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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | Alinco DX-SR9T Help


Reviews Summary for Alinco DX-SR9T
Alinco DX-SR9T Reviews: 10 Average rating: 4.0/5 MSRP: $799.00
Description: Alinco DX-SR9T 1.9 - 29 Mhz 100 W All Mode + SDR Transceiver
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.alinco.com/Products/DX-SR9/
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KT9O Rating: 4/5 Sep 18, 2014 09:49 Send this review to a friend
Look for the secret "Menu 24" option !!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This is my 3rd review on this radio. By now, if you have read the October 2014 ARRL review on this radio, you know that the rig has an extra menu that is NOT listed in the ops manual. It is Menu 24. (This means that the radio has 26 Menus in the parameter setting menus, rather than 25). This unlisted menu defaults to "S-RT-IF". What it means in not known to me at this time, but it absolutely changes the audio output characteristics. The ARRL review found good success when the setting was left at default. I found the muddy audio became full spectrum with the setting at "S-IF-RT". Experiment with it and see what it does for you. I now get good audio reports using my computer desk mic that failed to perform using the default settings. I hope this will be of value to those who are experimenting with the Alinco SDR.
73 and good luck.
Ted
 
VU2JE Rating: 3/5 Aug 14, 2014 10:37 Send this review to a friend
SDR Settings Tricky  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
SDR needed some effort.. budget priced usb sound card did not work.. had to buy an expensive creative usb sound card.
Had to set a port setting through device manager in windows 7 to the port indicated (port2 in my case).. till this was done it showed "com fail"
The reception is still intermittent and will have to figure it out (now there is a general band hiss, but no stations are shown in the water fall)

THIS IS AN UNACCEPTABLE LEVEL OF PRODUCT TO BE RELEASED ON THE MARKET WITHOUT THE SETTINGS AND SOFTWARE BEING ADEQUATELY TESTED, WORKED OUT AND MADE USER FRIENDLY
 
W9NMT Rating: 5/5 Jul 2, 2014 06:55 Send this review to a friend
Surpring results  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I picked up a new DX-SR9T while at the Dayton show and took delivery a week later. This is a "first impression" review, which I intend to follow up later after I've had more experience with it. I have not enabled the SDR elements, as I'm still waiting for a new audio card to come in.

I have only used the xcvr on 40m, as that's all I have up right now: a 40m dipole at about 25' feeding the Alinco's 100W to it. I'm using the standard mic, too, and powering it with a Jetstream JTPS31MB power supply, which also seems to do a great job.

As a rule, if I can hear 'em, I can work 'em. A few weeks ago 40m opened up and there was a huge pileup on I2VRN in Italy. He came back with 58 on the second call. I also worked a little on Field Day and rarely had to make a second call. There were pile ups on several W1AW/? stations and I usually got through on the first call.

I'm still learning the all of the features the rig has, but so far, so good. The rig is larger than many similar units from Yaesu, Icom, and Kenwood, but I find these fat old finger work better with the Alinco. People sometimes ding it because of the front-facing speaker, but I think it is perfectly acceptable. Transmit audio is very good.

I'll be back after I get the SDR component working, as that's a major reason why I bought the rig. I should also know more about its many features at that time, too.
 
AE5YJ Rating: 3/5 Apr 26, 2014 01:31 Send this review to a friend
Faulty control cable SDR false start  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought a new Alinco ERW-7 usb control cable and it remedied my SDR issues. I now have full SDR capability, or at least as much capability as the KGTRX software will allow. Some thoughts after some use tonight:

The uneven gain issue discussed in the review of this rig on Ham Radio Science proves true on my unit although rather than a lopsided panadapter/waterfall, the noticeably weak areas are at the both edges. Very noticeable, but at least it is uniform on my rig. Signal ghosting does happen, but not as often as I had feared, and that is good at least. I really don't care for the KGTRX software, it is very basic and utilitarian. I don't like the fact that if I wish to use all of this radio's features in SDR, I am locked (at this point in time) into using this software. It isn't the worst I have used, but it by no means is on par with powerSDR, SDR#, or HDSDR (limited HDSDR functionality is available using the omnirig file at the HRS website). I keep reminding myself that it is a new radio and the basic software will likely improve in functionality and aesthetics in the months to come.

I do love the fact that I can use my usb headset with minimal tweaking.

This unit would be very enjoyable if the following was corrected in firmware/software revisions:

Front panel functionality in SDR mode. Or at the very least, a waterfall/panadapter display only mode which would allow you to operate the rig as usual while displaying synced information on the SDR display.

One really neat feature of the SDR operation is the 3d dsp selection. For me, it seems to separate the signal from the noise via audio channel. Very handy when picking out the weak stations.

