Category Archives: New Products

Announcing the new SDRplay RSP2

The SDRplay RSP2

The SDRplay RSP2

This morning, SDRplay Limited announced the release––and availability––of their second generation software defined radio, the RSP2.

Regular SWLing Post readers will note that I’m a pretty big fan of SDRplay’s first SDR, the RSP, or “RSP1,” as I’ll now call it (I published a review of the RSP1 in July 2015). To me, the $129 RSP1 has been the best wideband receiver you can buy under $200 US. Its HF performance, in particular, is sincerely impressive at this price point.

Introducing the RSP2

sdrplay-rsp2-top

So what’s the RSP2, and how does it differ from the original RSP?

In a nutshell, here’s how SDRplay describes the difference between the two:

“The RSP2 delivers a significant number of additional features which result in a higher spec for specialist amateur radio users as well as benefits for additional scientific, educational and industrial SDR applications.”

In a sense, the RSP2 gives the enthusiast and experimenter access to more receiver parameters and control, opening it to a wider array of possible applications. The RSP2 will also cover a broader range, from as low as 1 kHz to as high as to 2 GHz, and is designed with better selectivity across the spectrum. Enhanced selectivity will certainly benefit amateur radio operators and SWL DXers who might seek weak signals in crowded portions of the band.

sdrplay-rsp2-usb-in-out

The following list outlines the primary additional features of the RSP2 (via SDRplay’s press release):

  • 10 built-in, front-end pre-selection filters, with substantially enhanced selectivity
  • Frequency coverage extended down to 1 KHz
  • Software selectable variable gain Low Noise Preamplifier
  • 2 x SMA Software Selectable 50? RF ports (1.5 MHz – 2 GHz)
  • 1 x High Impedance RF port (1 kHz – 30 MHz)
  • Built-in software selectable MW /FM notch filters
  • Highly stable 0.5PPM TCXO trimmable to 0.01PPM
  • 24MHz Reference clock input / output connections
  • 4.7V Bias-T option (on one of the software selectable antenna inputs)
  • RF screening within a strong plastic case for the standard RSP2
  • A Rugged metal box version –  the ‘RSP2pro’
The RSP2 has a total of three antenna ports: two SMA and one Hi Z for optimal LW/MW/SW performance

The RSP2 has a total of three antenna ports: two SMA and one Hi Z for optimal LW/MW/SW performance

For the moment, the RSP2 only works with SDRplay’s own application, SDRuno. But SDRplay is already working with developers to make the RSP2 compatible with HDSDR, Gnu Radio, CubicSDR, and SDR Console. I appreciate that although the RSP series has an excellent free proprietary application (SDRuno), it was nonetheless developed with many open-source applications, also free, as well. This level of compatibility and support makes SDRplay rather unique among SDR manufacturers.

SDRuno running the RSP2.

SDRuno running the RSP2 (click to enlarge).

Of course, SDRuno is a great application in its own right, and pairing it with the RSP2 will provide you with out-of-the-box calibrated RF and S meters. So far I’m very pleased with native SDRuno features like virtual receivers, embedded time code, spectrum display options, and streamlined design.

Current SDRuno users will note the different antenna and filter options with the RSP2 which works natively with the latest versions of SDRuno

Current SDRuno users will note the different antenna and filter options with the RSP2 which works natively with the latest versions of SDRuno (click to enlarge).

SDRuno installs very easily and provides a plug-and-play experience. It does have a modest learning curve, but SDRplay has an excellent owner’s manual and “cookbook” available to help you set everything up the first time.

Preliminary impressions of the RSP2

SDRplay sent me a pre-release RSP2 (the base model, not the metal box “Pro” version) to evaluate and provide the company with feedback.

I installed SDRuno and put it on the air only this past week. In truth, as I’ve been traveling and must be on the road again this coming week, I prefer not to comment, at least in depth, on the SDRplay’s performance as I’ve had comparatively little dedicated time with the unit.

Yet I have had the RSP2 on the air a few hours of casual listening, and find that it performs as I would expect: low noise characteristics and sensitivity that seems to be at least as good as the RSP1, if not a bit better.  I’m looking forward to a side-by-side with the RSP1 running an install of SDRuno on my laptop!

I must say that I’m very pleased with the RSP2’s Mediumwave/FM notch filter. It happens that a local daytime 45kW AM broadcaster in our area is having transmitter issues which send wideband spurs across the entire HF spectrum; but at night, when the station lowers its power levels, the RSP2’s MW notch filter effectively mitigates the noisy signal. I imagine this filter will be a welcome addition for listeners living in RF-dense environments.

