Tag Archives: Radio Modifications

How to install a mechanical SSB filter on the Yaesu FRG-7

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kostas (SV3ORA), for sharing the following guest post which originally appeared on his radio website:


How to install a mechanical SSB filter on the Yaesu FRG-7

by Kostas (SV3ORA)

The Yaesu FRG-7 is a general coverage MW/SW receiver that uses the Wadley Loop system for stabilizing the frequency tuning. The receiver has a good sound on AM mode, that reminds me the tube receivers sound. However, on sideband mode, it is pretty much useless. The IF ceramic filter that is used, does not have enough selectivity to reject the opposite sideband. No matter if the front panel mode selector switch states USB/CW and LSB, these just shift the BFO, nothing more. The receiver is a DSB set not SSB. A cheap way you can accomplish single signal sideband reception with the FRG-7 is described in this link. Whereas it works, it increases the audio bandwidth of the signals to the high pitch.

A better approach is to install an additional mechanical filter to the receiver. This of course requires expensive 455KHz mechanical filters, but if you have one in hand or if you are willing to pay for the improvement in performance, then this is the recommended option. But you can’t just desolder the ceramic filter of the receiver and solder a mechanical filter in place. On AM mode, you need wider bandwidth, but on SSB mode you need narrower. So both filters must be in place and a selection must be done in each mode. Thankfully, this modification is pretty easy on the FRG-7 and it does not require any modification of the external appearance of the radio.

The schematic of the FRG-7 is shown above. Everything with red color, are part of the modification. The modification is pretty straight forward. You have to desolder the original ceramic filter from the FRG-7 PCB and install it on a separate PCB along with the new 455KHz mechanical filter. To select between the two filters, a 9-12v DPDT relay can be used and it must be connected as shown in the schematic. The power for the relay coil is derived from one section of the mode switch (S3d). On USB or LSB modes, the BFO is energized and this power is also used to energize the relay, which in turn switches to the narrow mechanical filter on these modes.

A good place for the new PCB that accommodates the filters, is just below the main tuning dial of the receiver. There is a hole there and three screws, which can be used to also hold this PCB in place. I needed to replace these screws in mine with longer ones, because I used spacers to prevent the PCB from touching the chassis. But this is optional.

Two small pieces of coaxial cables are used to connect the new PCB to the pads of the ceramic filter, that has been now removed from the original PCB of the receiver. Ground these cables on both ends.

The power cables for the relay coil (shown with red and black in the picture above), are passed below the PCB to the chassis opening and through a hole to the bottom of the original PCB of the receiver. The ground wire is soldered to the filter ground point and the red wire is soldered to the mode selector switch S3d. S3d is the outer wafer onto the switch. Use a multimeter to find the contact of the switch that has VCC when the mode is switched to USB or LSB. This is the point where you want to connect the red wire.

After installing everything, you should perform an alignment of the TC404 and the T406 in the BFO section as described in the manual. This requires a frequency counter, but I did my alignment by simply adjusting the two controls by ear, until I got roughly the same pitch on LSB and SSB audio bandpass. These controls interact, so you have to do a bit of back and forth in both of them. It is very easy.

After installing the modification and aligning the receiver, the result is pretty obvious. No more DSB reception, SSB signals are received just once in the dial and their bandwidth is limited as it should on SSB. The mechanical filter I had, was a bit narrow (2.1KHz) so I can also hear a bit os “seashell” sound on SSB, but SSB voice signals are perfectly understood. It is interesting that the audio volume between the ceramic filter and the mechanical filter was just about the same, which indicates that there is no additional loss in the newly installed filter. Another interesting thing is that there was no need for any impedance matching using active devices or transformers on the mechanical filter. It worked just by directly connecting it. Neither it’s loss, not it’s response seems to be affected by any possible impedance mismatches.

Note that Collins produced both symmetrical and asymmetrical mechanical filters (yes they used two filters, one for USB and one for SSB in some of their gear). My filter is a symmetrical one (same roll-off response curve on both sides of the filter passband). If you use an asymmetrical filter, expect a bit different pitch when switching from LSB to USB and vice versa. Not a huge problem, but just a note.

By performing this simple modification, you will end up with an FRG-7 receiver that is trully selective, allowing for real SSB reception. Most importantly you do not ruin the appearance of your precious FRG-7, but just improving it’s performance. This modification would probably be appreciated much when deciding to sell your FRG-7 to someone else.


Thank you for sharing this practical and affordable project with us, Kostas!

Post Readers: Check out this project and numerous others on Kostas’ excellent website.

