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William P.

Smith K S L F
R. D. #2
Cold Spring Creamery Road
Doylestown PA 18901

The $50 Sweeper

d this audio function generator
and sweep your troub es away

0 ne of my favorite as-
pects of ham radio i s
audio circuitry, and I am
ects, I built the swept func-
tion generator described
here to use in conjunction
of 1000:l or better. The unit
ulated by an external signal
produces sine, triangle, and
and adjusted in amplitude
square waves as well as left-
from six volts peak-to-peak
constantly constructing with my oscilloscope. or right-sloped ramps and down to millivolts. The sine,
amplifiers, filters, and other The generator features a pulses with an adjustable triangle, and square waves
devices which operate with- frequency range of .05 Hz t o duty cycle of 1 % t o 99%. may be swept in frequency
in the audio spectrum. In 300 kHz, digital frequency The outputs may be ampli- by a built-in linear sweep
order t o evaluate my proj- display, and a sweep range tude- or frequency-mod- circuit or by an external
signal. The cost is in the
$50.00 range if you have a
moderately stocked junk
box. The majority of the
parts are stocked by Radio
Shack. About half of the
cost is in the digital fre-
quency display, which may
be easily replaced w i t h a
frequency counter or an
analog scale.
The entire unit consists
of the function generator
circuits, the sweep circuits,
the digital display circuits,
and the power supply. The
function generator circuits
actually contain t w o fun
tion generators, designat
the primary and seconda
and labeled F1 and F2 in t
picture of the front pan
(Photo A). The t w o gener
tors may be set indepe
dently of each other and
Photo A. The completed swept function generator. The knob labeled F1 is the primary fre- is possible t o shift betwee
quency control and is mounted o n a 3:1 gear drive. The SINITRI output jack also provides a the t w o merely b y changin
ramp function. A l l unlabeled jacks are grounds, except the jack, far left, which is the the logic level at the FS
variable dc output. jack. The amplitude of t h

100 73 Magazine October, 1981

output is absolutely con- are the other frequency-
stant from the lowest fre- determining components.
quency u p t o 300 kHz with During normal use, R4 is the
a usable signal generated main frequency control,
u p t o about 1 M H z . Distor- and I have mounted mine
tion of the sine wave is ad- using a 3:l gear drive so
justable and quite good at that the frequency can be
approximately .5% THD. varied in small increments.
Construction Potentiometer R5 is used t o
The heart of the function set the frequency of the
generator is an XR 2206 IC. I secondary function genera-
purchased m y chip from tor and t o adjust the shape
Jameco Electronics, 1021 of the pulse and ramp func-
Howard Ave., San Car!os tions. I found i t sufficient t o
CA 94070. Be sure t o ask for mount R5 directly on the
the spec sheet; the addi- front panel without a gear
tional 25 cents is well worth drive.
the price. I used the manu-
The function generator
facturer's r e c o m m e n d a -
may be swept in frequency
tions on wiring the 2206 ex-
by applying - a varving
- volt-
cept for several modifica- ,

age t o R5. For maximum Photo 5. The swept function generator in operation. The
tions that are peculiar t o
frequency sweep, 1000:l or top trace is the output o f the generator in the sweep mode.
my function generator. If
better, this voltage should The bottom trace is the same signal after processing rn a
vou do not want t o build
the sweep circuit, then just +
vary from 0 V to 3 V,with home-brew notch filter. The notch filter has a design fre-
leave those components off the highest frequency being quency o f 1100 Hz. Note the digital display showing 1,093
of the circuit board; there generated at 0 V. I have ar- Hz which will correspond to the center of the scope face.
are no c o m ~ o n e n t sthat are ranged the f ront-panel The actual sweep here is about 20 Hz to 2200 Hz.
used for b d t h the function
generator and the sweep
I used %-Watt, 5 % resis-
tors except for R12, which i s
not critical b u t should be at
least 1 Watt. Capacitors C1
through C5 are frequency-
determining components
and should be 5 % or better,
and for best results should
be made of some stable PULSE

material such as polysty-

rene. Other types of capac- FSK

itors could be substituted,

b u t the generator will be SWEEP
slightly less stable. Wher-
ever possible, I have tried
t o provide large pads on the
circuit board t o accommo-
date capacitors of different
Trimmer pots R1, R2, R3,
R6, R7, and R8 all are
mounted on the PC board. I
have provided space on the
circuit board so that either
the stand-up or the lay-
down type of trimmer may
be used. I t seems that I
always have the wrong type
when building a project on
s o m e o n e else's c i r c u i t
board, so I have allowed for
b o t h types (prospective
authors please take note).
Front-panel pots R4 and R5

