel-tuned circuit, the detector branch is hooked up either to the top of coil L2 (wound with Litz wire onto a suitable ferrite rod) or to one of 11 taps provided on it. In this way the diode can be connected, via a switch, to 12 resistance values along the tuned circuit. Such a fine adjustment was required for the investigations reported in Sec. 5. The unloaded tuned circuit has a resonance resistance of 105 k ohms (at 1000 kHz), which drops to 52 k ohms when matched to the antenna/earth. (These are not particularly high resistance values because of the many leads from the taps to the switch.) According to the switch position chosen the diode can so be connected to 12 resistance values that vary between 52 k ohms and 100 ohms. When the diode is set to the tap that provides matching the total resonance resistance then drops to 26 k ohms. - On the right in Fig. 2 the equivalent circuit of the headphones is given which we require later on.

(Fig 2: Wiring diagram of crystal set with parallel-tuned circuit and tuned antenna/earth.) We have

(Fig 2: Wiring diagram of crystal set with parallel-tuned circuit and tuned antenna/earth.)

We have now the task to match (1) on the RF side the diode branch, via the tuned circuit and the antenna coupling, to the antenna source, and (2), regarding the AF, the phones or the loudspeaker to the diode. Both procedures are strongly interrelated. But first we must find out more about the diode and its dynamic resistance.

4. Crystal-Diode Properties

All semiconductor diodes principally show a dependence of current I on applied voltage V (static characteristic) like I=IR,0*exp (V/nVT) - IR,0, where IR,O denotes the reverse saturation current at high negative voltages, VT the temperature voltage of 26 mV at room temperature, and n an ideality factor between 1 and 2.

(Fig. 3: Theoretical current-voltage characteristics of various p-n diodes; equal diode areas assumed.) Reverse breakdown

(Fig. 3: Theoretical current-voltage characteristics of various p-n diodes; equal diode areas assumed.)

Reverse breakdown is neglected. The relationship applies to both to p-n diodes and to Schottky diodes. However, the composition and physical meaning of IR,O differs completely for these two diode types (diffusion current resp. field current). Important is the fact that the exponential rise of the diode current occurs the faster, i.e. the turn-on voltage (as a kind of threshold) becomes the lower, the higher the saturation current IR,O is. Calculated characteristics for p-n diodes made from germanium, silicon, two modern compound semiconductors and from galena (PbS) are given in Fig. 3, assuming equal diode areas. The associated reverse currents are stated. The difference in diode behaviour is caused by differing electronic material properties (band gap). Real curves, in particular of the natural crystals, are flatter because of parasitic elements, mainly of diode series resistance. Regarding low turn-on voltage a galena p-n crystal diode is theoretically even slightly better than one made from germanium.

For Schottky diodes principal curves like those in Fig. 3, relating to a particular crystal material, cannot be given. In their case the characteristics strongly depend on the kind of the metal electrode and on the processing parameters. But measured curves for Schottky as well as for p-n diodes are given in Fig. 4, including fairly good examples of galena (PbS) and iron pyrite (FeS) detectors; see also the Table below for identifying the diode types. Again one notices the relatively low turn-on voltage of the two natural crystals which equal or even are below that of the germanium diodes 1N34 and OA5, thus being well suited for low-level detection.

(Fig. 4: Measured current-voltage characteristics of various semiconductor diodes (reverse currents indicated)) Very

(Fig. 4: Measured current-voltage characteristics of various semiconductor diodes (reverse currents indicated))

Very interesting is the performance of modern low-barrier Schottky diodes made from silicon, like the NEC 1SS16 (almost identical: 1SS99, BAT32, BAT63), which show turn-ons at 0.15 to 0.18 V. And, indeed, they show superb performance at low levels. One should expect that the InAsSchottky diode (which was specially made for my experiments) and the TU 300, a backward diode made by Siemens, would according to the curves shown be even more sensitive detectors. But this is not the case.

