February reviews from eHam

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February reviews from eHam

Postby jon » Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:23 am

Here are some recent (Feb 2016) reviews from eHam

W3GAS Rating: 5/5 Feb 8, 2016 20:07
SDRplay Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have been playing with SDR gear for several years since my very first SoftRock. Later I worked with RTL2832U and the R820T converter.
That was fun, and the RTL (non-dongle) radios work rather well.
Today there is a new "low cost" investment that most anyone can afford. The SDRplay module with RSP chip technology is as good as it gets.
100KHz to 2GHz is about as good a spectrum receiver as you will ever need.
You can use it as a BANDSCOPE for CAT radios and point/click like the 5 grand radios. It adds a second receiver to your station and offers features many medium priced radios do not.
The software is easy to use, and works great on Windows machines 7-10.
If you have been putting SDR off to the side...it is time to think again and get on board. Take a minute and look up www.SDRplay.com.


EI4HQ Rating: 5/5 Feb 6, 2016 12:43
Great, if you have the antennas! Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've been using an RF Space SDR-IQ SDR for a number of years, mainly as a panadaptor for my FT2000. Simultaneous RF bandwidth is a great thing to have and over time I've found myself craving more. The SDR-Play does an amazing 7MHz simultaneous bandwidth, covers a staggering 2GHz frequency range, and all for a great price, I had to take a look. Sales service is first class (I had it in my hands 48 hours after ordering it), setup is made "simples" by the SDR-Play website "Get Started" guide, and in short, a very impressive piece of kit it is in use. This small box (of insignificant weight, great for travelers) is a little marvel. Coupled with many of the great SDR software platforms out there, the SDR-Play is a powerful enabler; there is so much going on between 100KHz and 2GHz and so many software tools to hand for listening, decoding and analysing, you'll be entertained for a lifetime. Significant cavaet however; without decent, well sited antennas for the frequencies of interest, this radio (like any other) is of little utility. SDR is a revolution in radio communications but it hasn't removed the basic inescapable requirement for decent antennas. If you have decent antennas (or are prepared to put the effort into building/acquiring and mounting them), the SDR-Play will be a receiver that will keep you going for a very long time. To benefit from the full 7MHz bandwidth, you will need a decent enough PC; my now ageing 32 bit Windows 7 machine with 4gB of RAM wasn't up to the full 7MHz task (it's fine with 2MHz or below) but my recently purchased 64 bit Windows 7 laptop with 8gB RAM motors along happily with 7MHz decode via the great SDR-Radio software. I've tested it with my full size HF antennas, my various MF/LF attempts to defy physics, with my VHF and UHF arrays and also with a prototype active HF antenna I've been working on. With all it does a very good job and stacks up very favorably alongside all my other receivers. The RF world looks different of course to a radio that can see so much and that takes a bit of getting used to! The SDR-Play has an SMA antenna connector; I hate SMA connectors but that's just because I'm not 18 anymore and smaller things are becoming harder to wire up right. I fully acknowledge that type of connector is justified due the small size/weight of the unit and the frequencies this marvel works up to. If you aren't familiar or comfortable with these mini RF connectors, then I recommend ordering a pre-made pigtail adapter to something like e.g. an N-type that's more manageable. A final point that I find curious; the SDR-Play runs stone cold - I'd have thought, given the work the little box is doing that it'd generate a bit of heat but nope, stone cold... another practical benefit.
Last edited by jon on Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am, edited 0 times in total.
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