Mixer comparison: “NE612” vs. “AN612”


The well-known mixer NE612 (NXP) will be compared to an AN612 (Matsushita/Panasonic) mixer that has been unsoldered from an old CB-SSB-radio. Comparison will include output voltage level and spectroscopic analysis of a 9MHz SSB signal.

The NE612

When we talk about about integrated double balanced mixers (DBM) and say the number “612” we usually talk about the NE612 (aka SA/NE/602/612 in free combination of letters and digits). This IC uses a so called “Gilbert Cell” and has been developed by Dutch manufacturer Philips (nowadays NXP) some 30 years ago.

The IC has been intended to be used in cellphone applications, is a low voltage device (6 to 7V VDD approx., 8V DC max.) and has low power consumption . Frequency range is up to 500MHz (input signal) and gain is around 12 to 15dB. It has an integrated oscillator circuit that can be used with crystals connected to PIN6.

The IC has been widely adopted by amateur radio constructors and is still available today mainly in SMD package. When we examine homemade QRP radios published on the internet e. g., in 90% of cases one or more NE602 mixers will be found in the transceivers. One real advantage of the NE612 family is that only a few external components are required for building up a relatively acceptable working rf mixer.

In my radios I usually use the NE602 and its equivalents therefore for the DSB generator circuit and the transmit mixer. For receiving purposes it can be used for the higher bands (f >= 14MHz), on the lower bands the relatively low IMD performance (IMD3 about 15dB) shows severe shortcomings particularly on the 40 meter band where strong off-band broadcaster generate high signal levels and therefore overdriving the mixer’s input stage.

Due to the low IMD performance the IC also has weaknesses when being used as a DSB generator. The following findings occured when I analyzed the spectrum of a simple DSB/SSB generator equipped with an NE602.

NE612 DSB generator circuit under test

The NE612 here has been equipped with an additional resistor network (2x56k and a var. resistor with 10k) to get better carrier suppression features. To enhance output a transformer has been added to use PINs 4 and 5 which are the output stages of the circuit.

Experimental DSB generator with NE612 (DK7IH 2020)
Experimental DSB generator with NE612 (DK7IH 2020)

When driven with an dual tone audio signal (the 2 frequencies not harmonically related) we get an output voltage of about 50mV pp. and the spectrum shown below:

DSB spectrum with NE612 (DK7IH 2020)
SSB spectrum with NE612 (DK7IH 2020)

We can observe some IMD 3 and 5 products about 30dB below peak voltage. This is an outcome a little away from what can be expected from an SSB generator.

The AN612

AN612 also is a very simple mixer that has been developed by Matsushita (Japan, now Panasonic) and has been used in various types of SSB radios for the 11m-Band (CB). In contrast to NE612 it does not contain an internal oscillator.

The IC comes in a 7 lead IC case (SIP7), please refer to datasheet. The IC is manufactured still today and available from various vendors on the internet. I ordered a package of ten from a Chinese ebay seller and found the ICs worked the same way like an original one from a PRESIDENT CB radio. They actually were no fakes.

The IC has a higher VDD so that it can be connected directly to the 12V rail of a standard battery operated radio. In contrast to the NE612 there is no need for a voltage regulator. Also the whole circuit only needs 7 external components:

AN612 DSB Generator (DK7IH 2020)
AN612 DSB Generator (DK7IH 2020)

Performance is quite interesting. When comparing this circuit to the NE612 DSB generator, we find that the output voltage is 4 times higher than that of its namesake. It equals to 200mV pp. The output spectrum also has slightly improved concerning IMD performance:

SSB spectrum with AN612 (DK7IH 2020)
SSB spectrum with AN612 (DK7IH 2020)

We see a little fewer IMD products with slightly decreased signal strength.


The AN612 is a not very well known but so much the better interesting mixer IC for the ambitious radio designer who wants to build hardware defined radios. The main locations in a radio will be the DSB generator and the transmit mixer. The IC is cheap, very well available and reveals a slightly higher performance than the other “612”, the NE612. And, overall, the circuit is very simple.

Vy 73 de Peter (DK7IH)

An experimental HF 6-band SSB transceiver – Part 9: Mechanical construction

My transceivers usually don’t use any ready-made cabinets. To save space and have full and easy access to all parts of the radio during construction, adjusting, assessment and repair I prefer an open 2-layer sandwich method.