When the RSP1 was first introduced, it retailed for $149. As the economies of scale worked in their favor, SDRplay lowered the price to $129. The new RSP2, meanwhile, is expected to retail at approximately £130 (excluding taxes), or $169 US (excluding taxes). Quite a value, in my opinion: at $169, you’re getting a lot of SDR for the price––and an effective SDR application, to boot.

But if you already own an RSP1, I wouldn’t necessarily rush out and grab the RSP2 just yet.  Of course, if you like the added features mentioned above, or if you’d like an inexpensive SDR with no less than three switchable antenna ports and a MW/FM notch filter, $169 is a bargain and about the same level of investment as a good modern shortwave portable.

As for myself, I’m happy to see a mom-and-pop community-supported company like SDRplay continuing to innovate for our hobby. I’m pleased to support them, and am truly appreciative that they also support our SWLing Post. This is a win-win, in my view; I’d be pleased to support more such companies.

Again, check back here as I plan to compare the RSP2 with the RSP1 and several of my other SDRs.

sdrplay-rsp2-antennaports-2

Click here to read SDRplay’s full announcement and press release.

I plan to take the RSP2 with me on my travels this week. Time permitting, I might even pair it with my recently acquired PK magnetic loop antenna for some spectrum gathering and testing.

In the coming weeks, as my schedule permits, I’ll post updates here on the SWLing Post, including audio comparisons with some of my SDRs. If interested, bookmark the tag RSP2.

For more information about RSP2 pricing and availability, check out SDRplay.com.

Update: Check out RTL-SDR.com’s assessment of the RSP2.

SDRplay has also posted the following video:

Radio World explores the PatronX Titus II

titus 2 big

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tom Ally, for sharing the following article by James Careless in Radio World:

Well, if you are the engineering firm PantronX, you have the Titus II software-defined radio. And when you plan to sell this ultimate receiver for less than $100 each, you hope you have a consumer sensation for the worldwide broadcast market.

Unveiled by the Panama-based company at an international broadcasting meeting in Miami in August, the Titus II SDR is not yet shipping. But it is described as capable of receiving and playing analog and digital radio transmission formats including AM, FM, shortwave, HD Radio, DAB+ and Digital Radio Mondiale. The company is considering adding a DRM+ decoder.

The initial market is among worldwide broadcasters, particularly those serving countries where listeners may lack internet; a secondary market is individual listeners, hobbyists and others. PantronX will not supply all decoders for all formats but add them preloaded as needed.

Read the full article at Radio World…

SDRuno Version 1.1 Update

sdruno-screenshot

(Source: SDRplay Press Release)

Today, we released version 1.1 of SDRuno, specifically for RSP. New features include a calibrated power measurement facility, an SNR meter and automatic S-meter calibration. There are many additional improvements and fixes. To find out more about all the additional features, documentation can be found on:

http://www.sdrplay.com/docs/SDRplay_SDRuno_Release_Notes.pdf

and the software is available to download from:

http://www.sdrplay.com/windows.html

Paul Jones and Mike Ladd have worked tirelessly to get the new features documented in an updated version of the SDRuno Cookbook: http://www.nn4f.com/SDRuno-cookbook.pdf

Other SDRs can also use SDRuno with a new increased bandwidth limit of 2.5MHz.

Many thanks to Jon Hudson at SDRplay for sharing this info!

Kickstarter: The $239 RS-HFIQ 5 Watt General Coverage Transceiver

rs-hfiq-sdr

Many thanks to Jim Veatch (WA2EUJ) who shares the following:

HobbyPCB is offering their RS-HFIQ 5W SDR on Kickstarter starting at $239. Check it out here:

Thanks, Jim-I wish you success in this campaign (though it appears you’ve met your base goal and are now into stretch goals).

While there are a fair amount of SDRs in the $200-300 price range, there are few that are actually transceivers.  I’m also impressed with the level of filtering on both the RX and TX stages and the fact that the baseband and digital section have separate and isolated grounds. The RS-HFIQ could potentially have a low noise floor and a decent front end.

If you back the RS-HFIQ, please consider sending us your review to publish here on the SWLing Post!

DXtreme Station Log 12

dxtreme-station-log-12

(Source: DXtreme Press Release)

Product Announcement: DXtreme Station Log 12

DXtreme Software™ has released a new version of its popular logging program for

Amateur Radio operators: DXtreme Station Log 12™.

