A Sneak Peek at Project Clackamas

I'm up to my elbows in the design work for the 2010 FDIM QRP Challenge, and I think I've come far enough along to give the rig a name. I'm happy to announce that I've dubbed this project Clackamas, in keeping with my tradition of naming my creations after Oregon rivers.

The receiver is pretty close to its final configuration (I hope), so I took it in to work so I could measure the performance using the very nice calibrated test equipment at my bench. This is my first time making this entire range of receiver measurements, and I have to say that it was quite interesting. I wish it was something that I had started taking more seriously a while ago. I have a wish list for test equipment a mile long, but I've realized that I really need to get my hands on a pair of good signal generators, hopefully ones that can give me an output down to -140 dBm.

I followed the procedures in the ARRL Test Procedures manual as closely as I could (do yourself a favor and save a copy of this highly useful document). The numbers came out pretty close to what I would expect, so I'm reasonably sure they are legitimate. I'm just hoping that I can win the challenge so that my rig gets taken to HQ for the real battery of tests! Below is the results of my testing, followed by a very brief commentary on the numbers:

IF Bandwidth: 462 Hz
MDS: -126 dBm
3rd Order DR (20 kHz): 80.5 dB (S5 signal level per ARRL Lab Procedures)
IIP3 (20 kHz): -5.2 dBm
Blocking DR (20 kHz): 102.6 dB
IF Rejection: 23 dB
Image Rejection: 48 dB
Clackamas IF Response

I believe that the MDS, dynamic range, and IIP3 measurements are all acceptable for a receiver using 40 parts and a 7-part VFO. I know why the IF and image rejection is so horrible (it's because of a design trade-off), but I can't get into the details of that yet. The filter response is a bit funky, but I'm sure that my impedance matching isn't the greatest. On the air, it's my opinion that the rig sounds decent. Maybe I can record some audio this weekend and post it. Let me know what you think; does this sound reasonable to you for a compromise superhet? I'd love to hear your comments on this.

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2 thoughts on “A Sneak Peek at Project Clackamas”

  1. I don't have the experience to comment on your measured results Jason, but the fact that you've built a decent sounding receiver with just 47 parts, and are on your way to a full transceiver with 72 parts or less is very commendable. More power to you, and I'll be following your progress!

  2. @AA7EE
    Calling this a "challenge" is not a joke. This one's fairly difficult. I could easily throw in the towel and make this a "trans-receiver" but I'm not sure that follows either the letter or the spirit of the rules.

    It's looking like I'm going to have to try to trim a few more parts off of the RX in order to get my TX under parts budget. I don't know how I'm going to do this yet, but I better get even "cleverer".

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