Motorola K1003A Channel Element: Oscillation!

A handful of Motorola K1003A Receive Channel Elements arrived from eBay:

Motorola Channel Elements - overview

Motorola Channel Elements – overview

Having three 13466.666 kHz candidates, two with gold labels (2 ppm tempco) I disemboweled a silver-label (5 ppm) victim:

Motorola Channel Element - silver label

Motorola Channel Element – silver label

They’re well-studied, with readily available schematics:



For lack of anything smarter, I put a 1 kΩ resistor from RF Out to Ground to get some DC current going, then used a 470 nF cap and 47 Ω resistor as an AC load:

K1003 Channel Element - bias lashup

K1003 Channel Element – bias lashup

Which oscillated around a mid-scale DC bias, but looked ugly:

K1003 Channel Element - 13.4 MHz output - 1k bias

K1003 Channel Element – 13.4 MHz output – 1k bias

Perusing some receiver schematics suggested a heavier DC load, so I swapped in a 470 Ω resistor:

K1003 Channel Element - 470 ohm bias - 13.4 MHz output

K1003 Channel Element – 470 ohm bias – 13.4 MHz output

It’s now running around 3 V bias with fewer harmonics; the scope’s frequency display in the upper right corner seems happier, too.

The receiver will run that through a filter to wipe off the harmonics, then multiply the frequency by three to get the mixer LO.

There are many, many different Channel Elements out there, in receive and transmit flavors, but at least I have some idea what’s going on inside.


  1. #1 by Jason Doege on 2018-04-22 - 10:18

    One of the many times Motorola’s owned a market and threw it away. They kept making radios using only these while other companies came and ate their lunch with frequency synthesis.

    • #2 by Ed on 2018-04-23 - 08:02

      Quite a bit like a certain highly regarded calculator design … [heavy sigh]

  2. #3 by Hexley Ball on 2018-04-22 - 12:21

    Siglent scope? Does this mean the old HP has been put out to pasture?

    • #4 by Ed on 2018-04-23 - 08:06

      Still on the bench and I expect to keep using it, but now’s the time for a fleet upgrade. The Siglent scope (allegedly) has 300 MHz analog bandwidth and 16 bits of logic capture (withe simple triggering), so it (should) pick up a bit of the debugging load for some upcoming projects. We shall see.

    • #5 by RCPete on 2018-04-23 - 15:20

      Heh, when I saw that, I wondered if HP/Agilent/Keysight instruments suffered another change of name. When Agilent spun off, there were several “*ent” names floated, but that one wasn’t mentioned. Not much of a web presence, just yet.

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