Sunday, November 20, 2016

Radios and Rain!

It's raining cats and dogs here right now. Rate was was up to 1.5"/hr, and we've received about .65" since it started this morning. It's backed off to .45"/hr and the NWS radar shows the major portion of the storm has gone through, but there's another one right behind it.

We sure need the rain, but I hope it doesn't cause flooding. Airspy Software Defined Radio  arrived the other day.

This one uses a 12-bit ADC, which gives it much better dynamic range than any of the inexpensive dongles have, and it's built into an aluminum extrusion with metal end plates, something lacking in both the SDRplay, and the vaunted HackRF One.

I haven't connected it to a PC yet due to some problems here. My KVM switch has failed again, and although this one has everything I want, this particular model just isn't very reliable. It's been "stuck" on the port for my Linux PC  for a couple of months, and I've tried everything I can think of to get it "unstuck". At first the mouse was acting strange, then the keyboard started giving me double, missing, or wrong characters. I wound up attaching a mouse and keyboard to the front USB connectors which made the PC reliable, and then it pretty much failed completely, with the buttons on the front panel becoming unresponsive. It still passes the video, but otherwise it's just a $125 lump. Replacing it with something different will require tearing apart about half my radio station due to the fact that I've got all the cables routed "nice and pretty". I'll probably just run a USB extension cable from one of the back ports on this (Linux) PC so I can try out the Airspy, and scratch my head a while longer on what to do about the KVM problem.....


  1. I hope the Airspy gives you better luck.

  2. I have 5 or 6 of the USB "dongles" that really kicked off the whole "Cheap Software Defined Radio" movement, including the Funcube Pro and Funcube Pro Plus models which are head and shoulders above the $10 eBay dongles. They should be better, as they're well over $100! They were designed and built by a British Ham specifically to use with the Ham satellites, and they work really well, but are still a bit sensitive to strong out-of-band signals.

    I bought the HackRF at full price ($299!!), and was really disappointed with it. It's barely any better than the $15~$20 eBay dongles. If I had done my due diligence before I bought it, I never would have bought it!

    The SDRplay would have been about $150, but I had a $100 gift certificate I won at a radio club meeting, so I was only "out" about $60 on that one. It'll probably go on eBay later today. I kind of messed up on that one by following their directions to get it to work under Linux, rather than checking out what everybody else was doing with it.

    Then I found a website that gave very good reviews of all the easily available SDR "little boxes", and the Airspy was at the top of their list, along with being rated "excellent" by a few other people that know what they're doing.

    Now I just have to find a decent length USB "extension" cable, plug into the back of this PC, and see how well it works...


Keep it civil, please....

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