Tag Archives: Product Announcements

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:

AOR introduces the AR6000: the 40 kHz to 6 GHz receiver

The AOR AR6000

The AOR AR6000

AOR has announced their latest (very) wide band receiver, the AR6000 last month at the 2013 Dayton Hamvention.

As with most AOR equipment, the AR6000 comes at a premium price–$6,500 US–but this receiver is quite unique in that it covers most of the radio spectrum 40 kHz to 6 GHz. I imagine AOR sells most of these to commercial and government entities; indeed it’s only available for export or government purchase here within the US.

Details below:

(Source: AOR USA)

The AR6000 delivers continuous tuning from 40 kilohertz to 6 gigahertz in a wide variety of modes for professional monitoring performance that’s nothing short of amazing in terms of accuracy, sensitivity and speed. Standard modes include AM, FM, WFM, FM Stereo, USB, LSB and CW. An optional module can add the capability to receive APCO25 digital communications plus an optional I/Q output can be added to capture up to one megahertz of bandwidth onto a storage device for later listening or signal analysis.

Designed for the monitoring or technical service professional, there are no interruptions in the AR6000’s tuning range. With exceptional tuning accuracy and sensitivity throughout its tuning range, the AR6000 begins at the floor of the radio spectrum and continues up through microwave frequencies so it can be used for land-based or satellite communications. It works as a measuring receiver for those seeking a reliable frequency and signal strength standard. To support its broad spectrum, the AR6000 has two antenna ports, with the added capability of an optional remote antenna selector from the front panel of the receiver.

With its popular analog signal strength meter and large easy-to-read digital spectrum display, the AR6000 is destined to become the new choice of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, the military, emergency managers, diplomatic service, lab technicians, news-gathering operations and security professionals

Click here to view the spec sheet and brochure (PDF).

New large portable shortwave radio in the works?

(Source: bbs.tecsun.com.cn)

(Source: bbs.tecsun.com.cn)

Gary writes:

It looks like a new, large portable radio — along the lines of the Redsun RP2100 — is on the way. At least this one includes a direct-entry keypad and SSB, like the RP3100 is supposed to.

http://herculodge.typepad.com/herculodge/2013/04/another-large-portable-all-band-radio-to-be-released.html

I hope they can do good QC, and keep the sample to sample variation low.

Thanks, Gary. It does look like a variation of the of the RP3100. Sounds like it’s not a Redsun product, but may have been ported from one of their engineers for JiDian. It certainly has the trademark look. If this is true, there’s a possibility that C.Crane could bring this to North America. Perhaps it’s the next radio in line to succeed the CCRadio SW?  Though a great radio, the CCRadio-SW is getting a little long in the tooth.

The new Degen DE1129 shortwave radio with MP3 recording and playback

(Photo source: TecsunRadio.com)

TecsunRadio.com has posted the new Degen DE1129 shortwave radio on their website. Though they have not yet posted pricing, it appears pre-orders are being taken.

The DE1129 looks like a decedent of the Degen DE1128 that has not exactly been a market success in North America. The DE1128 lacks medium wave (AM) 10kHz steps (spacing) that allows it to be useful in the North America AM broadcast market.  It also lacks English as a selectible language on the display. (The Grundig G2 Reporter, however, does have the features and is, in essence, the North American version of the DE1128).

The published features/specs of the new DE1129 do not reveal if AM spacing or English language will be an issue in the DE1129. I will try to contact the manufacturer. Until then, I would keep this in mind if pre-ordering. UPDATE: The DE1129 does have 10kHz spacing.

UPDATE: Vimal points out pricing is $102 US/each with shipping.

Thanks for the tip from the excellent Herculodge blog!

Features (per retailer)

  • FM :87.0-108 .0 MHz
  • campus radio:64.0-108.0MHz
  • MW (medium wave) :522-1710KHz
  • SW (shortwave) :2.30-23 .00 MHz
  • Stored radio frequency of 248
  • Radio signal strength indicator
  • High-frequency stereo
  • Five tuning methods: (encoder knob / manual / automatic / memory / ATS)
  • Large-size LED backlit dot-matrix screen, full support of the Chinese display
  • Playback: MP3 and WMA decoding
  • Multiple repeat mode
  • A variety of sound modes
  • Variable speed playback
  • A-B repeat
  • Recording function: MIC recording, recording radio
  • MP3/WAV sound recording format selection
  • Can be used as the active speaker
  • E-book features: TXT document reading
  • Intelligent timer switch
  • Alarm clock function
  • Sleep timer (05-90 minutes)
  • Support software upgrades
  • Support for multiple languages
  • Built-in memory, support for the MICRO SD card playback
  • Key Lock Switch
  • The electronic volume control (31)
  • Built-in top super bass vibration film and wideband audio speaker
  • MINI-USB interface, USB2.0 high-speed transmission
  • The intelligent charging can be connected to the computer charge
  • Battery level indicator, low battery automatically shut down
  • Removable battery, replace the batteries more convenient
  • Machine size: 130 * 78 * 30MM
  • Weight (with lithium battery): about 145G
  • Supplied accessories: USB cable, lithium battery, and Operations Guide

 

The Grundig G2 Reporter – a new shortwave radio from Eton Corporation

(Photo source: Eton Corporation)

It looks like a new Grundig shortwave radio is in the works, with availability as early as 2nd quarter.

I was just sent the following press release which was published prior to the 2012 CES:

(Source: Eton Press Release)

(Palo Alto, CA – January 9, 2012) – Etón Corporation, a leading creator of high-performance, green-powered consumer products, announces the Grundig G2 Reporter. The Grundig G2 is a portable travel radio that features multi-language capabilities and five tuning methods, providing a convenient way to listen to your favorite content wherever you go, from anywhere in the world.

The G2 Reporter is another reliable radio and information source added to the Grundig series. Use the five tuning methods – jog, manual, auto, memory, or ATS (Auto Tuning Storage) – to quickly scan or browse stations from anywhere in the world – hearing broadcasts in each country’s native language. The G2 furthers its international appeal with multiple language capability, allowing users to choose from a variety of languages to be shown on the LCD display.

Additional features of the G2 Reporter include:
AM/FM/WB frequencies
Dual stereo speakers with digital volume control
Signal strength indicator
Sleep timer and alarm clock functions
Multiple language selection
Ports: 3.5mm headphone output, line-in, MIC,
MINI-USB 2.0 jack (high speed)
Rechargeable lithium battery (1250mAh), charge through USB

“Etón has partnered with Grundig for the past three decades and we are proud to continue the brand’s long-standing quality tradition with the introduction of the G2,” said Esmail Amid-Hozour, CEO of Etón Corporation. “Grundig enthusiasts remain loyal and we know they won’t be disappointed with the innovative products in our 2012 line.”

Weighing only 9.6 oz. (272 g), The Grundig G2 Reporter is the ideal product for global travelers. Available in Q2 2011, the Grundig G2 Reporter will retail for $150 USD. For more information on Etón Corporation and its products, visit www.etoncorp.com.

Though very similar in appearance and features to the Tecsun PL-398MP or, better yet, the future Degen DE1128, I imagine that Grundig has put their own spin on this small rig. I have found that quality control tends to be much better via Grundig than Degen. With these specifications, it would indeed be a great portable SW radio for travel.

Update 1/11/12: Universal Radio has now listed the Grundig G2 in their catalog.