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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | FUNcube Dongle Pro+ Help


Reviews Summary for FUNcube Dongle Pro+
FUNcube Dongle Pro+ Reviews: 14 Average rating: 3.5/5 MSRP: $150
Description: 150kHz to 240MHz & 420MHz to 1.9GHz all mode Software Defined
Radio Receiver.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.funcubedongle.com/?page_id=1073
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KC0EKQ Rating: 1/5 Feb 13, 2017 00:12 Send this review to a friend
Yes, it's a toy  Time owned: more than 12 months
Before getting this SDR dongle, I had used one of the cheap-cheap RTL dongles, and thought that for its low price, that RTL was fun, if woefully inadequate from overload to filtering to noise floor to range deafness -- on a 90' grounded, un-un'd random wire -- and then thought perhaps more money would garner a better product.

I really knew better than that, having been in this radio 'thing' for a long, long time. But I figured it couldn't get worse than the otherwise fun-to-start-with, RTL-type dongle.

Wrong-o.

Well, I should clarify and say the FUNcube Pro+ is not 'worse' than the previous RTL, but is just as wide open, poorly shielded, poorly filtered, and range deaf as the RTL.

Using SDRSharp and HDSDR, which programs I really enjoy with a real receiver, I can say that LW is deaf and noisy, where it isn't on my Icom R75 with the same antenna. MW overloads badly and throws images all over, and then SW/HF is almost deaf except for around 6MHz and 10MHz, and nearby frequencies. From 15MHz up, it is as deaf as a rock (and even a rock can hear something in a crystal radio)!

A toy, as a the previous reviewer rightly put it. It's not a proper receiver in any range, overloading on some, stone deaf on others, and is essentially a toy -- it can be fun for a moment, where you can hear anything clearly, but after a bit of tuning around you will abandon it for a real receiver.

All of that being said, this has been *my* experience with this product. I've been in radio and electronics for three decades. I know quite well, more than many, what I'm doing, and I came by this opinion and review quite honestly and knowledgeably by factual experience and exploration.

However, the reviewer below me for some reason can't simply review and praise his good experience with this product -- he has to put others down at the same time.

This review forum is about people relaying their personal experiences with various products; I have seen numerous reviewers of some of my favorite products whose opinions of those products are in direct opposition to my own... and I never once thought it was because the reviewer was 'ignorant and incompetent'. Neither did I ever think (let alone write!) that it was because they were 'doing it all wrong' and were sloppy with their station and set up. It would be immature and rather ignorant itself.

Yes son, people CAN be at least as intelligent and capable and experienced as you and STILL have a very different experience with a product. Some are *far* more intelligent and capable than you or I, and still have very different opinions... and I notice that the ones who are that intelligent tend to avoid insulting and putting down others as idiots.

If this product has been your primary receiver for several years, then maybe you should explore newer and certainly better sdreceivers and expand your knowledge about it all.

But either way, MY educated experience with this dongle is like some of the other reviewers' experiences -- it feels and performs like a cheap toy radio. If you love it, then wonderful, good for you... but why you feel the need to step on others to make your point is beyond me. If you can't make your case for it without accusing dissenting opinions of being stupid, then maybe you need to reexamine your own opinions.
 
KF5VQY Rating: 5/5 Aug 23, 2016 18:06 Send this review to a friend
Best investment I ever made.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've been using the Funcube Dongle Pro Plus as my primary receiver for several years, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm so impressed with it I bought one for my dad.

To the reviewer who said, "like the RTL dongles, this device has poor dynamic range" - you're doing something wrong, man. The dynamic range on the Funcube Pro Plus is far greater than any 8-bit dongle, as the FCD delivers a 24-bit stream from the ADC, which is reduced to 16 bits internally (still twice the width of an 8-bit dongle).

To the reviewer who said the FCD is "as wide open, poorly shielded, poorly filtered, and range deaf as the RTL" - I don't know what the heck you're doing, but you're doing it all wrong. In my own experience the FCD is virtually overload-proof - I've never seen it overload in any situation, on any band, with any antenna, under any conditions. As a test, at this moment I'm listening to a 2-meter repeater on the FCDPP thru a high-gain 17-foot vertical whip while my FT-897D is pumping out 50 watts on 2-meter simplex thru a Slim Jim only 50 feet away, with no overload, no interference, no nothing. Try that with an RTL dongle.

