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Own Crystal Set (Part 2)
Set (Part 3) | Crystal Set By
Kenneth Rankin (Part 4) | Crystal Radio Links
CRYSTAL SETS 5: EXPERIMENTAL
Complete Experimental Crystal Set
POPULARITY of the
crystal radio arises from its simplicity, and the fact that it needs no
power supply. The circuit here allows for easy experiments with tuning,
aerial and diode coupling, and frequency coverage. Wrong connections
cause no damage to any components.
A Crystal Set is more often than not used for the reception of medium
and long wave radio, but short wave reception is also quite
feasable. It will normally be possible to receive
the stronger international radio stations.
This is adapted from an article that appeared in the 1970's in Everyday
Electronics, and gave me almost endless hours of fun!
The basic circuit is shown in Picture 2 below. The coil L1
air cored, or have a ferrite rod placed in its winding. The
variable capacitor C1, in conjunction with aerial-earth capacitance,
tunes the circuit to resonate with the wanted radio station
frequency. The diode D1 "detects" or demodulates the radio
so that the programme is heard in the earpiece.
This basic circuit can be modified in various ways to obtain better
As most constructors will be using a Crystal Earpice
the crystal set it is essential that a 47k Ohm resistor is connected
across the earphone terminals (TB1/1 and TB1/2 in the diagram), i.e. in
parallel with the earphone, otherwise results will be very quiet.
A High Impedance headset of 20k Ohms (20,000 Ohms) may give even better
results, but these are very difficult to obtain , so unless you happen
to already own such a headset the Crystal Earphone with 47k resistor
will be the only option. An ordinary magnetic earpice or
headphones will not work with a crystal set.
Construction is of a 'breadboard' type using a wooden board of about
165 x 130 mm. A 12-way block connector, TB1, is
connected together the components and this is screwed onto the wooden
board. The use of a block connector
method of connecting the components together and then subsequently
rearranging them as the experiments progress.
Tuning capacitor C1 is screwed to a bracket made of some scrap metal
which is then also screwed firmly down to the baseboard, see Picture 1
above. Thin plywood screwed to the front edge of the
would also provide a suitable method of fixing the tuning capacitor to
the base. A knob with pointer is fitted to C1, and a scale is
drawn and fitted behind this.
Except for C1, all connections are made by the terminals of the 12-way
terminal block as shown in Picture 4. Loosen the screws with
small screwdriver, insert the bared ends of the wires, and tighten the
screws. The various locations on the terminal block, TB1, are also
in the circuit diagram, Picture 2.
AERIAL AND EARTH
Crystal receivers need a long wire aerial preferably strung outside and
about 25m long, or as long as is possible to install. If this
outside it should be high and clear of earthed objects as this will
An earth is absolutely essential for a crystal set to work
properly. The earth lead can be run to an earth rod or spike
is buried to a depth of about 1 meter into damp soil. Or it
soldered to a bare metal can which is buried in damp soil.
It is feasable, though not recommended, that the earth lead can be
connected to the earthing terminal of a hi-fi system or even to the
metal case of a personal computer that is plugged into an earthed mains
outlet, but is switched OFF.
Stranded, insulated wire, or perpose made aerial wire can be used for
the aerial and earth leads.
- Photo Of
The General Layout
|INDUCTORS (The Tuning Coils)
The following four coils are suggested for initial use as L1 :
Coil 1: Make a thin card tube to slide on a 10mm diameter
rod, and on this tube wind about 105 turns of 32 s.w.g. enamelled
wire, side by side. Secure ends with sticky tape.
Coil 2: Make a similar coil to to coil 1 having about 15
24 s.w.g. enamelled wire on the card tube. Loops of cotton
help hold the ends in place.
Coil 3: Wind 9 turns of 20 s.w.g. bare tinned copper wire on an object
about 20mm in diameter. Remove and stretch to separate the turns, to
obtain a coil about 25mm long.
Coil 4: Make a similar coil to coil 3, but with 5 turns.
