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Author Topic: SDR Tranceiver Alternatives  (Read 9645 times)
K5TED
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« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2012, 04:04:48 PM »

There is no infinitely "open end" architecture for any electronic device of any kind. At some point there will be an integral part for which there simply is no practical replacement. Traditional rigs or SDR. The hardware can become obsolete. You can either ditch it and move on or become a classic radio aficionado.

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NI0Z
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« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2012, 04:33:07 PM »

I completely agree, it's just some architectures are inherently designed to last a little longer than others.
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K5TED
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« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2012, 08:08:09 PM »

Windows XP had about a 10 yr. run, and is still a stable and viable platform for many embedded systems. Linux has to be crafted for each hardware platform specifically and is unusable by the average person desiring to implement an existing PC for some hobby purpose not related to web service or intentionally making oneself bald. Like Stan and his take on radios, most hams want to use the PC as a tool, not a hobby.
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NI0Z
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« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2012, 08:26:23 PM »

Not talking about Linux on a PC in this case, talking about it being an embedded OS that is not really there holistically for the user, just as a radio interface where needed.  For example, if the radio had a display which a clock plugin ran on, Linux would be the OS the platform the clock was developed on and would drive the display.  

The end user if they used the radio with PC software would still use their PC like today with their normal cat software.  The programs if you will would be accessed and controlled by the knobs.  Knobs and buttons could be assigned by the user.  This could be managed in a variety of ways including even having a full robust set of knobs that only were activated when a user purchased a feature.

Developers could develop plugins and such on Linux or an Simulator running under OS's much like they do today for Andrioid, or other Phone OS's like IOs.

You can even think of a radio like this as being a lot like an iPhone and the software being a series of apps you buy for the radio that all interact with the core radio software.

I have a few iPhone apps from years ago I still have, they still work, but I am on my 3rd iPhone and second iPad and was able to carry the apps with me.  Because they don't cost all that much, if someone writes a truly better app, I can decide to buy it and replace or discard my old one without a terrible sense of loss.

This gives longevity to the overall platform and still allows for affordable hardware upgrades.  I still have some very old PC software I use as well.  I have had many PC's and in many cases the software still works or I upgrade and pay a fee if I buy a newer version.

Real SDRs would be nicer if they followed that kind of model.  As far as you the user are concerned, your radio runs without a PC, but you can still have a real SDR under the hood that is very much software upgradeable and expandable.  In reallity, a person could buy a radio like this and not even really realize its an SDR because to them they get a radio that they can buy a piece at a time with exactly the features they want and when they want them.

Let's take the flex 6k series for example.  Using this type architecture you would be able to get a straight 2 slice SDR Reciever with let's say a basic notch filter and user interface ( knobs) for $1200.  

Let's say you get it and you really want to add the extra fancy display with Panadaptor display.  So for $800 you can add it.  Let's say for $250 you can opt for a cheaper card that plugs in and gives you the ability to add a VGA monitor if you prefer.

Let's say you want 2 more slice receivers, you go online and order them and the radio is software updated and you have 4 slices now.  Let's say they run slower than you want or you want  More slices, you order a card and 2 more slices, plug in the card, radio downloads, and your there.

Transmit capability, you order the Xmit card.  Second real Reciever, order it plug it in.  More notch filters, order and download and your there.

Let's St you want an equalizer, order it, download and your display updates and you have and EQ.  The EQ knobs on the radio now function and you can adjust EQ levels.

Rotator control you ask, sure, you buy and download it when you need it.

Flex 7k comes out.  Sell old radio hardware, buy new box and your exisiting investment of SDR software plugins downloads and your on your way.

This architecture creates stickiness because you don't have to keep starting from zero like you do today.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 08:52:44 PM by EVERSTAR » Logged

K5TED
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« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2012, 01:35:04 PM »

How much longevity are you talking about here? There are tons of new iPhone apps for the 4S that won't work on a 4 which is less than two years old.

I'm all for the modular radio approach. It is certainly something that a manufacturer could do today.

The Cube SDR was sort of blazing that path but is really seriously overpriced and looks to be dead end at this point....
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NI0Z
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« Reply #20 on: June 06, 2012, 02:46:07 PM »

Honestly, there is no reason for a model like this to end until a new better paradigm comes along.

If the manufacturer does things right, they can periodly release hardware and better plugins perpetually.  The secret for the vendor is to create enough stickiness and reverse compatability that the ham remains happy and does not feel overwhelmed to keep spending small amounts of money to improve their setup.  As you point out, over various generations of iPhones, people slowly replace their apps a little at a time.  At any given time the user doesn't want to switch platforms, say to android for example, because they don't want to have to repurchase all their apps.

