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Author Topic: Dedicated rx vs transceiver for swl?  (Read 40330 times)
HAMSTUDY
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Posts: 419




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« Reply #30 on: March 06, 2016, 08:21:47 PM »

Remember you need attenuate the receiver and ride the RF gain a bit.  Noise overloads receivers and masks the signals.  No preamps are necessary except when the band noise is near the receiver's noise floor.

Thanks.  So the ability to attenuate a receiver and ride the RF gain are capabilities/controls that are more likely to be found on a receiver further up the food chain?  (In other words, this is not something that can be done with a Tecsun 880, for example?)

It's starting to appear that while the Tecsun 880 offers lots of bands and modes and decent sound quality in a small and reasonably priced package that there is a notable step up in receivers that will provide more/better control over the signal as well as a better design that anticipates the use of a better (outdoor) antenna (rather than the built-in antenna)... yes/no?  

I'm also in the IT profession and I share you preference for knobs, buttons, switches, etc. Smiley

I have a SDRPlay and while it is not perfect in some respects it was the tipping point in persuading me to get a FCC license.  The combination of the SDRPlay with the Panadapter plus the HDSDR controls (limited and "mousey" as they are) provided a pretty eye-opening / insightful experience - it provided much more visibility and control over what causes what than anything I had experienced on a conventional radio.  In my view the ideal radio would have a nice Panadapter but plenty of traditional User Interface real-world controls that could be complimented with the software and mouse.  I'm thinking something along these lines is what I'd like in a real nice HF+Multiband Multimode transceiver.  But before I take the plunge on the transceiver I'd like to experiment with a good RX-only radio.  Just not sure which used or new RX-radio that might be.

Thanks again for the info and advice.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2016, 08:36:52 PM by HAMSTUDY » Logged
NG0K
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Posts: 342




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« Reply #31 on: March 07, 2016, 06:35:52 AM »

:"Thanks.  So the ability to attenuate a receiver and ride the RF gain are capabilities/controls that are more likely to be found on a receiver further up the food chain?  (In other words, this is not something that can be done with a Tecsun 880, for example?)"

Yes with tabletop receivers and transceiver and decent antennas, you can have excess gain, especially on the lower bands so attenuation is necessary to get the noise down to the S1 or S2 range.  My SDRplay needs at least -50db of gain reduction to behave well when using my 40 meter vertical antenna, otherwise it crackles, pops and pumps.  I need that reduction to get the noise down to around -120dbm on the S-meter.    My FT-950 even with the vertical is attenuated 6 to 12db on 40 meters.  I don't used preamps until I get to 12 and 10 meters where the band noise is below my receiver's phase noise.   If I had a beam on a tower I wouldn't need a preamp at all.
 
With the portables on the whip antenna or the supplied 20 foot wire, you will not have that issue.   The DX/Local switch can reduce distortion from a local high power AM broadcast stations otherwise you need it on DX.   The portables have very sensitive receivers so they will work well with the whip.   My Grundig YB400 (my night time MW radio) and Kaito 1103 (which is a noise magnet) work best that way.

Sensitivity specs on receivers is way too overrated.  All of them are good enough.   My new R75 coming soon has 6uV on MW which is twice as sensitive as the IC-718.  No worries about MW reception there!
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73, Doug - NG0K
RENTON481
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Posts: 188




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« Reply #32 on: March 07, 2016, 06:53:47 PM »

Or you could get a Sangean ATS909X and you'll have a decent SW receiver which pulls in real LSB/USB (SSB) and works well (better than probably any other portable) with a wire antenna (I've used 100 ft wires and 25 ft wires with my ATS909, its predecessor).

You wouldn't have to worry about riding the gain. The AGC on Sangean's is fairly tight (depending on the model -- like I said, I have the ATS909X's predecessor, and the only time I have to reduce the RF Gain is on very strong CW signals. It cleans them up a bit.

The selectivity is adequate for monitoring the ham bands.
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KJ6ZOL
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Posts: 820




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« Reply #33 on: March 08, 2016, 11:42:34 AM »

Or you could get a Sangean ATS909X and you'll have a decent SW receiver which pulls in real LSB/USB (SSB) and works well (better than probably any other portable) with a wire antenna (I've used 100 ft wires and 25 ft wires with my ATS909, its predecessor).

You wouldn't have to worry about riding the gain. The AGC on Sangean's is fairly tight (depending on the model -- like I said, I have the ATS909X's predecessor, and the only time I have to reduce the RF Gain is on very strong CW signals. It cleans them up a bit.

The selectivity is adequate for monitoring the ham bands.

What was the Radio Shack/Realistic model number? I can't remember. It's far more likely to find the old Sangeans on ebay under the Realistic name. Most were sold at Radio Shack. And they tend to be less expensive than tabletops.
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RENTON481
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Posts: 188




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« Reply #34 on: March 14, 2016, 07:01:28 PM »

Or you could get a Sangean ATS909X and you'll have a decent SW receiver which pulls in real LSB/USB (SSB) and works well (better than probably any other portable) with a wire antenna (I've used 100 ft wires and 25 ft wires with my ATS909, its predecessor).

You wouldn't have to worry about riding the gain. The AGC on Sangean's is fairly tight (depending on the model -- like I said, I have the ATS909X's predecessor, and the only time I have to reduce the RF Gain is on very strong CW signals. It cleans them up a bit.

The selectivity is adequate for monitoring the ham bands.

