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The Superheterodyne Radio: No really, that's its name technology connections

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The superheterodyne receiver may seem like a radio with a silly name, but in fact it’s a completely logical name that describes the key action these radios take to become excellent radios. The superhet solved a tricky problem in a clever way, and using our friend Algebra (as well as wave phenomena) proved to be the most effective way of tuning in a radio signal.

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36 comments

Mike Mondano 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

For a while, I dated a superheterodyne. It didn't last, but the reason was failure to see eye-to-eye and nothing about being a heterodyne.

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Jenn W 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

"Because there's a difference of one Hertz. Hert?"

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garbo 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

I have a great model in a nice wooden case that I purchased used 50 years ago. Has 5 radio tubes. The 35w4 is the rectifier tube. Also has a 50c5 12? 6( maybe 12au6 ). Anyway great thing that the 50 35 & three tubes starting with 12 means that these heater voltages for the tubes add up to close to the 120 volt line voltage. They wired all 5 tube heaters in series so a power supply was not needed for them. Our electronic shop teacher said it was the greatest radio design at that time. This old radio still works.only if it a few times a year while working in the garage but plays great and never had to replace a tube yet. Picked up a couple of the tubes super cheap when a local electronic store closed.

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kingduckford 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

To this day, some of the highest end Ham radios use superhet. Only now is SDR starting to make major inroads, and superhet is still in many cheaper, as well as the most high end of two way radios. My Yaesu 5000 has double and even triple superhet receivers, and will go toe to toe, if not beat, any modern SDR radio on the market.

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Shinra Kishitani 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

Fun fact! in some languages Capacitors are still called condensers

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gameyord 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

Please, I beg you to talk about the crystal radio, it would make me happy =)

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Go Fish 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

Caps are still "condensers" in some languages

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tundra lilac 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

But howwww does amplitude modulation encode the sound instead of just making a single tone at the carrier frequency just sound louder and quieter and louder and quieter???

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Astir Yusifina al Ward bint Gerardino 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

my cat during this video 👁👄👁

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Harry Hollin 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

Have you ever considered making a video about DAB digital radio that are used in some countries such as the UK?

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Grahame Manns 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

That is the best explanation of a superhet I have ever heard. Thanks for that.

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pmailkeey 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

7:13 look at that ball bearing on the tuning variable capacitor !

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livingdeadbtu 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

Superheterodyne is why radios are not allowed on an airplane. The internal transmitter is the part that interferes with the plane radios and navigation.

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Michael Bauers 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

It's a fantastic idea. Just silly that it was used in marketing, as if it was unique to specific radios. Guessing all radios in my lifetime used it, or nearly so ( b. 1965)

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Jim F 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

404: Could Not Be Found. Now I get it!

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Thor Najal 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

I'm convinced that the 199 dislikes are from engineers who wanted a more deep dive into signal oscillation.

As a cable t.v. installer I loved this. Its amazing how this principal is used today in over the air and "cable" t.v. use.

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solum_mirari 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

Listening to the interference between waveforms is something I was trained to do as a musician. If you’re playing in a band or orchestra, it’s really important to be able to hear that “wobble” of interfering wave forms because it means that someone is playing out of tune. The explanation given in your video is MUCH better than the explanation I was given when I was first learning how to tune my instrument. Great video!

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Robert Hanulec 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

In high school electronic class we had to assemble a five tube superheterodyne radio. The final exam included drawing the schematic from memory.

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Chris Anastasiou 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

Amazing video!
Also, at 1:55 This is a trick guitarists can use to tune their instrument! Produce what should be the same note on two strings. Increase or decrease the tension of the string you know is out of tune, until the beat becomes so slow it practically doesn't exist

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rashkavar 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

This kind of stuff is absolutely fascinating.

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bwtv147 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

Superheterodyne is just a flowery marketing term. The radios were originally called heterodyne receivers. RCA marketing changed it to superheterodyne to promote sales.

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The King in Yellow 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

7:43 yeah. um it's that tank circuit just before the 7B7 that's doing the filtering. The tube is just amplifying the filter output

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Schody 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

4:15 Yes, and I can even tell you it’s G#.

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CannedMan 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

Capacitors are still called condensers (or condensator: kondensator ) in Norwegian, and I would assume Swedish, Danish and German too.

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David Calder 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

4:16 My tinnitus. On a good day.

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Strike Raid 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

They must have had a supply of Locatal tubes they wanted to use up. You wouldn't ordinarily use 6 Volt (Loctals call 6 Volts, 7) tubes in those locations, that string is designed for 12 volts (that's why they added the resistor).

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Donald Desnoo 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

Betcha he doesn't have a TRF radio with ux 80 and 2. 45s that works .🤗

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B. Xoit 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

Next: single sideband.

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Johnny Dingo 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

I like how you explain this without resorting to complex exponentials, or even trig 😍

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Kasual Skeptik 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

12:30 – Why is there a nut stuck to the speaker cone ?
BTW: Does your Philco work ? There are some great videos on old radio repair and theory…
Fun Fact: The Local Oscillator in radios was used to detect operating radios (from the street in specially equipped trucks), in homes that did not have a "radio License" and were fined….

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Ray Shipler 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

Sounds like Moore Oklahoma tornado sirens

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Toto Abicyclette 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

7:15 the tuning knob rotates on a ball bearing. wow.

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Scotty Santina 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

This is very cool! Thank you for sharing your research.

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Geiger 21 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

6:38 fun fact, capacitors are called "kondensator" in Polish. I often mix those terms and get "condensator" in English and "kapacytor" in Polish

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TheGeffde 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

Now you also understand exactly how FM radio works!

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JackClayton123 27/09/2021 - 7:52 PM

I’m electrical engineer, but taught myself a lot as a young teenager. I remember those tube schematics, and would bug my high school teacher by calling them condensers as well! Tube circuits are also easy to debug, even without a schematic, due to the tube types and the way they were hardwired without PCBs, so all components of a particular tubes circuit were in close proximity to the tube.

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