A 200-Watt Push-Pull Class-E AM Transmitter for 1710 kHz


Max Carter



  • Input power (DC volts x DC amps): 220 watts
  • Output power (AM rating; into 50-ohm resistive load): about 205 watts
  • Peak envelope power (PEP; at 100% modulation): 820 watts
  • Operating frequency: 1.71 MHz


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This transmitter is based, more or less, on equations presented in a 1988 Mark Mallory article detailing a single-ended class-E output stage for a 1-watt transmitter operating in the 160-190 kHz Part-15 LowFER band. The present circuit is a push-pull design and achieves about 93% efficiency at 1710 kHz. The circuit should be adaptable to transmitting in the 160-meter ham band with slight component value changes, or to any frequency within the medium or longwave bands (0-2 MHz) by following the design steps below. The 'as-built' transmitter can be tuned about 100 kHz either side of 1710 kHz (1600-1800 kHz) without modification.

The transmitter has the same basic layout as any AM transmitter, though it may differ in specifics. A block diagram of the as-built unit appears below. Refer back to this diagram as the parts are explained in the article below. Items marked "external" are not described (except in a general way) in the article.

AM Transmitter Block Diagram



The transmitter's output amplifier circuit is shown in Figure 1:

The amplifier circuit consists of two of the Mallory circuits connected in a push-pull configuration with a coupling transformer acting as both the finals' tank inductance and output matching device. The push-pull configuration allows current sharing between two transistors while the transformer provides great flexibility in matching the amplifier to a load. The push-pull configuration also greatly reduces the second harmonic content of the output signal, lowering the demands on the output filtering.

The .0055 uF value for the capacitors tied to ground at the ends of the output transformer primary was determined from Mallory's equations, as was the inductance of the transformer primary. The number of turns specified for the transformer primary winding was determined from the winding chart for the specified core.

The output power of Mallory's 1988 prototype was adjusted by selecting an appropriate tap on the final tank inductor. In a similar manner, the output power of the present unit (at the specified power supply voltage) is determined by the primary/secondary turns ratio of the output transformer. The 8-to-18 turns ratio shown on the schematic was selected to take full advantage of the current available from the power supply. To state it another way, the ratio shown adapts the final-stage 11-ohm output impedance to the unit's 50-ohm output feedline (load) impedance.

The output filter consists of the output coupling capacitor C2 and series inductor L1. This type filter satisfies the basic requirement for class-E operation: The final 'sees' the output load at the fundamental frequency only. Higher order harmonics are blocked and the filter presents a high impedance back to the amplifier stage at those frequencies. The output filter has a Q of 5.

The IRFP350LC MOSFETs in the final are low gate charge types (the 'LC' in the part number). This type has a reduced gate drive power requirement compared to 'standard' types. Additionally, class-E operation substantially cancels the 'Miller effect', a dynamic interaction between the FETs' drains and gates caused by inter-electrode capacitances, further reducing the drive power requirement. Adjustment of the 750 pF variable capacitor (C1) across the primary (between the drains of the output transistors), along with SYM and BAL adjustments in the exciter, serve to fine tune the transformer primary to achieve optimal class-E operation. After adjustment, two watts of drive power easily drives the final stage to its full 200-watt output.

The output transistors are mounted on a 5.5"x5"x1" aluminum heatsink. A small fan circulates air across the heatsink. The driver transistors are mounted on a small board mounted directly on the output transistor leads.

The push-pull drive signal for the power amplifier is developed by the exciter circuitry shown in Figure 2. This circuit's adjustability is the key to obtaining optimal efficiency of the class-E output stage:

(Figure 2)

1.71 MHz Transmitter Push-Pull Exciter

(as-built)

An input signal must be provided to this circuit from a signal generator, crystal oscillator, VFO or other source at TWICE the operating frequency, 3420 kHz in the case of the as-built transmitter. (The carrier source for the as-built unit is a programmable synthesizer.) The CD4013 flip-flop divides the input signal by 2 and delivers 'perfect' 50% duty-cycle drive signals to the exciter output gates. A ground on the standby/operate input at the bottom of the circuit enables the output gates. A telegraph key could be connected at this point for CW code operation. The DELAY BAL and SYM controls are adjusted during tune-up to optimize operation of the transmitter's driver and output stages. The drive signals are buffered and delivered to the driver transistors via short lengths of shielded wire.

Construction

If you'd like to reproduce this transmitter, the components and values shown should work as advertised at 1710 kHz using a 42-volt power supply.

Fixed capacitors should be mica dielectric or low ESR type where indicated; the values shown can be made up with smaller-value units in parallel. C2 should be a transmitting type air or vacuum variable. The output transformer primary windings should be made with AWG 16 or heavier wire. The secondary should be of AWG 18 or heavier. Cores other than the one shown (the biggest one I could find) can be used with the number of primary turns recalculated (see below). The core material should be type-2 powdered iron.

The output transistors should be mounted to the heatsink with insulating hardware. The heatsink should be grounded.

A 160m version of the 200-watt transmitter can be built by following the schematic in all respects except for the following change: substitute .0044 uF capacitors for the .0055 uF units shown at the ends of the output transformer primary winding.

If you'd like to try the circuit at other frequencies or power levels, first carefully read the Mallory article, then decide at what frequency you'd like the transmitter to operate (usually in the range from 10 kHz to 2 MHz; see frequency below), at what power level (taking into account the available power supply voltage and current), and the required output load impedance (typically 50 ohms), then:

  1. Calculate the inductor and capacitor values and load resistance per the equations given in the article. (Here's a calculator.) The calculated inductance value will be for both sides (all windings counted) of the center-tapped primary. Two of the calculated capacitors will be installed, one at each end of the transformer primary.

    About the Calculations

    The class-e equations assume a 50% duty cycle drive signal. Their application to this (or any) real-world transmitter circuit is a function of the switching characteristics of the transistors used in the circuit. Generally, as frequency is increased, gate charge times become an increasingly larger fraction of the on portion of the duty cycle. The result is a shortening of on-time as frequency is increased. (See also the frequency paragraph below.) The adjustable exciter (Fig 2) provides for duty-cycle adjustment during tune-up, compensating for this effect. The adjustable exciter also allows the designer to take some liberties with calculated component values.

    The calculated L value for the as-built transmitter is 1.07 uH. The calculated C value is 4829 pF. The installed value is 5500 pF.

  2. Consult the AL table for the core selected and calculate the number of turns needed for the calculated inductance. (Calculate here.) Round up to the nearest even whole number.

    The AL value for the T-400-2 core in the as-built transmitter (from the table) is 185. The number of turns calculates to 7.6. That number was rounded up to 8.

    Unknown AL Value

    Whether or not a particular transformer core you may have on hand will work in the circuit depends on the desired operating parameters (frequency, power, power supply voltage). The core's inductance coefficient, its AL value (uH/100 turns), must be in a range that will allow the required number of turns to be wound on the core. You can check this out experimentally by first running your numbers through Mallory's equations (or using the calculator) to find the value of the resonating capacitor(s). Wind a few turns on the candidate core, parallel the winding with a capacitor of the calculated value and check the resonant frequency with a signal generator and oscilloscope. Add or remove turns as necessary until you obtain resonance at about 1.29 times your desired operating frequency. The number of turns you end up will be the number of turns you will use in winding the transformer primary (the number determined in step 2). If you are not able to obtain resonance with the calculated capacitor value, the core likely will not work in the application. The adjustable exciter compensates somewhat for variations in component values (L and C) but won't compensate for a large discrepancy.



  3. Calculate the primary/secondary turns ratio needed to transform the amplifier impedance (the load resistance determined in step 1) to the load impedance (50 ohms). The turns ratio is the square root of the impedance ratio, i.e.,

    Zp/Zs = (Tp/Ts)2,   or Tp/Ts = √Zp/Zs   .