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Kostas’ Yaesu FRG-7 adjustment that improves opposite sideband rejection

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kostas (SV3ORA), who shares the following video and writes:

In this 7.8Mb video (attached) is my solution for “converting” the Yaesu FRG-7 for single signal reception on SSB:

Not a mod actually, no additional filters, no soldering of any kind. Just tune the BFO on USB and on LSB a bit far away from the 455KHz ceramic filter (using the transformer for LSB and the capacitor for USB, as the manual states). As the video shows, this provides the near to
carrier selectivity to cut off the unwanted sideband.

The price you pay is more high frequencies (but in the wanted sideband) and a bit attenuated low frequencies as the filter is effectively shifted to higher frequencies. Very high frequencies cut-off is helped by the tone control of the receiver to some point.

This is a cost-free mod and requiring even no soldering skills, neither any mod to the receiver. Now as you tune the bands in SSB and CW, you do not hear the same signal twice. On AM mode nothing changes, since the BFO is switched off in this mode.

Many thanks for sharing this, Kostas! This seems like a simple adjustment for one of my all-time favorite receivers!

Post readers: Check out Kostas’ website for more modifications, ideas and radio projects.

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You’ve Been Warned: Emilio just brought a Grundig Frankenradio to life–!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor (and certified mad scientist), Emilio Ruiz, who writes:

Recently I was given a broken Grundig G8 Traveler II.  This radio had an accident–the case, speaker, tuning knob, and volume controls were all broken or damaged.

I discovered that the tuning and volume controls are not potentiometers, they are a rotary encoders, so I substituted the tiny and broken original controls with rotary encoders (typically used for Arduino projects), but I needed to remove the 10 kiloohms resistor to work properly (only used the CLK, DT, and GND pins).

All materials were reused from other things, the result is like a “Frankenstein radio”.

The “telescopic” antenna is a tape measure/flexometer which was broken too. I replaced the original speaker (which I think was another impedance) with a proper 8 ohms speaker which produced low volume, so i decide add a Pam8403 amplifier module for best performance. The total current drain is 0.10 amp for a regular “loud” audio level.

So the Grundig Frankie is alive!!… It’s alive!!

Click here to view video in new window.

This is brilliant, Emilio! Although this radio is quite scary–and, let’s face it, “post-apocalyptic”–I think it’s absolutely amazing! I love the handle and the tape measure antenna. You, sir, are a mad scientist and I look forward to your next creation! (I’ll just take shelter first!) 🙂

Anyone else ever created a Frankenradio? Please comment!

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Video: Antonio’s Kenwood R-2000 Modifications

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who shares the following:

Antonio Fernandez, who is in Spain, posted this on the Extreme page. Very interesting R-2000 mods:

Major modifications are adjustable RF GAIN (using the former TONE control), BFO Pitch control (former AM Squelch, FM Squelch is retained) and DSP Audio filtering for SSB and CW. Internal DSP module is SOTABEAMS Laserbeam Filter Module. The former DIMMER and NB push switches are used for switching on (bypassing) the DSP module and bandwidth (CW, SSB) selection.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Those are brilliant modifications on a classic receiver!  Thank you for sharing, Dan!

Check out more videos from Antonio Fernandez on his YouTube channel.

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Imre’s HanRongDa HRD-737 modification increases sensitivity

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Imre Olajos, who writes:

Hi, HRD 737 lovers! I have a good news!

I  (became brave enough to) modify my HRD-737.

I tried reverse-engineering- but I gave up. No numbers on IC-s. I found specifications for the analog switches (one for each band ) and found information about the transistors around those analog switch IC-s. Nice, 1 GHz fT transistors, all surface mount, so I gave up that line.

I found an NPN SM transistor in a damaged TV remote. It is only a 300 MHz transistor but
I had no better than that, so I started to build a little antenna amplifier circuit, wide band and simple.

I lost a few SM capacitors during the soldering but I have plenty of those. So the 1/4 square inch circuit board was finished last week. I tested it with an external 3 volt battery and I found it good working. Today ( 07-27-2019 ) I opened up the HRD-737 and wired it into the radio.
The results are much better than I expected. The HDR-737 became a good shortwave radio!

When I touch the built in antenna by my finger, radio is sensing the touch and station comes in. This effect was not there before. Radio became more sensitive on CB band than my Realistic DX392.

I have a YouTube channel [in the following video/slideshow] and I will show you the little ugly but great working circuit in the radio:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Later on next week I will try to record some video of the shortwave reception and post up it on the same YouTube channel.

I am a shortwave lover since 50+ years and I will be very happy to share the good news with others. Now I can listen my Greek music on this little radio, on 9420 kHz. Yes, the radio became [more sensitive than I had hoped].

You can see my other shortwave radios on my YouTube channel too, Have fun and never give up the hope!

Many thanks, Imre, for sharing and documenting this modification. One of the lessons here, too, is that if you have an inexpensive radio like the HanRongDa HRD-737 and you feel tempted to try a modification, there’s little to lose. It’s not like modifying a $1000 transceiver–just dig into the little radio and give it a go. If you harm the radio, you’ve only invested $37 or so in the project. That’s a much better solution than letting it sit on a shelf collecting dust because it’s not sensitive enough! Well played, Imre!