The Ferrite Rod
It will be necessary to have a ferrite rod of about 60mm to 75mm long
available. Coils 1 and 2 will provide reception of medium
the longer short wave bands. Coil 3 should cover about 3 -
shortwave with the ferrite placed in it, or about 6 - 18MHz with the
ferrite rod removed. Coil 4 should cover about 6 -13MHz with
rod in, and about 9 - 20MHz without the' rod.
It will be noted that as the ferrite rod is inserted, any particular
signal has to be re-tuned by opening Cl. This arises because the
increases the inductance of the winding, so less parallel capacitance
needed for the same resonant frequency.
Tune in a m.w. transmission using coil 1 which
good headphone volume. Place a microammeter or multi-range meter on a
sensitive range in series with the headphones. A reading of
50-100uA or more may be obtained, depending on aerial, earth, earphone
resistance and resistor value, coil and detector efficiency and
of signals at your locality.
Placing the ferrite rod in the coil and re-tuning should boost the
meter reading to some extent. Surplus or other detector diodes can be
tried by substituting them in turn and noting the meter reading.
Improvements to the aerial (or earth) will also show up as a rise in
If experimenting with a crystal earpiece, which gives no direct current
circuit, the meter may be clipped across the phone leads, i.e. D1
cathode to earth.
Baseboard Layout Of The Crystal Set
The aerial loads the tuned circuit heavily
connected directly to the top of the tuned circuit, as in Picture
2. This damps the tuning action and it can be found that
spread out all over the dial, which is unsatisfactory.
The series capacitor, C2 connected in Picture 5(a) reduces the loading
and thus improves the sharpness of the tuning. A variable or
pre-set capacitor of about 250pF maximum is most suitable. for this
role, though it is possible to experiment with a variety of fixed value
capacitors in this range also.
Connecting the aerial to a tapping on the coil, as in Picture 5 (b)
also sharpens tuning. It may also increase volume. Try about
turns from earth for coil 4, or 4 turns from earth for coil 3.
Another method is to have a coupling primary, as in Picture 5
(c). This consists of a second coil, with about one third the
turns of the original wound on top of the existing coil.
You can even combine these methods to find what arrangement best suits
the aerial in use.
The diode can be disconnected from the end of L1 and taken to a spare
position on TB1 for example location TB1/9. You can then run
flying-lead fitted with a crocodile clip from this position, connecting
it to various tappings on the coil as required as in Picture
(d). This method also reduces loading on the tuned circuit.
Coils with spaced turns of bare wire are readily tapped. For
other coils, small loops can be made every ten turns or so, and
crocadile clips can be attached to these when selecting tappings.
Alternative Methods Of Aerial Coupling
For shortwave reception, a good efficient outdoor aerial is certainly
recommended. Evening listening in the region around 5 - 9MHz
often proves to be the
there is no
amplification, as with a valve or transistor receiver, certain
frequencies will seem to be completely dead at particular times of
day. So if the crystal receiver works satisfactorily on
wave and longwave, but no shortwave signals are heard, check again in
the evening, or after dark,
conditions are different.
Spaced Tuning Capacitor
IN94 or similar point contact small signal Germanium Diode
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.
or Crystal Earphone
for Crystal Earphone:
Enamelled Copper Wire: 32 and 24 s.w.g. for L1: 20 s.w.g.
wire for L1: Ferrite Rod 10mm diameter x 75 mm long: 25m of
for aerial: Wire and rod or spike etc for earth:
base e.g. 10mm x165mm x 130mm: Scrap of metal of thin plywood
C1 bracket/front panel: Knob: Crocodile clip(s)
Adapted from an
article in Everyday
Electronics magazine, November 1981, By F.G. Rayer.
A COUPLE OF
VERY INTERESTING CRYSTAL SET DESIGNS
BY KRYSATEC - "THE RAT" - FROM THE CZECH REPUBLIC
Using old coils from old bulb radio for MW and LW band.
it would be straightforward to wind the coils - one for Long Wave, one
for Medium Wave and a coupling coil. Variable capacitor
is 2 x 500pF only one half is used: 500pF. For the crystal
earphone a resistor of about 82k ohm in parallel is required.
