Mike’s Virtual Audio Cable (VAC) promotion

vac_controlpanelSWLing Post contributor, Mike Ladd, has been working with vendors to lock in promotional pricing on products and accessories commonly used by SDR enthusiasts. Last week, for example, he shared an excellent promotion for high/low pass filters.

This time, Mike has reached out to the author of Virtual Audio Cable (VAC) who has also kindly offered a discount.

VAC is a fantastic piece of software that allows you to port audio from one application to another on your PC without loss of audio quality. For example, if you’re running an SDR and you want to port its audio to FLDigi (to decode SSTV, RTTY, PSK31, or another digital mode) VAC does this for you.

Mike’s discount allows you to purchase a self-support copy of VAC for $21.42 US (a $3.78 discount).

To get the promo price, you’ll need to use this link which has the embedded coupon code, then simply make the selections as shown below:

VAC-Promo

Click here to purchase VAC with promotional pricing.

Thanks again, Mike, for sharing discounts with the SWLing and ham radio communities!

Mike’s low and high pass filter deals

HDSDR-SDRPlay-RSP-PARISWLing Post contributor, Mike Ladd, is an avid SDR enthusiast and an administrator of the SDRplay Facebook group. Mike contacted me about special pricing he has arranged for low and high pass filters through Rescue Electronics. Mike explains:

These filters retail for $70.00 each. I spoke to the builder. I told him who I was and what I do and got him to make a deal for anyone in the United States with these filters and a direct link to his site. I make zero dollars on this. I always try to give back to the hobby and the community any way possible.

You have 3 choices: a high pass filter, a low pass filter, or a combo package.

These are hand built one at a time by Paul W1VLF with your choice of SO-239 or BNC connections. Full details are below:


High pass filter $55 shipped anywhere in the USA

AM-HP_Filter-600x372

This filter will begin attacking the AM band at 1770 Khz and increase attenuation as frequency decreases.

You can see this in the screen capture of the swept filter below.AM-HP_Filter_Plot2-600x513

160 Meters and above is virtually left untouched, but below that is where the attenuation takes place.

The filter has attenuated 60 db by 960 KHz.

The AM band has some very large signals that can mix in the front end of your. A lot of these spurious frequencies can land in 160 meter band or above.

For instance, I have a big signal at 1080 Khz and another at 770 Khz, add these 2 together and you get a spur that falls at 1850 Khz

Picture this happening at multiple frequencies with multiple mixes and you have a raised noise floor in the 160 Meter band.

The filter is built into a 2″ x 4″ 1.25″ 1/8″ wall aluminum enclosure for excellent RF shielding

Low pass filter $55 shipped anywhere in the USA

AM-2_Filter-600x343

The AM-2 filter has a cutoff at 520 KHz.

AM-2_Filter_Plot2-600x543Then, and without a lot of fanfare it begins the attack on the MW band.

Purchase this filter if you are into NDB, DX’ing, Maritime Mobile, Navetex, FCC Part 5 600 Meter band.

Each filter is handmade and swept in my lab.

The AM -2 Low pass is equipped with BNC connectors.

The filter begins to roll off at 520 Khz and gives an ultimate rejection of around 80 Db.

The filter is built into a 2″ x 4″ 1.25″ 1/8″ wall aluminum enclosure for excellent RF shielding

Combo deal for both $100 shipped anywhere in the USA

AM-2_Filter-600x343 AM-HP_Filter-600x372

Click here to view/purchase via Mike Ladd’s promotional page at Rescue Electronics. 

Many thanks for sharing this Mike! During my presentation at the Winter SWL Fest last week, I spoke about the need for high/low pass filters for listeners who live in the presence of strong broadcasters and interference. Many of the inexpensive SDRs on the market do not have built-in filters and preselectors thus can overload under these conditions.

While filters can be homebrewed or built from kits, these filters seem to be a good deal for a quality shielded and tested product. Thanks for arranging this, Mike!

SDRplay RSP update includes broadcast ID

The SDRplay RSP software defined radio

The SDRplay RSP software defined radio

Many thanks to Jon Hudson at SDRplay who shares the following news:

The latest EXTIO control file (Version 3.8.1) has a very cool new feature for shortwave listeners interested in hunting HF DX stations.

Using the world-wide station list mintained by http://www.eibispace.de/ you can see the name of stations appear in a pop-up window as you select a particular broadcast signal. The details are in the updated EXTIO user guide selectable from the Platforms section or by clicking here.

There’s a video demo here:

A simple homebrew high pass filter

12744054_901043640014242_2651293633303686752_nMany thanks to Jon Hudson, of SDRplay, who posted the image above along with the following note on Facebook:

David, WA7JHZ has designed and assembled this neat 2.6 MHz high-pass filter (HPF) for use with SDRs. He says that this simple input band-pass filter (BPF) might be of interest to anyone suffering from strong AM broadcast stations that are causing overloads…..David suffers from three nearby AM radio broadcast stations that overload the front ends of several of his receivers, including the SDRplay RSP and this is an ideal, low cost solution. He built this circuit from junk parts and commented that Amidon T44-2 iron powder cores would have made a better design, but that he decided to keep costs down with this design.

