Category Archives: New Products

SDRuno: SDRplay introduces a free native app for the RSP

(Source: SDRplay Press Release)

SDRplay-Logo

SDRplay is pleased to announce the official release of SDRuno for the RSP. SDRuno is the new name for the RSP compatible version of Studio1, the rights to which we obtained and announced on 28th April. SDRuno contains native support for the SDRplay RSP and no extra plugins are required. Third party hardware can also be supported via the ExtIO interface, but with reduced functionality.

SDRuno provides a rugged and flexible, high performance SDR receiver capability and boasts some excellent features:

  • Multiple ‘Virtual Receivers’ which allow for simultaneous reception and demodulation of different types of signals within the same receiver bandwidth.
  • A selectivity filter with an ultimate rejection greater than 140 dB.
  • A unique distortion-free double stage AGC with fully adjustable parameters.
  • Multiple notch filters with BW adjustable down to 1 Hz, Notch Lock feature.
  • A unique synchronous AM mode with selectable/adjustable sidebands, dedicated PLL input filter, and selectable PLL time constants.
  • SNR (stereo noise reduction), featuring a proprietary noise reduction algorithm for stereo broadcast.
  • AFC for FM signals.
  • Calibration for receiver frequency errors.

Over time, we plan to add many more features to SDRuno to enhance the user’s experience of this very powerful piece of software. This software runs on Windows and we don’t yet know how easy it will be to migrate it to other platforms but this is something we will be investigating.

SDRuno will be made freely available to all current and future users of the RSP – to download a copy – simply go to http://www.sdrplay.com/windows.html

Our support for SDRuno in no way lessens our commitment to support HDSDR, SDR Console, Cubic SDR or ANY other software solution where the authors are willing to work with us. We fully recognise that many people have strong preferences for particular pieces of software and we do not want to do anything to undermine the options that people have to use their favoured software packages. Indeed, our view is quite the opposite. Our objective remains aim to have our hardware platforms support any and every SDR package out there. This of course may not be possible, but it is our philosophy and part of the ethos of our company.

About Studio 1:

Studio1 was developed in Italy by SDR Applications S.a.s. and has hundreds of happy customers around the world. Studio 1 is known for its user friendly stylish GUI, CPU efficiency and advanced DSP capabilities, including features not available on other SDR software packages.

www.sdrapplications.it

About SDRplay:

SDRplay limited is a UK company and consists of a small group of engineers with strong connections to the UK Wireless semiconductor industry. SDRplay announced its first product, the RSP1 in August 2014

www.sdrplay.com
Email: admin@sdrplay.com

Version 2.0? Julio’s positive review of the Degen DE1103

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[Correction: Julio’s version of the DE1103 is the first, non-DSP (current) version.]

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Julio Cesar Pereira, who comments with his mostly positive impression of the DSP version of the Degen DE1103 receiver:

I’ve got a DE1103 and haven’t noticed any AM bleeding on SWL so far. I sometimes stay at one of my family’s properties located at the center of a city with lots of stations. There I use the balcony on the 9th floor and I get a lot of spurious interference from FM stations, which is normal once you’re surrounded by buildings. However, I already tuned some images on SW. I used an old SW7600G to check it out and it didn’t get any.

I kind of started to dislike DSP, for it can be annoying to hear it engage and disengage when a signal constantly drops down and recovers. It is fantastic when a signal is strong and constant for it improves audio quality whether it is MW, SW or FM.

At one time, I even thought it would be perfect for the DE1103 to have this [DSP] feature, but you know what? I’m very happy with the way mine is right now. I find this receiver to have the best FM reception compared to the others of my little collection of tabletop and portable receivers, which includes scanners ICOM IC-R20 and R5, receivers PL-660, SW7600GR, ICF-2010, etc. The DE1103 is by far the most sensitive and selective one, it even beats my old Realistic DX-440.

As for SW, I like the combination of its very good AGC and very low floor, which allows me to do DXing with the RF attenuator on and does not have any annoying filter like the PL-660. I also enjoy its audio quality, especially on the headphones, for it is more natural, not processed like the PL-660’s or over-processed like the SW7600GR’s.

You can tell I’m a big fan of this little radio. It has its flaws, but I can live with them.

Thank you for sharing your experience with the DE1103 DSP, Julio!

Degen DE1103 DSP Version 2.0?

Julio, I’m now very curious if your receiver is the “Version 2.0 Model” mentioned by this seller on eBay. [ Julio has now confirmed that it is not the DSP version.]

