Tag Archives: SDR

AirSpy HF+ Discovery: First Impressions on Medium Wave vs. Elad FDM-DUOr

The highly anticipated AirSpy HF+ Discovery SDR has been in the hands of early adopters for about two weeks–and I’ve seen nothing but positive comments!

After a long run (2007-2013) with a Microtelecom Perseus, my SDR of choice became the Elad FDM-S2, and more recently an Elad FDM-DUOr “hybrid” SDR receiver. The two Elads have the same core processing components and identical performance when the DUOr is connected via SDR software.

This week I’ve compared the HF+ Discovery ($169) against the FDM-DUOr ($899) using Studio 1 software and identical modes & settings. The following video features the radios’ performance on a crowded daytime medium wave band from suburban Seattle-Tacoma USA.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Notes:

  • Software used is two “instances” of Studio 1, version 1.06e
  • Antenna is an east-west oriented Wellbrook ALA1530LNP Imperium loop
  • Mode, filter bandwidth, AGC, etc. are the same for each radio
  • 768 kHz sampling bandwidth used for both receivers

Stations tuned are:

  • 1320 KXRO Aberdeen WA, 74 miles @ 5 kW (in-line with antenna)
  • 1110 Oak Harbor WA, 78 miles @ 500 watts (in antenna’s null)
  • 1040 CKST Vancouver BC, 147 miles @ 50 kW (in antenna’s null)
  • 1430 KBRC Mt. Vernon WA, 85 miles @ 5 kW (in antenna’s null)
  • 750 KXTG Portland OR, 118 miles @ 50 kW (in antenna’s null)

I purposely sought out signals difficult to hear in the presence of powerhouse stations. Only 1320 kXRO (in-line with my antenna) and 750 KXTG are what you might consider average or fair quality signals. Headphones are recommended for most of these, particularly 1040 kHz.

You’ll note that the pass band has been “pulled” over the edge of the carrier frequency by a few hundred Hertz. This is an excellent trick that can often reduce noise and/or improve intelligibility. It’s a feature unique to Perseus, Studio 1, and SDRuno software; it works in sideband modes and in selectable sideband Sync AM (SAM) mode.

After listening to the signal comparisons, what are your thoughts on the HF+ Discovery? Please leave your comments below.

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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The SDRplay RSP1 just turned five years old

Yesterday, @SDRplay noted on Twitter:

It’s 5 years ago today we sold the very first blue and white RSP to someone in Sweden – many thanks to all our customers over the 5 years

Perhaps it’s just because I’m getting older, but it’s hard to believe it’s been five years!

The little RSP1 really disrupted the SDR world. Up to 2014, there were few sub $150 SDRs that included HF reception natively. There were even fewer sub $150 SDRs that I would consider “enthusiast grade”–those that were sensitive, selective, and not prone to overload.

When I initially tested the RSP1 it pretty much blew my mind. I was so impressed by the performance for the price point.

Looking back at my original review, I see that I had a long list of “pros” and only three “cons.” In fact, two of the three “cons” I listed are no longer valid (multi-channel recordings are now an option and SDRplay has their own OEM application, SDRuno).

SDRplay has demonstrated iterative agility with each new product offering and built an impressive community in five years. They have also maintained their position as a price leader even though their products are all designed and manufactured in the UK.

Congratulations, SDRplay! Happy Birthday to the RSP1! Click here to check out SDRplay.

Click here to read my original SRDplay RSP1 review.

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The Omega + HF QRP Transceiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Evans (W4/VP9KF), who notes another affordable QRP transceiver on the market: the Omega +.

According to the Omega + website, it appears there are three configurations/versions:

  • 1 band – basic (up to 30 MHz)
  • 2 bands (50 / 70 MHz)
  • 10 bands (160/80/60/40/30/20/17/15/12/10m)

Notes, Specifications and Features

The following details were lifted from this product page and reference the 10 band version of the Omega + (translated from Polish via Google Translate).

Omega + – 10 band QRP transceiver with installed S-meter, power meter, CW monitor and standard quartz filter.

Transceiver fully launched by producers Lukasza SQ7BFS and Pawla SP7NJ.

The front and rear TRX wall in military color, the remaining part of the housing black (in the picture is presented the whole black version).

Rx [MHz]: 0.100 – 72.000
Tx [MHz]:

  • 1.800-2.000
  • 3.500-3.800
  • 5.100-5.500
  • 7.000-7.200
  • 10.100-10.150
  • 14.000-14.350
  • 18.068-18.168
  • 21.000-21.450
  • 24.890-24.990
  • 28.000-30.000

Modes:

  • USB
  • LSB
  • CWU
  • CWL

Antenna connector: SO-239
Working temperature range: -10 ° C to + 50 ° C;
Power supply: 11 – 14V DC
Power consumption

  • Tx Max. Power: 1.6A
  • Rx: 0.26A

Dimensions: (W × H × D) 120x40x180 mm
Weight (approx.): 800g
Output power: (at 13.8V DC)> 6W
Sensitivity: 0.16?V

Package includes:

  • Omega + 10 band transceiver in a black-green (military) enclosure
  • microphone
  • power cord
  • adapter for an external speaker

The listed price is 1,200 Poland zloty (roughly $321 US).

