Building a Ten Tec Regenerative Receiver Model No 1054

I have always found radio fascinating. I have also always been amazed at the way the old fashioned regenerative receivers from the 1920s worked, so when I received the Ten Tec 1054 as a Christmas gift this year, I couldn’t wait to get the soldering iron out and begin building.

This is the kit as it arrived.

The PCB is huge, which means there is a lot of space. This is nice as it allows you to go about populating it with all its components without fear of solder bridges or making other silly mistakes.

This kit is built in two stages: the audio amplifier is tacked and tested first, then the RF amp, regen detector and frequency tuning/switching. It also comes with a nice metal front panel.

I always use a vice to hold the PCB as it makes soldering on the underside easy.

The audio amp is the ubiquitous LM386, which is a smart choice. This hardy integrated circuit is so well tested, stable and easy to mess around with and it puts out a decent volume too.

One interesting feature of this kit is that it relies on two power sources: battery A, which is a 9V battery and battery B which is a 9-12V DC source. The reason for this is to keep the voltage supply independent of the audio amp to eliminate the chances of oscillator instability or AC hum, which is the curse of regen receivers of old.

Testing the first phase. Note my speaker box.

Once phase 2 had been completed, it was time to adjust the coil. This is easily done with the aid of a second receiver tuned to 6.9MHz. There are four bands that one can select by means of the band selection switches on the front panel. Band 1 covers 5.9 to 6.4MHz, band 2, 6.9 to 7.4MHz, band 3, 8.5 to 10.2MHz and band 4, 11.5 to 16.5MHz.

Once the board was completed and tuned it was time to fit the front panel. No knobs or enclosure comes with the kit. That’s my next project.

So, how does this little rig perform? Surprisingly well with only 10ft of wire as an antenna. It is easy to tune and the volume from my stand alone speaker is fine for listening to across the room. I listened to the Boxing Day Cricket Test and thoroughly enjoyed it. So far I have only managed to pick up the ABC and one or two CW transmissions but that’s not the fault of the rig. The bands have been getting quieter by the year.

The Ten Tec 1054 on my shelf.

Next I will add some knobs and build a wooden enclosure to complete the project.

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