As mentioned, a low turn-on voltage is inevitably associated with a high reverse current. This current reaches values of a few hundred µA for the InAs diode, as also for the TU300 and the Schottky diode BAT33. If the reverse current, i.e. an unwanted back current, reaches such high values we have strong counteracting effects, and ultimately the detector action disappears completely. Anticipating the results of computer simulations described in Sec. 7 one can state that diodes like the 1SS16 show the optimum relation between low turn-on and still acceptable reverse current, thus making them the best choice of presently available diodes as regards detector sensitivity.

To show and compare the capability of various diodes the Table summarizes values of measured AF voltages and of rectified currents, for 1 and 100 µW of available RF power. A power of 1 µW is in my set typical for DX stations at night, and 100 µW for stations 30 to 50 km away. As is seen the 1SS16 leads the field. - For 3 mW of RF (my local station) I obtained with a 1SS16 a DC current of 715 µA, which increased to 1.85 mA in the short-circuit case (AF/DC load = 0), and to 2.95 mA when under these conditions the set was retuned.

to 2.95 mA when under these conditions the set was retuned. (Table: Measured values of AF

(Table: Measured values of AF voltage (across phones of 4 k at DC) and of rectified DC current for various diodes and two levels of RF power)

Sometimes a DC bias from a battery is applied for shifting the operating point of the diode closer to the turn-on voltage and so improving the detection efficiency. By this method the AF voltage obtained can be increased, for example when using the 1N5711 and the 1N914 at low RF levels. The 1SS16 group of diodes, however, hardly gains from a DC bias. Only at RF powers below about 200 nW I was able to measure a certain rise in AF voltage. At the lowest detectable RF level of 50 nW (Sec. 1), the AF voltage increased by 20 percent (i.e. power by 45 percent) when the optimum bias was applied. But this effect was measurable only, being still too small to be noticed by the ear.

Note added in Jan. 2002: Backward diodes (BWD), like the TU300, are good detectors at extremely low RF signal levels, below about 1 nW with associated voltages of only a few mV. This is due to the relatively sharp bend in the BWD characteristic at zero volts. The generated AF signal is, however, too small for operating phones directly and calls for an AF amplifier. Then stations can be copied which are not heard when in such a set-up with AF amplifier a "normal" sensitive diode, like the 1SS16, is used instead of the BWD.

5. RF Diode Resistances and RF Matching

For achieving best performance it is required to RF match the diode to the tuned circuit. The dynamic resistance of the diode depends on the amplitude of the RF voltage applied to it, and on the kind of AF load impedance.

In AM tube radios the detector diode operates at a high level (linear detection) and has a load consisting of a large (ohmic) resistor shunted by a small capacitor. Calculations show that in this case the RF diode resistance, as presented to the tuned circuit, is roughly half of the ohmic load resistance. In a crystal set the calculation is somewhat more complicated since there the RF voltage on the diode is generally lower and the diode load is more complex (see equivalent circuit of phones in Fig. 2). Hence I preferred to measure the RF diode resistance RD. The measurements were carried out under actual working conditions using a signal generator. Figs. 5(a) and (b) show the results obtained for high-impedance phones with 4 k ohms DC resistance and for low-impedance ones with 120 ohms, respectively. The RF frequency used in these measurements was 1000 kHz, the modulation frequency 1 kHz with a modulation factor of 0.4 (given by the signal generator). Figs. 5 give the measured diode resistances, as a function of the RF power applied, for an 1SS16 (also some in parallel), a silicon p-n diode 1N914, and for natural galena as well as carborundum (silicon carbide; SiC) crystals. The diode circuit was in turn connected to the various taps on the coil L2 .When the RF voltage measured across the tuned circuit dropped by a factor of radicle (2)=1.41 compared to its value without diode, matching was achieved. Then the RF diode resistance equalled the RF resistance of the tuned circuit at the tap point. To avoid an error one must readjust the coupling to the antenna when the diode is connected to the first found (V/1.4) tap point and then repeat the search for the now somewhat altered (V/1.4) tap. A second iteration further improves the result, but not much.

