Thursday, July 14, 2016

SDRplay Receiver

Since I won a $100 gift certificate for HRO, I decided to use it on a little gadget I've had my eye on for quite some time now.

It's called an "SDRplay", and is a little software defined radio receiver,

I've experimented a bunch with the USB "dongle" receivers, and had a HackRF1 for a while. The problem with the dongles and the HackRF receivers is that they only use 8-bit analog to digital converters, resulting in a pretty severely limited amount of dynamic range, especially if you live in an "RF Alley" like the metro L.A. area.

Strong signals on far removed frequencies "break through", and I had to turn down the RF gain and the IF gain in the software to get decent performance out of them.

Running them with my 144 MHz "eggbeater" antenna and an SSB Electronic preamp, which includes a helical filter, made them perform much better for 2 Meter Ham Radio work, and 137 MHz APT weather satellites.

The SDRplay uses 12-bit ADC's, so it should be quite a bit better.

I haven't tried the SDR play on my Windows PC yet, but it looks like it's going to take some fiddling around to get it to work on my Linux PC.

It gets properly detected when I plug it in to the USB port, but Gqrx and Linrad both barf when I try and make it receive.

And yes, I followed the instructions to the letter from the SDRplay website about installing the drivers and API.

Just have to do some more digging around, I guess....

6 comments:

  1. I just spent about 15 minutes trying to get the specs on the ADC and couldn't find anything numerical, other than "12 bits". Got anything solid: SFDR? ENOB?

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  2. There's a 16 page spec sheet here:
    http://sdrplay.com/docs/SDRplay_Technical_Information.pdf

    SFDR = 67dB

    The tuner is a Mirics MSi001 and the USB part is a Mirics MSi2500

    And a detailed AGC analysis here:
    http://sdrplay.com/docs/SDRplay_AGC_technote_r2p2.pdf

    If you go to any of the "Platforms" pages, you'll find several other spec sheets.

    Gonna try getting it running on Windoze today....

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    Replies
    1. Cool! Thanks. I looked up the Mirics parts but never found those. I'll look around some more.

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  3. Haven't tried it on Windows yet.

    Since the new dual-link DVI cable is working through the KVM switch on the Linux machine, I'm pulling the old DVI cable out for the Windows machine, and running a matching dual-link DVI cable.

    Probably have the station all back together in a few hours.

    It's nice having my radio stuff "integrated" with the computer desk until I wnt to make a change.

    Then I wind up ripping all kinds of stuff apart to "just change one cable"!

    The RF stuff is all in a separate run, and that does't change very often.....

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  4. Staves off the boredom if nothing else... :-)

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  5. Good Lord, is this thing ever a royal PITA to get running under Linux!

    DO NOT install the MiricsAPI from the SDRplay website if you ever expect this thing to work!

    Their installer lacks any way to remove it once it's on your system, and the things it installs breaks the functionality of Gqrx and Linrad.

    ReplyDelete

Keep it civil, please....