Tag Archives: Software-Defined Radios

Test a professional SDR from the comfort of your home–free!

Though I’ve not yet achieved particularly advanced age, my history in radio certainly started with the analog. The vintage Zenith Transoceanic my great-aunt gave me when I was eight was a wonder to tune, and its ability to extract signals from across the planet captivated me. But there was a certain amount of guesswork in the tuning process.  So, when I purchased my first digital portable in 1990, it seemed revolutionary:  in a snap, I could punch in a frequency, and there I was (virtually speaking). No guessing required.

Front and back of the SSB LAN-SDR software-defined receiver

Front and back of the SSB LAN-SDR software-defined receiver

The next step in receiver evolution was, of course, Software-Defined Radios–those little boxes that you hook up to your computer that allow you incredible tuning flexibility and which permit amazing receiver performance.

So, you’ve never tried an SDR–? I know a fix for that.

In the course of an email conversation with Willi Paßmann, SDR support for SSB-Electronic, I learned that–simply by downloading a couple of files from their website–you can “test-drive” their high-end SSB LAN-SDR.

First, a brief primer…

Some SDRs–like the SSB LAN-SDR–actually allow you to record and to play back HF spectrum segments.

In a basic example: if I want to record pirate radio stations one evening, but am not sure where they might pop up on the spectrum, I can set my SDR to record, say, an 80 kHz swatch of bandwidth from 6,915 to 6,995 kHz, from, for example, 9:00 pm to midnight.

Later, I can play back and listen to the recording, with full demodulation and tuning capabilities.  In other words, during playback, I can literally tune around in the spectrum, using all/any receiver functions of my SDR. It is as though I am listening and tuning, live, in real time, though it may be many hours or days later.

Those of you with SDRs will not be surprised by this remarkable feature, as most likely, you’ve already experimented with this incredible time-bending functionality.

Now, back to SSB-Electronic, and how to test-drive their LAN-SDR receiver.  It’s easy, actually:

  1. You download the software that runs the LAN-SDR
  2. You download one (or both) available spectrum recordings

Once you install their software and import the recording, you can literally tune through and use all of the receiver’s features within the spectrum recording. You can listen to the noise floor, test the notch, adjustable filters, DSP, tuning rates–literally experience all the receiver functions in this process.

In my humble opinion, this is perhaps the most convenient and enjoyable way to try out a receiver.

Hopefully, other SDR manufacturers will follow SSB-Electronic’s lead and make their control software and spectrum recodings available online for download and testing.

Happy test-driving!

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The Bonito RadioJet: Out of Germany, a new PC controlled shortwave receiver

The Bonito 1102S RadioJet. (Source: Bonito.net)

I’ve been struggling to keep up with the pace of news during my recent travels, however one relatively new shortwave receiver, the Bonito 1102S RadioJet, has certainly captured my attention. Though still awaiting approval by the FCC in the US, the RadioJet is available for order through the manufacturer in Germany.  Universal Radio will retail the RadioJet for the US market once approved by the FCC.

What could make this radio worth consideration is the potentially low noise floor–evidently the antenna and analog to digital converter have a uniquely direct connection with no active components to add distortion.

The interface (GUI) looks clean and intuitive at first glance. Take a look for yourself in this video demonstration:

We’ve created an entry for the Bonito RadioJet in the SW Radio Index and will update it as information becomes available.

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