There usually is one centered frame that is fixed using M3 or M4 bolts to the front panel carrier and the rear wall or carrier (if the rear wall consists of a more complex structure):

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - Basic mechanical structure of a homemade radio
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – Basic mechanical structure of a homemade radio

The center carrier here consists of 4 aluminum bars that have quadratic cross section (7mm edge length) and are building up a rectangle. This a rugged basis for 2 aluminum sheets (0.8mm thickness). These aluminum sheets are fixed with bolts (M2 winding) fitting into screw threads inside the bars that have been cut in there before.

The single veroboards are bolted with spacers using M2 screw threads onto the aluminum sheets. These spacers are available from Chinese vendors on the internet and have a fairly low price. They have become my favorite mechanical aids when building compact radios. For higher demands concerning force I use the same devices in M3 or even M4.

The front and rear carriers are bolted into this center frame and support the front and rear panel:


At the top of the picture you can see the final LPF and the DC input for the transceiver mounted to the rear of the radio.

The front panel is made of an aluminum sheet metal (again 0.8mm thick) that has cutouts for the LCD, the controls, the push-buttons and the microphone jack.

The front panel light diffuser is made of a part of white translucent plastic bought from a shop that distributes material for architects. 3 strips of LEDs are mounted there also using the M2 spacers (3mm length).

The whole body then is placed into an outer cabinet that is composed of 2 halves of aluminum that have been bent into the correct form to fit the shape of front and rear panel.

The lower one has a height of only 1.5 centimeters. To connect the upper half on each side a strip of aluminum (2mm thickness) is bolted to the aluminum sheet close to the edge that carries screw threads to fix the upper and the lower half together to close the cabinet. These “sidebars” also affect the stability of the relatively thin cabinet in a positive way.

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - Mechanical construction

To avoid the interior section slipping out of the closed cabinet the two “sidebars” are cut into an appropriate length so that they “block” the inside from slipping out either to the front or the rear side.

Using aluminum has two major advantages in my point of view: First it is easy to be processed (in contrast for example when using metal sheets made of steel) and it is very lightweight what I prefer because I use my radios on frequent travel activities.

Vy 73 de Peter

An experimental HF 6-band SSB transceiver – Part 8: Transmit/Receive Switch

This unit is a very simple one. I did not want to use more relays than necessary. The consequence was to save at least the one commonly used in the transmit-receive switch unit. Here 2 p-channel MOSFETs do the job:

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - Transit/Receive Switch Unit
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – Transit/Receive Switch Unit

Hint: The “PTT” in the radio here leads to a PIN of the MUC switching the transmitter on. For general purposes a “PTT” has been drawn into the schematic.

Function: When Gate (G) is “hi” (i. e. close to VDD) the S/D channel goes to nearly infinite ohms. Resulting current is 0A apart from some uA leakage current.

When S is pulled to GND, or, to be more exact, some volts lower than VDD the S/D channels switches to a value very close to 0 ohms. Pushing PTT pulls G of the left MOSFET to GND thus switching on the transmitter. G of the right MOSFET is now pulled to VDD (via 10k) which means that the right MOSFET becomes non-conductive and receiver is turned of. A dual-LED (red and green) in the front panel shows the current status.

Vy 73 de Peter

An experimental HF 6-band SSB transceiver – Part 7: The Transmitter

This unit basically consists of two parts:

  • SSB-Generator and TX-mixer
  • TX-power amplifier stages

The SSB-Generator and TX-Mixer  Board

After having built this respective board with two NE612 ICs (one for DSB generator, one for the TX mixer) I was not satisfied with carrier suppression of the DSB generator. It turned out as only 40dB. Afterwards I constructed a new board with an old SIEMENS Mixer IC (S 042 P) that is still available NOS from various sources. With this one I gained carrier suppression rates of around 55dB. I think this is OK for a homemade transceiver.

The board looks as follows, set up on a 6x4cm 0.1″ veroboard:

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - SSB-Generator and TX-Mixer board
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – SSB-Generator and TX-Mixer board

The circuit starts with an AF amplifier equipped with a bipolar transistor where also a power supply for Electret microphones has been added. The radio now can handle dynamic and Electret microphones adequately.

