Superheterodyne receivers have been mass-produced since around 1924, but for reasons of cost did not become successful until the 1930s. Before the second world war other, simpler receiver technologies such as the TRF receiver and the regenerative receiver were still widespread.
The circuit described here is based on the old technology, but brought up-to-date a The most important part of the circuit is the input stage, where positive feedback is used to achieve good sensitivity and selectivity. The first stage is adjusted so that it is not quite at the point of oscillation. This increases the gain and the selectivity, giving a narrow bandwidth. To achieve this, the potentiometer connected to the drain of the FET must be adjusted very carefully: optimal performance of the receiver depends on its setting. In ideal conditions several strong stations should be obtainable during the day using a 50 cm antenna. At night, several times this number should be obtainable. The frequency range of the receiver runs from 6 MHz to 8 MHz. This range covers the 49 m and the 41 m shortwave bands in which many European stations broadcast. Not bad for such a simple circuit! The circuit employs six transistors. The first stage is a selective amplifier, followed by a transistor detector.
Two low-frequency amplifier stages complete the circuit. The final stage is a push-pull arrangement for optimal drive of the low-impedance loudspeaker. This circuit arrangement is sometimes called a ‘1V2 receiver’ (one preamplifier, one detector and two audio-frequency stages). Setting-up is straightforward. Adjust P1 until the point is reached where the circuit starts to oscillate: a whistle will be heard from the loudspeaker. Now back off the potentiometer until the whistle stops. The receiver can now be tuned to a broadcaster. Occasional further adjustment of the potentiometer may be required after the station is tuned in. The receiver operates from a supply voltage of between 5 V and 12 V and uses very little current. A 9 V PP3 (6F22) battery should give a very long life.