Many thanks to David Ai2A for the excellent revision of the following text

40 m Band Superhet Receiver

By the addition of one integrated circuit and some passive components, I was able to convert my earlier developed 40-meter direct conversion receiver design into a superhet model. Anyone who has listened to 40 meters during the evening hours on the crowded 40 m band will appreciate the advantages of the single signal reception, which this circuit offers. All simple direct conversion receiver designs suffer from degraded selectivity performance and are more subject to overload by contrasted to even modest superhet designs. Direct conversion designs are simpler by contrast because they are missing an IF stage and any associated filtering, a BFO and the second mixer.

In order to modify the design to create a superhet model, it was necessary to increase the 1st oscillator frequency from 7000 kHz - 7040 kHz to a revised range of 10686 kHz -10731 kHz (operating frequency plus the intermediate frequency). The choice of this 1st oscillator frequency turned out to be fairly easy by considering the availability of 3686 kHz crystals. Bandwidth is set to 200 Hz by a series coupled filter (using a single 3686 kHz crystal) in the IF amplifier section. This choice is highly suitable for CW operation. The choice of 3686 kHz IF allows use of readily available 10.7 mHz ceramic resonator in the 1st oscillator circuit.

Fig.1: Receiver circuit diagram

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The first part of the circuit to be described is the 1st oscillator (main tuning). It is a variation of the Colpitts type oscillator. It uses a 10,7 ceramic resonator as its frequency-determining component. Unlike a quartz crystal based VXO, the ceramic resonator Q1 results in a much broader tuning range (approximately 45 kHz) while still maintaining a desired level of frequency stability at the same time.

A second ceramic resonator with a center frequency of 7020 kHz is used as a front-end filter. This effectively attenuates much of the strong S9 +40 dB strong signal interference from the 41-meter shortwave broadcast band. The shape factor and center frequency, while not a perfect choice, perform quite well. The stop band for this resonator appears to be located at 7125 kHz - well beyond the desired 7040 kHz. The availability, low price, simplicity of the circuit and absence of alignment warrant suggest inclusion of this specific device. A network formed by L1 and L2 help match the 330 ohms resonator impedance to the 50 ohms of the diode ring mixer and the antenna.

The output of the ring diode mixer is coupled to an IF stage based on the NE592 broadband amplifier. I was able to narrow the IF selectivity to 200 Hz by adding a crystal filter using series interstage coupling (formed by a 3686 MHz quartz and resistor R8) between pins 2 and 7. The mixer sees at its IF port a parallel circuit consisting out of R7 and the high input impedance of IC1. L3 and C9 form a parallel resonant circuit that is tuned to the IF. The value of C9 is not critical because the output resistance of IC1 causes strong damping.

The second mixer based on the well-known NE612 and is used as a product detector. The mixer output pins of the NE612 drive the differential input of the NE5532 audio amplifier. Any remaining RF energy present at the output pins is shunted to ground by using the two capacitors C14 and C15. These effectively couple only an AF signal output from the product detector stage into the audio amplifier.

The AF stage has a gain of 60 dB at the 750 Hz audio filter center frequency. The audio filter center frequency is determined by the component values used in the passive series resonant circuit formed by Dr1 and C16. The audio output volume adjustment is controlled with an RF attenuator control P1, located close to the antenna input. The NE5532 output resistance is relatively low, so 60 Ohms headphones can be used without an additional series resistor.

The receiver operates well across a wide range of supply voltages ranging from 9 V to 15 V. The AF amplifier is directly powered from the supply rail. The IF amplifier, second mixer and oscillator need approximately + 8 V. A series voltage-dropping resistor R9 normally meets this requirement. In practice, if the resulting voltage is less than 7 V, reduce the value of R9. Alternatively, one could use a + 8 V voltage regulator in place of R9. Without any input signal, the receiver consumes only a mere 25 mA.

Receiver alignment requires a frequency counter and an oscilloscope. First, measure the 1st oscillator frequency and observe its output voltage at pin 1 of the ring diode mixer. The frequency should be 10686 kHz with C1 at the maximum setting and 10731 kHz at its minimum setting. The measured 1st oscillator (LO) voltage applied to the mixer should measure about 0,5 Vss. If the desired frequency values are not correct, vary C3 and / or C4 slightly. Next adjust the trimmer capacitor C10. It serves to slightly adjust the BFO offset frequency and therefore the resulting received signal AF tone or pitch. The best performance will occur when the BFO frequency offset results in an audio tone of about 750 Hz (matching the passive audio filter resonance (C16 and DR1).

Parts No. Value
R1,5,6 10 kOhm
R2 22 kOhm
R3 470 Ohm
R4,9 220 Ohm
R7 51 Ohm
R8 47 Ohm
R10,11 68 kOhm
P1 1 kOhm, linear
C1 20 ... 325 pF, variable capacitor
C2 100 pF
C3 680 pF
C4,11 220 pF
C9 470 pF
C5,6,7 4,7 nF
C8,12 0,1 µF
C10 5 ... 90 pF, trimmer capacitor
C13 100 uF, 25 V electrolytic capacitor
C14,15 22 nF
C16 2,2 uF, no electrolytic capacitor
Dr1 33 mH
L1,2 FT37-43, 8 turns
tap at turn 3
L3 T50-2
25 turns prim. / 3 turns sec.
Q1 SFE10,7 / several suppliers
Q2 SFE7,02M2C, Murata
Q3,4 3686 kHz crystal
VT1 2N3904
IC1 NE592-N8 DIP
IC2 NE612 mixer IC
IC3 NE5532 DIP, dual OP
M Mixer HPF505, IE500, SRA1, SBL1 etc.