What was the Radio Shack/Realistic model number? I can't remember. It's far more likely to find the old Sangeans on ebay under the Realistic name. Most were sold at Radio Shack. And they tend to be less expensive than tabletops.

The ATS-909 sold by Radio Shack was the DX-398 (which is what I have, a DX-398). It's still available on the used market....

The Sangean ATS-909X (an improved design) is sold new as a Sangean radio only; it's easy to find online.
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KC2QYM
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Posts: 860




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« Reply #35 on: April 08, 2016, 07:53:04 AM »

My final two cents to HAMSTUDY. If you're migrating toward your general ticket you may as well start your search for an HF rig and forget about wasting money on portable SW toy radios.  Seriously, I've had a few of the portables and unless you must have something for 'on the go' I found them to naturally be inferior to any Ham HF rig. You will not be satisfied with the performance of most portable SW radios when matched against 'real' radios. IMO, I think you're unnecessarily knocking yourself out trying to drill down on the portable radio classification. The portables I had were just OK and I quickly found them to be useless to me so I sold them and never looked back. Yes, most of these types of radios lack sensitivity, selectivity, and features worthy of experienced hams. Bide your time and save your money for that HF rig...you won't regret waiting longer before making a purchase.
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HAMSTUDY
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Posts: 419




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« Reply #36 on: April 09, 2016, 05:31:38 AM »

My final two cents to HAMSTUDY. If you're migrating toward your general ticket you may as well start your search for an HF rig and forget about wasting money on portable SW toy radios.  Seriously, I've had a few of the portables and unless you must have something for 'on the go' I found them to naturally be inferior to any Ham HF rig. You will not be satisfied with the performance of most portable SW radios when matched against 'real' radios. IMO, I think you're unnecessarily knocking yourself out trying to drill down on the portable radio classification. The portables I had were just OK and I quickly found them to be useless to me so I sold them and never looked back. Yes, most of these types of radios lack sensitivity, selectivity, and features worthy of experienced hams. Bide your time and save your money for that HF rig...you won't regret waiting longer before making a purchase.

Thanks - that will help apply some funds to a HF transceiver.
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ZL2MC
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Posts: 21




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« Reply #37 on: April 11, 2016, 05:08:32 PM »

If you just want a receiver for SWL, then there's no point in buying a transceiver.

Having said that, I found that a receiver alongside my transceiver was good for spotting up and down the band while rag chewing or listening to the opposition in a pile-up. Of course the receiver needs disconnecting/muting when transmitting.  I used a simple mixer/switch box to split or merge the two signals in my headphones via a small stereo amplifier.
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RENTON481
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Posts: 188




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« Reply #38 on: April 13, 2016, 09:08:28 PM »

RE: "Toy" SW radios: I wouldn't exactly call a Sangean ATS909x a "toy" radio. It's capable of handling an external antenna, and has excellent SSB for digital portable, and it's less than $300 new (at some retailers), and probably a lot less used. Some of the Tecsun radios (which are cheaper than the 909x) have pretty good receive characteristics, at least according to what I've read. I can't vouch for one personally because I've never used a Tecsun.

I've been listening to the ham bands for years with the 909 and similar digital portables and 20-30 feet of wire. I've heard probably more stations and countries over the years than the ham down the street with an SDR ham rig who never seems to get his rig on the air. I've heard Argentina (SSB & CW); the Middle East (SSB); Northern, Western, and Central Europe; Brazil (SSB and CW); Uruguay (CW); Australia & New Zealand (SSB & CW); Japan (SSB & CW); European and Asian Russia; Indonesia (SSB & CW); Mexico (SSB & CW); Puerto Rico; Costa Rica; Caymans; Colombia; Cuba; Hawaii; most of Canada; Alaska; as well as most of the U.S. (I hear the central, SE, NE and Western states nightly, depending on propagation) -- all on a 'toy' radio.

It gives you a feel for whether you want to bother with a license -- or not. I've personally chosen the latter. It just doesn't interest me enough.

Hamstudy, you may or may not gain more from a SW portable than you get from your SDR. A lot of what determines what you hear will be your antenna, anyway -- coupled with the radio's ability to handle the antenna (or lack thereof).

If you're certain you want to be a ham, save up for a ham HF rig, as you can't really get on the air without one. At $700-$1500, new ham rigs aren't exactly inexpensive. They are a considerable investment for a hobby. But if you are sure you want to be a ham, shop around and get a good one that will fulfill your needs.

If you're not sure you want to be a ham, there's no point in getting a ham rig, unless you want a fancy receiver with a transmitter section you can't legally use. You can hear enough of the ham bands on any SSB capable digital SW portable, and get a feel for what is out there on the HF ham bands, see if you still want to go through with the licensing process, and then buy a transceiver.

You could still use the receiver later -- either as an emergency radio, or for listening on the patio or wherever.
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W5WSS
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Posts: 2272




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« Reply #39 on: April 20, 2016, 11:35:52 AM »

Hello try and shop for the RX section designed SDR digital filtering inside the IF stage.

For example

The ICOM 718 suffers from a wide open first IF stage.....very sensitive to front end overload and spurious mixing during crowded conditions...yet hears very well when in uncrowded band conditions.

Most modern and some Hybrid rigs will hear well from a quiet location with average selectivity.

Take advantage of the SDR technology remember the standard to strive for is -173@ room temperature we are getting closer.

73

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