As in principle to be expected from the characteristics, the diode resistances vary rather widely, from some 100 ohms to some 10 k ohms, with lower values obtained when the DC resistance of the phones is low. The galena detector shows values only moderately higher than those of a single 1SS16. The silicon

diode 1N914 presents high values due to its high turn-on, which even more applies to carborundum.

to its high turn-on, which even more applies to carborundum. (Fig. 5:Measured RF diode resistances versus

(Fig. 5:Measured RF diode resistances versus available RF power: (a) for high-impedance phones (4 k ohms at DC), (b) for low-impedance phones (120 ohms at DC)

The data obtained then indicate that the optimum tap position on coil L2 (for matching) depends on the diode type, the strength of the received station, and on the DC resistance of the phones. The larger the value of the diode resistance is, the higher must the tap position be up the coil. Sometimes it was suggested in the literature to have a fixed tap at a point of about 1/4 to 1/3 of the windings counting from the earth point. In the present case the tuned circuit has a resistance of approximately 6 k at the 1/3 tap point. As Fig. 5a shows, this indeed is a rather good choice for a galena detector when high- impedance phones are used and weak stations received. Impedance matching requires that the reactances of source and load cancel out. But in our case the resistance of the tuned circuit has no reactive part at resonance, and the reactance of the diode, caused mainly by the diode junction capacitance of at most a few pF, can be neglected.

Connected to a particular tap, the diode resistance is (auto-)transformed up and appears in parallel to the resonance resistance of the tuned circuit. This means that not all of the available RF power reaches

the diode since a reasonable fraction of it is dissipated in the resistance of the tuned circuit. In order to really transfer the maximum of power from the antenna to the diode branch, the diode (of generally low resistance compared to that of the tuned circuit) should be connected untapped to the top of the coil L2. This, however, strongly reduces the selectivity of the set and requires a readjustment of the coupling of the tuned circuit to the antenna. With high incident high RF power (and/or low impedance of the phones) the tuned circuit can, under these conditions, become loaded to such an extend that variations of the capacitor C2 have no tuning effect any longer, which means that C2 is obsolete and can be omitted. The diode circuit is then aperiodically coupled to the (tuned) antenna circuit, while the coil L2 merely acts as the secondary winding of the transformer which matches the diode to the antenna.

6. AF Matching

If a crystal ear phone is used or the diode detector is followed by an amplifier (generally of high input impedance) one has to design for maximum voltage at the detector output. Here, we rather have to deliver a maximum of power to the phones. Hence the impedance of the phones (or the speaker) as the AF load should have such a value that a maximum of AF power is transferred to it. The AF source resistance RG is at low RF levels (square-law detection) approximately given by the reciprocal of the slope of the diode characteristic at the operating point. At higher RF levels (linear peak detection) it is determined by the current spikes flowing through the diode. In so far, RG nearly equals the diode resistances as shown in Figs. 5. The tuned circuit presents an AF short.

I determined the equivalent circuit of a pair of high-impedance Telefunken phones (4 k ohms at DC) at 1 kHz by using a measuring bridge and obtained the quantities given in Fig. 2. REA is caused by the electro- acoustical transducing process. The AF source has to provide the real power for REA as well as, necessarily, for the DC coil resistance, and foremost the reactive power for the phone coils (2.5 H) that are to move the membranes. In order to obtain the maximum of power transfer the magnitude (amount) of the overall phones´ impedance ZAF ( 16 k ohms for my phones) must match the AF source. Again I preferred to experimentally find the optimum AF load: I connected in turn 14 phones and speakers of different impedance to the set, partly connecting two of them in series or parallel, which in total provided 20 load impedance values between 80 ohms and 75 k ohms in magnitude. From the AF voltage measured across these load impedances I determined the AF power. The coupling to the RF signal generator was readjusted to retain RF matching each time the AF load was changed. Fig. 6 shows the obtained results when using a) a diode 1SS16 at low RF power (1 µW) and b) with a 1N914 at higher power (1 mW). The optimum AF load impedance turned out to be, resp., 1.2 and 3 k ohms. In order to simplify matters the diode was in this experiment fixed to the 1/3 tap at the tuned circuit. This meant a compromise as regards match-ing and generally did not produce quite the maximum of achievable AF power. The dashed curves of higher AF power in Fig. 6 were obtained when the diode was connected to

the top of the tuning coil (as discussed above).

the top of the tuning coil (as discussed above). (Fig. 6: measured AF power versus AF

(Fig. 6: measured AF power versus AF load impedance.)