    All of the primary windings (both sides of the center tap - the number determined in step 2) should be counted when calculating the primary/secondary turns ratio. Multiply the primary turns by the turns ratio to determine the required number of secondary turns. (transformer turns ratio calculator)
  4. Wind the secondary, spacing the turns evenly around the core. Cover the secondary with electrical tape.
  5. Wind the primary in 'bifilar' style over the secondary, spacing the turns evenly (photo). The total number of turns on the primary should equal the value determined in step 2. Divide that number by 2 and wind an equal number of turns on each side of the center tap.
  6. Calculate the values for L1 and C2. The reactances of these components should be at least 5 times the load impedance (i.e., Q ≥ 5) at the operating frequency.
    ( LC calculator  |  coil calculator )

Tune-up:

  1. Establish a no-load condition on the transmitter by disconnecting any antenna or dummy load from the output connector.
  2. Set the power level switch to 'low' and power the transmitter.
  3. Monitor the DC voltage across the 1-ohm driver current monitor resistor; adjust C1 and the DELAY BAL and SYM controls on the exciter for MINimum driver current (<200 mA).
  4. Connect an oscilloscope through 10x probes to the drains of the output transistors; verify dual 'class-E' waveforms at the drains. Peak amplitude (voltage) of the drain waveforms should be about 3 times the power supply voltage.
  5. Shut off the transmitter and connect a resistive 50-ohm load (Bird Termaline or similar) to the output connector. Connect a 10x oscilloscope probe to TP 1.
  6. Power the transmitter (still set to 'low') and adjust the output coupling capacitor (C2) for maximum amplitude of the output signal sinewave. Maximum purity of the output signal (prettiest sinewave) should occur at or near the point of maximum amplitude.
  7. Set the power level switch to 'high' and readjust the output coupling capacitor as above. (Subsequent adjustments to C2 can be made with the unit's directional wattmeter - see below.)
  8. All adjustments may be repeated at this time if you want, but little improvement will be obtained if the waveform requirement in step 4 was met. Strive for maximum output power, best signal purity, highest efficiency and lowest driver current. Minimum driver current is a secondary requirement. Driver current will be close to minimum in a correctly adjusted transmitter operating under load but not necessarily at minimum. Driver current should be around 175 mA at 1710 kHz and proportionately higher at higher frequencies. Note also that, depending on the transmitter's physical layout, grounding and shielding, oscilloscope waveforms viewed at points other than TP 1 may be unreliable when the transmitter is operating under load.

The transmitter's final current ammeter and voltmeter should be used to check for proper loading on the output stage. The supply voltage divided by the current should equal about 80% of the load impedance calculated in design step 3 above (11 ohms for the as-built transmitter). Thus, for the unit's 42-volt power supply, the correct DC current is about 5.25 amps [42/(.8x10)=5.25]. Output power is calculated as follows:

P = (Epp/2.828)2/50 (calc).

The transmitter is tolerant of reactive (high VSWR) loads. Mismatches can be tuned out by adjusting the output coupling capacitor (C2). However, depending on the nature of the mismatch, the transmitter may not deliver the calculated output power in that situation. Remember that the transmitter's output power is limited only by the capability of the power supply. If the non-reactive (resistive) component of the load impedance is less than the amplifier's design load impedance, the amplifier will dutifully try to deliver the extra current, possibly overheating the power supply. If the load's non-reactive component is greater than the design impedance, the output power will be less than calculated. As mentioned, the amplifier can be designed to operate into almost any load impedance - refer back to construction step 3 above - but employing an external tuner, like the one shown in Figure 7 below, is usually a more practical approach to unusual or unknown impedance situations.

Pushing the Limits

Power:

Input power of the presently built unit is limited by its power supply (42 volts@5.25 amps) to 220 watts in continuous (CW) mode but the circuit components are probably capable of at least twice that. The 16-amp continuous current, 64-amp pulsed current and 190-watt dissipation ratings of the IRFP350LC FETs used in the as-built unit suggest the design is capable of CW operation in the 500- to 1000-watt range when used with a suitably hefty power supply, heatsink and cooling fan. For AM service, 250 watts is about the limit. (Remember that a 250-watt AM transmitter must deliver 1000 watts, four times its rated power, on modulation peaks.) Limit the power supply voltage to about 50 volts for AM service using an external modulation amplifier, or 100 volts for CW (or AM using a series-type modulator). If you want more power, increase the current rating of your power supply and calculate the output transformer primary turns and primary/secondary turns ratio to match. A possible substitution for the IRFP350LC is the IRFP360LC with twice the current handling capacity (and twice the drive power requirement) of the '350LC. Other transistors capable of higher voltages probably can be substituted in the circuit but I can't vouch for any in particular.

The T-400-2 core shown should be capable of power levels up to a couple of kilowatts, but if your design calls for more power, stack multiple cores for higher current capability. Stacking of cores will require recalculating primary turns per the cores' winding chart. Add the AL values when stacking cores. For example, stacking 2 cores, each with an AL value of 185, will result in a total AL value of 370.

The output transformer should be wound with wire heavy enough to carry the expected current with minimal heating loss, as should inductor L1. Output coupling capacitor C2 likewise should be sized to handle the expected current and voltage. Consider using a vacuum variable for C2.

Multiple-Strand (Litz) Wire for Transformers and Coils

Transformers in switching power supplies are often wound with multiple small-diameter strands of insulated wire rather than with single, large-diameter strands. This is done to minimize the "skin effect", the increase in resistance seen in conductors carrying alternating current. Because the core of the transformer used in the transmitter shown on this page is physically large and the number of turns small (due to the core's relatively large AL value), ordinary single-strand Romex was quite adequate for winding; little heating was noticed in the conductors. Winding the output transformer (and L1) with multiple twisted strands instead might have resulted in a few percentage points greater efficiency. It could be argued that the largest number of conductors possible should be stuffed onto the core, whatever its size, but there's probably some point where the effort will begin to produce diminishing returns. Consider using multiple strands of magnet wire if your core is small and/or the number of turns large.


Transmitting Capacitors

Capacitors in transmitter service are subject to much higher voltages than those encountered in typical consumer electronic equipment. To generate 200 watts in a 50 ohm load, for example, requires about 280 peak-to-peak volts. This is not the whole story however. The output filter of the 200-watt version of the class-e transmitter (L1 and C2) has a Q factor of 5. This means that the actual voltage across C2 is 280 x 5, or 1400 Vp-p. During modulation peaks, this voltage doubles to 2800 Vp-p. Prudence suggests a minimal rating of 5000 volts for C2.


Frequency:

Class-E operation requires that final transistor switching take place during the part of the RF cycle when drain voltage is zero (see article). As frequency is increased, gate charge and discharge times become an increasingly larger fraction of the voltage-zero time. At some frequency above 2 MHz the gates of the specified IRFP350LC MOSFETs will not have time to charge and discharge sufficiently to fully turn on and off during the zero voltage window. At that point the circuit will no longer be operating in class-E mode and efficiency will begin to drop. Unfortunately for transmitter builders considering this transmitter for 80-meter operation, 200 watts in class-E mode at 3.5-4.0 MHz probably is not do-able with this circuit using the IRFP350LC. Would-be 80m builders might consider a 100-watt version, substituting type IRF740LC (lower current ratings, lower gate capacitance) for the '350LCs, or a 50-watt version using type IRF737LC. Experimentally bent builders might try different gate drive approaches, perhaps substituting high-speed MOSFET drivers, such as Microchip's TC1407, for the 2N2222/2N2907 circuits shown. back

Modulation

The as-built transmitter is amplitude modulated by an external 8-ohm transformer-coupled audio power amplifier, salvaged from a public-address system, connected through the modulation input terminals shown in Figure 1. Audio amplifiers, tube or solid-state, meant for public-address service are ideal in this application since they are almost always of transformer-coupled output design. Before connecting the modulator to the transmitter, a check should be made with an ohmmeter to make sure the output winding of the modulation amplifier is floating (i.e., not connected to ground). If there is a ground connection, it should be removed. Connect the terminal from which the ground connection was removed to the positive terminal of the power supply (Fig 3, Opt 1). It may be easier to isolate the negative terminal of the power supply, in which case the modulator would be connected between the negative terminal of the power supply and ground (Fig 3, Opt 2).

A modern solid-state linear (class-AB) or class-D audio power amplifier, perhaps meant for use in a high-fidelity home audio system or high-powered car stereo, can also be used as a modulator, but the amplifier output terminals must (1) be isolated from ground and (2) have very low terminal-to-terminal DC resistance (<0.5 ohm). If a check with an ohmmeter reveals that both of these conditions are met, the candidate amplifier can be connected directly to the transmitter modulation input terminals shown in Figure 1, otherwise it must be coupled to the transmitter through a transformer. A 500-watt (or larger) 120/120VAC isolation transformer is nearly ideal for this (Fig 3, Opt 3).

