NorCal 40A Project


The following pictures annotate my construction of the NorCal 40A CW transceiver.

For more information, see


December 2, 2000

All parts

Closeup of blank PCB

First part goes in! - R12

Closeup of R12

All fixed resistors are installed

Resistor Network and 3 pots added

Added diodes

Some chokes (the big green things)

All 47 capacitors finally in

Now the 5 trimmer caps (also added the three trimmer resistors that I missed before and removed the pots. oops!)

Some transistors

IC's are in

Some Crystals for good measure

Next step are winding coils... they're not so big (shown below them is a quarter).


December 3, 2000

My first coil! (L6)

L6 is in


December 4, 2000

Coil L8

L8 on the PCB

Here's the VFO, L9 (59 turns)

L7 & L9 added to the PCB


December 5, 2000

Toroidal Transformer T1

Toroidal Transformer T2 & T3

Rear connectors & rear face plate

Another shot of the rear face plate

Front pots (They're back!)

Front face plate

Another shot of the front face plate

Added side clamps and feet


Construction Complete!






December 6, 2000  

Receiver not working so well... no signals. Can't figure out why. Calibrating C1 & C2 did not effect anything. Tracing the circuit indicates no signal from the antenna. No noticable defects on parts between ant & audio out. Need a can of  Lucky Testing Potion.


December 7, 2000

Project Complete!

Continued troubleshooting from last night. It just didn't add up until I started moving it and the connections underneath were scratching against the instructions. Noise loud then soft. Tracked it down to a bad connection on L8 (wire next to C47). Resoldered and receiver worked like a champ! Calibrated again and this time C1 & C2 made a very significant difference. Heard signals loud & clear... compared very well to my Sony ICF-2010 with it's whip (40A has a 40m dipole with 2 40m Hamsticks). Those who think CW is dead should listen to 7027-7071 (the frequency range of my unit).

Next step was to tune the transmitter. Got this little blowtorch up to 2 full Watts. Tried a test with a local station (AJ0O) about 7 miles away, but neither of us could hear each other. Not really surprised, since we tried this a while back (I used my Kenwood TS-690AT then) and when the band went long, we lost each other, even cranked up the power to around 100W. The test with the 40A will be done during the day (or should test with someone far away).

If you have any comments or questions, feel free to drop me a line at


December 22, 2000

New Face Plate So it wasn't 100% complete, but complete enough for me. Received the correct face plate today. NOW it's 100% complete.


Page last modified 1/7/01