Receiver with ceramic resonator

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This receiver is using a ceramic resonator for tuning, instead of a LC circuit.
Ceramic resonators behave a little bit like a LC circuit, so they can be used for tuning to a certain frequency.
The resonator only works on one frequency, so the receiver can receive only one station.

On the left side of the front panel are the connectors for antenna and ground.
The socket for the headphone is on the right-hand side.
The dimensions of the front panel are 12 x 5 cm.


Ceramic resonators are available in several frequencies between 375 and 503 kHz, they are low cost components often used in, for instance, tv remote controls.



The resonators are not available in frequencies corresponding to station frequencies on the medium wave band, but we can do something about this.
When the casing of the ceramic resonator is opened, we find a thin ceramic disc inside, mounted between two flexible contact plates.
The contact plates are connected to the soldering pins of the ceramic resonator.
The dimensions of the ceramic disc determine the frequency of the resonator.
If we make the disc smaller, the resonance frequency will go up, and we can reach a certain medium wave frequency.

In this receiver I used a 485 kHz resonator, the disc having dimensions  4.7 x 4.7 mm and a thickness of 0.5 mm.
I then reduced the dimensions of the resonator disc from 4.7 x 4.7 mm to 3.4 x 3.4 mm, this causes a frequency change from 485 to 675 kHz, which is the frequency of my local radio station.
The thickness (0.5 mm) must not be changed, because then the conductive surface of the disc will be removed.

To make the disc smaller, I used fine sandpaper (#320), holding the disc between my fingers and moving it across the sandpaper.
Remove the same amount from both length en width, thus preserving the square shape of the disc.
Every time I removed some material, I measured the frequency, because when you remove too much, there is no way back.

I don't know if frequencies in the top of the medium wave band can be attained with this method, because the disc must then be very small.

Circuit diagram of the receiver.
The ceramic resonator determines the frequency of reception, in this case it is 675 kHz.
Two germanium diodes are used, connected as a voltage doubler.
Detection with one diode is not possible in this case, because a ceramic resonator does not pass DC current (unlike a parallel LC circuit).

With trimmer capacitor C2 we can adjust the resonance frequency slightly.
With C2 at 0 pF the resonance frequency is 675.9 kHz
With C2 at 40 pF the resonance frequency is 674.5 kHz.


Backside of the receiver.

The resonance disc is mounted between the original contact plates (not visible in the picture).
This in turn is mounted below a small Plexiglas plate, visible on the right side of this picture.


Response curve of the resonator.

The horizontal scale is  5 kHz /cm.

The curve is measured with the diodes connected, and loaded with 82 kΩ.
The input of the receiver is connected via a dummy antenna to a signal generator.


The results:
Compared to a receiver with a LC circuit, this receiver gives less sound output, this is because the resonator has a lower impedance then a LC circuit.
This results in a lower voltage at the diodes, which will therefore have higher losses.
However, with a 5 meter antenna wire, reception of my local station is satisfactory.

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