Videos

The Omega + in the WARD Contest 2017:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Here’s a video showing how (impressively) strong the Omega + chassis is:

Click here to view on YouTube.

For more product details, check out the Omega + website.

Our Polish-speaking readers may be able to add more details or clarify/correct anything above that may not have been correctly translated. Please feel free to comment!

Again, Paul, many thanks for the tip!


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The lab599 Discovery TX-500 ruggedized portable QRP transceiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Vlad, who shares some images and a video of a new QRP transceiver in development: the Discovery TX-500 by a company called lab599.

Specifications have not been published yet, but we have confirmed a few details from the manufacturer:

  • 10 watts PEP
  • HF plus 6 meters
  • Weight 570 grams (1.25 pounds)
  • Voltage 9 – 14 VDC
  • 105 milliamps at 13.8 VDC and with backlit display on
  • CAT control via USB and using Kenwood codes
  • I/Q outputs
  • Weatherized
  • Expected availability autumn 2019
  • Target retail price is $700 US
  • Product website is forthcoming

All of the following images came from the Discovery TX-500 gallery on Instagram:

Here are a few videos:

View this post on Instagram

Discovery TX-500, Lab599

A post shared by Laboratory599 (@discovery_tx_500) on

Click here to view on Instagram.

Click here to view on Instagram.

Click here to view on Instagram.

For someone, like me, who loves playing radio in the field (Parks On The Air and Summits On The Air) this looks like an ideal rig. It’s one of the only ham radio transceivers I’ve seen that is weatherized to some degree (how much, we don’t know yet).

I don’t see a speaker on the TX-500, so I’m guessing it might require a mic/speaker combo or an external speaker of some sort? I also don’t see a built-in ATU, but at $700, I certainly wouldn’t expect one.

With a power consumption of 110 milliamps at 13.8 VDC, this little transceiver should run for ages on a modest battery pack.

This is certainly a fascinating prototype QRP transceiver. If the Discovery TX-500 transceiver can be produced and marketed at $700 with all of the features mentioned so far, it should certainly fly off the shelves. They can certainly take my money!

Of course, I will plan to grab one of these for review. I’m also eager to see how this little SDR transceiver might perform on the broadcast bands.

We will post post TX-500 updates and details as they become available. Bookmark the tag Discovery TX-500 and stay tuned!


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Hamvention Highlights: The QRP Labs QSX 10 watt, general coverage, low-cost HF transceiver kit

Hans (G0UPL) of QRP Labs holding a QSX transceiver prototype at the 2019 Hamvention

Each year at the Dayton Hamvention I enjoy checking out the latest radio products and services. This year (2019) I found an exceptional number of innovations and will share these in Hamvention Highlights posts. If you would like to check out 2019 Hamvention Highlights as I publish them, bookmark this tag: 2019 Hamvention Highlights

The QRP Labs QSX Transceiver

Hans (G0UPL) of QRP Labs was, without a doubt, one of the most popular guys at the 2019 Hamvention — especially within the QRP community. In fact, at the Four Days In May (FDIM) vendors’ night his table was so busy I didn’t bother trying to force my way through the crowd to speak with him.

As luck would have it, our own table for ETOW was directly across from QRP Labs table at the the Greene County Fairgrounds so, in the end, I spent some quality time with Hans over the course of the Hamvention.

I’ll also make prediction: if the 10 band QSX transceiver delivers what it promises, it will be a serious disruptor in the ham radio transceiver world! This is a good thing. Why?

The QSX is a feature-packed, all-mode, high-performance, affordable, QRP transceiver.

The QSX will have a 24-bit Analog to Digital Converter (ADC) and a 24-bit Digital to Analog Converter (DAC). It will be a fully stand-alone unit and, since it’s an SDR and sports robust DSP, when connected to your PC, it will be recognized as a high-performance sound card. This equates to nearly native digital mode integration without the need for an external sound card interface.

The QSX Prototype Back Panel

The QSX Transceiver will be a through-hole kit with the surface-mounted components pre-installed on the circuit boards. This means the kit should be accessible to anyone with soldering skills.

Hans has even managed to include a mini spectrum display on the front backlit LCD panel.

The price? Around $150 US in total for the transceiver kit, 10 band filter module and enclosure. Unbelievable!

If Hans can pull this off — and I feel pretty confident he can — the QSX will set a new bar for QRP transceiver pricing and performance.

If you’d like more details about the QSX transceiver, check out the following resources sent to me by SWLing Post contributor, Pete Eaton:

The 10 band QSX will sport a general coverage receiver and although though the modes supported currently don’t include AM, Hans plans to add AM for at least reception purposes. This could make for a high-performance stand-alone SDR field radio for HF broadcast listening.

Of course, I also see the QSX transceiver as an accessible entry radio for new ham radio operators who are nervous about forking out $800+ for a new HF transceiver.

I will certainly grab the 10 band QSX transceiver kit when it becomes available and review it here on the SWLing Post. Stay tuned!

If you would like to follow other Hamvention Highlights, bookmark the tag: 2019 Hamvention Highlights


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