Note that the modulation transformer, be it the modulation amplifier's output transformer or the isolation/coupling transformer mentioned above, represents a DC resistance in series with the power supply and will thus subtract from the voltage presented to the final amplifier. For example, 5 amps through a 0.5-ohm transformer winding would produce a drop of 2.5 volts. Fortunately, an amplifier sufficiently rated to fully modulate the transmitter typically will have an output winding resistance low enough to produce negligible voltage drop. The output winding of the PA amplifier used with the as-built transmitter measures about 0.25 ohms.

Core Saturation in Modulation Transformers
Core saturation occurs when the core's magnetic flux density is increased to a point where the iron in the core can support no further increase. At that point the transformer has reached the limit of its ability to transfer energy and signal distortion will occur. Modulation transformers are subject to saturation because the transformer core is being magnetized both from the alternating current (audio) flowing in the primary and the direct current (DC) flowing in the secondary (supplying operating DC to the RF amplifier). The problem of core saturation is avoided in modulation transformers by employing larger cores and/or cores with lower permeability.

The information needed to determine beforehand whether a given transformer will be subject to core saturation in a given transmitter - number of turns, core material, core cross-sectional area - is usually not known precisely when constructing with surplus parts, but this conservative rule of thumb seems to hold: Select a transformer weighing a minimum of 1/2 pound (0.23kg) for every 10 watts of transmitter power. For example, a 200 watt transmitter would require a transformer weighing at least 10 pounds (4.5kg). The rule applies to the modulation amplifier's output transformer, if one is in there, or to an external transformer.

When considering an amplifier's suitability for modulation duty, it's usually not practical to remove the output transformer and weigh it. In that case, use the rule's corollary: Select a transformer whose volume (H x W x D) is 3.2 cubic inches (50cm3) or greater per 10 transmitter watts. Fortunately, an audio amplifier sufficiently powerful to fully modulate a given transmitter will usually be equipped with a transformer of sufficient size for the job.

The capacitor-coupled, modified Heising modulation method shown below avoids the core saturation issue altogether (Fig 3, Opt 4 and Fig 5).

An alternate method for coupling the modulation amplifier to the transmitter is shown in Figure 5 below. Called 'modified Heising', this method does not require a floating, low-resistance amplifier output - and thus no transformer - but works only with the specific type of power supply shown in Figure 5. The options for connecting a modulation amplifier to the transmitter are summarized in Figure 3.

(Figure 3)

Modulator Connection Options

Note to #4: Modified Heising connection can also be made to a transformer-coupled amplifier.

Modulator Power:

As with any AM transmitter, in order to achieve 100% modulation, the modulation amplifier must be capable of RMS audio output power half that of the final RF amplifier's steady-state DC input power, and a peak (instantaneous) audio output power twice that value. Thus the as-built transmitter requires 110 watts RMS and/or 440 watts peak audio power from the modulation amplifier. The peak power specification is the more important of the two in determining if an amplifier is suitable for AM service at a given power level. Often the RMS power rating of an audio amplifier does not reflect the amplifier's true available peak power (which should be 4 times the RMS rating). The commercial PA amplifier used to modulate the as-built transmitter, for example, is name-plate rated at 150 watts RMS, but peaks at about 500 watts. While the amplifier will in fact deliver 150 watts as measured with a true RMS voltmeter, at the 150-watt level the output is clipped. The manufacturer has fudged the RMS rating. The "honest" RMS rating would be 125 watts. Still, the amplifier is adequate for the purpose of modulating the 200-watt transmitter.

The test for amplifier suitability can also be stated in terms of voltage as follows: Peak-to-peak modulation (audio amplifier output) voltage under equivalent load must be equal to or greater than twice the transmitter's power supply voltage.

How to Check Modulation Amplifier Power
Unless you are sure of the candidate amplifier's power rating, it should be checked under load with an oscilloscope for suitability. To check the amplifier, connect an audio tone generator (set to 1 kHz) to the amplifier's input, connect the output to a load resistor (8-ohm, 100-watt, for example), connect the oscilloscope probe across the load resistor, turn up the amplifier gain and read the scope. Set the gain to just below the clipping point and calculate amplifier output power as follows:

PRMS = (Ep-p/2.828)2/R = (Ep-p)2/8R        (calc)

Ppeak = (Epk)2/R



Bridging a Stereo Amplifier

A stereo (two-channel) amplifier can be bridge-connected as a single channel for a theoretical 4-fold increase in modulation power over the amp's per-channel rating. That 4x power increase is usually not achievable due to the limited current capability of the amplifier's power supply but a 2x increase should be possible if the amp has been honestly rated. Two ways to bridge-connect a stereo amplifier are shown below.

  • The first connection is the simplest but requires a transformer-coupled stereo amplifier, a rare bird. Before making this connection, verify the amplifier outputs are floating, as described in the second paragraph under 'modulation' above. (Some class-d amplifiers may also meet this requirement.) This connection would be suitable for option 1, 2 or 4 (Figure 3 above).


  • The second situation is by far the most common - a modern transformerless stereo amplifier - but requires an inverting input amp and isolation transformer on the output. This connection would be suitable for option 3 or 4 above.





  • There is a third possible way to use a stereo amplifier as a modulator. If one channel has sufficient output power (as verified by the clipping check above) simply connect one channel only. Where audio amplifier power is cheap, this approach could be the most practical, especially when used with the modified Heising connection (option #4 above) - no isolation transformer needed.


Negative Peak Limiting:

The modulation envelope can be monitored with an oscilloscope connected to TP1 (sweep speed set to 1 mS per division). Over-modulation will be noted as a flatlining or pinchoff of carrier power at the envelope minimum. Pinchoff occurs when negative modulation peaks exceed the power supply voltage. At that point the instantaneous drain voltage on the output transistors drops to zero (or lower), causing instantaneous output power to drop to zero. Over-modulation produces distortion in the transmitted audio and wide-band splattering of the transmitted signal. Also, driving the drains of the output transistors negative will cause the MOSFETs' internal zener diodes to conduct in the forward direction, possibly causing failure of the output transistors.

Ideally, the modulation amplifier should be intrinsically incapable of delivering a voltage spike greater than what is needed for 100% modulation, but practically the modulator will need to be limited in some way, either in the audio stages ahead of the modulator's power amplifier or between the power amplifier and the transmitter. Over-modulation can be avoided with the indicator and negative peak limiter circuits shown in Figure 4. The circuits are independent and each can be used with or without the other. The circuit(s) are placed between the (+) modulator output (Figure 1 connection), or the power supply output (Figure 5 connection), and the center tap of the transmitter output transformer.


The negative peak limiter circuit consists of a 3-volt DC power supply connected to the positive modulation input terminal through a high-speed, high-current rectifier diode. The diode is reverse biased under normal conditions (mod input <100%). When the input voltage drops below about 2 volts, the diode conducts and supplies current to the transmitter to maintain a minimal carrier output level. Also, some of the current supplied during negative peaks is forced back into the energy storage capacitors in the main power supply, causing a slight increase in power supply voltage and subsequent increase in average carrier output power. The circuit eliminates splattering and reduces (but does not eliminate) audio distortion.

The over-mod indicator functions whenever the input voltage drops below about 2.5 volts. At this point the 555 timer is triggered and lights the LED (mounted in the transmitter's front panel). The LED will stay lit for about one-half second for each excursion of the input voltage below the trigger point. The timer will be retriggered on each input excursion and continuous over-modulation will produce a continously lit LED.

Series Modulation:

A series-type pulse-width modulator (PWM) can also be used to modulate the transmitter. In that case, since the modulation power is derived from the transmitter's power supply, attention must be paid during the transmitter's design phase to issues like power supply voltage and current, as well as output stage impedance, to properly incorporate the series modulator in the overall transmitter design. As a general rule, for a given output power (full-carrier double-sideband) using a series modulator, the power supply voltage is specified at twice that required for CW service at the same power level and impedance, with a current capability about 150% of the CW rating. Additionally, the power supply should be capable of delivering a current surge equal to or greater than 200% of the current required for CW service. (The 200% surge requirement applies to any AM transmitter's power supply; see the power supply addendum below.) To series modulate the as-built 220-watt transmitter, for example, would require a power supply continuously rated for 84 volts at about 8 amps (10.5 amps surge). Design calculations are applied at the chosen CW operating voltage or idle point, the voltage the transmitter operates at with no audio input. For a series modulator adjusted to idle midway between the power supply voltage and ground (full-carrier double-sideband), the design calculations are made at 1/2 the power supply voltage, or 42 volts for the as-built, Fig-1 version of the transmitter.