This design is simple enough for almost anyone to build and could help your receiver’s front end from overloading. Many thanks to David for the design/schematic and to Jon for sharing!

Check out the new web-based KiwiSDR in New Zealand

Kiwi-SDR-1

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Andrea Borgnino, who shares a link to a new web SDR in New Zealand: The KiwiSDR installation.

Andrea posted the following on Twitter:

I agree with Andrea: this WebSDR has an amazing display and user interface. It even includes both a spectrum and full-color waterfall.

I’ve enjoyed tuning around the mediumwave band in New Zealand this morning. My Internet connection is terribly slow (and unreliable) but I was still able to view the full display while streaming audio with only a few hiccups.  With a moderately robust Internet connection, I believe you’ll be pleased with the KiwiSDR.

Click here to visit the KiwiSDR online.

Many thanks, Andrea, for the tip!

Brilliant Article on RTL-SDR Dongle Uses

sdr-Mario2Frequent contributor Mario Filippi N2HUN has written a brilliant piece for the latest edition of The Spectrum Monitor entitled RTL-SDR: Your Eye To The Wireless World, February 2016. Here is a brief synopsis:

RTL-SDR Dongle: Your Eye to the Wireless World

By Mario Filippi N2HUN

The RTL-SDR dongle has garnered much popularity over the last several years as an inexpensive and effective broadband receiver for the radio enthusiast. Now Mario shows us how the RTL-SDR can be pressed into serving in other ways: as a rudimentary piece of test equipment to explore those countless wireless devices that power our world and make life convenient. You can use it when restoring vintage radios, doing frequency analysis, antenna analysis and a host of troubleshooting activities you may never have thought of.

I highly recommend buying at least the current issue ($3.00 / PDF Download – what a steal!) or better yet, subscribing for a whole year. Every issue gives far more value than the cost ($2.00/issue at the current subscription rate).

Mario’s article explores things I never would have thought of, and he explains how he uses these inexpensive dongles in place of much more expensive equipment. It is truly amazing what these little wonders can do, and Mario just keeps pushing back the envelope of what is possible.

Thanks Mario for a truly inspiring article – yet again you have given us even more rabbit trails to explore!

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

SDRplay shipping the RSP in quantities of 1,000 a month

SDPlay-RSPThis article from Electronics Weekly just popped up in my news feed:

SDRplay of Wakefield, the 18-month-old software defined radio specialist, is now shipping its $149 software defined radio (SDR) receiver in quantities of 1,000 a month

Inspired by the SDR capabilities that even a simple 8-bit TV dongle can perform, SDRplay had the idea of partnering with Mirics to take their 12-bit wideband broadcast chipset and to re-purpose it for the hobbyist market.

At the moment, the hobbyist market for SDR radios tends to be dominated by radio amateurs and ‘short-wave listeners’ and SDRplay’s initial product, the ‘Radio Spectrum Processor’ (RSP) has been well received – winning Ham Radio Science’s RSP ‘Best Bang for the Buck’ rating.

Continue reading at Electronics Weely’s website…

I’m quite proud of the folks at SDRplay as their RSP is truly one of the best receiver values on the market right now.

After (apprehensively) agreeing to review the SDRplay RSP last year, I was simply blown away by this little $149 receiver’s performance. Click here to read the review. Later, I couldn’t bring myself to return the RSP on loan for the review–so I purchased it instead.

I’m glad I bit the bullet!

In fact, last year, at the SWLing Post DXpedition, my buddy, Mark Fahey–who traveled all the way from Australia–forgot to bring the appropriate power adapter for his WinRadio Excalibur, so I let him use mine. I had planned to run the WinRadio Excalibur and Elad FDM-S2 simultaneously on my PC so that I could record spectrum in two different parts of the band at the same time.

Fortunately, I brought the SDRplay RSP, so it took the Excalibur’s place and ran alongside the FDM-S2. It worked amazingly well!

(I should note here that I also believe the FDM-S2 is a great value–at $519 US, it holds its own against receivers that cost upwards of $1,000.)

Shortly after I published my RSP review, I invited SDRplay to become a sponsor of the SWLing Post. I’m happy they accepted. Sponsorship on the SWLing Post is only open to retailers and manufacturers who produce quality goods; those who are well-known in the industry and, often, ones with which I have direct experience. I think SDRplay is a great fit.

So, Kudos to Jon Hudson and his team at SDRplay! I’m very happy to hear how popular the RSP has become.

If you’re an RSP owner, or plan to be soon, make sure you check out the official SDRplay forum and the SDRplay Facebook group: both excellent resources backed by active SDR enthusiasts!