Not that I am advocating this, but as an example, if you built the radio off of a AMD mini PC in a radio cabinet that had enough room for the original motherboard and then an add on daughter board then the radio hardware could be built on PCI like cards and added in as the user expanded.  One could pick whatever OS they want, I only advocate Linux because it can be light and very fast as well as stripped down to the essentials and then be built back up if needed.

The radio cabinet can accommodate the knobs and display and a simple VGA card could be used for an eternal display.  You get the Ethernet and USB with the motherboard already as well as the initial VGA output for the display.  AMD processors are cheap as well.

It might be difficult to visualize because people might think that the OS in the radio would be used to run software like a PC, but I am not advocating that.  The PC and is in the radio is dedicated to the radio.  You get cat on another external PC.  The radio can run without any other PC and the end user really doesn't even have to know there is a PC in the radio.  Stripped Linux and tight controls only allow the radio PC to interact with the vendor website for updates to prevent viruses, ect.

Too much to explain in this thread.
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KF7DS
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« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2012, 02:03:30 PM »

My personal choice consists of:
TS-2000X
QS1R

73,
Scott

I presently own a Ts-590s and have contemplated buying a QS1R many times. However it appears to me I would be stuck with a computer driving a SDR - which is exactly what I did not like with the Flexradio.

Stan K9IUQ

I too own a TS-590 and love it. I also run it as a dedicated TX and use a mashup of an SDR-IQ/SDR-Radio Software/Elad Tx/Rx switchbox. This works very well and gives you the best of both worlds as the two worlds now stand today.

But, during the CQ WPX CW Contest I used the TS-590 without the SDR mashup. And, guess what, I was more productive because I was using my ears and listening more than looking. And, that is very important with the state of SDR right now - i could hear signals and make contacts with weak stations that do not, or barely show up on the bandscope. Relying on a bandscope will lead one to pass up weak signals that may be the DX one was looking for.

Since then, i have not resurrected my SDR mashup.

Don
KF7DS
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NI0Z
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« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2012, 11:47:33 AM »

I appreciate folks weighing in here.  I think that my path will be to use my KX3 when it arrives early next year as a second receiver and backup as well as QRP and camping rig and see if the higher dynamic range and sensitivity really makes a difference for me.

The digital wattmeter I added to my station really allows me to get some nice efficiency out of my am so I am guessing I will be able to get as much as 300 watts in some cases out of the 12 watt max.  Ideal? No, but a place to start playing and see whether a world class Reciever is going to make a difference.  It has panadaptor software, digital modes ectandprobably I can even have some QRP off my hex beam on the roof.  Still need to decide what I will do when mobile, might like to build my own antenna for that.

I summarized my thoughts in an article on my website about my desired SDR for the future.   I doubt the idea will ever come to be since it requires someone to have enough discipline in radios, Computer and software development to become real.  Flex could have probably done this with the 6k series, but they forked in a slightly different direction.

If I believe a world class Reciever really does make a difference, then perhaps I will look at the available options at that time and see what the landscape looks like.  We may have more announcements in a year from now and more options.

Thanks again!
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NI0Z
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« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2012, 10:43:16 AM »

Well, more info on the Yaesu FT-DX 3000 out today.  Just one Reciever but supposed FT-5000 Specs and performance on it.  IF out on the back.  No price yet.  Might make a nice for a nice make shift SDR with a RF Space NetSDR and software to lock the and or split the VFOs. 

Yaesu UK has the brochure if your interested.
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NA7U
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« Reply #24 on: June 18, 2012, 03:33:29 PM »

To each there own I guess.  I personally always had a PC running in the shack before I had an SDR so this isn't a shortcoming to me...

73,
Scott

That is the problem exactly! I already use the PC for logging,cluster spotting, FliDigi for digital modes, Hamcap for propagation,DXatlas, Ionoprobe and chatting on eham.  Wink

Add PSDR for running a SDR and you have lot to keep track off, in fact too too much. Especially if you are doing something like trying to run a Contest. Just try to keep the "Focus" on the right program. It is almost impossible and guaranteed to cause frustration running a SDR, yep I have 2 monitors and it is still difficult. Well it was, I don't use a SDR any more.

Stan K9IUQ

Frankly, that doesn't sound like anything to do with the SDR.
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K9IUQ
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« Reply #25 on: June 18, 2012, 06:30:10 PM »

Frankly, that doesn't sound like anything to do with the SDR.

Frankly, it sounds like like you have never done any contesting with a SDR.
Try it, it will be an eye opener for you.. You will only do it once or twice because it is Frustrating keeping Focus.

Which is exactly why any serious contester will never use a computer controlled SDR for contesting....

Stan K9IUQ
« Last Edit: June 18, 2012, 06:35:50 PM by K9IUQ » Logged
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