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We report on the use of a superconducting hot‐electron bolometer mixer for heterodyne detection of terahertz radiation. Radiation with a wavelength of 119 μm was coupled to the mixer, a NbN microbridge, by a hybrid quasioptical antenna consisting of an extended hyperhemispherical lens and a planar logarithmic spiral antenna. We found, at an intermediate frequency of 1.5 GHz, a system double side band noise temperature of ≊40 000 K and conversion losses of 25 dB. We also discuss the possibilities of further improvement of the mixer performance. © 1996 American Institute of Physics.