In order to present my measurement results in a more general form, Fig. 7 shows the AF power obtained as a function of the AF impedance now divided by the respective occurring source (= diode) resistance. The curves indicate that the maximum is reached when ZAF has a value of 50 to 70 percent of the diode resistance. The simplifications introduced above, like choosing the fixed 1/3 tap, are probably the reason for not reaching a higher percentage. But we can say to be roughly correct with our predictions. - Sometimes it is suggested to match just available phones (speaker) to the diode by using a suitable transformer. I found this only helpful if the mismatch was extremely high. In the other cases the winding and iron losses of the transformer, as well as the inductive shunt, tend to dissipate more AF power than is gained by providing the right transformation ratio. One also has to consider that the human ear cannot register small changes in acoustical power. Alterations like those shown above the dashed line in Fig. 7 will hardly be noticed by the ear. Thus, it seems that the exact value of the AF load impedance is not of paramount importance as regards noticeable output power. But the general principle holds that a number of small improvements in matching, each of which will not produce any audible effect for itself, might in sum indeed be noticed by the ear.

So it turns out as an interesting and important feature that a high-impedance AF load, which is associated with a high DC resistance, will produce a high diode resistance (= AF source resistance), and vice versa. This means that the circuit has a self-optimizing tendency towards the matched condition. Regarding RF selectivity of the set, as another important quantity, a high AF impedance - leading to a high diode resistance - is of advantage. But the influence of the AF impedance in this respect is not

particularly pronounced. I measured an increase in -3db RF bandwidth by a factor of 2.5 when the AF load was decreased from 100 k ohms. At 720 kHz (local station) this bandwidth was 20 kHz in my set, which yields a total loaded Q factor of 36 - leaving room for improvement (see Secs. 2 & 3).

of 36 - leaving room for improvement (see Secs. 2 & 3). (Fig. 7: Measured AF

(Fig. 7: Measured AF power versus AF load impedance normalized to AF source resistance.)

7. Computer Simulation of Crystal-Set Behaviour

As a summarising investigation I simulated the overall performance of the circuit shown in Fig. 2, using the analysis program SPICE. An RF frequency of 1 MHz, an AF of 1 kHz, and a modulation factor of m=0.4 were assumed. The tap on the coil L2 was held fixed at 1/3 of the windings from earth. The I(V) equation given in Sec. 4 served to describe the diode behaviour.

(Fig. 8: Simulated AF voltage across high impedance phones reverse saturation current of diode with

(Fig. 8: Simulated AF voltage across high impedance phones reverse saturation current of diode with available RF power as parameter (m=0.4). Measured values for various diodes included.)

The simulation results are presented in Fig. 8, which shows the AF voltage VAF AF obtained across phones of 16 k ohms AF impedance (4 k ohms DC) as a function of the diode reverse saturation current IR,O. Parameter is the available RF power at the tuned circuit, ranging from 10 nW (lowest sensible level; see Sec. 1) to 1 mW (about local-station level). Measured values pertaining to various diodes are entered for comparison. These measurement values lie in part slightly below, partly somewhat above the simulated curves, but agree in general. In practical diodes, particularly Schottky diodes, the effective reverse current increases noticeably with reverse voltage (i.e. with increased RF power). This had to be considered when inserting the measured values in Fig. 8, and accounts for the slight bending of the vertical lines to the right. The dotted curve in Fig. 8 shows the simulated DC voltage across the phones for 1 µW of RF power.

The simulated curves for VAF drop at the right side for diodes with high IR,O because of the adverse effect of reverse current as mentioned in Sec. 4. The decrease at the left of Fig. 8 for low RF powers results from the high turn-on voltage shown by diodes having a low IR,O. In these cases the associated smaller RF voltages increasingly fail to reach the turn-on of the diodes. The curves make clear how important it is to choose a diode which has the right value of reverse current. A definite maximum in sensitivity, especially pronounced at low RF powers, is found for diodes having a reverse saturation current of a few µA. Particularly the 1SS16 diode class is in this range, but also the OA5 and 1N34 perform not too badly, and good specimen of galena (PbS) crystals behave still satisfactorily. Hence this result is quite in agreement with what we already have found in Sec. 4. - When the AF voltages in Fig. 8 are used for calculating the AF power, the AF/RF detection efficiency can be worked out. It is found that the efficiency drops drastically for low RF levels, with one per mille being reached at 10 nW of RF. This agrees with the observations described in Sec. 1.