This set also uses two Ge diodes as a multiplier in the quest for for
higher audio signal output.
signals are not
strong signal in your location, then the above circuit design can be
considered. A simple transistor amplifier is used. A variable
resistor M22 is used
for better sensitivity which can be adjusted for poor
crystal radio is aversion from cca 1960 - 1970 y.
finished Crystal Set
with additional amplification - very neat!
kindly sent in a photograph of the box that contained the kit for his
John Adams Toys 'Minilabs' Crystal Radio.
It is a very simple circuit consisting of the coil (inductor) with a
sliding contact that provides variable tapping points, a diode and
crystal earphone. All that is added is the aerial and earth.
There is no variable tuning capacitor for simplicity and to keep costs
The coil provides the inductance required for tuning into a certain
frequency (wavelength). These days a variable "tuning"
normally wired in parallel across the inductance (coil) in order to
vary the resonance of the tuned circuit and therefore enable to easily
tune into various transmitters on different frequencies. This
crystal is tuned
varying the number of turns on the coil (ie varying the inductance) by
tapping off at different points using the sliding contact ("ball").
The crystal earpiece, or high Z headphone, is connected
between the output of the detector diode (the other end from the coil)
and earth. The volume from a crystal earpiece may be
improved by connecting a resistor of - somewhere between - 4.7 k and
47k ohms in parallel with the earpiece. A crystal earpiece
directly allow current to flow through it and the parallel resistor
therefore allows current to better flow through the circuit.
|'Minilabs' crystal set by John
discussion on configurations for Crystal Sets
by Felix Scerri VK4FUQ
This discussion, by Felix Scerri VK4FUQ, was posted at this
address which no longer appears on the web www.tarc.org.au/techinfo2.htm
(error 404) so here it is reproduced:
Crystal Set design is one of my passions closely allied with my
obsession for audio and high fidelity.
My main interest in crystal sets, apart from the wonder of a radio
receiver that does
not require a power source, is the potential excellence of the
recovered audio quality from normal AM broadcast stations.
Personally, it is one of my great laments that most people have never
heard how good
wideband AM can sound. A high performance crystal set or similar TRF
approach is, in my opinion,the only way to do it. There are a few
people around who have heard the audible results of my efforts,and can
I have often wondered,given the ultimate simplicity of the crystal set,
being essentially a
tuned circuit,a diode detector and some form of output device, what it
takes to achieve
optimum performance. What follows are my thoughts on the matter.
Crystal Set optimisation, is in my opinion, all about reduction of
circuit losses. Essentially this means high "Q" tuned circuits and high
quality detectors. Efficient output devices also help too. But as we
will see, there are some trade-offs required as well. A high "Q" tuned
circuit is always benefical, as a high "Q" tuned circuit has lowest RF
losses,highest potential selectivity,and highest voltage at resonance,
which is very useful for the diode being fed from the tuned circuit.
Variable capacitors, even the "modern" miniature variable capacitors
(although the older air dielectric units, as used in old valve
receivers are more desirable) for various reasons,are generally quite
efficient, and a higher "Q" coil will produce the most worthwhile
improvements.The best (highest "Q") coils are wound with "Litz" wire,
which is a multistranded woven wire with all strands insulated from
each other. The performance of Litz wire wound coils is spectacular,
unfortunately, although I know Litz wire is still being made, from
personal experience, it is VERY rare in Australia.
Efficient coil design can be quite complex and all my coils are wound
on ferrite rods. There seems to be,at least for ordinary single wire
windings (close wound), an optimum wire thickness for optimum coil "Q".
I have determined .315 mm winding wire to be about optimum for simple
(single wire) coils on ferrite rods. Thicker wire is NOT better,
believe it or not.
Lacking Litz wire, an interesting winding approach I have developed is
to use two slightly thinner wires wound as a bifilar winding connected
together at the beginning and end of the coil, yields considerably
higher "Q" compared to a simple single wire winding. I have found 0.25
mm winding wire optimum in this application.
