SSB Reception Examples with the XHDATA D-808 Portable Receiver

In my earlier article on this receiver, I shared reception videos of three weak medium wave stations and a single shortwave outlet, all demonstrated in AM mode.

These two videos are of reception in SSB. The first example is true SSB reception–in lower side band on the 40m amateur band, while tuning a local on-the-air ham radio classifieds broadcast:


The next video demonstrates “ECSS” reception
(tuning an AM mode signal in SSB). In this example I use a strong station so the audio quality and fine tuning accuracy of the XHDATA receiver can be clearly heard. Typically, ECSS is used by SWLs and DXers for AM mode stations that suffer from adjacent channel interference on one side or the other.


Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

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5 thoughts on “SSB Reception Examples with the XHDATA D-808 Portable Receiver

  1. Guy Atkins Post author

    Hi Edward,

    The Time Set key is the “AM BW/FM ST” button (“TIME” is printed in orange above the button). With the radio turned off, quickly press this button to ensure the radio is in manual time set mode. If “AUTO” shows, press the UP/DOWN (^ or v) buttons until “MANUAL” is displayed. Then press the Time Set key for two seconds, and when “TIME” flashes you can enter it numerically with the keypad. For instance, “1345” UTC is entered as 1-3-4-5. No confirming keypress is needed; wait a few seconds and the new time will be displayed.

    If you want time to be set automatically via RDS on FM, put the radio into AUTO mode (per above). Then a tuned RDS signal will automatically set the time (supposedly– I haven’t tried this yet).

    Reply
    1. Edward

      Yes, I finally got it to work. This has the look and feel of a first concept product. I would like them to make a (much) bigger case with 4 or 5 inch speaker. This sounds a lot better through my PC speakers using the headphone jack. There are not enough keys to do the job so all this finger poking multiplexing to get it to work. Also the yellow lettering will wear off with use. I would recommend braille around the keys and on top of the keys (have you tried to use it in the dark … LOL ?) Only one drifting birdie on SSB around 9276 khz. Good visual display though. I always said a radio without a BFO is like a Harley Davidson with a top speed of 25 MPH. This radio is a moped with a top speed of 65 MPH. Kind of dicey at top speed.

      Reply
  2. Edward

    I just got the D-808, it a good radio. It performs well with SSB (otherwise I just would not have purchased it) BUT the instruction manual gets a D. I can’t set the time manually nor turn off the sleep timer following the instructions. I think something got lost in translation to English. Someone needs to do a re-wright so the instructions match the radio

    To me DSP radios are like marijuana cigarettes. to some people they are addictive, to me the sound is like the smoke, stinky & harsh. And listening too long gives me a humdinger of a headache. and they are too (physically) small. I like the sound from my old superhet portables much better.

    Reply
  3. Thomas

    I’m impressed with how good the D-808 sounds while being used for ECSS. The 4 kHz bandwidth is near ideal for this.

    Guy, do you find that when you dial up a broadcast frequency on MW or SW and engage SSB mode that the D-808 it pretty much zero beat on frequency, or do you typically need to adjust?

    Thanks!
    Thomas

    Reply
    1. Guy Atkins Post author

      Hi Thomas, I find similar SSB tuning characteristics with all these receivers using the 10-Hz tuning SSB-capable SiLabs chip. Typically I notice that one sideband will be spot-on (or extremely close) on an AM signal tuned ECSS style, and the other will take more adjustment to achieve natural speech/music.

      This “more adjustment” on one sideband is usually no more than 40-150 Hz. Of course, the true accuracy of these inexpensive portables is only a guess; it takes test equipment and knowledge to determine if 770 kHz is “EXACTLY” 770 within reasonable limits. I don’t expect a small portable receiver to have the same accuracy, stability, and other parameters of a serious SDR or communications receiver.

      Also–and the jury’s still out on this–it seems like stronger AM mode stations need less or no adjustment than weaker signals. I’m not sure why this is, or even if I’m imagining it. I’d appreciate other owners of DSP portable SSB radios sharing their thoughts! Maybe it’s simply because it’s easier to tell when a strong signal is fine-tuned accurately in SSB versus a weak one.

      Another tidbit: in my opinion, it’s easier/quicker to tune a true LSB or USB station for natural sounding speech than ECSS tuning of an AM signal with inexpensive DSP portables like the D-808, Eton Satellit, GP-5/SSB, and so on.

      Reply

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