Friday, April 16, 2021

Homebrew Lives - Furlough 40 / SimpleSSB Transceivers on the Air


It has been too long since the last update but I have some exciting news and also a classic homebrew “tale of woe” to share.

First, my friend Mike KD4MM, here in Vienna, VA was the first member of the Vienna Wireless Society Makers group to complete the receiver side of N6QW, Pete Juliano's SimpleSSB transceiver – check it out:

Mike shared his progress with us and also this demonstration of decoding FT8 with simple audio coupling:


And the tale of woe shared by Don, KM4UDX, reminds us that not everything goes smoothly when building a homebrew transceiver.  He reminds to “Don’t do what Don Did!”

It has been just over a year since I completed my initial build of the Furlough 40 with much coaching and assistance from Pete. Mike and Don are two out of 20  members of the Vienna Wireless Society Makers group that is working on a group build the SimpleSSB project as enhanced by me to include features like CAT control for digital modes.  Beginning about six weeks ago the group is progressing module by module per SolderSmoke best practice advice.  We started with the audio amplifier, followed that with the Arduino/SI-5351 based controller module and the builders are just completing the IF module.  This week at our weekly meeting, Mike proudly showed off his success.  

Pete was gracious enough to provide tribal knowledge and encouragement to the group a view weeks ago:

The group is generating a ton of great material on the project including photos and videos of the in-progress builds, technical documentation, test equipment, procedures and more.

Here just a few pictures of the in-progress builds

Audio Amplifier by Leon, NT8B

Arduino / SI 5351 Controller by Mike, KA4CDN

Front Panel by Leon, NT8B

Front Panel Assembly by Leon, NT8B

IF Module by Mike, KD4MM

Another take on the IF by Don, KM4UDX

You can follow the group's progress on the VWS Makers Group SimpleSSB Project page.

Just think of this – in another couple of weeks we may have as many as a dozen SimpleSSB transceivers on the air…..we are giving serious competition to the big rigs everywhere.

And a very warm welcoming of to the new members of the much sought after, rarely granted membership in to the International Brotherhood of Electronic Wizards.

73 from Great Falls,


  1. Congratulations on encouraging home brew projects in these days of plug and play.
    Nothing beats home brewing to learn how a thing works and experience the thrill of having done it yourself.
    Lawrence 9H1AV

  2. Lawrence,

    Thanks for the nice note. You are spot on - the motivation for most of our builders is learning how things work and there is something tangible and meaningful in translating a schematic to a layout - placing all the parts and testing it out. Since this post two more SimpleSSB builders are now experiencing the joy of listening to an SSB receiver they built themselves.