Whilst high "Q" coils are beneficial from the RF point of view, there
is a possible downside. If one is interested in maximum selectivity and
sensitivity, there is no problem, but remember highest "Q" results in a
narrowed audio band-width as a simple consequence of band-width. For
high fidelity applications this could be a disadvantage under some
circumstances, although there are clever ways around this.
Regardless of ultimate coil "Q", selectivity is a major issue with
crystal sets generally. Here another trade-off is evident. For the
maximum voltage into the diode, connecting the diode to the high
impedance end of the coil (i.e. the top) yields the greatest voltage
but the selectivity is usually terrible, because of severe "loading" by
the diode circuit. For this reason, tapping well own the coil improves
selectivity at the expense of signal volume (reduced voltage). Once
again there are ways around this. As described in my "Double Tuned
Crystal Set Tuner" article in "Amateur Radio" magazine, March 2002, the
use of two separately tuned coupled resonant circuits allows top
connection into the diode without compromising overall selectivity,
thanks to the use of a second tuned circuit which is fed from the
external antenna. The whole network forms a double tuned input bandpass
filter and in practice this approach works very well. For single coil
crystal sets I recommend the use of an un-tuned "antenna" winding
adjacent to the "hot" end of the main coil, preferably adjustable (old
paper reels from sewing cotton threads are ideal). This allows the
degree of coupling to be optimised under actual listening conditions.
The double tuned set up is best, yielding superb selectivity, but the
un-tuned antenna coil arrangement also works quite well, especially if
the diode is tapped well down the main coil.Tapping halfway works well.
The other method of performance improvement involves the use of the
most effective detector system possible. Here things get very
interesting. In fact the temptation is to use more complex circuitry,
but that gets away from the charming simplicity of the crystal set. As
an example, my own crystal set tuner has at times mutated into a TRF
tuner complete with FET RF preamplifiers, active(powered) detectors and
other enhancements. These modifications do work well, but loses the
simplicity of a basic crystal set. In actuality, a simple diode
detector can work extremely well, subject to some qualification. Diodes
like to work with a reasonable level of RF input voltage. Audio
distortion can result under conditions of low signal level, due to
diode transfer curve non linearity and other factors, such as the
widespread use of broadcast station "processing". The actual type of
diode makes a difference. The 1N34A germanium diode is very popular for
crystal set use, although in my experience just about ANY germanium
diode will work, although it is worth trying different specimens. Some
are definitely better than others. Even from a pack of twenty 1N34A's
from the same source, some were definitely better than others.
Measuring the average value of rectified output voltage across the
diode load resistor will show which diodes are best. By the way, I
regard a diode load resistor as being mandatory. I find a value of
about 47K about right, especially if a crystal earpiece is being used
or the crystal set is being used as a tuner feeding an audio
pre-amplifier and following amplifier. If using high impedance magnetic
type headphones, the headphones provide the diode DC load.
Another type of diode that is very interesting, is the hot carrier
diode. There seem to be a lot of different hot carrier diodes around
these days. There are even hot carrier diodes now being sold as
"germanium diode equivalents". I have tried them and they do work
acceptably well, but they are not quite as good as genuine germanium
diodes such as the 1N34A. Typical UHF mixer hot carrier diodes, such as
the 1N5711 will not work well in crystal set service simply because
their "turn on voltage"is too high, similar to silicon diodes such as
the 1N4148/914 series, which require a lot of RF input to function
adequately as RF detectors, however a simple technique can be used to
turn hot carrier diodes such as the 1N5711 into superlative detectors.
I guess we are cheating a little, because the technique is to use a
little voltage bias supplied via a 1.5v battery, through a simple
potentiometer voltage divider arrangement, with capacitor (for DC
isolation) fed into the diode from the tuned circuit. With applied
adjustable bias, I find the 1N5711 diodes absolutely superlative
detectors under ANY signal strength conditions. I find the detection
quality also superlative, with a clarity and low noise profile
unmatched by any other diode arrangement. In my opinion, hot carrier
diodes, running bias,are the best detectors overall.
