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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | RFSPACE SDR-IQ Software Defined Receiver and Spectrum Analyzer Help

Reviews Summary for RFSPACE SDR-IQ Software Defined Receiver and Spectrum Analyzer
RFSPACE SDR-IQ Software Defined Receiver and Spectrum Analyzer Reviews: 36 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $$399
Description: The SDR-IQ™ Software Defined Receiver and
Panoramic Adapter

Product is in production.
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KB2EOQ Rating: 5/5 May 23, 2011 02:48 Send this review to a friend
Amazing  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought an SDR-IQ in 2010 and sold it after a few months, intending to buy another SDR that also had transmit features. I missed the SDR so much, I bought another one in May 2011.

THE HARDWARE: Displays up to 190 Khz of continuous spectrum (cannot monitor segments of DIFFERENT bands at same time). 0-30 Mhz. Powered by USB from a computer. One antenna port, BNC connector. The receiver is very good , under most circumstances what I can hear on my TS2000, I can hear on the SDR-IQ. Many users report a higher level of background "hiss" than they experience with conventional receivers. Suggestions for this include a good ground, adjusting the various settings for the SDR-IQ, and trying various software packages. For example, the Noise Reduction features in SDR-Radio Console does a superb job.
Essentially, the SDR-IQ will do what an SDR is supposed to do... let you see a wide segment of a band and visually see the signals on a "waterfall" or spectral display provided by software. It is VERY useful for spotting stations that you may wish to work as a ham, or shortwave/medium wave stations the SWLer might wish to find. DRM signals can also be decoded with the correct software. In addition to the viewing of received signals, the software makes it easy to invoke many sophisticated filter settings . The settings can be essential for digging out weak signals or eliminating QRM.
190 Khz of display is very useful, especially for WARC bands where you can see the entire band. I considered a Flex 1500 but I decided being able to see only 48Khz was too limiting. The SDR-IQ's 190 kHz lets me easily see the whole CW and digital portions of each band, my main interest. Mind you, being able to view the phone sections of a band has made me use SSB phone a bit more!
Using the SDR-IQ in perfect synchronization with my Kenwood TS-2000 (see below) allows me to have 100 watts ouput when transmitting, not the 5 watts that the Flex 1500 provides.

THE SOFTWARE: It comes with SpectraVue. Also works well with WINRAD, CW Skimmer,and SDR-Radio. SpectraVue looks a little "geeky" when first used but once you get to use it, you discover that it is a very useful and well thought out application. Allows you to receive LSB, USB, CW AM, FM (wide and narrow)and wide USB for things like DRM. Great for digital mode use. SDR-Radio by HB9DRV is MUCH nicer looking , none-geeky, than SpectraVue. It has a very useful server application that easily can be configured to allow others to connect and use your SDR-IQ over the Internet. SDR-RADIO also has a very useful shortwave broadcast database, and much more. The application.. "CW Skimmer" , once connected to the SDR-IQ, can monitor up to 190 kHz of spectrum at once and alert you to CW signals by displaying the callsigns (and a few other things) of stations you are hearing over the entire 190 khz range! Multipsk, when used with an SDR-IQ AND SpectraVue will monitor and decode digital mode signals over 190 kHz. This includes the detection of any station using Reed-Solomon identification. Rigsync and DX Lab's "Commander" are additional free software that interface with the SDR-IQ and SpectraVue to enable you to "sync" the SDR-IQ with another radio. I often sync my SDR-IQ with my Kenwood TS-2000, so that when I click on the SpectraVue waterfall to listen to a signal detected by the SDR-IQ, my TS-2000 can automatically move to the same frequency allowing me to transmit and "work' the station if it is a ham signal. I can also click on DX Cluster spots via applications like Spot Collector (part of DX Lab Suite)and have my TS2000 AND SDR-IQ move to the spotted station's frequency.
Customer Service
The SDR-IQ developers have a Yahoo Group and an email address to their company for customer support. I have not had a need to email the company , but have used the Yahoo group a lot. Other SDR-IQ users will respond with friendly advice .

Caveat: The SDR-Rookie that intends to use the SDR-IQ (or other SDRs) close to a transmitting station should be aware SDRs can be damaged by even lows levels of RF from a nearby station. Most users of the SDR-IQ and other SDR radios build protection circuits or buy professionally made devices that protect the SDR's "front end". This includes "RX/TX switches" that you can build inexpensively . You can also buy various commercial devices like the " DEO Receiver Guard", "KD9SV Front End Saver", MFJ-1708, Dow-Key 60-220442, Tohtsu CX-600M, or the Elad Switchbox. These devices can add between $40.00 to $175 to your SDR budget. Many report good success with the DEO Receiver Guard at the low end of the price range, and atthe higher end the Elad Switchbox is also rated highly.
KD7AWG Rating: 5/5 Feb 22, 2011 09:08 Send this review to a friend
State of the Art Receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This assessment does not touch on the SDR IQ itself, as I do not have the experience with recent equipment needed to render an evaluation. I will say, however, that I thoroughly enjoy this receiver and find it fascinating.

