Category: Opinions

Amateur Radio Projects and Software Defined Radio

Why Apple’s iMac May be the Best PC for SDR Applications

Most radio hobbyist these days have a PC in the shack these days. Even though convenient and sometimes necessary these PCs can be the source of annoying RFI (Radio Frequency Interference). Of course with many SDR systems, PC’s are a necessary accessory. PC RFI is not limited to affecting SDR systems but also affect analog radios also. It’s just more obvious on SDR radio systems because the RFI can been seen on the spectrum / waterfall display. What causes this? Modern PCs can generate a great deal of local noise via it’s CPU and possibly it’s power supply. The other large RFI generator is the LCD display. Between the two, they can wreak havoc on radio reception. Modern PCs now usually contain multi-core processors that can generate a good deal of RFI. It really doesn’t help matters at all that most PC manufacturers use a large amount of plastic in the cases which allows RFI to leak out more easily. LCD monitors another large source of RFI are all over the place. Some LCD monitors only generate a small amount of RFI while others generate a good deal. All this interference can be seen and heard on your SDR …

Blackbox Station Operators the “Bad Boys” of Amateur Radio?

According to some Amateur Radio operators SDR station operators are the “Bad Boys” of Amateur Radio. We don’t use knobs to operate our radios and heaven forbid we use computers to control and operate our radios. Blasphemy!


This is my “Blackbox” Amateur Radio Station. I know, I know, this is apparently terrible and frightening sight to some Amateur Radio operators. If this image disturbs you avert your eyes. I know there aren’t very many knobs to play with and not many pretty flashing lights or buttons to push. Its not a pretty picture. However, I feel that the “Blackbox” station offers far more flexibility, features, challenge, and fun than conventional Amateur Radio stations. That’s just my opinion, and it is not one shared by some Amateur Radio operators and that’s ok with me. I will address this a little later in the article, but for now here is the equipment that I am using listed from left to right.…