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Amateur Radio Projects and Software Defined Radio

Best SDR Radios of 2015 and 2016 (so far)

Looking back over some SDR Radio products that were reviewed here and some that were not. Here is our picks of the litter so far:

Best “Dirt Cheap” SDR – $25
RTL Dongle – The venerable old RTL Dongles are still hard to beat for the price. The dongles are still one of the best ways to get your feet wet in SDR for a pittance. With free software, a wide VHF/UHF coverage range, a decent sized sample rate, and tons of projects based around them, what’s not to like. However, once you do get your feet pretty wet, you will probably be ready to move up.

Best “Bang For the Buck” – SDRPlay – $149
The recently reviewed SDRPlay is the perfect step up from the RTL-Dongles. Matter of fact if you decide to skip the dongle phase you may want to go straight to this one. With very wide coverage from 0.1MHz to 2GHz you can listen to just about anything. The very wide bandwidth up to 8MHz will you to view large swaths of frequencies at once in the SDR software client or even set up multiple VFO’s to monitor several frequencies at once. Easy to set …

SDRPlay Review

Introduction
After having the SDRPlay around in daily use for a few months, it’s time to talk about this little gem. Good things indeed come in small boxes. The SDRPlay wideband receiver (0.1MHz to 2GHz) is a great example of what can be done to produce an easy to use and fun inexpensive wide coverage SDR receiver. On top of that throw in top notch customer support and you wind up with an excellent product all for the lowly sum of $150. While not entirely perfect, it’s really hard to complain too much given the cost and the hard work the SDRPlay development team has put in to continually improve the product. The SDRPlay would make a great product for radio hobbyist looking to get involved with their first SDR receiver due to it’s ease of setup or if you have been using RTL dongles and need something that packs a little more of a punch. More advanced users will find something also since the SDRPlay is pretty tweakable as well as far more sensitive on the upper end of its frequency range. The other advantage with the SDRPlay is that now you can order or pick one up from …

Anan 10E First Look

Introduction
After a month evaluating the Anan10E SDR, there is only one word to describe this little guy, “WOW’! No doubt that the Anan10E is one of the best rigs to come through the Ham Radio Science shack, if not the very best. Probably most Apache Labs SDR owners already know this, but now for those us who would like to try one, admittance to the Apache Labs club has just got a whole lot cheaper. With a street price of $965 from US dealers such as Gigaparts , Ham Radio Outlet and Cheapham, this puts the 10E in a price range that is very competitive with other entry level conventional HF / 6M transceivers. This includes such rigs as the Icom IC-7200, Yaesu 450D, Kenwood TS-480SAT, Alinco DX-SR9T, and the Elecraft KX3. Now some may argue that SDR radios do cost a little more because of the need of a computer system to use them, but then again these days computer equipment had gotten very inexpensive. Another thing to keep in mind is that Anan 10E output power is around 15 to 20W on HF and 8 to 10W on 6M. With the exception of the Elecraft KX3, …

Anan 10E Unboxing Video Up

The HRS unboxing of Apache Lab’s new Anan 10E video is up. Stay tuned for a “First Look” article and video over the next few days. So far the Anan 10E has been pretty impressive. It looks like it will be a game changer for SDR Transceivers in the sub $1000 range. Keep checking back…

Anan SDR Radios Now Available from US Dealers and a New Entry Level ANAN SDR

Some good news for you that have been interested in the generally highly regarded Anan series of SDR transceivers. First off, the Anan SDRs can be currently purchased from two us dealers, Gigaparts and Cheapham. The warranty on these radios are for 2 years against manufacturing defects with a US service center in Arkansas. Also earlier in the year Anan started shipping the Anan 10E. The Anan 10E is basically and entry level version of the Anan 10. The Anan 10E is pretty much the same radio as the Anan 10 with a few compromises to cut the cost to a more attractive price point for some radio hobbyists. Here is what you loose over the Anan 10 :

Differences between the ANAN-10 & the ANAN-10E
1. The ANAN-10E uses a 14 bit ADC while the ANAN-10 uses a 16 bit ADC
2. The ANAN-10E uses an EP3C25 FPGA while the ANAN-10 uses a larger EP3C40
3. The ANAN-10E supports 2 receivers while the ANAN-10 supports 7 receivers…

RTL2832u – R820T VS RTL2832u – R820T2

In the world of Software Defined Radio there have not been many new products introduced over the past year. The products that have been introduced have been a little pricey for what they do. With that being said, there is not much if anything that can beat the venerable RTL2832U dongle as a great low cost introduction to the world of SDR. The R820T variant of the RT2832u dongle has turned out to be a solid performer for entry level applications over the past couple of years. Just recently a new and improved version of the RTL2832u – R820T has become available very cleverly named the R820T2. These new dongles are being made available in the US by NooElec on Amazon for around $24.95.
NooElec NESDR Mini 2 USB RTL-SDR & ADS-B Receiver Set, RTL2832U & R820T2 Tuner, MCX Input. Low-Cost Software Defined Radio Compatible with Many SDR Software Packages. R820T2 Tuner & ESD-Safe Antenna Input, Guaranteed
The first thing you may notice about the R820T2 is that the case is now bright blue and the blue power led is much brighter. Outside of that, the cases of the R820T and the R820T2 seem to be identical in size and …

The mcHF QRP Transceiver Project

When it comes to a low cost SDR QRP Transceiver W0MKA has the right idea. The mcHF QRP transceiver is a project that W0MKA has been working on for awhile and we are starting to see more of a finished product begin to emerge. W0MKA’s project is pretty much a DIY endeavor at this time. Can you buy it? Kinda sorta. W0MKA makes limited quantities of the unpopulated boards available from time to time as well as the display. This is a project that we would certainly like to see become available as a complete kit in the future or even better a preassembled model. So head over to W0MKA’s website and give him a little encouragement!…