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Author Topic: Makeshift SDR Systems  (Read 4610 times)
NI0Z
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« on: April 16, 2012, 11:41:23 AM »

Just curious how many people are running SDR receivers for RX along with a traditional rig for TX.  There are lots of seemingly nice SDR Receivers out there like the WinRadios, Perseus ect.  Would love to hear about your setup, the good and the bad!

Thanks!
NI0Z
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KF7DS
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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2012, 11:24:30 PM »

Just curious how many people are running SDR receivers for RX along with a traditional rig for TX.  There are lots of seemingly nice SDR Receivers out there like the WinRadios, Perseus ect.  Would love to hear about your setup, the good and the bad!

Thanks!
NI0Z

I wonder myself this same question. As a disillusioned EX-Flexradio 5K owner, I would still like to experiment with SDR's. I have seen an article about using a SDR-IQ with a TS-590s - http://homepage.ntlworld.com/wadei/HOWTO_TS-590S_with_SDR_IQ.pdf

This was very interesting, especially since I own a TS-590s. However I want a better SDR than a SDR-IQ and have decided that a QS1R might be the way to go. I would love to slave the QS1R to my TS-590s for grins. So far I have not run across anyone who has done it. Unfortunately I do not feel smart enough to do it on my own.

I may just get the QS1R and see if it is all it is advertised.

Stan K9IUQ

Stan

Should be straight forward using the DXLabs Suite.....the documentation is excellent. And, it works wonderfully. Done it with Winrad/SDR-IQ and my IC 7600 and soon to use Winrad/ QS1R combo for grins. BTW, the most recent release of Winrad is stable and more robust than it appears. Honestly, audio and both the NR and NB produce a quieter backround than my Flex 1500/PowerSDR combo. In fact the Winrad/SDR-IQ hears better than my Flex and looking forward to the QS1R.

Don
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NI0Z
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2012, 06:43:41 AM »

So let's explore this a little more for us layman...

I think there I might differ in how I would implement this so I think it may generate some interesting discussion.

First thing I want to say here is I am not talking about tapping the RF off the transceiver ala Panadaptor approach that is common place today.  I am truly talking about the SDR being a dedicated receiver with its own antenna and then the TX rig also having a dedicated antenna.  Why? I think this would be nice for contesting ( BTW, I do not current contest ) so you can listen and transmit on 1 frequency and then use the SDR as your main Reciever.  With some software you could also lock the SDR to the main transceiver dial if you want.  One could use HDR or other software as the go between.

Some of these SDR's have very nice receive options, filters, ect.  Even a flex radio with PDSR would be nice as a receiver option.  I find that today most of the running I do is to the input signal and I pretty much have set my TX up how I like it and dont want to fiddle with it. 

So that's the assumption behind what follows.  Of course a setup like this would be highly flexible and also allow you to operate the SDR as a Panadaptor if you like as well.

I think if I did this I would go with a RFSpace or Winradio high end SDR Reciever.  The RFSpace rigs have nice remote options and work with programs like SDR radio ect.  One could remotely access their receiver very easily and comfortably with the RFSpace SDR's.  I have not owned one so I'll be interested in feedback here.

The Winradio Excalibur Pro looks like one heck of a Reciever on paper, but I think many users are reporting bugs, so there is a ways to go.  My last research on them 6 months ago also founded that they lacked third party software support.  I did find a guy who had written a program to allow it to track to the a TX rig dial though he was willing to share.  If Winradio has ironed out all the wrinkles it would be really cool.

The question here is what to run as the transceiver.  Since I'd have to buy new I'd likely go middle of the road, maybe even a good used Reciever.  FT-2000,p IC 7600 or something like that, this would give me a lot of flexibility in the number of ways I could choose to operate.  Even the TenTec units or Elcrafts seem like nice rigs.

I'd run a hefty PC just to add flexibility and not worry about limits and then look for the best software to use to tie it all together.  Cabeling and switch box setup would be interesting too, there would be so e things to consider as well as setting it up to switch around between Panadaptor mode and dual Reciever SDR mode.

This is real high-level, so I'll let a few experts chime in and poke holes or make suggestions and or commentary.

Interested to hear thoughts!

NI0Z
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NI0Z
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2012, 09:28:50 AM »

Hi Stan,

I think that it's worth talking about what users see as advantages of SDR's.  In my own limited experience it's the following:

Ability to Visually inspect and tune to signals based on a real time view of the band
Distinct fine tuning based on both the visual and audio characteristics of a signal
Advanced filtering options (PSDR Rigs, Winradio, Perseus, Racspace)
Waterfall views to help see signal width and intensity
Point and click tuning

Some of these may have more relevance for certain users verses other, everyone feel free to hop in and add or comment on the list.

To me this means that it's worth putting some money into the Reciever and some of the lower end receivers may not be as robust as others.  The logic of this inclines me to invest more in the Reciever part of a makeshift SDR than the transmitter.  I know many might disagree but my experience says cheap Reciever equals less contacts.

That said and given my current rig, I would not have purchased the second receiver in my Flex 5000 and would likely have opted for another SDR.  That would complicate the real estate available on my system and probably drive me to a third full size monitor.  It would be awesome though!  You can see my current setup at the website in my profile.  I may still go there just yet, but yes, it would be total overkill!  I already receive off a wire dipole on the second RX today and RX/TX off a vertical dipole.  most times the wire receives better than the vertical and the vertical definitely transmits better.  I actually have a third loop antenna that I only make light use of that could be leveraged for a third SDR Reciever.  Would be fun to see it all in play and compare.

Oddly enough while point and click is nice, I added dials to my flex and use those to tune with against the visuals.

I agree on the Winradio, it's really too bad because they look like they would have a lot of potential.

NI0Z
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K0OD
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« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2012, 12:30:56 PM »

Quote
"However I did not find the filters in the 5K much better than the TS-590s."

Sharpness of Flex filters is dependent on buffer and other settings. From my tests, the 25 Hz and 50 Hz settings aren't significantly sharper than the 100 Hz filter. Still, all other filters including the new Tracking Notch Filter, work very well in recent PSDR versions.

The exclusive Flex Tracking Notch Filter (or more properly, Filters) can be narrowed to a width of 10 Hz as I recall from playing with it, although I can't imagine you'd ever need to set it so narrow. (notching out WSPR?)

   
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HAMMYGUY
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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2012, 12:43:55 PM »

I run an SDR-IQ with a TS-2000 slaved to it using an MFJ-1708 RF switch.  I'm using HDSDR and it works so well I sold my Flex-3000.  Digital modes are interfaced via a Tigertronic's Signalink USB. The only tricky part was calibrating the HDSDR software to the TS-2000.  With this I get a full 196Khz of panadapter bandwidth, an excellent notch-filter, most of the same modes the PowerSDR software offers plus ECSS (which I use a lot on AM), and no need to try to find a way to adapt to a Firewire interface.  A recent search for a new i7 laptop proved that manufacturers have just about moved completely away from Firewire.  Even the Expresscard port is gone on most machines in favor of USB3.  

« Last Edit: April 24, 2012, 01:38:56 PM by HAMMYGUY » Logged
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