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Several super simple receivers and converters for VHF

Videos (normally with circuits) describing and demonstrating various simple VHF receivers and converters.

Most radio enthusiasts have built a crystal set and maybe a simple transistor receiver for the AM broadcast, shortwave or HF amateur bands but not so many have built something for VHF.

If you're curious about VHF receiving with equipment you've built yourself you'll find many ideas here. While TV sound and many commercial users have migrated to digital and often encrypted modes, you'll still hear broadcast, aircraft, amateur and some marine traffic, mostly between 88 and 170 MHz.

Apart from the occasional amateur transmission on 6 metres (50-54 MHz), the VHF low bands (30-88 MHz) are now very quiet. Though with high sunspot numbers you may sometimes hear signals in the 30 to 50 MHz range from thousands of kilometres away. Middle and higher VHF frequencies have more activity. Those of most interest include:

88-108 MHz FM broadcast
108 - 136 MHz Aircraft
144-148 MHz Amateur
148 - 174 MHz Assorted commercial and marine

While not the ultimate in performance, it is still possible to hear AM, FM and even SSB signals on simple equipment you've built yourself. Of the non-broadcast segments the VHF aircraft band (which still uses AM) is probably the most active segment. But don't overlook the possibility, if your equipment is working really well, of hearing other transmissions eg from radio amateurs or even weather satellites.

If you lack non-FM broadcast VHF receiving equipment but have shortwave receivers then a crystal controlled converter is one option. This shifts a range of VHF signals down into the HF range for demodulation by the receiver which acts as a tunable intermediate frequency, detector and audio stage. The converse is also true; if you have VHF equipment then converters can be changed to convert up rather than down just by changing a couple of tuned circuits.

Below are circuits and demonstrations of some simple VHF receivers and converters that you might wish to try.

What can you hear on a VHF 'crystal set'?


Portable VHF superregen receiver


Taming a 144 MHz direct conversion receiver


The TV tuner VHF receiver series


70 MHz to 50 MHz receiving converter


144 MHz to VHF airband receiving converter


My favourite from the above is the portable VHF superregen receiver. As a builder, the TV tuner one has been a lot of fun, offering a way to receive a wide range of frequencies for little cost or construction complexity.


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Books by VK3YE

Ham Radio Get Started (USA)

Australian Ham Radio Handbook (Aust)

Hand-carried QRP Antennas

More Hand-carried QRP Antennas

99 things you can do with Amateur Radio

Getting back into Amateur Radio

Minimum QRP

Illustrated International Ham Radio Dictionary

Make your Passion Pay (ebook writing)


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