Saturday, 26 December 2015

Radio Designing and Home Brewing

The convention of many that "we live in a complex era" is no better illustrated if you ever glance at the schematic diagram of any modern multi-band, multi-mode rig design. Quite interestingly, confused by such complexities, the majority of newbie radio amateurs bury their dream to operate an entire home brew rig; and the do-it-yourself aspect of our hobby is thus completely lost. The problem-assuming that the present situation is, at least, to a degree undesirable-clearly deserves analysis. Leaving aside for a moment the ramifications of contemporary technology such as microprocessor control and digital frequency synthesis and digital speech processing, I believe that it was emergence of the transceiver itself which put paid to much home brewing. Many potential designers since then found the necessity to evolve more dynamic designs in a small box; can represent a psychological hurdle which proves impossible to assail. Further the adoption of SSB as prime mode of communication aggravated the matter, by throwing a whole generation of amateurs who had been weaned to no-nonsense AM; into a state of bewilderment. Optimists may take heart, however, from the realization that the complexities of SSB generation can be completely ignored if the constructor sets his goal for minimum complexity high performance direct conversion design.

Though, emergences of complex technologies like SSB, DSP and DDS etc. combined with limited resourcefulness of an average newbie proved to be the biggest hindrance in the way of home brewing. As I already mentioned that involvement of these technological advancements, though good and beneficial in many ways but they have significantly aggravated the situation and thus the home brewing part of this hobby which was once considered joyous and was the backbone of amateur radio, has started to diminish. It is not uncommon to see that an average newbie starts his dream project exuberantly and very enthusiastically, spending a good wad of money and considerable amount of time but only to end up having that last hard to get chip unavailable. Consequently, if we opt for exclusion of advance technologies in regular home brewing, we can still develop simple and effective designs. Simply put, if we choose to leave out DDS, DSP and PLLs for their complexities, we can still evolve simple to go transceivers, similar with designs of the yore, using CW and SSB and AM.


  1. KPS: I like your blog! Keep up the good work. 73 Bill N2CQR

  2. I like PLL´s and other "complicated stuff", but you are right, it´s really difficult to get many components in this time of "use it and throw it" and in order to mantain this marvelous hobby alive and well, I agree absolutely with the general idea. So, keep warm your iron tip..!
    Many thanks..!