This rig isn't wholly bad when it comes to the SDR operation, but I cannot help but think that it was perhaps rushed to production before it was ready. The irregular shape of the panadapter due to gain variations or I/Q imbalance is a real annoyance. The hit or miss success rate of the proprietary control cable is a problem too. Also, soundcard selection has a direct correlation to performance, but that is true of most SDR's. The soundcard that I bought for the unit was the Sabrent usb 7.1 channel card. It was a bargain at walmart, but has a reversed channel input (thanks for the heads up HRS for advising me of the issue and the simple workaround). If you wish to use the Sabrent card, you will have to find a means to reverse the signals on the 1/8 inch plug. I did this by getting a 1/8" stero to RCA splitter, and reversing the cables into another splitter. This wouldn't be a problem with many 3rd party SDR programs as most of them have an option allowing you to swap I/Q channels. KGTRX does not. The splitter/RCA cable/splitter option worked for me.

All in all, this rig will be classified as a keeper. I am in hopes that wider 3rd party support will be developed allowing more use of the radio's functions in SDR, or KGTRX is upgraded to a more functional and aesthetically pleasing package.

After everything, I have settled on a 3 for this unit when including the SDR functionality. I don't think this severely limited SDR implementation is worth the near 200 dollar price increase over the DX-SR8, but that is only my opinion. I have no qualms about this radio in standalone mode, but then again the attraction to this unit is the SDR. If standalone is your primary mode of operation, get the SR8 and if you wish to play or experiment with SDR, get a cheap softrock.
 
AE5YJ Rating: 2/5 Apr 22, 2014 19:31 Send this review to a friend
SDR problems  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well, I finally got all requisite cables and adapters for this rig and fired up the SDR option this evening. I had fun receiving, but the gain issue was evident on both sides of the waterfall. Only saw one instance of doubling, but it wasn't bad. I was really starting to enjoy myself...until..I wanted to transmit.

Per the KGTRX software instructions, I turned the rig to 1 watt and began the gain adjustment procedure for my headset mic. All settings were correct and verified according to setup instructions. I then went to xmit, and the software glitched, giving an error that said "tx out of range" then the software lost communication with the radio. "Com Fail" was listed in the lower pain where the previous message had stated the original com port. No amount of software or hardware reset will fix this. I have powered down the computer and the radio, physically unplugged everything, reassigned the com port, and replugged all connections. Com cable reads just fine in device manager, but upon selection in the device menu of the KGTRX software it goes into com fail mode.

ideas from any other users with this problem? I suspect there is an issue with the cable, but I do not know. I am not happy right now. All this work and extra money (cables, usb com cable, and souncard) and I still don't have it working. I didn't have this many problems getting my FLEX SDR1k working. I am not happy, calling alinco in the morning.
 
AE5YJ Rating: 4/5 Apr 22, 2014 13:28 Send this review to a friend
Nice so far as standalone  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought this unit because I love SDR. I have not yet had a chance to test the unit as SDR, but I will get to that in a minute. First I want to address it as a standalone rig. I am pretty impressed considering it's price point. Audio is pretty good with onboard speaker, I have noticed no distortion at normal volume levels. IF shift is great to shift away from nearby signals, and receive is pretty hot as well. I am using it in concert with the MFJ-1796 balanced dipole doglegged vertical and generally, if I can hear them, I can work them. I don't care for the hand mic, but that is not a deal breaker as my intent was to use a good usb headset in SDR mode. Noise Blanker is a bit weak and narrow filter works but not as well as I had hoped. All of these points were expected due to the compromise of it's price. The radio is really fun to use. Only real nitpick I have is that I wished it had a variable output power knob. I don't like the preset power options which are 1 watt, 10 watts, and full 100 watt power. There is a jumper on the board which allows you to change these to slightly higher low and mid power options, but I would have rather had a knob for full control. This is only a minor annoyance and not strong enough to reduce the review rating.

Now on to the SDR part. There are some things about this aspect that I do not like, and wish I would have known prior to purchase. Since the radio is so new, there was not many reviews addressing these aspects prior to my purchase of this rig. Ham radio science did a comprehensive review of this rig recently, and some of the concerns I had were addressed in this review. My first issue is that no matter what soundcard you are running, you are hardware locked at 48khz bandwidth on the panadapter. Higher quality soundcards apparently will not get you a wider bandwidth. Second issue is that SDR mode completely locks out front panel functionality with this rig, including the microphone. I don't mind the microphone part, but it would have been nice to be able to use the tuning knob while the panadapter is displayed, like the P3 does for the K3 and other radios with an IF out. That being the case, you are locked into the KGTRX software for full rig functionality in SDR mode. Also according to the HRS review, the I/Q signals are only outputted while in SDR mode, so there is no way to use the rig with an SDR display only like the p3.