One of several advantages of series modulation is that the modulator is incapable of negative over-modulation, i.e., driving the drain voltage on the transmitter's MOSFETs into negative territory (<0). Conversely, positive modulation is limited only by the voltage and current capability of the transmitter's power supply. These attributes can be used to generate several variations of AM: full-carrier double-sideband, "super-modulated" AM and reduced-carrier double-sideband.

Shorting Jumper:

A shorting jumper should be placed across the modulation input terminals in Figure 1 (and/or Figure 5) to operate the transmitter when a modulator is not attached.

100% Modulation



Mod Amplifier Adjustment/VU Meter Calibration

To assure the transmitter is not over-modulated during normal operation, the modulator should have a means of monitoring and adjusting the audio input level. This would normally be through a VU meter-equipped mixing console.

There are a couple of ways to calibrate the VU meter:

Adjustment using oscilloscope

  • Connect an audio tone generator (set to 1 kHz) to the mixer input.
  • Set the tone generator output and/or mixer level controls for a reading of 0 dB on the VU meter.
  • Set modulation amplifier gain to minimum; connect an oscilloscope through a 10x probe to TP1 on the transmitter; power the transmitter.
  • Set the oscilloscope sweep speed to 0.5 mS per division; set the scope's input attenuator and trigger controls for a convenient on-screen display of the RF envelope.
  • Increase the modulation amplifier gain to a point just below pinch-off between modulation peaks (100%). Over-modulation will be noted as a flatlining of carrier power at envelope minimum.
  • Disconnect test equipment.
Adjustment using overmod indicator (Fig 4)
  • Connect an audio tone generator (set to 1 kHz) to the mixer input.
  • Set the tone generator output and/or mixer level control for a reading of 0 dB on the VU meter.
  • Set modulation amplifier gain to minimum; power the transmitter.
  • Increase the modulation amplifier gain until the Overmod light just comes on, then back down until the light goes off.
  • Disconnect test equipment.
The VU meter is now calibrated. The modulation amplifier gain setting should not be disturbed. The transmitter would normally be operated with audio levels at or just below 0 VU on the meter.


Power Supply

The 42-volt/5.25-amp. power supply used in the as-built 200-watt class-E transmitter is shown in Figure 5. Constructed entirely of surplus parts, it's very well behaved and operates effortlessly.

(Figure 5)


In order to acheive 100% modulation, an AM transmitter's power supply must be capable of providing, on a short-term basis, twice the current required during steady-state (CW) operation, 10.5 amps in this case. The supply in Fig. 5 uses inductive and capacitive energy storage to provide a relatively stable output voltage during and between modulation peaks. The filter/energy storage network that follows the rectifier also takes full advantage of the transformer secondary's available voltage and current without excessive component warming. The military surplus transformer used in the as-built supply appears to be under-rated by about 20% in the circuit.

While the as-built power supply is well matched to the task of powering the transmitter, almost any power supply design with a full-time steady-state rating sufficient to acheive the desired CW output level can be used. A grossly over-rated supply should be avoided, however. The power supply should be electronically regulated or intrinsically current-limited to 150% or less of calculated transmitter final input current. (The supply in Fig 5 is intrinsically limited, due, apparently, to the high-impedance (%Z) design of the transformer.)

Power supplies with limited short-term output current capability can be easily upgraded for AM service by adding a storage capacitor (minimum 1000 uF per peak amp) across the output terminals. Actively regulated supplies, however, usually can NOT be modulated through the negative terminal of the storage capacitor, as shown in Fig 5. In that case, a high-current choke having a reactance equal to or greater than about 8 ohms at 50 Hz (25mH) must be placed in series with the power supply output, ahead of the storage capacitor.

The power supply should be provided with a slow-blow fuse sized at about 150% of transmitter DC input power

Ifuse = 1.5(PDC input/Eline),

placed in the primary/line side circuit only. Do not fuse the DC circuit between the power supply output and the transmitter. This configuration provides a softer shutdown in case an arcing fault occurs in the transmitter output filter or antenna system. Bitter experience has shown that MOSFETs are much more likely to survive such a fault when the fuse is on the line side of the power supply.

Wattmeter

A directional wattmeter is installed in the as-built transmitter. The circuit is shown in Fig 6:

(Figure 6)

Linear Scale

Directional Wattmeter

as-built


The AD835 4-quadrant multiplier is connected as a voltage adder and squaring detector. A scaled current sample, derived from a current transformer (photo) connected in series with the transmitter's output (converted to a voltage by the 10-ohm shunt resistor), is delivered to pins 8 and 1. A scaled voltage sample, picked off at the transmitter's output connector, is delivered to pins 7 and 2. The chip adds and multiplies the two signals, producing current flow (DC) in the meter directly proportional to the power flow in the transmitter's output circuit. A switch is provided to reverse the phase of the current sample, allowing power flow reflected from the load to be read. True (real) power delivered to the load is the difference between the forward and reflected readings.

Wattmeter Calibration
  • Connect a 50-ohm resistive load (Bird Termaline, etc) to the transmitter output connector.
  • Connect an oscilloscope to the output connector (TP1) through a 10x probe.
  • Power the transmitter.
  • Set the FWD/REFL switch to REFL (the REFL position produces the lower panel meter reading).
  • Adjust the NULL control for a reading of zero on the panel meter.
  • Measure the peak-to-peak voltage (Vp-p) with the oscilloscope and calculate the forward power as follows:

    P = (Vp-p)2/400

  • Set the FWD/REFL switch to FWD and adjust the SCALE control for a meter reading equal to the calculated power.

Addendum: Antenna

Readers may be interested in the antenna system used with the as-built 1710 kHz transmitter. The schematic is shown in Figure 7.


The antenna system consists of three parts: 1) the radiating element, 2) the grounding system, sometimes called the counterpoise, and 3) the transmisson line/matching network. During planning and construction of the antenna, these general guidelines were followed:

  • The radiating element should be constructed vertically and made as tall and "fat" as possible. If the length of the radiating element falls short of being a full quarter wavelength at the operating frequency, a capacitive "hat" should be added. This makes the antenna look longer electrically and thus improves radiation efficiency.
  • The grounding system should built to have the lowest resistance possible. This minimizes ground heating. Transmitter power dissipated in the ground is lost power.
  • The transmission line and matching network components should be chosen to be as free of losses as possible. (Not usually a problem at 1.71 MHz.)

The transmission line is type RG-8 (though smaller RG-58 would probably work nearly as well), the roller inductor is a silver-plated type (almost all are) and the capacitor is a transmitting-type air variable (photo).

Tuner Adjustment

Adjustment of antennas and tuners is typically made with an inline directional wattmeter (Bird Thruline) or reflectometer (VSWR meter). The preferred method for adjusting this antenna/tuner is with a 50-ohm signal generator and 2-channel oscilloscope as follows:

  • Connect the signal generator to the oscilloscope; adjust it to the operating frequency and to a convenient output voltage such as 2Vp-p (this adjustment should be made with the signal generator un-terminated, i.e., with no load connected).
  • Connect the signal generator to the coax feedline at the feedpoint (the near end of the coax) where the transmitter would normally be connected.
  • Connect the oscilloscope, through 10x probes, to the coax center conductor where it connects to the antenna tuner (at the far end of the coax) and to the base of the antenna
  • Alternately adjust the tuner components for maximum voltage on the base of the antenna and for a dip in the voltage at the end of the coax; fine tune the coupling capacitor for a 90° phase shift between the two voltages. When the tuner is correctly adjusted, the voltage on the base of the antenna will be at maximum and the voltage at the coax/tuner connection point will be approximately one-half the signal generator voltage set in the first step.
  • Disconnect the test equipment; connect and power the transmitter; verify minimal reflected power on the transmitter's directional wattmeter.