In the simulation the reverse breakdown voltage, at which in practical diodes the current starts to rise rapidly, was not included. For 1 mW, the highest RF power considered, the diode resistances have dropped to around 3 k ohms (Fig. 5a), calling for a low tap position on the coil. There the RF voltage is relatively low. My local station, with 3 mW of RF, produces 2.4 V (i.e. a peak-to-peak value of 6.7 V) at the required tap point, so that the negative peak only just reaches the breakdown voltage of -6 V for a 1SS16. In consequence, reverse breakdown seems not to be a particular limiting factor, even if the voltage across the tuned circuit might be somewhat higher in case there is a better Q factor. Assuming a constant available RF power, the RF voltage is proportional to the square root of the Q (resonance resistance). The low-barrier silicon Schottky diodes, which show a reverse breakdown in the range of -5 to -8 V, are thus well suited for use from the lowest to the highest levels of RF power generally occurring in crystal sets.

8. Some Remarks on Series-Tuned Circuits

Historically the first crystal sets, in the pre-broadcasting days, were of the kind shown in Fig. 9a. There the values of L1 and C2 pertain to my particular antenna/earth situation. For maximum power transfer in the circuit of Fig. 9a the combination of crystal plus load in parallel should match the impedance of the antenna source. In the latter the earth resistance represents the main resistive part which in the then primarily commercial stations had values of only 10 to 50 ohms. On the other hand, the crystal- diode resistances were around a few k ohms so that a considerable mismatch existed. For this reason one soon changed to the arrangement of Fig. 9b with diode and load now in series, and with the possibility to match the diode branch to the antenna by choosing the right tap on the coil L1. To increase

the selectivity of the set a second tuned circuit was eventually introduced, as e.g. shown by Fig. 2.

circuit was eventually introduced, as e.g. shown by Fig. 2. (Fig 9: Series-tuned circuits: a) Diode

(Fig 9: Series-tuned circuits: a) Diode directly in tuned antenna circuit, b) Diode across tuning inductance (preferably tapped), c) Diode in separate series-tuned circuit, coupled to the series-tuned antenna/earth circuit.)

Using modern low turn-on diodes (1SS16 etc., Sec. 4) and having in general a higher earth resistance than in commercial stations, the circuit of Fig. 9a is however quite effective. Possibly paralleling of diodes is of advantage, depending on the actual source and load resistances. With two 1SS16 and employing a moving-coil speaker via a suitable transformer as the load I obtained an AF power of 180 µW from my local station. With ten 1SS16 and two moving coils of 16- ohms speakers in series as load, the obtained AF power of 210 µW approached the maximum possible after Sec. 1. Ideally the diode resistance should, in my case, about equal the 210 ohms of the antenna source (Fig. 1). Reverse diode current is not harmful, nor a possibly low reverse breakdown voltage. We have here a “current- controlled” case where voltages across the diode remain low with associated high currents, a few tens of a mV and some mA when I used the ten diodes. In contrast, voltage control is - more or less - experienced when parallel-tuned circuits are employed where high(er) voltages and low(er) currents exist. A set according to Fig. 9a, then, is a most simple hook-up for effectively receiving the nearest station. Substantially higher selectivity, approaching that of the set of Fig. 2, is offered by the arrangement with two series-tuned circuits shown in Fig. 9c. Since there any resistance (loss) in the circuit made up by L2 and C2 should be kept low for achieving a high Q factor, the diode(s) - preferably paralleled again - and the phones/speaker should be of low impedance. The RF choke might help to improve performance. The diodes found in the left of Fig. 4, particularly the backward diode TU300 (which is of little use on parallel-tuned circuits), operate excellently in the arrangement of Fig. 9c. Modern 8/16- ohms headphones or, for stronger stations, directly the moving coil of a speaker are effective AF loads. - Backward diodes, being scarce these days, are tunnel diodes which have the typical

current hump reduced to a flat region at about 200 µA height. The I(V) curve of the TU300 shown in Fig. 4 has in reality reversed polarity. For reasons of comparison with the other diodes the polarity was changed in the graph. Other BWD types are: AEY17 /29, 1N3539 /3543, TU1B.

