At the Dayton Hamvention last month, I made a point to check out the Italian radio manufacturer, Elad. Though I’ve known about Elad for some time, I hadn’t investigated their offerings yet simply because I was under the impression they only sold and warrantied their equipment within Europe. Fortunately, Elad has begun supporting and shipping their products within the US, via their division Elad-USA.
Elad’s booth was one of the first stops I made at the Hamvention; I met with their representatives there, who answered my many questions. While Elad is soon to release their flagship tabletop SDR transceiver (the FDM-DUO, see below), I was more interested in their flagship receiver, the FDM-S2–which really impressed me during their demo.
Yesterday, I unpacked a loaner FDM-S2 Elad sent for review; this review will be published first in The Spectrum Monitor magazine, and following, here on the SWLing Post. While it will take some time to piece together a full review for TSM, I thought I would periodically post recordings (and note FDM-S2 features) I discover along the way…
Unboxing the FDM-S2
Being a receiver with a small footprint (a major plus, in my world), the FDM-S2 comes in a small box (measuring only 6.5 x 5.5 x 2 inches).
Contents of the box are few and simple: the FDM-S2 receiver, a black cloth carrying bag, and a 4GB USB drive with installation software and documentation. A standard USB cable was also included in the shipping box.
The FDM-S2 metal enclosure is beautifully engineered, and feels of excellent quality in my hands.
I found installation of the Elad FDM-S2 to be fairly straightforward. However, I would encourage you to follow the included guide, since installation is a two-step process:
- First, you install a C++ package on your Windows PC which, when complete, triggers the actual Elad software installation: this is a two-part installation that you only initiate once.
- Secondly, you install the USB driver for the FDM-S2, found in the installation folder of the supplied software. At time of posting, the USB driver cannot be automatically discovered and installed by your PC; you must initiate the installation via the device manager. However, this is very easy: the guide takes you through the process step-by-step.
The FDM-S2 derives its power from the same USB cable that is used for data, no separate external power supply required–a huge plus, for those of us who like to travel.
Once I installed the software and driver, I hooked up my antenna to the HF SMA connector on the back, turned on the FDM-S2, and launched the application. The FDM-S2 clicked to life, and the application ran on the first go: very nice!
I spent a good hour or so familiarizing myself with the Elad software yesterday evening. It’s quite a departure from the WinRadio Excalibur and Microtelecom Perseus applications with which I’m most familiar. Nonetheless, while I’m still learning how to adjust the spectrum bandwidth (which can be a full 6 MHz wide!) plus manage the four virtual receivers, I found I was able to do quite a bit of band-scanning.
In fact, I noticed some great music on 9,420 kHz, the former Voice of Greece frequency:
I initiated my very first AF recording on the FDM-S2 (see screen capture above). The process was quite simple and I’m very happy with the level of customization Elad affords in its software; indeed, I can set the file name to automatically note the frequency, time, date and mode.
Day One with the FDM-S2? So far, so good. The Elad application is very customizable, hence has a higher learning curve than SDR applications I’ve used in the past. Thus I’ll need to log quite a few hours on the FDM-S2 before I can say that I’m proficient.
Readers: Have you had experience with the FDM-S2? Any hints or suggestions? Please comment–!