A Raspberry Pi touchscreen case

462657_015107_01_front_zoom

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Ken (N2VIP), who writes:

I was at Microcenter.com the other day and saw a case for their 7″ touchscreen for the Raspberry Pi, it includes a ‘bump’ in the back of the case to hold a Radpberry Pi.

http://www.microcenter.com/product/462657/Raspberry_Pi_Touchscreen_Case_-_White

Very cool, Ken! Load this up with a Raspberry PI, touchscreen and attach a Pi-compatible SDR (like the SDRplay RSP), and you could have a neat portable SDR kit.

I’m curious if the RSP Pi app would work well with a touchscreen. Has anyone tried?

The Shortwave Daddy SDR on 73 Radio Row

SWD+Home+Page

It’s not often I find a shortwave radio I’ve never heard about–so you can imagine my surprise when I looked at 73 Radio Row this morning and found the Shortwave Daddy software defined radio for $159.00.

SWD+KVCR-Shortwave-Daddy

How did I miss hearing about a radio called the Shortwave Daddy when it was on the market a few years ago?

SWD+15.700

Here’s the description lifted from 73 Radio Row:

The Tablerock Shortwave Daddy software-defined receiver connects to your computer to open up the exciting world of AM-FM-Shortwave radio. It is powered solely by your computer’s USB port via a connecting cable, which is provided. Your computer provides the audio. Except for the antenna, no external connections are required. Simply plug and play. Fully tested. The Shortwave Daddy is no longer produced. It originally cost $289.99.

For details, we strongly encourage you to read the Shortwave Daddy’s manual by clicking here.

The radio covers:
Worldwide AM Band 520kHz – 1710kHz
Shortwave Bands 2.3MHz – 26.1 MHz
Worldwide FM Band 64MHz – 108 MHz

For computer compatibility specifications, click here.

SWD+7325

If I didn’t have so many radios on my review table right now, I’d buy this just to review it on the SWLing Post.

Post Readers: Anyone own a Shortwave Daddy receiver? If so, please comment!

Click here to view the Shortwave Daddy on 73 Radio Row.

LimeSDR is now in the crowdfunding stage

Lime-SDR-Aluminium-Case

There’s a new SDR under development–one that is promoted as a “Flexible, Next-generation, Open Source Software Defined Radio.”

The LimeSDR‘s goal, essentially, is to democratize what I call the “RF of things.”

My friend, Bernie S, told me about the LimeSDR a couple months ago and I’ve been following progress since then.  It’s a fascinating concept and one that is being supported by the likes of Canonical Ltd.

Earlier today, LimeSDR launched a crowdfunding campaign on CrowdSupply. If early activity is any indication, I expect the team will easily exceed their goal of $500,000 (already 10% funded at time of posting).

limesdr-8_jpg_project-body

Here’s information from LimeSDR’s CrowdSupply page:

A Software Defined Radio for Everyone

LimeSDR is a low cost, open source, apps-enabled (more on that later) software defined radio (SDR) platform that can be used to support just about any type of wireless communication standard, including UMTS, LTE, GSM, LoRa, Bluetooth, Zigbee, RFID, and Digital Broadcasting, to name but a few.

While most SDRs have remained the domain of RF and protocol experts, LimeSDR is usable by anyone familiar with the idea of an app store – LimeSDR is the first SDR to integrate with Snappy Ubuntu Core. This means you can easily download new LimeSDR apps from developers around the world. If you’re a developer yourself, then you can share and/or sell your LimeSDR apps through Snappy Ubuntu Core as well.

The LimeSDR platform gives students, inventors, and developers an intelligent and flexible device for manipulating wireless signals, so they can learn, experiment, and develop with freedom from limited functionality and proprietary devices.

From Radio Astronomy to Personal Telcos

Here are just some of the applications that are possible with the LimeSDR:

  • Radio astronomy
  • RADAR
  • 2G to 4G cellular basestation
  • Media streaming
  • IoT gateway
  • HAM radio
  • Wireless keyboard and mice emulation and detection
  • Tire pressure monitoring systems
  • Aviation transponders
  • Utility meters
  • Drone command and control
  • Test and measurement
  • Many more…

With state-of-the-art technical specs, a fully open hardware and toolchain, and integration with Snappy Ubuntu Core’s app distribution platform, LimeSDR is limited only by our collective imagination.

Features & Specifications

  • RF Transceiver: Lime Microsystems LMS7002M MIMO FPRF (Datasheet)
  • FPGA: Altera Cyclone IV EP4CE40F23 – also compatible with EP4CE30F23
  • Memory: 256 MBytes DDR2 SDRAM
  • USB 3.0 controller: Cypress USB 3.0 CYUSB3014-BZXC
  • Oscillator: Rakon RPT7050A @30.72MHz (Datasheet)
  • Continuous frequency range: 100 kHz – 3.8 GHz
  • Bandwidth: 61.44 MHz
  • RF connection: 10 U.FL connectors (6 RX, 4 TX)
  • Power Output (CW): up to 10 dBm
  • Multiplexing: 2×2 MIMO
  • Power: micro USB connector or optional external power supply
  • Status indicators: programmable LEDs
  • Dimensions: 100 mm x 60 mm

Bernie has encouraged me to evaluate the LimeSDR. I may very well attempt to do so, but frankly, I don’t have the experience to truly unlock this device. I am curious if it would make for an amazingly useful little all-in-one HF/VHF/UHF digital decoding device. In fact, I’m pretty sure it would be an easy task for the LimeSDR.