Sensitivity and dynamic range of the FCDPP is amazing on any band. I can hear anything on my FCDPP that I can hear on my FT-897D. I was using my FCDPP as a receiver before I even got my license (licensed in 2013). I bought the FT-897D about a year after getting my license, and quickly saw that the FCDPP could hear everything the FT-897 could hear, and had all of the attendant SDR processing advantages to boot, so I never even bothered to really learn how to use the receiver on the FT-897. I just continued using the FCDPP as my receiver and only use the FT-897 to transmit. That's how nice a receiver the FCDPP is. I'm feeding it from a tuned G5RV that's switched between the Funcube and the FT-897 with a Dow-Key relay that's activated by the PTT on my FT-897 mic. I'm extremely happy with that setup - I have a full-featured SDR as my receiver (I'm using SDR Console V3 software), and use the FT-897 for transmit.

The 11 discrete front end filters in the FCD (2 of them are expensive SAW filters) are impressively effective. I've never seen any evidence of intermod on any band. By comparison, an RTL dongle has ZERO filters.So anyone who tries to compare the FCDPP to an RTL dongle just doesn't know what they're talking about.

To the reviewer who complained that the FCD is "poorly shielded", I see no hint of any RFI on my band scope (panadapter). If that guy is complaining about "poor shielding" he'd probably do well to tidy up the rat's nest of poorly shielded cables and/or computer in his own shack.

The ONLY complaint I have (and I mean the ONLY complaint) is that the bandwidth is limited to 192kHz.

As you can probably tell, the only way I'll ever part with my Funcube dongle is if someone pries it from my cold dead hands. To get the same level of performance in any other package you'd have to spend a LOT more money.

For those of you who still aren't convinced, here are some screenshots of Field Day 2014 on 20 and 40 meters using the FCDPP:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B77dlHbMDWmJUzdFaGZXLWI1TnhLUUFGcTJfRDRwV2RwZHlj

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B77dlHbMDWmJa2h3QUFjRWN6Wk9jaEZhZGtDWWk5T1RwSVVF

As you can see, in both pictures the band is so crowded with QSOs there isn't any room left for even a single additional QSO!

NOTE: The SDR software I was using in those screenshots is HDSDR.

The following screenshot was taken just a few minutes ago - as I stated earlier, I'm now using Simon Brown's awesome SDR Console V3 (still in the development stage but it's available for download right now for free):

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B77dlHbMDWmJbDF3ME1Yek5xNHM

As you can see, even on a regular weeknight the band is rich with QSOs. And look at all of the receivers I've defined in the band scope - I can click on any of them and BANG, I'm listening to that QSO. In fact, I can listen to ALL 15 of them at the same time if I wanted to! And look at the CPU load (at the bottom), it's only 5.8 percent! Simon offloads the FFT math duties onto the graphics card if the card will support CUDA programming (any modern Nvidia graphics card will).

Long story short, whenever I read or hear anyone carrying on about how the Funcube Pro Plus isn't any good, I just laugh at their ignorance and/or incompetence.

73,

Mark KF5VQY
 
KC0EKQ Rating: 1/5 Jun 24, 2015 16:49 Send this review to a friend
Yes, it's a toy  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Before getting this SDR dongle, I had used one of the cheap-cheap RTL dongles, and thought that for its low price, that RTL was fun, if woefully inadequate from overload to filtering to noise floor to range deafness -- on a 90' grounded, un-un'd random wire -- and then thought perhaps more money would garner a better product.

I really knew better than that, having been in this radio 'thing' for a long, long time. But I figured it couldn't get worse than the otherwise fun-to-start-with, RTL-type dongle.

Wrong-o.

Well, I should clarify and say the FUNcube Pro+ is not 'worse' than the previous RTL, but is just as wide open, poorly shielded, poorly filtered, and range deaf as the RTL.

Using SDRSharp and HDSDR, which programs I really enjoy with a real receiver, I can say that LW is deaf and noisy, where it isn't on my Icom R75 with the same antenna. MW overloads badly and throws images all over, and then SW/HF is almost deaf except for around 6MHz and 10MHz, and nearby frequencies. From 15MHz up, it is as deaf as a rock (and even a rock can hear something in a crystal radio)!