Regarding other detector arrangements, the diode "voltage doubler" is
often recommended, however my own experiments with the doubler
arrangement have been inconclusive and slightly disappointing overall.
I have found no real advantage in their use over a simple (one) diode
detector, believe it or not.
Yes, they do work, but they're nothing special, at least in my opinion.
Any comments on this general subject of crystal set optimisation would
73's Felix Scerri VK4FUQ.
22nd July 2002
Above: CRYSTAL SET
BASED CIRCUIT PROVIDING A HIGH QUALITY PROGRAMME SOURCE
VERSION OF THE ABOVE CONCEPT !! New update from Felix Scerri February
FET infinite impedance AM detector'
I've developed a new version of my old favourite FET 'infinite
impedance' AM detector that I think sounds very nice. I include a
short audio of one of our local AM stations. I picked this
station as it is my reference 'torture test AM station' as they run
very heavy 'processing' which normally sounds yuck with all my other
(diode and non diode) detectors! However it's quite clean with
this detector. What do you reckon? I'll do up a circuit if
you'd like to feature it in your TRF radio section. A general
draft article follows.
'A favourite non diode based AM detector that I've built and used many
times over the years is the FET based infinite impedance detector,
offering very good general AM detector performance, especially under
weak RF signal conditions where diode based detectors do not perform
well, especially in terms of audio distortion.
However one of the slightly strange things I've noticed about the
simple FET based infinite impedance detector is the variable audio
quality noted, even when using the same type of FET. Some I've
built have sounded good and others slightly fuzzy when used with an
audio preamp and fed into a high quality audio system. I've been
giving this a considerable bit of thought of late and I've wondered if
the audio distortion might be a result not necessarily of the detection
process itself, but the FET stage in its guise as a 'source follower'
audio stage which essentially, it is.
I have long been aware that as a simple audio buffer stage, the FET
based 'source follower' can exhibit a considerable amount of audio
distortion, and a technique I've long used to greatly reduce this audio
distortion is to use a second FET in the source lead of the first FET
as a 'constant current source' which serves to 'linearise' and greatly
reduce audio distortion in the buffer stage overall. So, to test
the theory I built a simple one FET infinite impedance AM detector
which worked well, but with just a hint of audio 'fuzziness' on
received AM stations. So I added a second FET in the source lead
of the first FET wired as a constant current source, taking the output
from the source of the first RF detector FET and the source resistor
and RF bypass capacitor off the source lead of the second FET 'constant
current source'. The result, totally clean audio! The
theory seems proved! I call this modified detector the 'Two FET
infinite impedance detector'
what is sounds like - click to play the audio file(((
Here is the circuit diagram:
This detector has been a real eye opener for me in terms
excellent performance, especially considering its circuit
simplicity. Indeed in the past I have designed other more
complex FET based infinite impedance circuits that do not quite work as
well in practical terms as this latest circuit, at least according to
my well calibrated ears!
I do not have access to any precise test
equipment but my well calibrated ears tell me this 'two FET infinite
impedance detector' is a beauty, surpassing practically every other AM
detector I've built even at low RF input, and that's rather a
impressive claim and the audio quality when used as an AM tuner feeding
a high quality audio system is quite remarkable. Possibly the
best thing about this detector is its excellent performance under weak
signal conditions. Diode based detectors also work beautifully,
but the use of an RF stage to ensure detection over a linear portion of
the diode's curve is mandatory! This compound infinite impedance
detector works beautifully on the sniff of a useable RF signal.
Just add a high Q tuned circuit and that's it!
A better FET for the 'basic' Infinite Impedance Detector:
Quite recently by accident, I've realised the MPF102 FET that I've long
used in my FET based infinite impedance detectors is possibly not the
best FET to use. This was the reason why I developed the 'two FET'
infinite impedance detector some time ago which works very well.