102 73 Magazine October, 1

Fig. 1. Schematic of function generator and sweep generator.
linearly. The other half of
the 556 timer acts as a
switch which grounds the
positive side of C6, when
triggered by the o p amp.
The v o l t a g e across C 6
almost instantly goes to
zero and then begins to
recharge. Transistor 4 2 (a
2N2222) is a buffer ampli-
fier. By adjusting the dc
bias on this transistor, the
amplitude and position of
the ramp relative t o ground
may be precisely set. The
o u t p u t of this emitter-
follower type circuit is the
final sweep signal.
The digital frequency dis-
play is a multiplexed unit
and is based on the Radio
Shack t h r e e - d i g i t BCD
counter IC, part 276-2489.
The entire display was
point-to-point wired on a
multipurpose 22-pin edge
connector c i r c u i t board
-. w h i c h w i l l just accom-
modate the 9 ICs and three
2N2222 transistors. The
timebase is derived from
the 60-cycle line. I have
found the accuracy t o be
quite good at audio fre-
quencies, often showing the
same frequency as my lab
grade counter, u p through
50 kHz or so. Even at much
higher frequencies, the dif-
ference is usually under 100
Hz and the error will always
be on the low side. The fre-
quency generated by the
Fig. 2. Schematic o f digital frequency display
function generator is sam-
t o the sweeplsync jack so pled at pin 11 of the XR
that i t may be used t o trig- 2206 and is coupled to the
ger your scope. digital display through a 33
Operation of the sweep pF capacitor. This signal is
circuit is not overly com- then counted and displayed
plex. One half of the 556 by the two sets of 14553
dual timer is wired as a counter and 4511 driver ICs.
monoskable multivibrator The wiring of the LED
Fig. 3. Power supply. C6 and C7 are 2.2-uF tantalum and are which is used for a time- drspiays rs a little unusual
mounted o n the circuit board. A l l other components are base. The 741 o p amp in- and requires an explana-
mounted o n the chassis. verts the output of the t i o n I f t h e counter 1s
multivibrator to provide a p l a c e d rn t h e 1 0 0 - m s
good trigger signal. The ac- trmebase posit~on, rt wrll
switches so that the func- circuit is a linear ramp tual ramp is generated by count and display 1/10 of
t i o n g e n e r a t o r m a y be generator which provides a the other half of the 556 the actual frequency being
swept or frequency-mod- 3-V ramp at a frequency and the t w o transistors. generated, so that 4552 Hz
ulated by applying a vary- which allows one sweep t o Transistor Q1 is a 2.N4250 or would appear as 455 1
ing voltage t o the sweep1 f i l l m y scope screen when similar and provides a con- found thrs t o be distracting,
sync jack from an external set t o 2 rnslcm. When the in- stant current source t o ca- so 1 added another LED
source or from internal cir- ternal sweep circuit is used, pacitor C6. This constant display in the "ones" posr-
cuitry. The internal sweep the ramp signal is applied current allows C6 to charge tron and set i t t o drsplay a

104 73 Magazine October, 1981

"0". Now the frequency
display would appear as
4550. In order to get the
newly-added display t o
have the same brightness as
the other digits, I wired i t as
if i t were in the "millionth"
position. There is no lead-
ing-zero blanking, so the
new digit will always show
a zero unless a frequency of
one M H z or higher is count-
e d . I n t h e one-second
timebase mode. this newlv-
added digit will appear i'n
the "tenths" position and
will be zero unless a fre-
quency of I 0 0 kHz or higher
is counted. In this timebase,
the display would appear as
4,552.0. The decimal points
are wired t o the timebase
switch so they will always
correctly separate the hun-
dredths and thousandths Fig. 4. PC board layout
The digital display circuit
is set UP for common-cath-
ode displays w i t h right-
hand decimal points. Max-
imum current should be
limited t o about 25 mA per
segment. I used Radio
Shack 276-1644 displays
b u t would recommend
some of the multiple-digit,
multiplexed units such as
those sold by Digi-Key, Inc.
The timebase and cori-
trol circuits for the display
are fairly straightforward. A
60-cycle signal is taken off
the low voltage side of the
power transformer. Diode
D2 and Zener D l limit the
voltage excursions to -0.7
V and 5.1 V. This 60-cycle
signal i s a p p l i e d t o a l5VDC BUS
Schmitt trigger t o produce
an accurate square wave,
and then passes through the
Fig. 5. PC board component location.
7492 IC wired t o divide by
six. The resulting 10-Hz
square wave triggers the been very pleased with the mine were rated for 35 V dc. test gear.
t w o one-shot multivibrators results. All of the power supply
which form the latch and The power supply is fair- components were mounted Calibration and
counter reset pulses. In the ly conventional, using an on the chassis. Note that a Operation
one-second timebase, the 18- or 24-V ac transformer, a 2-w~repower cord is used so Calibration is not diffi-
60-Hz signal is divided by bridge rectifier, and two that the chassis ground is cult, but does require a
ten in the 7490 IC before go- regulators, a 15-volt and a floating and is not connect- dc-coupled oscilloscope.
ing through the 7492, so
' 5-volt. If you use a 24-V ac ed t o the house wiring The function generator cir-
that a ?-Hz square wave is transformer, be sure you do ground. This allows the cuit has three adjustments.
applied t o the one-shots. not exceed the maximum function generator ground Trimmer R1 adjusts the
Again, this is a surprisingly voltage which may be ap- t o be floating and set in amplitude of the signal with
accurate system, and I have plied t o the regulators; relation t o other pieces of a maximum of six volts for