DegenDE1103-2.0

If you’ve read my DE1103 DSP review, you’ll note that I haven’t been the biggest fan of the new DSP version of the DE1103. I did review a very early model and wonder if Degen has tweaked the DE1103 DSP to provide better performance? Can any other readers comment?

I’ll search through the various models of the DE1103 on eBay and see if there are any specifics about the new 2.0 version in product descriptions. I’ll also attempt to contact sellers for details.

Please comment if you have any information.

Update: Several readers pointed out that the “Version 2.0” might simply be a way sellers are using to indicate that this is the DSP-based DE1103–rather than this being an improved version of the original DSP receiver I tested. 

The Como Audio Solo and Duetto radios on Kickstarter

ComoAudio-Solo

The Como Audio Solo

Alas, I find that I’m frequently blamed by SWLing Post readers who cite this blog as the reason they spend so much money on radios.

But for the record, I’d like you to know that such spending is actually a two-way street!  A couple of days ago, Post contributor Robert Gulley sent me a link to a cool Kickstarter campaign for two new multi-format digital radios: the Solo and the Duet by Como Audio.

Having just completed an in-depth review of several WiFi radios for The Spectrum Monitor magazine, the good-looking Solo in its wood casing really caught my attention! (the Duet, meanwhile, is a two-speaker version of the same rig).  At first glance, the Solo appears to be  compatible with a much wider range of digital formats than many of its competitors, so naturally I’m eager to determine if this is so. Here’s a list:

  • Internet radio accessing 20,000+ stations
  • Spotify
  • Bluetooth with aptX
  • NFC Android Bluetooth connection
  • DLNA WIFI
  • Music player allowing easy navigation and playback through a USB or network-shared library of music files, including AAC+, MP3, WMA, WAV, and FLAC
  • 4 High-Res inputs: 2 analog, 1 Optical, and 1 USB.
  • Google Cast-ready
  • Amazon Dot-ready

It even has a “high-performance” FM tuner and is DAB+ compatible, especially great if you live in Europe.

It also sounds like they’ve spent time designing a proper acoustic chamber/chassis and are fueling a 3″ woofer and 3/4″ dome tweeter with a 2 X 30 watt RMS amplifier. This radio should pack some audio punch.

The Como Audio Duetto

The Como Audio Duetto

The only obvious thing I see missing on the Como Audio WiFi radios is an internal battery.

Still, after watching the video and reviewing the specs, I backed the campaign to receive a walnut Kickstarter Edition Solo. If all goes well––and I never actually expect a campaign to produce and ship a product in the amount of time they expect––they may be shipping the radios as early as October.

The campaign has already met it’s goal of $50,000 and is now stretching for $100,000 with more incentives.

So, I didn’t really need another WiFi radio, but thanks to Robert’s email––yep, I bought one! Now the only question remains:  can you actually make impulse purchases on Kickstarter? I think I just proved that you can.

One week of Hamvention, Air Force Museum, Wright Brothers and National Parks On The Air

DSC_4449I returned home last night from my week-log Dayton Hamvention trip around 8:30 PM.

The Hamvention actually ended at 1:00 PM on Sunday, May 22, but my buddy Eric McFadden (WD8RIF), his son Miles (KD8KNC) and I stayed Sunday night in Dayton, and Monday night at Eric’s home in Athens, Ohio.

After packing up our Hamvention booth (for Ears To Our World) on Sunday, we made our way to the nearby National Museum of the USAF–the largest aviation museum in the world. We visit the museum every year–and every year I discover something new.

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This BC-348 can be found in one of the museum’s B-29 displays.

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In June, the Air Force museum is actually opening a fourth building which will house an additional 70 aircraft in four new galleries.

If you’re an aviation buff–trust me–the  National Museum of the USAF is worth a pilgrimage to Dayton, Ohio.

NPOTA activations

Monday morning, Eric, Miles and I packed up, ran a few errands on Wright Patterson Air Force Base, then made our way to our first National Parks On The Air activation: the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park (HP11) and North Country National Scenic Trail (TR04) “two-fer” at Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center in Dayton, Ohio.

Eric worked CW on 20 meters and I worked SSB on 40 meters using the LNR Precision LD-11 transceiver (which I’m currently reviewing) and my recently-purchased Hardened Power Systems QRP Ranger.

For all of my Monday NPOTA activations, I used the EFT Trail Friendly antenna I purchased at the Hamvention:

EFT-Trail-Friendly-Antenna-QRP

The EFT Trail Friendly Antenna made set-up a breeze: simply throw a line into a tree, hang the end of the antenna, then hook up the other end to the feedline/transceiver. No antenna tuner is needed for 40, 20 or 10 meters once the antenna is tuned for resonance. It packs up into a small bundle that easily fits in my radio go-kit (see photo above).