However I've found the choice of a more suitable FET works beautifully
in the basic FET based infinite impedance detector circuit, which has
appeared for many years in many editions of the ARRL Handbook.
I use the 2N5457 and others of the same 'family' may be equally
suitable, but I haven't tried them! However with a 2N5457 in place
of an MPF102, the basic infinite impedance detector has became my AM
detector of choice. It works beautifully even at low signal input
with lovely and clean low distortion audio along with a very high input
impedance for good tuning selectivity. It's a beauty! The
basic generic circuit is attached, courtesy of Rod Elliott's ESP
73 Felix VK4FUQ
10 / 02 / 2012.
The basic generic circuit is attached, courtesy of Rod Elliott's ESP website
Felix Scerri VK4FUQ
As often happens with me, my renewed
interest in FET based 'infinite impedance detectors' of late has led to
some interesting new research and I may have considerably improved the
'two FET infinite impedance detector' as a result.
My research suggests that although the use of a CCS (constant current
source) reduces audio distortion in an audio stage, the value of the
'source resistor' in the CCS stage is somewhat critical for best
By using a potentiometer in lieu of a fixed resistor I have found that a
resistance value of around 470 kohms cleaned up all overall audio
distortion. I used an MPF102 as the CCS in this circuit. An
interesting and worthwhile little circuit refinement.
73 Felix VK4FUQ
21 / 02 / 2012.
A Minimum Component Count High Quality AM Detector.
I was generally messing around with various circuit ideas and I came up
with this AM detector circuit, a simple diode detector along with a FET
stage. It was an attempt to provide good performance along with
minimum number of components. Actually I've been pleasantly
surprised at the excellent level of general performance and the best of
all, it sounds great!
The circuit is quite conventional being a BAT 46 diode detector feeding
an MPF102 FET buffer/ common source amplifier stage. I would
ordinarily use a FET source buffer stage in this application, but opted
to use a simple low gain FET 'common source' amplifier stage instead,
with excellent results. I also used a BAT 46 Schottky diode
instead of an ordinary germanium signal diode.
This was done for several reasons. Firstly, germanium diodes are
now very hard to find but in any case these 'germanium diode equivalent'
Schottky diodes are actually a superior diode, having very low noise,
almost zero back leakage and an essentially complete absence of carrier
storage effects and very good weak signal sensitivity. I call
these diodes high fidelity diodes as they sound wonderful as RF
Circuit Diagram of the Minimum Component Count AM Detector by Felix Scerri
Minimum Component Count AM Detector by Felix Scerri
A Closer View
The high impedance of the FET's gate circuit is perfect for optimal
buffering of the diode detector, something very important for good low
distortion diode detector performance. Apart from providing slight
voltage gain, the use of the common source FET amplifier is a new idea,
as this prevents the possibility of incidental RF rectification
occurring in a FET source follower stage, which can happen. A 1 uf
plastic film capacitor may be added in series with the audio 'hot'
output lead to block the DC offset out of the FET drain, if required.
Despite no additional RF stage ahead of the diode, audio quality on even
relatively weak RF strength stations is actually very good, and of
course the audio quality will be even better with increasing RF signal
strength, something which will also increase the audio output
level. Just on this, for a long time I was somewhat negative
regarding diode detectors, as one AM station locally (the strongest one)
was always distorted when using a diode detector.
I strongly suspected a transmitter fault, but my complaints were
ignored, until one day some time ago when all audio distortion suddenly
disappeared! Nothing was ever 'said', but I realised that my
suspicions of a long standing transmitter fault were correct, after all!
02 March 2012
Voltage Doubler Detector
This is an AM detector circuit that I've long known about and which
worked ok, but never seemed to work as well as it should have.
However I spent some time late last night trying to optimise the
circuit, with some success.
It is a curious circuit being essentially a 'voltage doubler' originally
developed for power supply applications, and its use as an AM detector
is hard to analyse! It seems that the component values in the
circuit are somewhat critical for good performance and if not, the
performance is rather 'ordinary'. The circuit that I eventually
came up with uses a 150 picofarad 'input capacitor' with a 150 kohm
'load' resistor and loaded into a FET common source voltage amplifier
stage (as previously described) through a coupling capacitor with a 1
Mohm input resistance.
