Experimental Methods in RF Design
First published by the ARRL in 2003, EMRFD serves as the main QRP/SWL Homebuilder site reference.
Written by Wes Hayward, W7ZOI, Rick Campbell, KK7B and Bob Larkin, W7PUA, EMRFD is the follow-on to the 1977 ARRL publication, Solid State Design For The Radio Amateur (SSD).
A treasure trove of narrative and tabled information, schematics, references and photographs adorn this lengthy (512 page) book that comes with a data CD filled with software and key reference papers. With the included CD, EMRFD is about twice the size of the original SSD.
Wes and crew emphasize fundamental radio equipment design and bench testing rather than providing the usual catalog of circuits to just casually copy and not carefully examine.
Since we amateur builders own varied skills, abilities and test equipment, some sections may intimidate readers, while others may inspire and drive your bench practices to a higher level of competence and joy. The heart of RF design lies in measurement and reason: EMRFD emphasizes this and in doing so alienates some readers.
For some, homebrew radio electronics and kit building are synonymous — plenty of kits are sold to builders who chose to build someone else's design, rather than capture their own ideas on a scrap of copper board, or at least, to modify their equipment to suit their needs. EMRFD may appeal to builders who enjoy learning about RF design, or want more innovative and creative bench experiences — 1 stage at a time.
Although stressing that build and measure = a proven way to improve in this hobby, Wes and team share other pearls including bread boarding techniques, parts lay out, hot parts and pitfalls to avoid.
The first chapter is simply called Getting Started. On page 8, Wes shares his first simple receiver design — this page starts your breadboarding in haste! EMRFD features information and designs for all levels of experimenters, although basic electronics knowledge and some experience are needed to get the most out of its content.
Replete with sidebar examples about measuring or calculating data for common circuits, EMRFD also offers general purpose stages including a universal monoband superhet receiver front end or AF chain instead of less versatile, single- application circuits. The design information feels vibrant and flexible and some of the material is original, or presented in a way that adds to the existing amateur radio knowledge base. For example, new front-end mute circuits, or the cascode JFET mixer and RF amplifier.
Wes also shares some new ideas for RF and IF amplifiers ranging from simple to state-of-the-art. This book has something for everyone — I prefer to describe EMRFD's influence on our hobby in simple action verbs such as: improve, innovate, inspire, explore and transform.
The Microsoft Windows programs run on everything up to and including Windows 7. While a few programs are new, others represent updates of the historic W7ZOI Ladpac applications. Upon mastery of the Ladpac program suite, you'll generate the needed stages to boost your designs.
For example you can design complex double or triple tuned band-pass filters for your projects without any math — the software gives you the series capacitor values so you need not worry about putting links on your inductors to match input or output impedances.
EMRFD = the must have reference book for your homebrew workshop.