A toy, as a the previous reviewer rightly put it. It's not a proper receiver in any range, overloading on some, stone deaf on others, and is essentially a toy -- it can be fun for a moment, where you can hear anything clearly, but after a bit of tuning around you will abandon it for a real receiver.


 
SWL2002 Rating: 2/5 Jun 24, 2015 10:19 Send this review to a friend
Not great  Time owned: more than 12 months
While the frequency coverage is impressive, it is very deaf on some frequency ranges and overloads pretty easily on the lower MW and HF bands. Although it goes down to 150 kHz, it is useless on the LF band.

Like the rtl dongles, this device has poor dynamic range. It is pretty much a toy SDR. I had to laugh when a previous reviewer said it was better than his IC-7600!
 
W6CAW Rating: 5/5 Jun 24, 2015 07:33 Send this review to a friend
Unbelieveable  Time owned: more than 12 months
Had it about 2 years now. Fantastic sensitivity. With Sharp SDR it's almost as good a receiver as my IC-6700. Fun to poke around and see all the interesting RF floating around.
 
KC2GUY Rating: 5/5 Mar 20, 2015 18:12 Send this review to a friend
Just Amazing, SDR in a Dongle  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
i was considering getting into SDR, and reviewed all the possiblities...the FUNcube Dongle Pro + offered the most at a reasonable cost. very well thought out, with drivers that you dont have to download...almost plug and play. just watch some videos on Youtube, and you will be good to go. i use the NAP3 Software...for me, the screen, panadapter and filters are just AMAZING, especially the noise-blankers. a second receiver for my Yaesu FTDX3000. i enjoy a knob radio, and this is a great added feature...dipping the toe into SDR. Reception at times, with the SDR filtering can be astounding.
 
G1HBE Rating: 4/5 Dec 3, 2014 06:07 Send this review to a friend
Excelent performance/price  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
After a brief dalliance with an RTL stick, last year I decided to upgrade to the FCD Pro+. Installation was a breeze and all works well. The combination of 16-bit sampling and fairly tight filtering makes the FCDPP better than many other SDRs. The only downside is the rather small 190 KHz span. Also, the performance below the MW band is rather dirty, so I made a 500 KHz LPF which has made a vast difference. New kid on the block is the SDR PLAY, which can span up to 8 MHz and uses the same tuner but only 10 bits so may not be quite so clean.
 
AF4RK Rating: 0/5 Jun 2, 2014 06:56 Send this review to a friend
DOA  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm sure this is a great device when it works. Unfortunately I received one with no output other than static. i keyed up my HT on 446 and I saw some activity on the display when tuned the same freq, but no audio. I also have the Noolec dongle, which works really well with SDR# and HDSDR, so it's not user error. The RTL unit picks up all the local aircraft activity, this unit shows nothing. I am pursuing a refund through paypal having heard nothing from the seller.
 
OE3SGU Rating: 5/5 Apr 21, 2014 09:46 Send this review to a friend
perfect first SDR  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Haveing no experience with SDR's I was tempted to buy one some months ago and have never regretted it. For the price this really is an amzing piece of gear.SDR Console gives it countless options and possibilities to improve signals and beat the noise. Now that I have experienced its countless possibilities I regret to not have gotten into SDR much earlier...
 
N4LQ Rating: 4/5 Dec 26, 2013 07:51 Send this review to a friend
BCB Overload  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Living near a big city, we have several strong AM stations within 10 miles. Below 4 mHz multiple phantom signals cover the spectrum. Below the AM band it is virtually useless due to total BCB overload regardless of LNA gain settings. Using the ICE 402x eliminates the problem from 1.8 mHz and higher but naturally kills all reception below 1.8 mHz. More filtering is needed between the antenna and the dongle. A low pass filter for VLF would help. For amateur band (Ham) use I find the SoftRock Ensemble II a much better choice because it has excellent filters. I do like the internal sound card in the FCDP+. I use HDSDR and SDR# and both give excellent results. For FM BCB reception it does work ok but keep in mind that you can see only one station at a time due to the 192 kHz bandwidth limit. It's not a fault of the FC, just a characteristic. I'll be trying it on UHF next.
 
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