106 73 Magazine October, 1981

the triangle waveform. somewhat critical-so be ing swept, place the digital ator may be activated by
Symmetry is adjusted by patient. frequency display in the grounding the FSK jack The
R2, and R 3 adjusts distor- Operation of the swept o n e - s e c o n d t i m e b a s e frequency of the secondary
tion of the sine wave and function generator should mode. The displayed fre- generator IS controlled bv
may be replaced w i t h a be fairly obvious, but here quency will be very close t o R5 (the prrmary generator IS
200-Ohm resistor with fairly are some h e l p f u l hints. half of the peak frequency controlled by R4)
good results. The three ad- W h e n o p e r a t i n g i n the and 500 times the lowest One last item. Any ampll.
iustments w i l l interact t o sweep mode, S3 should be frequency. I have found t u d e - m o d u l a t i n g signal
some degree; the object is placed in the O N position this t o be a very handy phe- must have the same dc bias
t o maximize amplitude and and 54 placed in INT. This nomenon. If 1 am looking at as t h e o u t p u t . P o t e n -
minimize distortion. The w i l l apply the ramp signal the response of a notch tiometer R 9 has been in-
sweep circuit is adjusted us- from the sweep circuit t o filter and want t o Iknow at cluded t o provide an ad-
ing R6, R7, and R 8 . The col- the f u n c t ~ o ngenerator and what frequency the notch justable dc reference volt-
lector of Q1 should be t o the sweeplsync output occurs, I can adjust R5 until age. The 220-Ohm resistor,
m o n ~ t o r e dwhile adjusting jack for synchronizing or the notch i s at the center of R G , limits the current if the
R6, which should be set t o a triggering your oscillo- my scope. A t that point, the VAR dc jack is grounded.
position giving the longest scope. You w i l l find the frequency displayed on the 1 have had m y function
ramp. Too little resistance signal appears t o sweep digital readout w i l l be the generator in use for about a
here w i l l make the ramp from right t o left as the frequency of the notch. If I year and have been very
generator operate at twice lower frequencies are t o the want t o apply a swept sig- h a p p y w i t h i t s p e r f o r -
the trigger frequency. W i t h right. If S4 is placed in the nal of 10 Hz to 10,000 Hz t o mance. I n the future, I hope
an oscilloscope connected EXT position, then an ex- some piece of equipment, t o build an interface device
t o the o u t p u t of the sweep ternal device may be used then I merely adjust R5 un- so that the function gener-
circuit, adjust R 7 so that the t o sweep or frequency- t i l the display shows 5,000 ator can be controlled by
ramp just touches the 0-volt modulate th.e function gen- Hz and I will be right on m y KIM-1 m i c r o via the
baseline. The amplitude of erator. Whenever S3 is ON, target. sweep and FSK inputs. This
the ramp is adjusted by R 8 the average frequency will When operating the gen- would probably open the
t o a value o f three volts p-p. be controlled by R5 and the e r a t o r w i t h t h e sweep door t o all sorts of neat ap-
There is some interaction range switch. turned o f f and S2 in the p l ~ c a t l o n sI hope you enjoy
between R 7 and R8, and To determine the range NOR (normal) position, the t h ~ sversat~leinstrument as
these a d j u s t m e n t s are of frequencies actually be- secondary function gener- m u c h as I have

IC-25A IC-720A IC-/30 IC 290A

Call or write ttoday for deliKPry of your favore'telCOM Tl'an~ceher~


Communications Corp.

1911 Old Homestead Lane

Clegg also stocl<sa complete llne of Antennas, Greenfield Industrial Park East
Power Supplies, Amplrf~ers& related accessorres Lancaster, PA 17601
for your statron. (717) 299-7221

108 73 Magazine October, 1981