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Tivdio V-115: Simple modification to abate internally-generated noise

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Marc Thomas, who shares a link to this site which describes modifications to eliminate the Tivdio V-115’s internal noise.

In a nutshell, the author made two small mods:

  • Decouple the power/battery with an electrolytic capacitor of around 10uF soldered to the battery connector inside the radio (see photo above)
  • The author also grounded the speaker, but didn’t test to see if this alone had any positive impact

I could not find contact details for the author of this mod, so I hope they don’t mind the fact I shared it here on the SWLing Post.

Note that the Tivdio V-115 is also known as the Audiomax SRW-710S and Kaimeda SRW-710S (and likely rebadged as a number of other models).

Click here to read reviews of this radio.

Retailers:

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Guest Post: A DSP Hi-Fi “Stupid Radio Trick”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, TomL, who shares the following guest post:


Stupid Radio Trick – DSP “Hi-Fi”

by TomL

If you can remember the 1960’s, there was an audiophile rage going on called Hi-Fi.  The base unit consisted of a ponderous piece of furniture consisting of a rectangular cabinet and equally large mellow sounding speaker of fairly smooth frequency response, say in the range of around 40 – 15000 Hz.  They would have a built-in radio (using vacuum tubes) with large analog scale. Most would also have a “record player” embedded on the top to spin some vinyl discs (78 or 33 rpm).

For pedestrian consumers, it became a decision of how to keep up with the Joneses, so-to-speak.  And that meant a trip to Sears to look at the latest offerings. When the decision finally came to purchase, of course no one could buy it outright.  So, to add to the suspense, one had to put money down on “Lay-A-Way” plan that did not allow you to take possession of your prized choice until the last monthly payment!  One had to visit or mail in a check every month.

So where am I going with all this?  Well, as you can see from the photo [above], I have purchased three portable radios for three very different purposes.   All three were painstakingly studied and reviewed and weighed against all other possible choices. All are highly rated by the usual reviewers like RadioJayallen, SWLing Blog readers and other internet personalities.  The Sangean is for home use and listening to baseball games when I did not want to fire up the stereo hooked up to the Grundig Satellit 800. The small Sony ICF-19 is a phenomenal knock around radio for the car and listening while out to lunch or a walk in the park.  The large Tecsun S-8800 is a possible replacement for my ailing 20+ year old Sony ICF-2010 for shortwave use.

Well, I was tired of listening to any one of them in terms of sound quality.  The Sangean has too much upper bass/lower mid range, the small Sony is very carefully maximized for total speech clarity, and the Tecsun seems to lack a little in the mid range frequencies (compared to highs and lows).  Staring at them, I thought to self, “What if I turn on the Sangean and Sony together???” What ensued was a revelatory sonic experience (it sounded pretty good)! One seemed to fill in the other in certain ways. But it was not perfect.

Duh, I had the new Tecsun in a carry case while trying to decide if I send it back for a tuning quirk and dug it out and plopped it on top.  Turning it on, I heard more lows and highs, just like a Field Radio should have but with the mid range filled in! After very careful volume adjustment, I now have something that could rightly be called DSP Hi-Fi.  At least, that is what I am calling it for now. ?

Violin and piano pop-out of an orchestra but not too harsh sounding.  Rock & Roll sounds loud and punchy without that boombox effect. Bass lows are there (could be better, now all I need is a small subwoofer connected to the Tecsun line-out ???).  Highs are there too but well controlled. Mid range voice clarity is stunning, as if someone is in the room with me but not sounding too forward! It is not room-filling but acts more like a near-field monitor.  I like that I can line-up the speakers over each other.

The really fortunate thing is that all three radios have complete DSP for FM and receive my favorite over-the-horizon station with very similar reception quality.  Also, they process DSP with a similar delay before output to its respective speaker. The sound is fairly coherent and even though it is still mono output, the full range of musical fidelity can be appreciated better.  It is not audiophile quality but it is very satisfying and I can actually hear more details in the music than with any one of the radios by themselves. Just goes to show you that you CAN teach a new Radio dog old Tricks (LOL)!

Happy Listening,

TomL


I love it, Tom!  Thanks for pointing out that sometimes it takes a “stupid radio trick” to really produce some amazing audio fidelity! This reminds me that in the early 90s, I used to have a Zenith Transoceanic and RadioShack DX-440 on my radio table in my room.  If I recall correctly, the Zenith was on my left and the DX-440 on the right. I used to tune to shortwave, MW and FM stations and produce a makeshift “stereo” effect by playing both at the same time. Sometimes, on shortwave, it actually helped me discern voices in weak signal work!

Thanks again, Tom!

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