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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Soft66LC4 Software Defined Radio (SDR) Help


Reviews Summary for Soft66LC4 Software Defined Radio (SDR)
Soft66LC4 Software Defined Radio (SDR) Reviews: 1 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $118
Description: Compared to the older versions, the Soft66LC4 has an added lower BPF allowing reception from 0.5MHz to 70MHz.

Works with many SDR programs that support ExtIO.dll plugins including HDSDR, Winrad, Rocky, SDRadio and G8JCFSDR.

The ExtIO dll plugin (requires "ADD" Version) is available HERE: http://soft66winrad.sourceforge.net/
Product is in production.
More info: http://zao.jp/radio/soft66lc/
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You can write your own review of the Soft66LC4 Software Defined Radio (SDR).

VK3XPT Rating: 5/5 Jan 18, 2013 06:26 Send this review to a friend
Excellent performance and low cost!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have both an LC2 version, and the newer LC4.

I have a number of HF receivers and transceivers to comapre these with, and have used/built a number of other soundcard based SDR's (including the very popular "Softrock" kits). I like my original Soft66LC2 so much, that I sold my Softrock Ensemble RX2! It is easier to use, and performed just as well (actually better than the softrock on 10 meters)...

I am VERY impressed with these receivers for the price. Used with a 192Khz soundcard, you get 192Khz of usable, visible bandwidth! I am using an Asus Xonar D1 soundcard with great results. I also use an audio isolation transformer (a cheap noise filter - search on eBay) inline which helps by removing some of the "DC Spike" that is common to soundcard SDR's.

The best software I have found for the Soft66LC range is the free "HDSDR", a better version of "WinRad". I use HDSDR with the ExtIO_Soft66ADD.dll plugin. This works very well. You can download the working "ADD" Version ExtIO.dll I am using from here: http://soft66winrad.sourceforge.net/

The dedicated control software for the Soft66LC offers no improved performance that I can see, and just makes things harder than they need to be. The website is terrible, and english is not his first language, so support may be difficult - but really, you should not need support with this, it's easy!!!

SAVE YOURSELF SOME TIME AND DON'T BOTHER DOWNLOADING THE CONTROL SOFTWARE FROM THE http://zao.jp/radio/soft66ad/ PAGE. Simply download the USB driver, ExtIO DLL file and HDSDR. You DO NOT need anything else! :)

The Soft66LC gets it's power from the USB port, so no external power supply is required.

--- Some notes about the older LC2 - Mine does work below 2Mhz, in fact I can RX down to about 500Khz with mine, BUT you MUST enable the "DAC" tick box on the ExtIO control interface first. I have no idea exactly what this DAC option does, however if it is enabled, you will notice MANY birdies and mirror images above 2Mhz. In other words, only select DAC when working below 2Mhz!

When compared to my FT-847, the Soft66LC2 is very close. So close, it's actually hard to tell the difference, and scary that this thing can work so well for such a few components and low cost. The downside when compared to the FT847 is that there are more "birdies" and I guess you could overload the RX fairly easily if you were in a high RF environment (this has never been a problem for me). The LC2 is no good on 6 meters (50Mhz). There are too many birdies and things to make it useful there, but as I said, it is excellent on HF (0.5 - 30MHZ).

--- Some notes about the LC4 - A couple of months ago I decided to purchase an LC4 to see what it is like. Compared to the LC2, it does everything just as well, but it performs much better under 3Mhz, given the new BPF. Overall, there are less birdies. 50Mhz (6 meter) opperation is better than the LC2, but it still has a number of birdies up there in the SSB section (50.110MHz) that get in the way.


The Verdict: These are great SDR's for HF, and they perform very well. Don't bother with the official control software, just use the DLL plugin and HDSDR (or your favorite ExtIO compatible SDR software) and you should be very happy!

73's

Perrin VK3XPT
 


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