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Author Topic: The new " commradio "  (Read 42224 times)
KB2HUK
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Posts: 157




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« on: March 04, 2013, 02:15:45 PM »

Has any one have hands on experience with the new commradio ?  wide band rx with what I think is a great set of features . Just google commradio   thanks  John Molenda kb2huk
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K0OD
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Posts: 2457




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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2013, 03:52:02 PM »

What "great set of features?"

A non-functioning S-meter?  (how did that get past QC?) Lack of a noise blanker?  Poor AM BCB and LW reception? This thing is coming up way short in "softball" tests served up by some product-friendly non-techie SWLs.

Follow the long discussion:
http://forums.radioreference.com/software-defined-radio/256366-new-sdr-commradio-cr-1-a-9.html#post1927388

Listen to a CR-1 for yourself:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbyaPOQvO3Y&feature=youtu.be

Notice that the low power AM broadcaster on 680 can be heard 10 KHz below and above its frequency as the CR-1 scans an atypically empty BCB.
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K5TED
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Posts: 626




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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2013, 11:14:37 PM »

Not to impugn the manufacturer or cast aspersions, doubts, or unfounded speculations, but, the reality is...

1. No RF Gain
2. No AGC control
3. No NB
4. No DSP NR
5. No typical phone communications filter widths, i.e. 2.8 or at least 3kc. (maybe I missed something in the training video?)

No good for anything but very casual listening in QRN-less settings. Any three of the above features would add value.

Oh well.. It looked good. A bit spendy for the feature set, IMO. Maybe the next gen will be better, if there is one.

Seems to have generated a lot of interest. I hope Mr. Moore is listening...
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K0OD
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2013, 12:08:29 AM »

I think this quote sums up the earliest public tests: "It's actually kind of embarrassing."

And "Possibly some signal overload. I was hearing 15MHz WWV about 50khz up and down."

Being an SDR there's always Plan B: "Just got an email from the CR-1 Support Dept informing of a firmware upgrade about to be released."

http://forums.radioreference.com/software-defined-radio/256366-new-sdr-commradio-cr-1-a-10.html
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 12:13:27 AM by K0OD » Logged
K5TED
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Posts: 626




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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2013, 03:47:36 PM »

I think this quote sums up the earliest public tests: "It's actually kind of embarrassing."

http://forums.radioreference.com/software-defined-radio/256366-new-sdr-commradio-cr-1-a-10.html


In the interest of keeping things in context, the "It's actually kind of embarrassing." was in reference to a AM MW reception comparison between the CR-1 with a "scanner whip", and a Sony 7600GR, which has a built-in ferrite bar antenna for MW and Longwave. Not the same.

This is why many times we find that these arguably juvenile youtube and swl forum "tests" and "reviews" are really not indicative of performance, but simply are an outlet for the meanderings of tyros.

A more accurate review might have had both radios simultaneously connected to the same loop antenna through a distribution amplifier for true side by side comparison.
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K0OD
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Posts: 2457




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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2013, 09:19:20 AM »

Initially reported problems are so pervasive that one wonders how this $500/$650 receiver is being tested before shipment. Low audio on HF and an S-meter that sits around S9 are instantly apparent even to SWL buyers.

From that, I'm guessing a grueling Sherwood Engineering testing gauntlet would turn out... well... ludicrous. Doubt we'll see CR-1's amid K3s and Alpha amps in Multi-Multi contest stations.

Just in: First report on its VHF/UHF performance
http://forums.radioreference.com/software-defined-radio/256366-new-sdr-commradio-cr-1-a-11.html
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K5TED
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Posts: 626




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« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2013, 05:20:35 PM »

Seems the firmware upgrade added decent filter options for SSB. Looking better. Now, need a NB, and at least an ATT if not full RF Gain or an alternative AGC level or speed functionality.
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K0OD
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Posts: 2457




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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2013, 07:14:28 AM »

K5TED says: "Looking better. Now,"  Nah, just different:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukiA-6mpqlQ

That video is interesting because it covers core ham frequencies, 7-21 MHz. Overload isn't a problem perhaps because that radio is using a discone antenna designed for higher frequencies. S-meter still doesn't work. Around 03:20 the video reveals loud pops with tuning. We hear an exceptionally loud pop at 05:07 when the mode switches from USB to CW.

Notice that the operator keeps his other hand or at least a few extra fingers on the tiny radio to stabilize it as he tunes.

My main question remains how well the CR-1 covers its full advertised range: 150 kHz to 468 MHz. How about UHF police/fire or VHF airport traffic, or hams on 2-meters? I'd still like to hear how it performs on longwave NDBs or hams on 475 kHz, or Euro longwave AM broadcasting around 162 kHz.  