In conclusion, the investigations sketched here have certainly enlarged my knowledge on crystal-set design, with the identification of the “best diode” and noticing the tendency of self-optimization which makes the set a sort of good-natured device. Other rewarding topics could not be covered, as there are, for example, more complex circuits for increased selectivity and for DX. Also short-wave crystal sets are fascinating since they provide DX from all over the world with simple designs.

Based on:

B. Bosch and M. Bussmann: ZurEmpfindlichkeit von Kristallgleichrichtern und Halbleiter- diodenbeimDetektorempfang.Funkgeschichte Nr. 93 (1993), pp. 275 - 285.

B. Bosch: Anpassungs- und SchaltungsfragenbeimDetektorempfang.Funkgeschichte Nr.98 (1994), pp. 211 - 225.

CRYSTAL SETS

CRYSTAL SETS

CRYSTAL SETS

2

Some Practical Designs MAKE YOUR OWN CRYSTAL SET !!

   

CRYSTAL SETS 2: SOME PRACTICAL DESIGNS

I hope that you attempt building one or two of these crystal set designs and I really do recommend that the components are carefully connected up using soldered joints onto a piece of tag-strip for

reliability. However if you are new to constructing such electronic circuits then some simple solder-

less techniques could be employed and these are suggested at the bottom of the page. Crystal Sets Part 5 for more ideas on experimenting with crystal sets.

Also see

An early and very basic crystal set would have been nothing more than a

coil of wire, perhaps 50 - 100 turns,

wound

around a

cardboard

tube about 3

inches (7cm)

in diameter,

a detector

(or cats

whisker) and

a pair of

special High

Impedance

headphones A very basic crystal set circuit.

(as discussed in part 1).

A very basic crystal set circuit. (as discussed in part 1). There would be a very

There would be a very large aerial strung up around the garden and the all

important

connection

to earth.

The coil would have tapping points (connection points) at intervals of around 5 or 10 turns. See the circuit

diagram on the right for details of who the set

is wired

together.

The tapping

points on the coil allow the set to be tuned to different frequencies by adjusting the position of tap B. Tap

B would be

connected to the coil at differently positions by way of a crocodile clip. The fewer turns between the

top (aerial end) of the coil and tap B, the shorter the wavelength received (ie the higher the frequency). Tap A would allow the detector to be connected at different positions to vary performance

. There is an

additional component drawn in the above diagram, the capacitor (value 1000pF), this is included in crystal sets that used the High Impedance

magnetic

headphones,

and

bypassed

any

remaining

radio

frequencies

(RF) to earth.

(RF) to earth. The Standard Crystal Set I have not built the set described above as

The Standard Crystal Set

I have not built the set described above as it is so basic. Such a crystal set above would probably have been adequate in 1920 - 1923 when there would have been only one local transmitter receivable.

When the BBC expanded transmissions and it became possible to hear more than a single station it would have became necessary to include a more convenient means of tuning the set.

This was achieved by including a Variable Tuning Capacitor, of about 500pF

(0.0005uF)

connected in parallel with the tuning coil

forming a tuned circuit. The tuning capacitor would have a Bakelite knob on the spindle to aid tuning.

Because of the simplicity of crystal sets, it is often difficult to separate stations. When tuned into one station it is often possible to hear another close by station in the background, this is due to lack of selectivity. This can be reduced somewhat by adjusting the positions of the Aerial Tap and Detector Tap. Moving them closer to the bottom of the coil, the earthy end, reduces the load on the tuned circuit and this improves selectivity, however it does also reduce sensitivity which can make the station

quieter.

the tapping point lower down improves this situation. Every circumstance is bound to be different though so the best balance has to be found by experimentation. My crystal set has both the diode and the aerial connected to the same tapping point on the coil, about a quarter of the way down.