Having downloaded and played with the KGTRX software, I don't care for it too much. It is very feature deficient, but all the main functions for SDR are there. I am not too keen on the aesthetics either, but at this point anyway we are stuck with it if we want full rig functionality. HRS's review contained a beta omnirig file that will allow TX/RX in HDSDR, but you have to use the DX-R8T extio.dll in conjunction with the HRS omnirig file for rig control. You must then select a Softrock model to enable TX. Not bad, but you still cannot control your power levels for xmitting a tuning carrier, etc... as well as other functions native to the KGTRX software. My intent was to use the I/Q out as a display only, but since the rig panel functions are cut out in SDR mode, no dice.

Another problem in the HRS review was that there seems to be an I/Q imbalance causing weaker waterfall gain on the right side of the 0hz ingredient. This is evident in all incarnations of Alinco SDR products and clearly seen in many screenshots. Another point brought up was that this imbalance my be the cause of strong signal ghosting on the opposite side of the waterfall/panadapter. This supposedly due to filtering in the radio itself and apparent in different 3rd party programs. I might not have purchased this rig knowing that there is not anything that can be done with this imbalance. Perhaps future firmware updates or SDR software releases will address this.

Last SDR issue that I will address, and the reason I have yet to get this working in SDR mode is the IQ output is reversed from the radio itself. This is supposedly automatically converted in the KGTRX software. This usually isn't a problem if you are using a creative soundblaster card, but I purchased a Sabrent USB card. According to the review at HRS (posted after ording soudcard, lol), the Sabrent's input is reversed from others, meaning that it will be reversed again in KGTRX. LSB signals will only demodulate in USB, etc...

I have a 1/8" Stereo to RCA splitter and on my way home from work today I will pick up an RCA female to 1/8" stereo cable which will allow me to reverse the channels on the input manually. After logging some talk time in SDR I will report back.

This unit is a nice little radio for the price and as a standalone I have only minor nitpicks, but considering the price I think that they are nothing to dissuade a person from buying it, although if purchasing for standalone, I would purchase the non-SDR version. The SDR portion seems a bit restrictive, but perhaps my expectations are a bit too high coming from FLEX SDR-1k experience. Nearly 250 dollars increase over the stock DX-SR8T may be a bit steep considering it's SDR limitations. While I do think that this rig would be great for someone who is used to traditional boxes but wants to experiment with SDR, if you get bit by the SDR bug you will likely want something more. Namely bandwidth. 250 dollars is a bit steep for cobbled SDR. In retrospect, knowing the limitations, I might have waited and gone with a Kx3 and amp.
 
KK4OWL Rating: 5/5 Feb 27, 2014 13:50 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I've been searching for a radio that would do stand alone analog and sdr, wow this radio fits the bill. I've recieved signal reports from all over the world at a 5 9 plus 20 over in the continental United States and usually 5/4 to 5/6 into European Russia and Asiatic Russia. What a great performer! Pairing this with the Carolina curtain beam I've got a good match. SWR is usually 1.1 and 1.3 to 1. Reception is clear (even with the little speaker on the front). My only beef with the radio is that little speaker. Other than that an excellent choice for the. The guy at Ham Radio Outlet in Atlanta matched Giga parts on the price so I'm not complaining there either. If you want a good radio that won't burn a deep hole in your pocket I recommend this one.
 
KF5WKL Rating: 5/5 Feb 3, 2014 22:37 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just got the radio. Set up was easy. SDR was easy to get setup.
Only problem I have is the software will not tx in SDR mod. It gives me an error "TX frq out of range.

If anyone knows how to fix this please email me paul@kf5wkl.com
 
KT9O Rating: 5/5 Dec 14, 2013 18:35 Send this review to a friend
Makes a good account of itself on SDR.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This is a follow up to my review in October, 2013. After running the rig in the SDR mode, I found that my overall setup as described in my first review worked fine except for the microphone. While the Frisby FMC-220 desk mic worked and provided clear audio, it lacked high frequency response. My ultimate solution for good transmitted audio was to use a W2ENY mic that is readily available on eBay. It's an easy hookup into the sound card using a 3.5 mm mono plug. Only the white wire and the shield were used. Since the mic is keyed via the software, it isn't necessary to worry about the ptt button. Audio reports, generally unsolicited, comment on the clean, clear sound. Further, I learned to set both microphone settings in the RADIO software to 0 db and control the settings for it in the COMPUTER software. Same with the receive side. Trying to get some combination of radio and computer software settings in sync will likely drive you mad. And it just isn't going to work as well either.