The matching network component values shown in Figure 7 should be usable over a fairly wide range of radiating element lengths. Optimal adjustment of the as-built antenna occurs with the tuning capacitor about half meshed and the roller inductor tap located about midway on the roller coil. Longer radiating element lengths require less inductance and more capacitance; shorter lengths require more inductance and less capacitance.

Would-be builders of a transmitting antenna for 1710 kHz need not follow the particulars of the circuit in Figure 7, however, the guidelines should be followed. The challenge will be to radiate as much of the transmitter's output power as possible so as to produce the strongest on-air signal possible. A random length of wire connected to the transmitter's output connector will not acheive that goal.


Building and tuning the 200-Watt Push-Pull Class-E AM Transmitter should be hassle-free for an experienced constructor as long as the design steps and construction notes are followed. The builder should also expect and be willing to expend equal time and energy constructing and tuning the antenna.


Schematics produced with DCCAD.




Related Links

200-Watt Class-E Transmitter Photos

1710 kHz Transmitting Antenna Photos

Calculators

The Cat Radio AM Story - Development of the 200-Watt Class-E Transmitter

A Tube-Type 35-Watt 1710 kHz AM Transmitter

14-Watt FM Stereo Transmitter

Cat Radio



Comments/Questions:

Latest comments are at the bottom of the file. ↓        Top of page. ↑

Add your comment.


[Sat Oct 29 11:44:26 2005] about....

Hi Max,I enjoyed reading about the AM transmitter project - the push-pull topology is what I used for mine except I used IRF620's and was about 10dB down on your for output power! I used fet driver chips with a transformer to force a square wave on the gates. I am curious about your use of the 2N2222 as the complimentary drive - was it really happily driving those big fat (1200pf or so input) fets at nearly 2megs!!??I am wondering if I ought to give it a go as I have a 9100b Optimod AM broadcast audio processor....it would be fun to join in the 160M phone nets using something like that!Kind Regards,Rash.

[748]


[Sat Oct 29 11:44:26 2005] classe...

Thanks for the nice comment, Rash.

Yeah, the drivers seem happy. As mentioned in the article, class-e operation reduces the gate drive requirement. After adjustment, the two driver stages together draw about 175 mA at 10 volts.

Max

[199]


[Tue Jun 27 07:10:05 2006] classe...

HI!ABOUT MODULATION,CAN I USE PWM OR CLASS H MODULATOR?

[71]



[Wed Jun 28 03:46:08 2006] classe...

Yes.

Max

[148]


[Tue Jul 4 04:16:55 2006] classe...

please I'm a nigeria undergraduate in one of nigeria universities,i'm PHILIP, i want to learn how to design a transmitter.can i learn from your company.

[219]


[Sun Jul 30 10:04:08 2006] home.....

Hi!how is the rms power of 1710khz trans. and how is the pep?thanks!

[111]


[Sun Jul 30 10:06:45 2006] home.....

Hi!how is the rms power of 1710khz trans. and how is the pep?thanks!Can i tune this transmitter 550-1800khz?

[153]



[Sun Oct 22 04:28:16 2006] catradio.

Radio QRP - The Art of Low Power and Clandestine Operationshttp://www.geocities.com/Radio_QRP/We need your support! QRP is The Art of Low Power Radio where the challenge is to operate and/or build AM radio transmitters using a bare minimum of components, money and construction skill. Why work QRO with a factory set, when homebrew QRP works really well! We are searching for the ultimate design of a Grenade transmitter or Grenade Clone with a minimum of 5-10 watt output and is complete and working! Can anyone help us locate such a unit? We would appreciate any ideas on how to design this rig. Information in this subject would be appreciated! Thanks!

[754]


[Sun Jun 24 10:14:35 2007] classe...

hi MAX i m alex from greece . I am an amateur in AM BAND. 1600KHZ. I have an am pll exciter about 30watt output.I Want to help me on a linear amplifier about 250-300watt. do you have any circuit about this??

[258]


[Sun Jul 1 19:35:23 2007] classe...

This is an extremely well produceddocument, well done and thanks.I have not used a push pull pa beforebut intend to have a go, using yourdata.best regards Finbar

[217]


[Mon Aug 27 22:46:48 2007] classe...

Hi Max. My name is Agus. I m enjoying as a ham since 1979 when i was in middle school. I am intersesting in class e project and i found in the net your very clear project page. I m reproducing your schematic for 80 mtr band and it works at least i can produce RF. My problem is the power output is only 120 Watt.By knowing my problem i came back to see wheter i m overlooking something.Could you share your experience about my problem? Thanks for your help. Thanks Max 73s fer u es family.

[588]


[Wed Jan 16 17:48:02 2008] classe...

Nice page. I just got done building a 50 watt AM transmitter a little while ago using a mosfet. I don't think the design counts as true class E but it puts out a clean good signal.
I find mosfets are the best way to build larger lower frequency transmitters today from longwave up to 3 or 4MHz.
If your interested here's my design..
(note it was kind of a makeshift rig and was my first ;)...
http://i92.photobucket.com/albums/l12/defectivemachine/AMTXfinal.jpg

Anywho check out our message board at..
http://darkliferadio.proboards100.com

[615]


[Tue Mar 11 12:15:40 2008] home.....

Nice site. A good couple of hours entertainment. (Make yourself the PDM modulator! You'll love it!)

FFFR,

Andy

[154]


[Mon Mar 17 04:49:15 2008] viewcoms.

Thank you Andy,

Actually, I tried for several months to get the PDM to work.. without success. So I went back to using iron..

Max

[170]


[Mon Mar 24 21:29:26 2008] classe...

Lo felicito por su excelente descripci車n del amplificador Clase E de 200 vatios.
E realizado una sabana electr車nica en Excel, que me gustar赤a enviarle, donde desarrollo las sencillas formulas de Mark Mallory.

Entrando los valores del ejemplo de Mallory, da los valores esperados.
Entrando los valores de su amplificador, algunos no me coinciden y me gustar赤a conocer su opini車n al respecto.

La resistencia de carga en mis c芍lculos es de 22.2 次 y usted habla de 10 次 en su circuito
El condensador del tanque me da 2.433 pF y usted coloca 5.500 pF ( 0.0055 uF)

Me gustar赤a saber su correo para enviarle dicha sabana de Excel

Atentamente,


Herbert Botero B.
antecol@une.net.co


[828]


[Tue Mar 25 09:34:04 2008] viewcoms.

Thanks for the nice comment, Herbert.

I went back and recalculated the inductor and capacitor values for the 1.71 MHz class-e AM transmitter and discovered an error in the design instructions given in the web article. The confusion comes from the fact that the 1.71 MHz circuit is a push-pull design, whereas the Mallory circuit is single-ended. The error (my error) is in the P (power) term in the first equation (calculating for L). Since the power is shared by two tank circuits, the P term in the first equation should be 1/2 the output power. I did not make that clear.

I have re-written steps 1, 2 and 5 to clarify the design procedure. Please retry it - use 200 watts for P.

Here are the results of my calculations:

Calculated L = 1.07 uH
AL value (for T400-2 core, from table) = 185
Calculated turns (on T400-2 core) = 7.6 (rounded to 8)
Calculated C = 4829 pF (I used 5500; I happened to have ten 1100 pF mica caps on hand)
Calculated Z = 11 Ω (approx. 10)

I don't have contact information for Mark Mallory. If you like, you can send the spreadsheet file to me as an email attachment.

Sorry for the confusion.

Regards,

Max

[13]


[Thu Mar 27 05:17:54 2008] viewcoms.

As a result of the above exchange, I put a CALCULATOR on the class-e equations page. Click: /classexmtr/classecalc.html

Max

[13]


[Thu May 1 08:29:22 2008] classe...

RF POWER LINEAR AMPLIFIER

[35]


[Fri May 2 08:46:05 2008] viewcoms.

Class-e definitely ain't linear!

Max

[61]


[Fri May 16 05:48:42 2008] amblog...