Headphones will often swamp a tuned circuit and reduce its selectivity (Q factor), so moving

The modern 'standard crystal set' shown above uses a Crystal Earphone, since suitable high impedance magnetic headphones (of 2000 to 4000 ohms) are no longer widely available. When using a crystal

earpiece the 1000pF capacitor shown in the first diagram can usually be omitted an in its place a 47k ohm resistor is connected, this ensures that the Crystal Earphone will work at its most efficient i.e. the sounds will be as loud as possible. The resistor allows DC current to flow through the circuit efficiently -

this would otherwise be blocked when using a crystal earphone.

used is a Diode. Suitable diodes include OA80, OA81, OA90 OA91 and IN94 which are usually available

from component stockists.

In a modern crystal set the detector

A Better Diode For Increased Efficiency

The OA47 will be of particular interest since it has the lowest forward bias voltage of any of these diodes which will make the crystal set somewhat more sensitive and therefore louder. The US equivalent of the British OA47 is the IN34.

On the right you will see my real working example of a crystal set

The large plastic knob on the front turns the variable tuning capacitor. This set receives the three UK national stations and also three local radio stations very well at my location.

There is a small 3.5mm jack socket mounted on the front of the plastic case (MB5 from Maplin Electronics) that the crystal earphone plugs into.

The coil can be seen inside the case, it is 70 turns of 30 gauge enamelled copper wire wound around the centre of a toilet roll and tapped every 10 turns, by scraping off the enamel insulation and making a small twist. The croc' clips can be seen clipped on to these twists to connect to the aerial and detector tap points.

twists to connect to the aerial and detector tap points. A real working crystal set. Radio

A real working crystal set. Radio as if by magic with no battery or mains power.

THE MEDIUM WAVE COIL - MORE DETAILS

THE MEDIUM WAVE COIL - MORE DETAILS PHOTO SHOWING THE INSIDE OF THE COMPLETED CRYSTAL SET

PHOTO SHOWING THE INSIDE OF THE COMPLETED CRYSTAL SET

Medium Wave

Coil

The number of turns of wire required on the coil will vary depending on the size of the former (in this case the inside toilet roll) and the thickness of the wire. So to obtain the correct coverage of the medium wave band may need a little experimentation.

I usually find that

between 50 to 90 turns is right and

I generally use

enamelled

copper wire that is between 30 s.w.g. and 26 s.w.g (i.e. 0.315mm and

0.45mm

diameter), so it's

best to start with too many turns and then work down.

The more turns that you use the lower the frequency range will be, i.e. too many and the coverage of the top end of medium wave around 1500 - 1600 kHz will be lost, while too few and the coverage down to 500 kHz will be lost.

It is also important that the coil former is non conducting, i.e. not metallic. It could be wood or cardboard or a short piece of PVC piping and with a diameter of between 1½ and 4 inches (4 to 15 cm) are common sizes. You could try using a ferrite rod too, see below.

This particular set has a coil wound onto a toilet roll tube which consists of 70 turns of 30 s.w.g. (0.315mm dia)enamelled copper wire tapped at every 10 turns. It also has the additional small trimmer capacitor that helps match the aerial to the tuned circuit thereby improving selectivity, see below.

USING A FERRITE ROD AS THE COIL FORMER

The aerial coil could be wound onto a ferrite rod.

A piece of 10mm diameter ferrite rod of between 3 and 6 inches long (80 to 150mm) will be most suitable and will require between 50 and 90 turns of enamelled copper wire to provide coverage of the

medium wave band:

up and down the ferrite rod. Then wind the coil over this with the windings neatly side by side. tapping points every 10 or 15 turns so that the aerial and diode tapping points can be adjusted.

First make a paper tube that is held together with sticky tape that will easily slide

Make

Adjustments to the tuning range can be made by removing some wire from the coil so it is best to start off with too many turns and then work down. Fine adjustments can be made to the completed coil by sliding it up and down the ferrite rod.

AN IMPROVEMENT TO THE DESIGN

The crystal set above also has one small, but significant, improveme nt over the standard crystal set and that is an Aerial Trimmer. A trimmer is a variable capacitor, very similar to the tuning capacitor,

except

smaller and

adjusted

with a

screwdriver.