The LD-11/QRP Ranger/EFT antenna combo worked amazingly well and made for very quick deployment.

LNR-LD-11 and QRP Ranger NPOTA

I can easily fit the LD-11 transceiver and QRP Ranger on a foldable metal chair (my make-shift field table!).

My buddy Eric, I should mention, is typically on the leaderboard for NPOTA as he’s an avid QRP field operator.

WD8RIF-20M-Vertical-NPOTA

Eric (WD8RIF) operating NPOTA with his field-portable vertical HF antenna.

You can follow Eric’s activations on QRZ.com or his website.

Eric's field-portable HF vertical packs up into this small canvas bag.

Eric’s field-portable HF vertical packs up into this small canvas bag.

We had a tight NPOTA activation schedule to meet Monday, but after packing up from our first sites, we took 30 minutes to stop by the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center and The Wright Cycle Co. museum in downtown Dayton.

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Well worth the short visit! Next year, I’ll plan to revisit both museums when I have more time.

Next, we made our way to the second scheduled NPOTA activation site: the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument (MN18).

NPOTA-QRP-LD-11-QRP-Ranger

Despite not having my antenna very far off the ground (my antenna line fell down one branch in the process of hanging) I still managed to work a pile-up of stations from Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, Connecticut, Michigan and Indiana. After Eric and I racked up a number of QSOs, we packed up our site in haste and made our way to the final activation of the day: the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park (HP15). We arrived as the Park Ranger was getting in his car to leave for the day!

At Hopewell, I managed to deploy the EFT antenna much higher off the ground. I worked a small pile up of stations from all over the region which, to my surprise, included two radio friends (Ed and Eileen) in Franklin, NC. Eric also worked blogging buddy John Harper, AE5X on 20 meters CW (got your message, John!).

NPOTA-QRP-LD-11-QRP-Ranger-Hopewell

All in all, it was a fantastic day to be outdoors and on the air.

Of course, a side benefit of doing National Parks On The Air activations is that you get to check out all of these amazing park sites.

Without a doubt, this was one fun-filled and radio-centric Hamvention week! It couldn’t have been better.

NPOTA Log

Part of my log sheet for NPOTA HP11 and TRO4 “Two-Fer” activations. Not bad for such a tight schedule!

Thank you

Many thanks to my friends Eric (WD8RIF), Miles (KD8KNC), Mike (K8RAT) and Christine (KM4PDS) for volunteering to manage our Hamvention booth for Ears To Our World. It was a record year for collecting donations. Many thanks to all of you for the support!

I’d also like to thank the SWLing Post readers who stopped by to visit our new location in the Silver Arena–it was great seeing everyone!

Now that I’m back home, I essentially have one week of emails and comments in my backlog to sort before hitting the road again rather soon. I appreciate your patience as I catch up. If you don’t hear back from me soon, it’s okay to give me a nudge! 🙂

Photos of the new Elecraft KX2

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One of the benefits of being an inside exhibitor at the Dayton Hamvention is the ability to visit with vendors and exhibitors on Thursday, prior to all of the traffic that happens on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Elecraft’s booth is always epically busy during the Hamvention–and this year will be no exception, I’m sure. It was nice to visit and get one-on-one time with the KX2 with no crowds.Elecraft-KX2-6

Many thanks to the staff at Elecraft–especially David Shoaf–who gave me a quick tour of the KX2 and allowed me to take a few photos.

The KX2 is smaller than it even appears in most of the photos Elecraft has published. It’s roughly the size of the KX1, but somehow manages to fit the same backlit display of the KX3. They’ve done a pretty good job of designing this rig to accommodate a lot of features–but to be clear, it doesn’t have as many features of it’s “bigger” brother, the KX3.

 

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The KX2 is actually much smaller than the KX3.

Elecraft-KX2-14 Elecraft-KX2-15

I am very tempted to purchase a KX2 for review, but may hold out for a few months. I would like to review it after my summer travels, though.

In truth, I love my KX3 and it serves me well: since I like the KX3 form-factor, it covers more bands than the KX2 and has a great general coverage receiver with AM mode for SWLing, I have no need for the KX2. The price point for a KX2 is a tough one, as well: after adding an internal ATU and paying taxes, you’re staring at $1,000 US.

Still: if you want almost all of the features of the KX3, yet something even more compact–something that can even be operated as a handheld!–the KX2 will serve you well. It’s certainly a clever piece of kit.

I will plan to review the KX2 later this year. Click here to download the Elecraft KX2 spec sheet.