New Features in DXtreme Station Log 12

  • Automatic LoTW Upload Users can set Station Log 12 so it uploads each log entry to LoTW automatically when added, capturing and saving QSO Record Status from the LoTW server as part of the process. Modified log entries can be uploaded as well. If desired, users can disable automatic uploading and can upload log entries to LoTW semiautomatically and manually in batches whenever they want to.
  • LoTW Reporting Users can perform searches and run reports filtered by LoTW QSO Record Status, which indicates whether log entries are On, or Not On, the LoTW server following upload or QSL-updating. Users can also perform searches and run reports filtered by LoTW QSL Record Status, which indicates the date of each LoTW QSL record processed by DXtreme’s LoTW QSL Update Utility.
  • JT65A and JT9 Contact Pre-fill Right-clicking the New button presents a shortcut menu that lets users pre-fill the Station Log window with log information from a JT65A or JT9 contact completed on WSJT-X or JT65-HF-HB9HQX Edition.
  • Afreet Ham CAP Integration Expansion Station Log 12 now integrates with optional Afreet Ham CAP throughout the program. Users activate Ham CAP by requesting short- or long-path propagation predictions on spotted and logged stations and entities.
  • Quick Find A box on the Station Log toolbar lets users type a call sign and press Enter to search quickly for a station in their log. If the call is in the log, a list of QSOs with it appears on a popup window. If desired, the list of log entries can be loaded into the Station Log window for viewing or editing, one log entry at a time.
  • Improv Imaging™ — Lets users associate adhoc images with their log entries. This feature is like, but separate from, our popular QSL Imaging™ facility. Users can capture, scan, or paste any image and save it as a single-page .jpg, or single- or multi-page .tif. Improv images popular with users include signals on a spectrum analyzer or waterfall, QSOs conducted on Amateur Television and data applications, and rigs and antennas used during contacts.
  • Other Imaging Enhancements The QSL image previewer on the Station Log window is larger, as is the QSL Image Explorer, which also lets users call-up, in the Station Log window, the log entry associated with each QSL image, making the Explorer act like a Search window. Improv Imaging has its own, dedicated previewer and explorer.
  • UX Improvements Users can apply foreground and background colors and font attributes to grid headings and data rows throughout the program.

Standard Features in DXtreme Station Log 12

DXtreme Station Log 12 lets hams log their contacts and import ADIF files from other programs. It supports major call sign subscription services, and offers the following multimedia and advanced functions:

  • DX Spot Checker™ Receives DX spots from Telnet-based servers, and determines whether QSOs are needed for new or verified DXCC® entities, band-entities, mode-entities, or VUCC grids.
  • DX Atlas Integration Performs DX Atlas azimuth plots from the user’s location to that of a spotted or logged station. Also creates maps for a variety of reports.
  • Band Master Integration Afreet Band Master can be invoked with needed band and IOTA lists based on the user’s Station Log 12 database.
  • Rig Control Tunes/retrieves frequencies and modes from supported rigs through integration with Afreet Omni-Rig.
  • QSL Processing Creates QSL and address labels for physical QSLs, and supports the ARRL’s LoTW facility, including capturing LoTW QSL records as digital images.
  • Audio Facility Records and plays QSOs.
  • Reports Provides a wide range of performance and station reports to let users see how well they’re doing. Reports can be filtered and sorted. Includes DXCC® and WAS Analytics™ tools for analyzing and enhancing DXCC and WAS standing.

Operating System and Requirements

DXtreme Station Log 12 runs in 32- and 64-bit versions of Microsoft® Windows® 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista®, and Windows XP.

Pricing and Support

DXtreme Station Log 12 retails for $89.95 USD worldwide for Internet distribution. Reduced pricing is available for upgrading users, and CD shipment is available at a nominal surcharge. All prices include product support by Internet e-mail.

About DXtreme Software

Based in Nashua, NH, DXtreme Software produces powerful and easy-to-use logging applications for all kinds of radio enthusiasts — from short-wave and medium-wave listeners and DXers to Amateur Radio operators. For more information about DXtreme Station Log 12, visit www.dxtreme.com or contact Bob Raymond, NE1I, at bobraymond@dxtreme.com.

DXCC® is a registered trademark of the American Radio Relay League, Inc.

Microsoft®, Windows®, and Vista® are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.

Band Master, DX Atlas, Ham CAP, and Omni-Rig are owned by Afreet Software, Inc. A purchased software license for Band Master and DX Atlas are required to use them.

JT65-HF HB9HQX Edition is owned by Beat Oehrli, HB9HQX. WSJT-X is owned by Joe Taylor, K1JT.