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - SSB Generator and TX mixer
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – SSB Generator and TX mixer (Full size schematic)

Afterwards we see the S042P mixer IC where I have changed the circuit slighty to the one used in my 40-meter-QRO TRX. Audio input signal is now to PIN8 of the IC, Lo input on the rf side of the IC to PIN11 and PIN13. To reduce carrier level and enhance carrier suppression a 5.6pF cap is in series because the relatively high level of signal coming from the LO amp would deteriorate the performance of the DSB generator without countermeasures.

Output from this DSB generator is also symmetric and fairly high. Thus a low valued capacitor has been inserted prior to the SSB filter, sited on the RX board.

After that we see an amplifier with limited gain due to high emitter degeneration and the NE612 as TX mixer. The latter one also with an symmetric output to get more gain from it by using the two inherent output transistors.

TX-power amplifier stages

As I have described in the article of my “Give me 5“-Transceiver some years ago, building a broadband power amplifier is challenging due to one special problem related with the wide range of frequencies that this amplifier must be able to cope with. an extra gain of 5 to 6 dB is commen, when the frequency is divided by the factor of 2. Usually the necessary compensation is done by adding adequate capacitors and inductances using their frequency depending reactance.

With this radio I tried something new. I added an amplifier that is gain controlled by an adjustable voltage. Here a dual-gate MOSFET with gain control to gate 2 sets up the initial stage of the whole amplifier strip. The stage’s gain is set by a simple bipolar driver transistor controlled by a digital-analog-converter (DAC). A numeric value for each individual band is stored with in the EEPROM of the MUC. This numeric value is calculated during adjustment, then stored in the MUC and recalled whenever the radio is switched to a certain band. The DAC is an MCP4725 breakout board, containing a 12-bit device.

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - Power transmitter
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – Power transmitter (full size picture)

After that we see an amplifier that is common solid state technology. Preamp stage and predriver stage are set to A mode which requires a heat sink for the predriver stage. Here a 2N3866 is used as amplifying element.

Driver stage is single ended, operates in AB-mode and also is protected by a heat sink.

After that a somehow uncommon technique has been applied. Instead of using a broadband transformer to reduce the stages output impedance to the some ohms input impedance of the final stage, a set of 6 switchable low-pass-filters is used.

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - Intermediate LPF section
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – Intermediate LPF section

This filter section has been optimized to an output impedance of 50 ohms for each band thus enabling me to test and optimize the transmitter to a maximum with a defined output impedance (remember, this is an experimental radio! 😉 ).

After this filter section the final amplifier stage follows which is able to drive the output power up to 15 to 20 watts on all bands but depending on the DC voltage used for transmitting. The max. power gained during tests was 22 watts pep at 15V DC with two NTE236 transistors. Unfortunately the turned out not to be so rugged and blew in the tests. The eleflow 2SC1969 inserted later showed no problems at all. Thank God! When running on 12.0 V DC the amplifier puts out 12 watts at all bands.

The final part of the transmitter section is the last low-pass filter that is positioned next to antenna relay in the same compartment:

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - Low Pas  Filter Unit for TX
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – Low Pas Filter Unit for TX

The whole transmitter looks like this:

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - Practical setup of the transmitter board
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – Practical setup of the transmitter board

The various units are:

  • 1: DSB-Generator and TX mixer
  • 2: Amplifier stages 1 to 4
  • 3: MCP4725 transmitter gain controller
  • 4: Intermediate LPF board
  • 5: Power amplifier
  • 6: Final LPF section
  • 7: TX/RX switch board

Here a little bit of analysis to end with the article. First is the output of the SSB-Generator/TX-mixer board with maximum output (Around 500mV pp) set to the 40m band.

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - TX-Mixer's output signal
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – TX-Mixer’s output signal

Nest we see the carrier suppression when dual tone audio in has been suspended. Carrier is about 55db under the signal peak.

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - TX-Mixer's output signal, suppressed carrier only
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – TX-Mixer’s output signal, suppressed carrier only

And here an output signal with max. power at 3.5 and 7 MHz:

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - TX output at 80m band
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – TX output at 80m band
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - TX output at 20m band - Pout = 12 W PEP
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – TX output at 20m band – Pout = 12 W PEP

So, that’s all for today, thanks for watching and 73!

