BSS Transceiver

A High-Performance All-Band SSB/CW Transceiver

BSS stands for “Bus-Switch Special“. It’s a simple, high-performance HF transceiver that employs a number of novel circuits and extensive use of CMOS bus-switches to improve performance and simplify construction. This is a project I’ve been noodling on and off for a long time. Over the course of the last year, I’ve simulated, prototyped and optimized a number of the stages to the point where I think my goals can be met. Here’s a rough idea of where I’m going:

  1.  What is it?
    A multi-band SSB/CW QRP transceiver with better than average performance, full feature set, low parts count, easy parts availability easy construction, no special test equipment requirements and very modest cost.
  2.  Features:
    – Single-band up to all-band configurations (user build option)
    – Minimum 10 watts output
    – Hot receiver with good overload performance
    – High-performance frequency control system
    – LCD display of important parameters; digital encoders for tuning & volume controls
    – Arduino control system with remote rig interface for frequency, volume, band, mode, etc
    – Built-in test equipment; can be built and tested with just an inexpensive VOM
    – Extensive use of SMD components for small size and improved performance.  I’ll show you how to build it painlessly.
  3.  Specification Goals:
    – Frequency range:  1.8 to 30 Mhz in 10 bands
    – Receiver sensitivity: Less than 1.0 uv on all bands (SSB)
    – Receiver selectivity: 8 pole 2.1 khz crystal IF filter; possible switched CW filter option
    – Overload & distortion: Use of very high performance circuits at all critical stages
    – Automatic gain control: up to 80 db Rx AGC range; Tx ALC range TBD
    – Transmit power: 10 watts design goal; adjustable
    – Size: Approx 6″x8″x2″ goal (150mm x 200mm x 50mm); sure to evolve
    – Power: 12VDC; 50ma receive (design goal); TX current TBD
  4.  Roll-out Sequence:
    – Discussion of the architecture, block diagram, design considerations, build options
    – Stage-by-stage circuit description, LTSpice analyses and actual prototype performance
    – PCB design, prototype construction, re-work
    – Release design files and source code
    – Ongoing optimizations

The features, goals and roll-out plans will evolve as we get into it more deeply.  We’ll perfect this little radio as a group. I’ll be the keeper of the vision, the moderator and the last word on important decisions. You can play an important part with your suggestions for improvement, by reporting on your own build experiences and by keeping a positive and courteous attitude in your comments.

Stay tuned here for the latest and join my discussion forum on this topic if you want to contribute or just stay informed.



7 Responses to “BSS Transceiver”

  1. Mans. January 11, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

    H Joe,
    read with interest the article and looking forward to learning more possibly build one. I have also send the post to a friend who am sure would be interested in the project.

    If I may ask is there going to be PCB and or basic kits available or ???
    Thanks keep up the good work
    Mans. 9H1GB

    • w3jdr January 11, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

      This will be an ‘open-source’ project. My plan is to develop the PCB’s in Eagle and post the design files for others to modify as they wish. I also plan to have the board designs hosted with a couple of low-cost PCB houses so you can just order the boards directly from them. Once these’s a good nucleus of followers here, I’ll link to a forum for designers/builders/users.


  2. Mans January 11, 2015 at 3:42 pm #

    Hi Joe,
    Thanks for the reply and info.
    Yes that is a good idea too.
    Thanks again
    Mans. 9H1GB

  3. John January 15, 2015 at 9:45 am #

    Hi Joe, kg9dk here. I plan to follow the BSS-1 project. I like what you have laid out, I am all for surface mount and new devices. I use a board house on line called, you may want to compare it to others.
    John . kg9dk

    • w3jdr January 15, 2015 at 10:00 am #

      Hi John!

      Welcome! I’ll check out your board house suggestion.

      Work on the BSS will slow down until I get back from a trip that will last the next couple weeks. Meanwhile, I’ll be trying to flesh out other sections of the web site that require nothing but writing.

      On the BSS, my first priority is to get the UTIF subsystem released to PCB, as it’s the guts of the radio. Then I want to work on the mixer & crystal filter. These are done & working from a prototyping perspective; they need a PCB. I’m thinking of putting them together on one board. Then the switched RF bandpass filter assembly, then finally the control & audio power amp board. At this point, there will be a complete receiver & low-level exciter. The RF power amplifier stages will follow eventually to make a complete transceiver.

  4. hendysw January 16, 2015 at 9:16 pm #

    cant wait to see the prototype…

  5. w3jdr May 27, 2015 at 7:13 am #

    Hi Darrell

    Right now, the BSS1 is in limbo. My present love affair is with my new X1M QRP transceiver. That’s a very rich playground for Arduino opportunities if you like that stuff, so check it out on my site.


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