BLOCK DIAGRAM EN FUNCTIONS OF EACH BLOCK

[50]


[Thu Jun 5 14:08:53 2008] classe...

sir,
you are not giving audio in put stage clearly please give this through
email illiraj55@yahoo.com thanku for yours corcut idea

[158]


[Thu Jun 5 14:12:46 2008] classe...

give a simpul shmatric of am tramsmitter with long range i think you used mpspet hi watt with parell more than above and increase the range
of trannsmitter and watt also

[185]


[Fri Jun 6 07:22:23 2008] classe...

illiraj55@yahoo.com,

The [class-e AM transmitter] article shows the transmitter circuitry and gives some suggestions for interfacing a modulation amplifier. (The audio modulation power is supplied by the modulation amplifier.) As suggested by the article, many commonly available amplifiers, tube or solid-state, can be used - public address, home audio, car stereo, etc. The details of the modulation amplifier are beyond the scope of the article.

Max

[476]


[Fri Jun 6 08:36:06 2008] viewcoms.

I've never had very good luck paralleling MOSFETS. Must be doin' somethin' wrong..

Max

[112]


[Tue Jun 17 14:30:08 2008] viewcoms.

give simpul hi watt long range transmitter you are not giving
smematric about 200w transmitte
give simpul ababul productto make
simpul

[160]


[Tue Jun 17 14:47:19 2008] viewcoms.

sorry sir,
parallel mospet means in rf out put stae we used pus pul type two mospet and increase this range through increase the pear of mospet like two pear & 3pear and increase volteg
like (ups or invertor) circut .and increase the range thanku for reading
and ancer me (112)
illiraj55

[335]


[Wed Jun 18 09:47:42 2008] viewcoms.

Here's a block diagram of the class-e AM transmitter (about the same as any other AM transmitter). Note that items marked "external" are not described (except in a general way) in the article:



Hope this is helpful.

Max

[243]


[Wed Jun 18 10:14:00 2008] viewcoms.

illiraj55,

Yeah, I know that in theory one can parallel MOSFETs to increase the power handling ability of the stage. I just have never had any luck doing it at the frequencies and modes (class-e) that I've tried..

Max

[259]


[Fri Jun 20 12:56:58 2008] home.....

sir
what is class e type transmitter and other a,b,c type transmitter
illiraj55

[131][-1][-1]


[Fri Jun 20 14:09:04 2008] viewcoms.

illiraj55,

Class A - output MOSFET (or other device, i.e., bipolar transistor or tube) conducts during 100% of the RF cycle time,

Class B - output device conducts 50% of the RF cycle time,

Class C - output device conducts less than 50% of the RF cycle time (typically about 45%),

Class E - output MOSFET acts as a switch, conducts only when the drain voltage is at 0. This is usually around 50% of the RF cycle time, but can vary depending on circuit parameters.

Look on the internet for further explanation of the various "classes". Wikipedia is usually pretty good.

Max

[685]


[Mon Jun 23 12:43:37 2008] viewcoms.

sir ,
still ihave adout 3.42 mhz carrier source means ?where i get this get idea details thanku for ancer me
illiraj55@yahoo.com

[184]


[Tue Jun 24 06:08:30 2008] viewcoms.

illiraj55,

Quoting the article: "...a signal generator, crystal oscillator, VFO or other source.." This would probably work:


In looking at this it occurred to me that a commonly available 3.58 MHz "colorburst" crystal should work in this circuit, for an operating frequency of 1790 kHz or thereabouts.

Max

[181]


[Wed Jun 25 00:17:40 2008] viewcoms.

THANKU SIR
ILLIRAJ

[44]


[Thu Jun 26 12:06:58 2008] viewcoms.

max
i have a 500w/1kw transmitter circut can you give idea to make simpul this ai 1.9mb give your email add i give you this thanku
illiraj55@yahoo.com

[202]


[Thu Jun 26 13:17:29 2008] viewcoms.

Illiraj,

I emailed you regarding this. Check your email.

Your choice.

Max

[148]


[Thu Jun 26 23:52:22 2008] classe...

RF POWER AMPLIFIER DRIVER

[35]


[Fri Jun 27 06:46:19 2008] viewcoms.

You might try phrasing your comment as a complete sentence..

Max

[88]


[Fri Jun 27 11:55:49 2008] viewcoms.

sir,
i sent this circut diagram through uplod option but it not give finish command after sending it will be heng up so if you are not receive than sent me e mail clearly my e mail illiraj55@yahoo.com and write (max) also then i understand uoy know there is more adv mels are comming and confus the peapul thanku sir

[342]


[Sat Jun 28 15:02:59 2008] max......

For what it's worth, here is a block diagram of the AM stereo transmitter Illiraj55 is referring to. About the only difference between a "regular" (mono) AM transmitter and a stereo one is the addition of the stereo processor/exciter. This one happens to be a C-QUAM exciter.



Note that the outputs of the processor/exciter consist of 1) a phase-modulated carrier at the transmitter's RF operating frequency and 2) a pulse width-modulated (PWM) AUDIO carrier, usually at around 100 kHz. The PWM stream is filtered in the modulator to remove the 100 kHz carrier and the two signals (RF carrier and now analog audio signal) are combined (multiplied) in the RF power amplifier to produce the composite stereo output signal. The composite signal is processed at the receiver to extract the original stereo audio signals.

I don't think AM stereo is used much anymore, at least in the US.

Hope this is helpful..

Max

[1005]


[Sun Jun 29 11:54:12 2008] viewcoms.

max
in our country radio transmitter is ilegal i heard that is in india . sir any idea to make transmitter in legal purpose houw can i get licance or any friquncy that is free for transmitting or hobby purpose any ligal sdvice if you know then give idea to solve my problame thanku sir

[306]


[Sun Jun 29 15:46:46 2008] max......

Illiraj55,

I don't know how to get a broadcasting license in India but, like many places, if you have the equipment, there is not much that prevents you from broadcasting WITHOUT a license.

(I didn't actually say that..)

My suggestion is to use FM. FM transmitters are generally simpler and cheaper, antennas much smaller, and coverage (transmitting range) is usually equal to or greater than AM for wattages less than 100 or so.

I don't know if low-powered FM transmitters are available in India, but they are available worldwide.

Type into Google terms like 'low-power FM', 'LPFM', 'pirate radio', 'FM transmitter', etc.

Hang around pirate radio forums like alt.radio.pirate or alt.pirate.radio:

groups.google.com/group/alt.radio.pirate/topics?hl=en&lnk=srg

groups.google.com/group/alt.pirate.radio/topics?hl=en&lnk=srg

Drop a question on there about where to get transmitting equipment.

Some sources that I know about are:

www.ramseyelectronics.com kits mostly; require soldering

www.northcountryradio.com kits; require soldering, adjustment skills, test equip

www.progressive-concepts.com ready-built mostly

There are many others.

Importation is a problem in some countries. I don't know about India.

It appears that the FM band in India extends from about 90 MHz to 108 MHz, about the same as everywhere else in the world. For a list of FM stations in India, see: www.asiawaves.net/india-fm-radio.htm Avoid frequencies on the list.

Max

[1739]


[Mon Jun 30 12:49:44 2008] viewcoms.

thanku max for your coparate i will quick come a anew topic thinku illiraj55

[87]


[Sun Aug 17 10:48:19 2008] classe...

-Can the unit run without load?
-We know what bifilar means but it is not seen in the pictures.

[114]


[Mon Aug 18 06:00:33 2008] viewcoms.

Yes, the transmitter can be operated without load. The output signal will be distorted. Why would you want to operate it without load?

Bifilar? The white and black conductors shown in the photo make up the transformer primary winding. Note that the conductors are parallel with one another and that each occupies the whole circumference of the torroid core. (The secondary, under the electrical tape, is not bifilar wound.)

Max

[429]


[Mon Aug 18 10:49:43 2008] amblog...

notify graphical representation

[41]


[Sat Aug 23 05:07:09 2008] viewcoms.

Without load incase of bad loadtuning or something. To know that the tx will survive. :-o

[101]


[Sat Aug 23 07:39:35 2008] viewcoms.

If minimal drive current (<200 mA) has been acheived and class-e operation has been verified with an oscilloscope during initial tune-up, mis-tuning the output filter will not cause excessive currents or high voltages on the drains of the output MOSFETs.

Arcing in the output filter capacitor or antenna tuning capacitor could be more troublesome. Be sure to use transmitting-type (high-voltage) capacitors in the output filter and antenna tuner to minimize the likelihood of arcing. Follow the guidelines given in the power supply section of the article to minimize the possibility of blowing the output transistors should arcing occur.

Max

[659]


[Fri Aug 29 16:04:35 2008] amblog...