New comments indicate the CR-1 suffers on 162.55 MHz, the Weather Radio frequency:
http://forums.radioreference.com/software-defined-radio/256366-new-sdr-commradio-cr-1-a-13.html
« Last Edit: March 09, 2013, 07:22:34 AM by K0OD » Logged
K5TED
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Posts: 626




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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2013, 12:32:03 PM »


"Notice that the operator keeps his other hand or at least a few extra fingers on the tiny radio to stabilize it as he tunes. "


Noted. It's a small radio. It's advertised as a small radio. Everyone who has one so far bought it knowing it is a small radio.

FT-817 has the same problem. So does any QRP kit radio, and so does the Elecraft K3.

How is this point relevant to the discussion on performance vs. value?








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K0OD
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Posts: 2457




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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2013, 01:57:43 PM »

Don't know about you, but I can adjust an 8-9 lb K3 while sending CW or logging with the other hand. The CR-1 is spec'd at 1 lb – 12 oz.  (is that with or without cabinet screws properly installed? Smiley )

For many, but not all of us, having to hold down a flyweight radio would be a negative. I notice that one of the CR-1 buyers even said he was surprised how small it is. Just pointing that out. 
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K5TED
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Posts: 626




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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2013, 03:22:26 PM »

"having to hold down a flyweight radio would be a negative. I notice that one of the CR-1 buyers even said he was surprised how small it is" 

"having" to hold down the flyweight radio would imply one is somehow forced to own it. Simple fix, don't buy it if it doesn't fit the requirement.

My point is, the form factor, i.e., dimensions, weight, design, would only be a negative if one were to buy it sight unseen and it turned out to be impractical for the imagined use case. This would be an unlikely situation unless the buyer is bereft of any sort of spatial cognizance, reading skills, ability to foresee a need and devise a plan, or formulate a cogent thought, or simply is prone to impulse buys and subsequent buyer's remorse.

The radio is clearly described on the website, which, incidentally is the only place whereby one might make the purchase. The website features photos and an accompanying video that visually demonstrates the size. Even if it had only a snapshot of the rear panel, one might extrapolate the relative cabinet size based only on the BNC connector.
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KE5JPP
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2013, 05:42:22 AM »

Initially reported problems are so pervasive that one wonders how this $500/$650 receiver is being tested before shipment. Low audio on HF and an S-meter that sits around S9 are instantly apparent even to SWL buyers.

From that, I'm guessing a grueling Sherwood Engineering testing gauntlet would turn out... well... ludicrous. Doubt we'll see CR-1's amid K3s and Alpha amps in Multi-Multi contest stations.

Just in: First report on its VHF/UHF performance
http://forums.radioreference.com/software-defined-radio/256366-new-sdr-commradio-cr-1-a-11.html

Looks like they concentrated on adding all kinds of fancy features to the menu system and forgot to concentrate on the basic functionality needed as a receiver.

What is really telling is that in their demo videos, you can clearly see the S meter is not working correctly during the demo.  They had to be aware of this bug before shipping the radio.
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K5TED
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Posts: 626




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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2013, 05:32:44 PM »

Finally, a radio reference contributor put the CR1 on the bench and ran some proper tests. Results were not exactly favorable for a $500 receiver.

I have to wonder if an external preselector would make a big difference on some of the problems. It would be interesting to put a Miracle IL tuner inline and see what happens.

At this point, for a seriously portable Wideband all mode receiver, I'd probably opt for a Kenwood TH-F6A.

In the end, the CR1 has a marvelous form factor. It remains to be seen if the warts can be ironed out.

In the realm of small tabletop wideband all mode receivers, my Icom R1500 has nothing to fear
at this point.
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K5TED
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Posts: 626




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« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2013, 06:56:07 PM »

Seems the CR-1 has crested.. Aerostream is offering them on ebay now, with battery installed.

Sad.
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K0OD
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Posts: 2457




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« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2013, 09:40:30 AM »

How many of these CommRadio toys are being sold at full price? Posts on RR have referred to beta testers (plural). The CR-1 may never emerge from beta testing even for those who paid $500. It didn't take long for the maker to back off on claims of longwave reception.

Reminds me of the early days of transistor radios. My family had a Bulova model, a tech marvel from about 1957. At $49.99 it was a costly purchase... tiny and sleek, and the batteries lasted many times longer than vacuum tube portables. It worked great by 1957 standards. When I took it apart years later I found that it used 4 transistors.

Radio makers competed with ever smaller models. I remember an article announcing a radio the size of a sugar cube.

Too bad sugar cube size speakers worked terribly. The public soon tired of micro-radios with their severe limitations. Result: Gigantic boomboxes, by the late 1960s.
 
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