Tag Archives: Bonito RadioJet IF-Receiver 1102S

Fernando’s review of the Bonito 1102S RadioJet software defined receiver

The Bonito 1102S RadioJet - Click to Enlarge

SWLing Post reader and fellow SW radio reviewer, Fernando, has apprised us of his review of the Bonito 1102S RadioJet. While his site is in German, which we don’t read or speak here, Google Translate gives us English speakers a fair idea of his findings, and Fernando helps us with the rest.

To summarize, his comparison of the Bonito 1102S RadioJet with his Microtelecom Perseus concludes that the two perform well, running about neck-and-neck–in other words, offer almost identical performance characteristics.  There were some differences, though. I outline a few key review points that Fernando was kind enough to clarify for us:

  • The noise floor between the Perseus and RadioJet is more or less the same, in his tests.
  • He finds that the Perseus is slightly more sensitive on higher frequencies (above 22Mhz). This comparison is made with the “DX Channel” on the Bonito 1102S RadioJet (a feature only found on the Radiojet–see note below).
  • Fernando believes the sensitivity and selectivity of both radios to be very similar. He told us that he could not hear a great difference.
  • The Perseus software is, of course, very stable and mature in comparison with that of the new Radiojet. This is quite typical of new SDR products on the market, as it takes time and user feedback to eliminate bugs and quirks. Fernando expresses his confidence, however, that the software engineers at RadioJet will be quick to respond to patches and upgrades.
  • Overall, he believes that RadioJet will be able to provide a very stable product in short order.

Since Fernando has been a beta tester for the Bonito 1102S RadioJet, he’s familiar with the company and their attentiveness to feedback, and he’s impressed.

One feature unique to the RadioJet is the “DX Channel.” You can see this in action in a video the company released last year:  in essence, when activated on a weak signal, the noise floor drops, and the signal seems to pop out of the static. I asked Fernando about this feature and he told me that, when the DX Channel is activated, the software lowers the IP3+ and increases the sensitivity. This is the default channel or mode on the software.

The normal “RX Channel” is used for strong signals and is better for in-band interference. The DX Channel has a higher IP3+. He mentioned that the software can automatically determine which channel should be used, and auto-switches it for the user. Fernando said that this function works quite well.

Like to hear the difference for yourself?  Fernando’s website Fenu-Radio.ch has a page dedicated to audio comparisons between the Perseus and RadioJet. The first 15 seconds of each audio clip feature the Perseus, the second 15 seconds features the RadioJet.  Click here to go to the audio page.

By the way–Fernando’s website is most impressive. He has a long list of receiver reviews, comparisons and audio files. I encourage you to spend some time there, whether or not you read German.

Thanks for sharing your review, Fernando!

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Update: Bonito RadioJet IF-Receiver 1102S

The Bonito RadioJet - Click to Enlarge

An inside scoop just for SWLing Post readers:  We’ve just received some interesting updates about the new Bonito RadioJet IF-Receiver 1102S from German company Bonito. Our contact Dennis, a representative of Bonito, informs us that FCC should be approving the RadioJet within a week, and units will be shipping to retailers about the same time. Naturally, I’m quite eager to review this receiver, as it promises a low noise floor (-137 dBm-!?!) and a sleek, sizable user interface. Pricing seems to be in line with the Perseus and Excalibur for North American buyers.

RadioJet Back

Dennis at Bonito tells us:

[S]ince December we’ve been delivering RadioJets to end customers…

Preordering was amazing in our opinion (370 RadioJets!) and the customers who contacted us are extremely happy with it.

We also have some tests from German magazines and the SDR gurus are delighted with the signal quality.

The real concern with any SDR–especially with a new one–is whether or not the manufacturer will support and upgrade the user interface over time.  After all, an SDR is only as good as your ability to control and use it.  In consideration of this, Dennis volunteers the following:

We have, meanwhile, improved and extended the whole software [package] and put a lot of new features in it. One is a huge frequency list, including transmitting times, and shown [in the display is] a world map [indicating] day and night and moon phases. (See screenshots)

Screenshot 1 - Click To Enlarge

Screenshot 2 - Click to Enlarge

I must say, I love the superimposed broadcaster ID as seen in Screenshot 1 (above). This is a very cool addition, which makes for convenient at-a-glance broadcasting identification. Coincidentally, this should also help users find unscheduled broadcasts such as pirate radio stations, numbers stations, utilities, etc. The map target icons also make it quite easy to identify broadcast sites on the world map (see Screenshot 2).  Again, Dennis:

Top view of RadioJet board (Click to enlarge)

I’ve included an image of the [receiver] board. You see no active parts between the antenna and ADC [analog to digital converter].

Dennis claims that it is this absence of any active components between the antenna and ADC that keep the RadioJet noise floor so remarkably low.

Bonito rep Dennis also voluntarily asked me to post the following to SWLing Post readers:

It would be great if you would send me a small list of things that MUST be in the software. Every comment is welcome.

So if you have a comment or a particular request regarding this software, please leave it in this post or simply contact us–we’ll make sure Bonito receives this informative feedback from you.

Of course, these are early days, but it looks like Bonito has the right focus to create a very competitive and innovative SDR product. This will require more than good engineering, however; it requires excellent support and a user-friendly experience.  Time will tell–and so will our forthcoming review!  We will be reviewing the Bonito RadioJet IF-Receiver 1102S in the near future, comparing it with the Microtelecom Perseus, so check back and follow this tag.

In the meantime, you can check out further screenshots below:

Screenshot 3 - Click to enlarge

Screenshot 4 - Click To Enlarge

Screenshot 5 - Click To Enlarge

Screenshot 6 - Click To Enlarge

Screenshot 7 - Click To Enlarge

Screenshot 8 - Click To Enlarge

Screenshot 9 - Click To Enlarge

Screenshot 10 - Click To Enlarge

Check Universal Radio’s website for Bonito Radiojet IF-Receiver 1102S availability and pricing in the USA.

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