Category: Reviews

Amateur Radio Projects and Software Defined Radio

Elad FDM-DUO – SDR Done Right!

Introduction
The SDR-DUO has been on the bench in day to day use for about 2 months now so it’s time to talk about how it works out in “real world” use. The Italian made FDM-DUO has to be the most versatile, well designed, and well thought out SDR system currently on the market. With some of the major amateur radio manufacturers beginning to bring SDR systems to market, they would do well to take a look at what Elad has done here. The FDM-DUO can be used as a very pleasant and capable standalone transceiver as well as a very powerful SDR system when coupled with Elad’s brilliant FDM-SW2 SDR software. The FDM-SW2 software has to be hands down the best SDR programs out there featuring a wide array of useful features currently unmatched by other entries. It’s also nice to know that Elad isn’t resting on their laurels when it comes to software. Elad is continuously making improvements and adding new features to the FDM-S2 software. The FDM-DUO concept is exactly what a lot of radio hobbyist have been looking for. A pleasant easy to use standalone direct sampling SDR transceiver for times when you just want to …

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, …

NooElec Aluminum Extruded Case for the Ham It Up HF Converter

Overview

Looking for a place to put your Ham It Up Converter? NewElec is now selling a very nice aluminum extruded case to fit the Ham It Up HF converter. As was discussed in an earlier article on HRS, a RTL2832U Dongle and the Ham It Up converter make a killer combo for a VHF,UHF, and HF SDR receiver with a very respectable bandwidth for less than $100. The new enclosures from NooElec will give you a good looking home for your Ham It Up converter and are available in blue or silver. The blue case uses laser etched labeling while the silver case uses silk screen labeling. The blue case looks very nice, but the silver case’s labeling stands out a little better. However, you can’t go wrong with either color. The cases also provide additional RF shielding for your Ham It Up converter. The case kit comes with the aluminum case with a cut out for the USB port, two pre-cut aluminum end pieces with cut outs for the by-pass switch and rf jacks, and a pack of small screws with two standoffs. The enclosures looks terrific and provides additional protection for your Ham It HF Converter.…

Alinco DX-SR9 Hybrid SDR Transceiver Review

Introduction
If Alinco’s DX-R8  receiver and the DX-SR8 had a child, it would be the DX-SR9. The DX-SR9 inherits the brains of the DX-R8 and the brawn of the DX-SR8 to create the DX-SR9 hybrid amateur radio transceiver. Hybrid SDRs are generally a standard radio receiver with buttons and knobs that feature an IQ output to allow its use with SDR software programs. This gives you the best of best worlds. You get a radio with standard buttons and knobs that you can quickly use when you don’t feel like firing up the shack computer for SDR. The Hybrid SDR also allows you to use it in situations where you would like to not have to fool with the computer like in the field or mobile. Unlike the black box SDR radios, you are not always tied to a computer for operation. The Hybrids also offer a more friendly introduction to SDR for new users. They can plug the rig in and use it immediately and come to grips with the SDR part later. When SDR software is added, then the radio gains some of the features of far more expensive radios such as panoramic displays and additional filtering. What’s …

Studio1 SDR Software Review

Introduction
As you know, SDR radio basically consists of two components, the radio hardware and the software used to process the signal. As SDR radio hobbyists we typically spend a lot of time looking into the specs of the hardware, but we don’t but as much consideration into the software side of things. The software can be just as important as the hardware we choose to get good performance from a SDR radio system. We often turn to some of the free software offerings to get started in SDR hobby. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with that and we greatly appreciate the work these authors has put into their efforts. However, you have to keep in mind that some of these programs use DSP (Digital Signal Processing) engines developed for SDR use that have been handed down for many years and have only been improved slightly over their original incarnations.  With that in mind, the developers at  SDR Applications set out to create a new high performance DSP engine for better SDR performance from your SDR hardware. That product is now called Studio1 and is distributed by Woodbox Radio. Studio1 is not a free application. However, this is …

Ham it Up HF Converter

Introduction
How would you like to have a very good HF SDR receiver with a wide spectrum display covering 2MHz or more for about $75? Well, you can when you combine the Ham it Up HF Up-converter with a RTL2832U stick. NooElec is selling an HF Up-Converter board based on an open hardware design in conjunction with Opendous Inc. for about $50 plus shipping. The Up-converter board basically converts HF signals to the FM band (specifically 100.5 MHz to 150 MHz) allowing your RTL2832U to tune in the HF signals. When used in conduction with SDR Sharp or HDSDR you are able to receive HF signals in AM, USB, LSB, CW, and other modes. HDSDR gives you roughly the same functions found on most better HF receivers like noise blanking, automatic gain control, variable filters widths, etc. These inexpensive HF up-converters are nothing new. There have been many designs floating around in either DIY form or completed boards. However, the Ham It UP converter looks like the first product produced in quantity and is available  directly from NooElec in the US. I purchased the Ham it Up HF converter for testing from NooElec and it arrived very quickly.…

RTL2832U / R820T vs RTL2832U / E4000

The bad news is that the venerable RTL2832U / E4000 chipset DVB-T stick that has been the source of many SDR projects is getting a little harder find. The good news is that the new kid on the block the RTL2832U / R820T looks like a worthy replacement. The other advantage is the the RTL2832U / R820T is a bit cheaper. The RTL2832U / E4000 is typically selling from $25 – $35 while the RTL2832U / R820T sells for around $10 to $20. The frequency range of the RTL2832U / E4000 is generally around 64MHZ to 1700MHz with a gap around 1100MHz to 1250MHz. The RTL2832U / R820T frequency range is 24MHZ to roughly 1850MHz with no gaps (found yet), and no DC offset spike. RTL2832U / E4000 uses a Pal type antenna connector and adapters are easily found at your local Radio Shack for external antennas. …