Hay! (in LV)

Ja Jums gadījumā ir zināmi mērījumi par raidītāja izejoo jaudu, kā piem. Output 200 watt apraides zona km (brīvā un masīvā vidē).

[321]


[Sun Aug 31 05:47:10 2008] viewcoms.

Hello Latvia!

I think this is asking the transmitting range, or how much coverage area, the 200-watt transmitter provides.

The answer is 'it depends'. On a clear channel at night the range could be hundreds of kilometers. On a typical well occupied channel on the upper end of the medium-wave broadcast band in the daytime the range might be 50 km. At night maybe 25 km. Maybe more, maybe less.

A guy reported listening for the station one night in mid-winter at a range of about 2000 km. Nope, didn't hear it.

Max

[567]


[Tue Sep 2 14:31:22 2008] viewcoms.

Hi Max,
Great transmitter design (Class E 200w.)
I'd like to convert some of my LPB and Radio Systems transmitters or build new ones. I use them for carrier current operations in seniors retirement buildings. I head a not for profit group that provides senior citizens with radio listening they actually can enjoy!
Commercial broadcasters and advertisers no longer care about the baby boom generation.
worldsupercaster@yahoo.com

[468]


[Sat Dec 13 04:21:08 2008] classe...

This is just the info I have been looking for. Back to the bench and the junk box for now. 73's KQ2P

[113]


[Sat Dec 13 07:12:03 2008] viewcoms.

Glad you found the info useful, KQ2P.

Max

[88]


[Tue Jan 12 09:07:06 2010] viewcoms.

I am contemplating on building a class E transmit/receiving station at home and am curious if you could tell me what your daytime range was with 200W? I plan to operate base to mobile on the bottom of the 160 meter band. Everyone usue 2 meters and I want to do it like they did before WW2. I know nightime range should be great, but what about groundwave in the daytime?


[394]


[Wed Jan 13 06:44:56 2010] viewcoms.

Hi kc5dsw74ci,

Yeah, that's the way they did it in pre-VHF FM days (I read).

The daytime range of the 200W transmitter with the antenna shown in the article is comparable to a small local AM broadcast station. With a car radio it's about 10 miles noise-free; maybe 25 miles if you're willing to put up with some noise; maybe 50 miles with a communications receiver/antenna or with a good portable AM radio (like the GE Superadio) at a quiet fixed location.

Max

[487]


[Fri Feb 19 05:05:46 2010] viewcoms.

You did an ultra fine job dr om Max.
Very clear schematics, photos, infos
and very simplified technical and procedural explanations abt all aspects.
Hope some day to upload and a PWM modulator suitable for this rig to make
us completely happy.
Thank for sharing your hard work with
us.

Fotios/SV1CDX/Athens Greece


[378]


[Fri Feb 19 06:06:02 2010] viewcoms.

Thanks Fotios.

Max

[39]


[Fri Jan 28 11:33:38 2011] viewcoms.

Love the site Max, I've been back many times over the years. I have a question concerning frequency scaling of the transmitter. Would these devices work at say 7 MHz or higher? I'm wondering about the practicality of using this on the amateur bands, or nearby them ;)

[294]


[Sun Jan 30 15:20:03 2011] viewcoms.

The IRFP350LC and similar devices probably will not work well at 7 MHz or higher at anywhere near the power levels of the 1710 kHz transmitter. The gate capacitances are too high. A lower powered device, like the IRF737LC, would be more likely to work in that range. You might checkout http://classe.monkeypuppet.com/ and/or http://www.classeradio.com/ . There appears to be some pretty good info on MOSFET-based class-e transmitters for the ham bands on those sites.

Max

[410]


[Mon Jan 31 06:33:50 2011] viewcoms.

I am familiar with the class e radio site. Thanks for the reply, and best of luck with your projects.

[114]


[Mon Feb 21 18:30:22 2011] viewcoms.

HI MAX

I wonder ,can we use a " bigger" transistor than The 2 N2222 type,like the Bd 139....as the driver,or a more high power transistor than the 2N2222,or how to boost the 2N2222 power.

Thanks

Darren

[257]


[Tue Feb 22 06:01:21 2011] viewcoms.

Darren,

Yeah, it would appear that efforts to get ever more power from class-e MOSFET amplifiers at ever higher frequencies means driving the gates ever harder.

Yep, drive those gates harder!

Thanks for the comment.

Max

[281]


[Tue Feb 22 07:25:37 2011] viewcoms.

Thanks Max

I lived in a country that's hard to find a specific Mosfet ,So there's only Fets here with has a high input capacitance ,meaning it needs a higher "power" driver,since I can't "find" a IXDD 414 Ic here, browsing the Internet I found Your Article ,a very good article,
Reading it Something cross my mind ,can We modified it by making the driver transistor with a higher power one like a darlington Transistor,or Like I wrote before a BD 139,modified /used a "full" 4049 IC to drive each transistors?

Darren

[593]


[Tue May 17 04:27:15 2011] viewcoms.

I like to use a DDS but don't want to divide the signal by 2.....is there an other way than using the cd4013??

Thanks
Henk from New-Amsterdam, The Netherlands

[192]


[Tue May 17 06:45:10 2011] viewcoms.

Henk,

Something like this should work:



Max

[75]


[Sun May 29 11:10:53 2011] viewcoms.

hi

[12]


[Sun May 29 11:11:53 2011] viewcoms.

hi.
I designed a 500watts class F transmitter. do you want that i send to you my map?

[102]


[Mon May 30 06:02:25 2011] viewcoms.

Hi hi,

Sure, send it.

Max

[50]


[Sun Jun 12 21:10:16 2011] viewcoms.

Hi Max;
Can you please give me more details about antenna design? (the length of the radiating element, aproximate real and complex impedance,etc).

Best regards from Venenezuela


[222]


[Mon Jun 13 10:51:41 2011] viewcoms.

Hi Venezuela,

I'm no antenna guru, but here's how I understand it: The most important dimension for a radiating element is its length relative to the length of the radiated wave (wavelength)*. For maximum transfer of energy from the radiating element to the radiated wave (the best match) the length of the radiating element should equal some multiple of half the wavelength. (A quarter-wave antenna is electrically a half-wave antenna as seen by the excitation source; the grounding system - the counterpoise - makes up the "missing" portion.) In a real antenna, the match will occur when the radiating element is slightly shorter than half the wavelength - the diameter of the radiating element also comes into play; the greater the diameter, the shorter the radiator.

If the length of the radiating element is ideal, the impedance at the feedpoint (the midpoint of a half-wave radiator or the end of a quarter-wave radiator) will be non-reactive, it will look like a resistor to the excitation source (transmitter) - that is, current will be in phase with voltage. As the length of the radiating element or the excitation frequency is varied from ideal, the impedance at the feedpoint will begin to depart from real - it will look more and more reactive (or complex, consisting of a real and an imaginary component). That is to say, voltage and current become ever more out of phase. In the case of the radiating element being shorter than ideal, or the frequency being lower than ideal, current will lead voltage. In the opposite case, the radiating element being too long or the excitation frequency being too high, current will lead voltage.

The antenna tuner components, usually located at the base of the antenna, compensate for these affects so as to make the antenna appear non-reactive to the excitation source. The inductive component delays current, the capacitive component delays voltage. Combining the two allows adjustment to a specific impedance. In the case of the antenna shown above, the inductor could be thought of as over-compensating for current lead, and the capacitor as over-compensating for current lag. By adjusting the values of these two components, the antenna can be made to look like any impedance to the exciter or, conversely, any antenna can be made to look like a specific impedance (say 50 ohms). The thing to remember about antenna tuners is that they can only partially make up for radiator inefficiencies. If the antenna is grossly short relative to it's operating frequency, no amount of compensation will make up for ground losses and/or losses in the tuner components.

As for what specific capacitor/inductor combination will match a specific antenna to a specific impedance, I think it's best to take an experimental approach. Make the components adjustable and tune for best match. (See the antenna addendum above.) If you really want to calculate actual values (and can spare $45), refer to the ARRL Antenna Book. (There are sites which claim to offer the book free as a download, but my anti-virus software warns me not to visit those sites. Visit at your own risk!)

*Calculate Wavelength

λ = c/f

where λ is wavelength in meters,

c is speed of light in meters/second (300,000,000) and

f is frequency in Hz.