Any Post readers out there plan to back the LimeSDR project? If so, please comment and tell us how you plan to use the LimeSDR.

SDR Touch now supports the SDRplay RSP in Beta release

sdrtouch

(Source: SDRplay Blog)

Good news for Android users – SDR Touch have released a beta version of their software with SDRplay RSp functionality – go to https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.sdrtouch.sdrplay to sign up as a beta tester.

SDR Touch works on most recent Android Phone or Tablet devices.

A QS1R replacement in the works?

qs1r_front_sm1

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ken McKenzie, who noticed the following message from Phil Covington (of Software Radio Laboratory LLC) on the QS1R Yahoo group:

I am working on a replacement for the QS1R that will be less expensive, yet
use updated components. I am hoping to have them in production by the end of March.

Regards,

Philip A Covington
Software Radio Laboratory LLC
Columbus, Ohio
http://www.srl-llc.com

Ken noticed that the message was originally dated about one month ago, so I’ll follow-up with Phil and see how much progress has been made. The QS1R was a well-respected SDR that had been on the market for several years. It would be great to see an updated version on the market.

One year with the TitanSDR

TitanSDR-VOG

Last year, I reviewed the TitanSDR Pro by the Italian manufacturer, Enablia,. I was very impressed with not only this receiver’s performance, but also its accompanying application’s user interface. I also noted in the review that the TitanSDR is pricier than many other benchmark SDRs on the market ($1380-1970 EUR) but it is, after all, essentially a military-grade SDR that has been ported to the enthusiast/ham radio market.

I’ve been using and testing updates to theTitanSDR Pro for a year now, and I continue to be just as impressed with this receiver––and, especially, with the company who manufactures it, Enablia.

TitanSDRPro-3

I wondered at the time of my initial review how supportive Enablia might turn out to be; I knew time would tell.  Since my original review last year, Enablia has been regularly updating the TitanSDR application, adding many features requested by its users.  This shows a remarkable degree of responsiveness, and I now feel safe to say that that Enablia is an exceptional manufacturer with an exceptional product.

Only recently, I received an update which added two notch filters per narrowband channel, memories that retain AGC and notch filters settings, and sessions that retain AGC settings. I understand Enablia is also preparing updates that improve upon memory management, user interface, audio defaults, as well as offering a few tweaks to the existing feature set.

Overall, Enablia developers are certainly making this signal intelligence SDR cater to the ham radio and enthusiast market even better than before.

Though I use a number of SDRs, I reach for the TitanSDR any time there are multiple-band openings since it can record spectrum and audio across the entire LW/MW/SW landscape. Unlike my other SDRs, it’s not limited to an (already generous)  2-6 MHz recording/listening window.

For example, on Thursday night I had a lot on my listening/recording plate as there were a number of band openings. I had the TitanSDR tuned to:

  • the 31 meter band,
  • the 20 meter ham radio band,
  • the 49 meter band (specifically monitoring South American stations), and even
  • the mediumwave band.

The TitanSDR was recording spectrum on the 49 meter band while I made this AF recording of the Voice of Greece on the 31 meter band (9420 kHz, starting around 00:26 UTC on April 8, 2016):

Surprisingly, all of this recording wasn’t taxing my PC, nor the TitanSDR.

The TitanSDR application is highly stable and uses resources efficiently. Indeed, in the past year, to my knowledge the TitanSDR application hasn’t crashed even once, despite my rigorous demands of it. Since it runs nearly 24/7 in my shack, on a four-year old PC (third generation i5 Win 7), that’s saying a lot.

SWLing Post reader, Tony Roper, is also a heavy TitanSDR user and recently posted this 30+ minute video demonstrating some of the TitanSDR’s new features. Note that his screen capture software produced fairly low audio, so you’ll need to turn up the volume to hear his commentary:

Click here to view on YouTube.

In short, I stand by my conclusions drawn last year in my TitanSDR review:  although pricey compared to the competition, for those who can afford the price tag, the TitanSDR is a worthy hard-core DX machine that is especially useful to need a receiver with a bullet-proof front end, to weak-signal DXers, and to radio archivists like yours truly.

A $38.99 RTL-SDR with 100 Khz – 1.7 GHz coverage

RTL-SDR

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill, who recently shared a link to this very affordable RTL-SDR with wideband coverage.

I am not at all familiar with this model, but I do like the enclosure and the fact it has both an HF and UV antenna jack. This must be one of the least expensive SDRs on the market with HF coverage.

Here are a few details per Radioddity.com:

Features:

  • 100% Brand New And High Quality
  • Using the RTL2832 idle channel, broadband connection impedance isolation transformer provides the signal to the signal receiver HF HF bands.
  • Increased input low-pass filter to improve noise performance of the machine. At the same time, it retains the original V / UHF band reception, creative use of studded way to achieve RTL2832 + R820t circuit board assembly and connecting circuits increases
  • Further improve the overall performance of the circuit.
  • In the homemade circuit board also surrounded, surrounded reserved some help to further develop the pads. The entire circuit is loaded inside a small aluminum to further improve the performance of the overall circuit interference by aluminum shielding.

Package Contents:

  • 1 x 100KHz-1.7GHz full band UV HF RTL-SDR USB Tuner Receiver/ R820T+8232 Ham Radio
  • 1 x USB cable
  • 1 x antenna

Post Readers: If you have experience with this little SDR, please comment!