With these circuit values, it all works 'quite well'. Give it a
go! It's an interesting AM detector with quite good 'sensitivity'
and clean audio quality, and it seems to work well at low signal
16th April 2012.
Simple AM detectors
: What works best? A practical experimenters viewpoint.
I have written a lot about simple AM detectors for use as tuners for
feeding into an audio amplifier, and it has been a long time
interest. These days I use either diode based or 'infinite
impedance' types of AM detectors. In this location our 'local' AM
stations are quite distant and are therefore quite weak in terms of
As such I find infinite impedance detectors based on field effect
transistors give consistently better results for tuner applications due
to their lower apparent overall detector distortion. Diode based
detectors are quite 'fussy' as they require both optimal output
buffering (AC/DC ratio) and an 'adequate' (beyond the diode knee) level
of RF signal injection.
Diode based detectors will happily 'detect' at very low signal levels,
however the (inevitable) audio distortion that results, can be extremely
irritating to the ear! Under these conditions I find infinite
impedance detectors (even without additional RF preamplification and
subject to individual FET characteristics), generally sound 'cleaner'
and more pleasant to the ear.
FET's of course require a power source for operation whereas diodes are
passive (unpowered) detectors (most of the time), however this is of no
real advantage in a tuner application as an 'active' audio amplifier
stage will generally be required anyway for audio level boosting,
In the end it will come down to a consideration of prevailing RF signal
levels and other related circuit considerations at one's location.
If local RF levels are strong, a well designed diode detector will give
excellent results. If not, an 'infinite impedance' type of
detector is most likely the better option unless one goes towards the
option of additional RF preamplification prior to the diode
17th April 2012.
ANOTHER DETECTOR by Felix Scerri
I’ve tried diode based ‘voltage doubler’ (or more correctly ‘diode
integrator’) AM detectors before with indifferent results, however the
other day, just trying a few ideas I came up with this version that
works rather well, with low audio distortion, high audio output and
really ‘nice’ audio quality and the best of all, it seems to work very
at very low RF input level.
The two diode ‘voltage doubler’ detector using two BAT 46 silicon
schottky diodes feed directly into a MPF102 source follower stage set at
1 Megohm input resistance. The ‘input’ capacitor feeding the
diodes from a tuned circuit is 68 picofarads.
I have the simple RF filter right on the output of the FET stage.
In that respect this circuit is vaguely similar to the old
‘Selstead-Smith’ valve AM detector of the past. An interesting
one! I am very happy with its general performance. Regards,
Felix vk4fuq 11/04/2013
Felix Scerri VK4FUQ
|That's it for crystal sets. I
you try building one, it's
easy and great fun!
See some useful links below....
AM radio stations or transmitters in your locality or country?
local medium wave broadcast station closed or been moved to VHF/FM or
Digital? Don't worry. You can
still build and experiment with crystal sets and TRF radios by
or even building a simple low power AM transmitter. So, not only can
you use your
crystal sets but you can also run your own radio
station that can be heard in and around your home - playing the music
or programmes that you want to hear!
Superb high fidelity medium wave AM transmitter kits from SSTRAN.
Versions available for 10kHz spacing in the Americas (AMT3000 or
AMT3000-SM) and 9kHz spacing in Europe and other areas (AMT3000-9 and
AMT3000-9SM). Superb audio quality and a great and well
kit to build: http://www.sstran.com/pages/products.html
Other AM transmitters available:
Complete, high quality ready built medium wave AM
Transmitters from Vintage Components:
Vintage Components offer a choice
of the high quality Spitfire and Metzo transmitters:
SPITFIRE AM Medium Wave
Transmitter with 100 milliwatt RF output power:
METZO AM Medium Wave Transmitter with built in compressor:
Suppliers: Links to electronic component suppliers here