Controlling the entire rig, including filters, dsp, agc, power, etc. and having the pan adapter and waterfall on screen is addicting. Operating one of my conventional rigs has become less appealing. This may go away in time, but given the color and hi-res screen on my notebook computer, it remains addicting so far.

Working with this set up remains as much an exercise in computers and sound cards as it does the radio, not to mention the microphone. In the end, though, I've learned a lot about all three. I have also given the Alinco DX-SR9T a 5 in this review, given that it does exactly what it is supposed to do. I have not taken the radio out of the SDR mode so I can not comment on it's overall operation as a traditional rig, but I suspect its similar if not exactly like the SR8T.

I hope to enjoy this get up for sometime to come. I'm impressed.

KT9O
 
KT9O Rating: 4/5 Oct 16, 2013 21:00 Send this review to a friend
An interesting and challenging introduction to SDR   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this rig to get an introduction into the world of SDR transceivers. Having used the Alinco DX70TH for a number of years (I still own it), I decided on the new SR9T. The radio is solidly built, looks great and works fine as an ordinary analog transceiver. You will need an external speaker, however, if you want it to sound good. The front firing speaker leaves much to be desired. I use ClearSpeech DSP speakers and filters on ALL my radios, including mobile HF's. These improve any and all hf rigs. In analog mode, you can run all modes and hooking it up for PSK is easy using direct line-in / line-out to your computer sound card. For RTTY, SSTV, etc., an interface like West Mountain will be required. Overall, a good basic analog hf rig.

BUT .... lurking inside the SR9T is an SDR transceiver that is pretty impressive. Your computer and the KG-TRX software available to everyone on the Alinco website, gives you full control of the rig on both receive and transmit. Alinco recommends that everyone download the software, run through it, play with it and read the software manual before you purchase. Aside from turning the radio on and off, no other operator interaction is required in SDR mode. You can put the radio virtually anywhere, restricted only by the length of the interconnecting cables.

At first glance, understanding the SDR concept and getting the computer and rig to talk to each other seems daunting. But the more I researched SDR and the way it works, the less concerned I was about getting it going. Hook up is easy. You need two stereo cables with 3.5m connectors on each end and an Alinco interface cable, either USB or serial, depending on your computer. I use a notebook computer with an Intel i3 dual core processor running at 1.8 gigs.

One thing to keep on mind. You MUST use the line in jack on your sound card for the RX I/Q to function. The mic jack will not work. Since my laptop does not have a line-in jack, I'm using an external sound card made by SIIG. Cheap, small and it works perfectly. All of this is explained in detail in the software manual that comes with the download from the Alinco website.

The other critical piece of the system is the mic. The mic in the radio does not function in SDR (unlike the Elecraft KX3). I am using a computer mic, specifically, a "Frisby FMC-220" desk mic. Provides wonderful audio quality and comes with a nifty, weighted little mic stand. Looks very professional and costs about $15 - $20 bucks online brand new.

Getting the whole thing going was done in stages. Receive was easy and the quality is excellent. The ability to control volume,squelch, make your own RF/IF filter settings, AGC, receive gain, etc. adds versatility. Getting the proper mic and adjusting the audio output takes a bit longer. Remember, you have both computer sound card settings AND the KG-TRX settings to tweak. Nothing hard about it, but it will take some patience.

The software is very easy and intuitive to master. Nothing fancy, but its all there. You can tune the rig in 1hz to 20khz steps, your choice. You also key and unkey via the screen using your mouse, or in my case, the touch screen, either one. Frequencies are quick change by mouse or by typing it directly into the readout window. A real time S meter works in transmit too, to help set your audio output. Output power can be set to 1, 10, or 100 watts. The system keys my Ameritron ALS 600 just fine and so far, no hint of any rf issues.

The only issue is a slight latency on transmitted audio if I monitor my signal on another receiver. This is not an issue when using the rig. I'm not sure if this latency is present when using a headset. I don't have one. I'm guessing a faster processor in my computer would avoid this conversion latency.

I would highly recommend that anyone considering SDR study the concept, become familiar with all aspects of it, and follow recommendations closely as they relate to your choice of computer. You'll need at least a dual core processor of reasonable speed, and 2 or more megs of memory. The KG-TRX software manual and other fine articles about SDR on the internet are worth the time and trouble to research.

Overall, I like the concept (even though it does seem to be "the long way home" at times). Alinco gives me the opportunity to explore SDR in a reliable, cost effective way. I will review again after I've had it on the air for a few more months.




 


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