Let's Build Something SSB Transceiver

I was reading QRP Quarterly this is a Journal of the QRP Amateur Radio Club International. They are a group that is dedicated to the operating of low power ham radio equipment. They also have a large group of builders across the world that enjoys build and operating their own equipment. I will put a plug in for this group, please look them up on the Internet. They are a great group dedicated to increasing worldwide enjoyment of radio operation, experimentation and the formation and promotion of QRP clubs throughout the world.

Pete Juliano N6QW and Ben Kuo KK6FUT wrote an article call Let's Build Something. They are trying to encourage newcomers to the wonderful world of home brewing your own equipment. In 2014 our ham radio club started a group to encourage hams to get back to basics of building. I thought that Pete's and Ben's effort would be great for our group.

So I pitch the ideal of us build this SSB Transceiver from scratch. The group seem to be very interested in it so we got started. The article came from the January 2015 QRP Quarterly.

They have simplified the overall project by using a very simple building technique that is as old as ham radio itself call bread boarding. Early radios were often constructed by fastening parts to a board meant for cutting bread. So our group will be doing something very similar. So we will be constructing each stage of the build on a small piece of PC board. Then mounting each stage on our bread board.

I will be building this project using the information supplied in the article. So I will be building my project backwards this is building each circuit stage from front to back so I will be starting with the audio amplifier. Each section will then be tested to ensure each stage is fully working before moving on to the next part.

Here is the Audio circuit:

As you can see on the bread board there is two circuits, on the right is the audio circuit. In the article they want us to build an audio amp from scratch and not use any of the one chip circuits like the lm386's. Pete and Ben wanted us to learn how to trouble shoot the circuits if we had anything that was wrong. On the left I built a power supply to supply 9 and 12 volts. 9 volts for the Arduino and 12 volts for the rest of the circuits.

The next thing I wanted to tackle was the Arduino microprocessor and direct digital synthesizer (DDS) and display. This was a challenge because I read ahead and found out that Pete and Ben was testing some displays from Ebay instead of the old 2x20 displays. Well I wanted to do that also (what a mistake). I really had to beat the bushes and understand how to use them but was successful with my friend Jim N0TKN. Here is a picture of my first wiring and programming of the Arduino.

One of the problems that I ran into is that the display is flaky. It would dim out and you would have to press the front of the display to get it to display the data again. Pete and Ben has been working using some new color displays that look promising.

Here is the front display panel attached to the bread board for testing the first part of the build.