Peter (DK7IH)

An experimental HF 6-band SSB transceiver – Part 6: The Receiver

The receiver had to match a lot of requirements that should be described first:

  • Particularly on the lower bands and with effective long wire antennas the receiver front end will see high signal levels that it has to cope with. IMD always is a serious topic in this case.
  • Sensitivity particularly on the higher bands, where noise level is ow and signals are weak, is also an issue.
  • Dynamic range and extensive AGC gain compensation should be as high as possible.

This lead to a circuit that has proven its stability in lots of my radios:

  • Band filtering for each band with a double and loosely coupled LC circuits
  • Dual-Gate MOSFET (part of the AGC chain) as the first amplifier
  • Diode ring mixer (with Schottky diodes)
  • Post mixer amplifier with Dual-Gate MOSFET (part of the AGC chain)
  • SSB Filter (now 10.7 MHz) also used for transmitter (relay switched)
  • Main IF amplifier with MC1350 (part of the AGC chain)
  • Audio preamp with bipolar transistor
  • Audio final amp: (once again! 😉 ) LM386

Before describing the receiver itself we will have look at the band pass filter unit, that is shared between receiver and transmitter:

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - Band Filter Unit for RX and TX
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – Band Filter Unit for RX and TX

To minimize stray energy traveling from the input to the output of the filter, two SMD relays have been used on each side of the filter per band. And to reduce feedback fromt the transmitter (when the BPF is used to filter the TX signal after the TX mixer) the filter has been placed far away from the TX amplifier section.With an overwhelming result: The transmitter is nearly unconditionally stable now (compared to the TX section used in the “Give me 5”-Transceiver that had severe shortcoming in this aspect.

Control leads for the relays follow a designated coding scheme:

  • 160m: green
  • 80m: blue
  • 40m: brown
  • 20m: yellow
  • 15m: grey
  • 10m: violet
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - Band Pass Filter
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – Band Pass Filter

The receiver’s circuit

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - Receiver Unit
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – Receiver Unit (Full sized picture)

VFO  signal is coupled into the DBM via a 10nF capacitor. The same is valid for the amplified RF signal from the output of the first amplifier stage using a Dual-Gate MOSFET (40676, BF900 or equ.).

Another Dual-Gate MOSFET is used as the post-mixer amplifier. All Dual-Gate MOSFETs so far are part of the AGC-Chain. This maximizes the possible gain swing to about 40 to 50 db. and enhances the receiver’s capability to handle even the strongest signal levels without distorting  the output signal and the end of the audio chain.

Next is the SSB-Filter. Due to this is an “experimental” transceiver, the filter has not been soldered to the circuit board. Instead it is fixed with an aluminum clamp into two parts of header strips. Thus I can compare numerous SSB-Filters (9-, 10.695-, 10.7-MHz commercial ones, various home made ladder filters etc.). Here the different performance is very interesting to be explored.

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - SSB-Filter placement for Experiments
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – SSB-Filter placement for Experiments

The filter is accompanied by a special rf relay (manufacturer “Teledyne” with excellent performance concerning separation for the two channels) so that it can be used as the SSB filter for the transmitter section.

After the filter section the IF amplifier follows. This one uses an MC1350 video amp (old but good and still available, even in SMD!) and this IC also is controlled by AGC. The input is unbalanced (PIN6 to GND) the output is balanced and terminated with a tuned circuit.

Demodulator is an SA602 mixer IC.

After that the signal is handed over to the audio chain. But before the signal is processed in the next stage the frequency range is limited by a low-pass filter to reduce hiss. This filter also has two switched capacitors (controlled by MCU via NPN-driver stages) to adapt the sound to the preferred settings of the user. The software contains a respective function.

The audio amplifier consists of two sections: A preamp with a bipolar transistor and the inevitable and well-know LM386.

The full circuit on a 6×8 cm veroboard:

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - Receiver Board
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – Receiver Board

Starting from left top  corner  there is a 1:4 input transformer (not in the schematic), the preamp, the DBM, post mixer amp, SSB filter, relay, MC1350 as IF amp, demodulator and 2 stages of audio amp.

Receiver performance

Performance is excellent. The circuit has no problem with high signal levels (in-band and out-of-band) especially on 40 meters. No IMD problems are noticeable even when used with high gain antennas like a 2×25 meter doublet with a tuner. On the higher bands noise figure is  pretty OK what I think is based on the usage of Dual-Gate MOSFETs in 2 of the 3 amplifier stages. The MC1350 deteriorates this to a certain degree but is still very much acceptable for a shortwave radio.

