Richard Seguin writes:
I noticed this evening that www.kitsandparts.com sells some of those SMDKits and Parts (Diz) also has the thru-hole versions shown on his website ... the NE602AN and NE612AN, as well as the SA602AD SMT part. 5 for $10, or $2 each. Mouser also has the SMD versions for $2.88/1 and $2.45/10 with 11,000 in stock. DigiKey has them as well for $2.36 each with 1,000 in stock. Search for SA602 or SA612 ... NE602/612 produces no results and seldom shown in their catalogs, but they have them. They're not as rare as some have claimed.
I mount my surface mount NE602s or other SMD ICs on a homebrew Manhattan style adapter. Basically a small square of copper clad and cut the traces for the pins with a dremel tool and thin cutting wheel. Just 3 cuts for the 4 pins on each side, then cut those in two vertically to make the 8 pins. I trim them so the pins stick out 1/8 to 1/4 inch for soldering the connections and external components. Works great and cheap. A steady hand comes in handy!
Hard to complain over the $2-3 cost. You're buying a lot of proven functionality for a couple of bucks with the good ole 602 chip. Biggest problem is they have a low P1dB so can be easily overloaded when used as the front end RF mixer. However, I have never noticed that unless operating in close proximity to others, like Field Day. On the other hand, a few external components and you have a nice product detector with a BFO.
72, Paul NA5N