The value of the trimmer

is usually

around 10 -

50pF, but if

a small

tuning capacitor is available that will probably be just as effective. In the absence of such a variable capacitor, individual fixed ceramic capacitors of e.g. 10pF, 50pF and 100pF can be tried in this position

to judge

which gives

the best

results with

the

particular

aerial being

to judge which gives the best results with the particular aerial being Improved Crystal Set design,

Improved Crystal Set design, with good selectivity

used.

The trimmer capacitor adjusts the coupling to the tuned circuit, reducing the load of the aerial on the tuned

circuit will improve the selectivity (Q), and it will be easier to separate

stations.

Again tapping points are used and I find this to be an excellent arrangemen

t.

Layout Of The Crystal Set - Although this is soldered together an alternative to tagstrip

Layout Of The Crystal Set - Although this is soldered together an alternative to tagstrip would be a 5amp mains connector block so that components can be trapped in place with screws. See article below.

The picture on the right shows the general layout of the crystal set above. The coil is of approximately

70 turns is wound

on the centre of a toilet roll, and has tapping points at

10 turn intervals.

The trimmer is soldered between the Aerial terminal and the piece of 5- way tag strip, and a wire goes from there to a croc' clip which is clipped onto a tap on the coil. The Diode is also soldered onto the tag strip, one end connected to a piece of wire going to a second croc' clip & connected to a tapping point on the coil, the other end of the diode is connected to the 3.5mm jack socket that the Crystal Earphone plugs into.

The 47k resistor is also connected to the earphone end of the diode and

goes to earth, the earth terminal wire is soldered to the tag strip at this point too. The tuning capacitor has two terminals, one connected to each end of the coil, and one of them is also connected to earth as shown. [Where the wires cross over in the diagram, they do not touch and are not connected together].

LONG WAVES

In most areas around Europe and certainly around much of the UK you will be able to hear a Long Wave station. To receive Long Wave on a crystal set will require an aerial coil with a greater number of turns to increase its inductance.

As a good general guide a coil wound on a piece of 10mm diameter ferrite rod will require about 250

turns of enamelled copper wire:

will slide up and down the ferrite rod. Then wind the 250 turn coil over this, the windings will have to

be made over the top of each other. aerial and diode to.

First make a paper tube that is held together with sticky tape that

Make tapping points at, say, 50, 75 and 100 turns to tap the

As with the medium wave ferrite rod aerial, adjustments to the tuning range can be made by adding or removing some wire from the coil, and fine adjustments can be made to the completed coil by sliding it up and down the ferrite rod. The longer the ferrite rod the better and anything between 3 and 6 inches long (80 to 150mm) will be very good.

SHORT WAVES

If you like experimenting, then reducing the number of turns on the coil to say 10 to 30 will allow reception of the higher frequencies, the Short Waves. I have found that winding the coil around a 'ferrite rod' often works even better with short wave reception.

rod' often works even better with short wave reception. Obtain a ferrite rod about 7 to

Obtain a ferrite rod about 7 to 15 cm long and about 1cm in diameter. Make a couple of small tubes of card, about 4cm long, that will fit tightly over the rod.

On one tube wind two coils using 0.5mm diameter enamelled copper wire - one coil of about 30 turns and a second one of 2 or 3 turns wound over the top of the first. Secure the windings in place with Sellotape.

Example of a layout using a connector block to wire up a crystal set

On the other card tube wind a similar coil, but use about 15 turns for the first coil and for the second coil wind about 3 to 4 turns over the top, and secure with Sellotape tape.

These coils will provide coverage of short wave in two bands using the first coil for the longer wavelengths, typically 60 to 31 metre bands and the second coil for the shorter wavelengths typically 25 to 19 metre band. Wire up the circuit as shown in the circuit diagram below.

USING A TOROID INDUCTOR FOR SHORT WAVES

Even better selectivity performance can be achieved by winding the inductors (coils) on a ferrite toroids (T50-2 yellow, or green will do). The aerial trimmer need not be used if selectivity and sensitivity is found to be adequate. It's all about experimenting, and I find it best to