Vy 73 de Peter

An experimental HF 6-band SSB transceiver – Part 5: Analog Affairs – Getting Measurement Data

This short article will describe the adapter board that is connected to analog data sources and that is converting the respective voltage data into suitable voltage levels for the ADC inputs PA0:PA4 at the microcontroller:

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - Analog Adaptor Board
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – Analog Adapter Board

The following data will be converted and later shown on the display:

  • User keys (Key1:Key3)
  • TX power measurement
  • PA temperature (Sensor: KTY81-210 switched against GND)
  • Battery/Supply voltage
  • AGC output (DC) from receiver => S-Meter

This article covers the remaining digital (or “analog to digital”) stuff, next on the agenda will be the receiver.

Vy 73 de Peter

An experimental HF 6-band SSB transceiver – Part 4: Logical Affairs – The Bandswitching

This 6-band transceiver has several stages where band switching will occur:

  • The band pass filter section (shared by transmitter and receiver)
  • A first section of low pass filters (LPF) between the driver stage and the final amplifier
  • A second section of LPFs at the end of the rf power amplifier chain.

To keep the circuit simple and to save controller output ports I have decided to code the band number (0 for 160m up to 5 for 10m) in binary and send this pattern to pins PA0:PA2 of the MUC. This is pattern is lead to a BCD to Decimal Decoder integrated circuit (HCF4028) that converts the binary pattern to a set of individual output lines. The respective part of the truth table used is:


The 6 lines are fed into an ULN2003 integrated circuit, which is a relay and motor driver.

The outputs of this driver are switched against GND thus the relay coils have to be supplied with VDD (+12V in this case). The IC also contains a clamp diode for each output. That makes the circuit fairly simple. The full circuit of this unit:

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - Band switch logical circuit
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – Band switch logical circuit



An experimental HF 6-band SSB transceiver – Part 3: The Microcontroller

The heart of this transceiver is an ATmega128 microcontroller (MCU). It controls the vast majority of functions within the radio. E. g.: Frequency generation of the 2 DDS systems, audio tone and AGC decay time, T/R-switching, the presets for transmitter gain on the 6 bands independently, display and panel lights etc. etc.

And, due to usage of a parallel interface for the LCD (8 data lines and 4 control lines) an MCU with sufficient ports had to be used.

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - ATMega128 microcontroller
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – ATMega128 microcontroller

First I started with the SPI version of the LCD (ILI9341). This LCD has a high resolution of 240×320 dots. Driven by a relatively slow 8-bit controller like an AVR and the LCD driven in serial mode the performance was inferior.

Next I found that the same LCD is also available with a parallel interface. Then called CP11003. This one uses 12 lines (8 data and 4 control lines minimum), which made it mandatory to use an ATMega128 controller. To enhance speed and performance this one is clocked by a 16 MHz crystal. A touchpad is also integrated, but not used in my application.

Source code in C programming language can be downloaded from Github.

Vy 73 de Peter (DK7IH)

An experimental HF 6-band SSB transceiver – Part 2: The Oscillators

The two DDS oscillators are mounted to the side of the cabinet. They are sited close to the microcontroller board to keep leads short.

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - Oscillators
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – Oscillators

Right on the left you can see the small dual-tone oscillator for testing and tuning. Next is the AD9834-equipped local oscillator (LO), centered the AD9951 that serves as the VFO. Right the ATmega128, mounted to a 64 lead breakout board can bee spotted behind the varios cables going to and from this section.

The Dual-Tone Oscillator

This one consists of two simple phase-shift audio oscillators. I have introduced this circuit a longer time ago for testing purposes here in this blog.

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - Dual-Tone Generator
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – Dual-Tone Generator

The capacitors and resistors in the phase-shifting chain have been chosen to put the two different frequencies to values of about 700Hz and 1900Hz, thus they are not harmonically related. A variable resistors allows the user to set the balance between the two signals so that they are equal in voltage.

Two transistors (a PNP-NPN pair) are switched by Pin PB7 from the microcontroller. There is a respective function in the software that activates the transmitter together with this oscillator for comfortable tuning and testing.

