The NOGAnaut: Introduction

Is your big, expensive microprocessor-based transceiver Y2K ready?

The NOGAnaut transmitter is guaranteed to operate in the year 2000 (assuming of course, that you build it correctly!). It only draws milliamperes of power, so fancy generators and other large sources of power are unnecessary-just about any solar cell, lemon or Tabasco ™ battery or even gerbil-generator will get this rig on the air!

This transmitter was adapted from the Micronaut, first made popular by Dave Ingram, K4TWJ, and sold in kit form by SESCOM™, Dave, and built by many, many others. The NOGA QRP club modified Dave's original design to develop a transmitter that would operate on the NOGA net frequency (3686.4KHz), to increase power output (over 100 milliwatts!) and to improve stability.

The NOGAnaut was designed to be an easily constructed 80M CW-transmitter, as an entry into the exciting world of QRP/QRPp. It is a one-transmitter oscillator matched to a 50-ohm load on a fixed frequency of 3686.4 KHz. The North Georgia QRP Club meets on this frequency on Tuesday nights at 9:30PM Eastern Time. The North Carolina KnightLites group also meets on this frequency on Sunday nights at 9:30PM Eastern Time. 3686.4KHz is a popular QRP frequency because,

  1. Surplus computer crystals are readily available for this frequency and are relatively inexpensive.
  2. 3686.4KHz is in the Novice CW portion of the 80M band (meaning you can almost always find somebody to QSO with and you don't have to worry about them sending CW at blinding speeds!).

The circuit is a basic bipolar-transistor crystal oscillator, with a keyed power supply. It can generate over 100 milliwatts (at 15V-supply voltage) of power into a 50-ohm load (as you will see below, 100 milliwatts is a lot of power!).

This kit is meant as a starting place for learning about QRP operations, home brewing, and experimentation. One of the key differences between the amateur radio license and all other FCC-granted licenses is the permission, even encouragement, to experiment. Experiments include (and are certainly not limited to):

  1. How far can I go using only milliwatts of power?
  2. What happens when I change different compenent values in this circuit?
  3. How can I make this circuit generate more power?
  4. What other uses can I make for this circuit?

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Copyright ©, 1999, Mike Boatright, KO4WX (Copies may be freely made with attribution)