Or there's λ/2 = 468/f,

where λ/2 is half-wavelength in feet and

f is frequency in MHz.


Hope this is helpful,

Max

[13]


[Wed Jun 15 20:07:38 2011] viewcoms.

Thanks Max, I forgot put my name: Anthony!

Let me ask you something, what do you think about use a EE ferrite transformer (switching supplies,etc) in the transmitter? In this side of the world it's extremely hard to buy on internet or find out RF parts like toroids or high speed mosfet.

For output capacitor, I'm making it using aluminium and screw&nuts, hopefully it will can handly safety at least 5000V considering futures "changes" in the trasmitter power.

In the other hand, how do you protects the transmitter for lightning and static?

Thanks again for you time and the good explanation of the antenna system.

[704]


[Fri Jun 17 06:21:53 2011] viewcoms.

Hi Anthony,

Whether or not a ferrite transformer core would work in the circuit depends on the frequency you want to operate at. The ferrite core's inductance coefficient, its AL value (uH/100 turns), may be too high. You can check this out experimentally by first running the numbers through Mallory's equations or using the calculator to find the value of the resonating capacitor/s. Wind a few turns on your core, parallel with a capacitor of the calculated value and check the resonant frequency with a signal generator and oscilloscope. Add or remove turns as necessary until you obtain resonance at about 1.29x your desired operating frequency. If you are not able to obtain resonance with the calculated capacitor value, the core likely will not work in the application. The adjustable exciter compensates somewhat for variations in component values (L and C) but won't compensate for a large discrepancy.

Other than the DC-grounded antenna (through the antenna tuner) the system has no lightning protection. So far it's had no problems with lightning. An inline lightning arrestor wouldn't be a bad idea though.

Max

[13]


[Sun Jul 10 03:46:10 2011] viewcoms.

Thanks again;

What do you use to hold the mast? I can see on the pic's that you use some kind of plastic rope!

I ask that because some metal would act as a reflector and will change the radiation resistence and how it radiates, correct?

[281]


[Sun Jul 10 05:32:36 2011] viewcoms.

The mast is guyed with plastic-coated clothesline wire. (Does anyone use clothesline wire nowadays?) The guys are insulated at both ends.

Since the guys are very short relative to the antenna's operating wavelength, I doubt they have much affect. If the lengths were a significant fraction of λ/2 they would need to be broken up with more insulators.

Max

[441]


[Wed Dec 14 15:09:45 2011] home.....

Hi Max
I really like the Class E 200 Watt transmitter of yours. I noticed you did not include the output capacitance of the FETs. Does this cause any problems that you have found?
Thanks
Don

[217]


[Thu Dec 15 06:52:15 2011] viewcoms.

Hi Don,

No, I didn't have any problems related to FET output capacitance but I should have mentioned it in the article. It could be significant when the tank values calculation calls for a capacitance value below maybe an order of magnitude above the MOSFETs' output capacitance. This could be the case when calculated tank impedance comes in "on the high side" - over 50-100 ohms or so, ie., when high power, high supply voltage and/or high frequency is called for. The FET output capacitance should be subtracted from the calculated value. The adjustable exciter provides for duty-cycle adjustment during tune-up. This compensates somewhat for variations in component values.

As mentioned in the article, the specified FETs probably won't work well in the circuit above 2-3 MHz.

Thanks for the comment.

Max

[810]


[Thu Mar 1 08:24:29 2012] viewcoms.

Hi Max,

I have been using your design for some time now. Mine is crystal driven at twice the frequeny. I would like to use a PLL or VFO. The only thing is that both have a sinus wave signal. Is there a solution how to convert the sinus into a square wave?

Thanks
Henk, PA3EMX

[319]


[Fri Mar 2 05:48:49 2012] viewcoms.

Hi Henk,

The circuit in Figure 2 of the article should work with a sinewave input if the amplitude is greater than 4 volts (p-p) or so.

Almost any amplifier, if driven hard enough, will act as a sinewave-to-squarewave "converter". The circuit below should work OK with a sinewave input amplitude considerably below 1 volt.



Glad you've found the circuit useful.

Max

[347]


[Sat Mar 3 16:20:56 2012] classe...

Hi Max,

Thanks for the swift update. This was only 5 minutes work to get it all inaction with my home made PLL. It is getting better all the time!!!!! Thanks and have a nice weekend6+-

Regards,
Hank

[251]


[Wed Apr 25 15:35:10 2012] classe...

Hi Max.
Could you tell me how to calculate C1 and capacitor in parallel to other working frequencies ...
Many thx, William

[144]


[Thu Apr 26 07:08:24 2012] classe...

William,

I don't know how to calculate the value of those capacitors. The values shown were derived experimentally during the tune-up process (step 3). The 1250 pF capacitor was added across C1 to acheive minimum driver current within the adjustment range of C1. A combined value about 1/3 the value of the resonating capacitors (5500 pF) might be a good rule of thumb, but that relationship might not hold if the operating frequency, power and power supply voltage are radically different from those of the described transmitter. Likewise, a different transformer core and/or final transistors might result in a different relationship.

Sorry I don't have a better answer to your question, but thanks for asking it. Feedback gives me a chance to re-think these things. I may modify the original article to clarify the tune-up procedure regarding C1.

Max

[1155]


[Thu Apr 26 09:35:20 2012] classe...

Thanks for quick response.
I want to use your design for 7MHz with other mosfet.
I'll have to do some tests to see the results.
Max thank you very much, congratulations on the article
William

[225]


[Tue Aug 21 22:09:25 2012] classe...

Hello! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any methods to protect against hackers?

[282]


[Wed Aug 22 06:41:51 2012] classe...

Weird junk - some of it innocuous, some potentially destructive, most merely annoying - comes in every day. I examine the access log and deal with issues as they come up. Revealing exact methods might be revealing too much.

BTW, your post comes close to qualifying as "weird junk".

Max

[419]


[Sun Sep 29 06:10:01 2013] classe...

A tip of the hat your way from Texas. A real nice design and a project that looks like even I could build it. Nice work...

I'd love to hear your station but I've got a station at 1700 here in the Dallas Texas area that eats up the band... At least it is "comedy" and not, yet another "Blather Radio Outlet", or freaking Sports Radio.

I sure miss music on AM at night since KOMA changed format and call letters to KOKC and more "Blather Radio".

The ONLY AM music choice now days (or in this case nights) is WSM Nashville with 5kc bandwidth IBOC compatible AM. I get better bandwidth and sound from a telephone..Oh well..

[686]


[Sun Sep 29 06:12:45 2013] classe...

Nice comment.

For sure music is dead on AM, and I wonder sometimes if AM itself will be around much longer.

WSM is covered here by KGAB in Cheyenne.

I get CBC-1 out of Winnepeg, Regina and/or Calgary. Makes reaching up and turning on the radio in the middle of the night still worth the effort..

Max


[371]


[Tue Oct 8 05:23:54 2013] classe...

[Darren, Sorry, the server software thought your post was SPAM. Here it is:]

HY

Can I used several module/transmitter and combine to Make a higher power Output transmitter

Darren

[141]


[Tue Oct 8 05:36:04 2013] classe...

Probably. That big T-400-02 core could be wound with multiple primaries driven in-phase, with a single secondary driving the output filter. Could be tricky though.

Max

[204]


[Fri Apr 25 04:19:32 2014] viewcoms.

Max, did you ever measure the impedance at the base of the antenna? I'm looking for ohms and reactance, if you know off hand.

Thanks

[162]


[Fri Apr 25 05:12:36 2014] viewcoms.

I've never measured it directly with a bridge but it roughly calculates to around 800 ohms - highly reactive (capacitive).

Max

[112]


[Fri Apr 25 13:42:30 2014] viewcoms.

Interesting. Similar designs state around 3 ohms real, and around -550 ohms reactance (capacitive). I would like to try an autoformer type match for simplicity. It will be lossy, but the components would be cheaper and smaller, if you went the toroid route.

[280]


[Sat Apr 26 07:58:34 2014] viewcoms.

With ground resistance an order of magnitude or two greater, that 3 ohms real means the 200-watt transmitter radiates a watt or two..

Makes a good case for confining unlicensed broadcasting efforts to 3 meters (FM).  :)

Max

[235]


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