The Local Oscillator (LO)

This one again uses the “good old” AD9834, overclocked to 100MHz. I found that some chips from the “grey market” have problems when being overclocked and therefore produce spurious signals. In case this occurs, it is recommended to step back to the clock frequency of 75 MHz which is high enough for the purpose of the LO.

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - Local Oscillator with AD9834
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – Local Oscillator with AD9834 (Click for full size image)

The oscillator comes with an balun output transformer (will reduce spurs!) and a low-pass filter plus a simple amplifier. The latter basically is not necessary because the LO will only have to drive the inputs of SA602 integrated mixer circuits (200mV RMS) used as SSB generator and rx demodulator. I had another mixer type in mind before, that one needed higher voltage. Thus the coupling to PIN6 of SA602 is only via 5.6pF capacitor to avoid overdriving the mixer and improve signal purity. This will be shown later when we are about to discuss receiver and transmitter circuitry.


Here the AD9951 DDS again comes to operation. This one has got a 14-bit DAC which makes it less prone for spurious signals. The clock rate has been pushed to the limit of 400MHz which, according to datasheet, is the max. clock rate for this DDS module.

You can download a datasheet of a suitable clock oscillator. This device is very small but it can be soldered to a 2 by 2 hole piece of veroboard and then mounted to a piece of headerstrip by soldering wires to the underside of the board:

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - 400 MHz clock ocillator of DDS VFO
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – 400 MHz clock ocillator of DDS VFO

A voltage divider will reduce the 3.3 V to 1.7V that is acceptable for the clock input of the AD9951 chip.

The DDS circuit is common for frequent readers of this blog:

DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 - DDS VFO
DK7IH 6 band QRP SSB TRX 2019 – DDS VFO (Click for full size image!)

The low pass filter has been left out because when examining the output signal of the DDS it turned out to contain only very little quantum of harmonics. The max. frequency of this VFO will be 29.7 MHz + 9MHz which equals to 38,7 MHz.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned! 😉

Peter (DK7IH)

An experimental HF 6-band SSB transceiver – Part 1: Basic outline


An SSB radio for the HF bands will be presented. Featuring 12 to 20 Watts of output power (depending on DC supply), full DDS frequency generation, covering 6 major frequency bands (1.8, 3.5, 7, 14, 21 and 28 MHz) within the short wave amateur radio spectrum. The rig also features colored LCD and front panel backlight.


Project description

In this upcoming series of articles a relatively complex project will be discussed. It is some sort of „remake“ of my last multi-band QRP SSB transceiver that has been entitled the „Gimme Five“-Transceiver and that was finished in 2015. „5“ in that case stands for the 5 major (i. e. „classical“) RF bands: 80m, 40, 20m, 15m and 10m the radio covered. This new project (called the „Midi6“, because it is not a “Micro” or a “Mini” transceiver 😉 ) covers one band more, the range has been extended to 160m.

The basic features of this construction are:

  • Dual DDS frequency generation (AD9951 as VFO, AD9834 as LO),
  • Colored LCD (CP11003) with resolution 240×320 pixels,
  • Microcontroller ATMega128,
  • Single conversion superhet receiver, interfrequency 9 MHz,
  • 5 stage high quality transmitter, Pout=20W (max. at 15V DC) , featuring a microcontroller driven regulated gain stage to ensure absolute constant output on all bands,
  • Integrated 2-tone oscillator for testing and tuning,
  • Front panel full backlight.

“Experimental radio” means that there is enough space inside the cabinet to change boards and test new ideas in the same space. Also certain components like the SSB-filter have been  made as “plug-in” components to enable quick change of the part. Also the connector between the various transmitter and receiver stages have been done by “jumpers” and header strips so that resistors and capacitors can be changed quickly to experiment with other values.

The radio has been realized with standard veroboards (0.1″ pitch), SMD components and been put into a homemade aluminum cabinet using 2 layer sandwich construction inside the cabinet.

Here a snapshot of the operational transceiver. Cabinet size, by the way, is 7.5 x 16.5 x  19.5 centimeters (2.95 x 6.5 x 7.68 inches). These dimensions are in the range of other multiband QRP transceivers like the Elecraft K2 (larger) or the Icom IC703 (a bit smaller).

The “Midi6” – An experimental HF radio for 6 amateur bands and SSB modulation. By DK7IH (Peter)

Stay tuned for the next article(s)!


73 de Peter (DK7IH)