I downloaded the latest version of SpectraViewSetupXXX.exe from the SDR Radio Internet site for my SDR IQ installation. The drivers’ installation can be tricky, as you need to point the installation “wizard” to the correct directory. If you happen to install the wrong drivers, you can remove (and reinstall) them via the Device Manager, like I did.

The second issue was the AF Output Latency when using the SDR Console on the local machine. This value would drop to 3 to 4 and the sound would get choppy. Plugging the USB cable into another port solved that problem.

I used the SDR Radio Console Ver. 1.1 software, as I felt more comfortable with its look and feel. Be aware it uses a lot of memory. Computers with 1GB of memory, and no video card, will just be adequate when running other programs simultaneously.

The computer I am using for the SDR IQ terminal/server has a digital out video card with 256 MB of VRAM, 2GB of RAM, an SSD drive and is a Dual Core processor; Even though, I still has a few instanced of losing the SDR audio with a local connection when running Internet Explorer. Perhaps using the Windows Task Manager to increase the priority for the SDR Console may help. Almost all of the time, the computer did not seem strained.

If you want to use the SDR IQ over the internet, the software supplied by RF Space is adequate. I used SDR Server, which does a good job of setting up basic Internet access. Be sure to allow port 7900 to be forwarded by your router (if you use one) and not be blocked by your firewall.

I am using No This service will give an unchanging URL to access your SDR server. No IP supplies a program that “looks” at your IP every 5 or so minutes and sends updates the No IP system. Their service requires that port 80 be allowed to access your server computer. Also, Use Window’s System Properties and the Remote tab, and then check both items (XP); this will allow the connection via No IP to access your computer.

Note some ISP’s block port 80 for this type of service. No IP will, via an option, will use port 8080 in lieu of port 80. You can also access your SDR IQ server without No IP, but many ISP’s use dynamic IP’s that will necessitate changing the IP on the SDR Radio Console (or other similar) software, when the ISP changes your IP.

Be aware by placing your SDR IQ on the Internet you are potentially exposing your computer to malicious activity. Using appropriate antivirus software, firewall and a NAT router would appear to be prudent steps to take.

Internet users note that the server, the computer that will send the SDR IQ’s signal via the Internet to the remote computer, does not perform any signal processing; this function will be performed by the client computer. The server, therefore, does not need to be anything fancy or expensive, if you do not plan on using the SDR Radio Console software on it.
KI2K Rating: 5/5 Dec 29, 2010 07:02 Send this review to a friend
Great unit- the program used makes a huge difference  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have been learning the unit's capabilities for the last few days. Wonderful receiver- is certainly a whole new way of listening and the visual component's benefits can't be overstated.

I do find the IQ to be very susceptible to nearby noise, like from wall-wart power supplies, and I cannot use it with my laptop if power cord is plugged in- just too much rf hash. But if you can find an electrically quiet location or are better grounded than evidently I am, the fun is enormous.

To talk about the IQ's capabilities is really as much a discussion on what software you run it with (which is what SDR is all about, after all).

So far, I count as keepers Sigimira, Winrad, SDR-Console, and Spectravue. Am playing with CW Skimmer, but am not sold on it yet but I do know that others are quite taken with it. Once you master each program and learn how to properly manipulate signals for reception and analysis, you realize what a gem this unit is.

Other reviews cover the technical oohs and ahs as good as I can, so I'll close by saying that I'm glad Santa left the SDR-IQ under my tree.

K3ROJ Rating: 5/5 Nov 14, 2010 13:47 Send this review to a friend
Great Bandwidtrh  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just got mine a few weeks ago and am very satisfied with it. I presently use a Flex Radio 5000A and bought the SDR-IQ to use as a display to monitor the 144 MHz band since I do enjoy weak signal work experimenting with JT65 and recently PSK31 since we use an accurate 10 MHz reference for the 5000A and PLL oscillator for the Elecraft XV144 transverter/amplifier. The SDR-IQ is switched/sequenced out when transmitting with extra clamping diodes to avoid any RF damage. Of course 28 MHz is the transverters receive output and can see any stations easily such as 144.200 MHz which would be 28.2 Mhz. I also enjoy the ability to record any activity and save it on a separate hard drive such as satellites, mainly the Chinese HO-68.
N3IBX Rating: 5/5 Jan 24, 2010 03:29 Send this review to a friend
Terrific panadaptor and HF receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Hello All,
I just received my RF space SDR-IQ two days ago and am still putting it through it's paces to get to know and understand it. I learn a little bit more about it each day. Hookup couldn't be simpler with the supplied USB cable.Install the "Spectra-Vue" software, hook up the SDR-IQ to your computer, add a antenna and you're demodulating RF signals. This isn't my first experience with SDR after having built two SoftRock Lite II receiver kits; but I was looking for more and thought the SDR-IQ would be just the thing. So far i was correct. I also purchased the IF-2000 board to use with my Yaesu FT-950, which should give me even more versatility.
I'm still playing with the Spectra-Vue software, though I'm having some difficulty adjusting a great bit of computer generated noise with it. I've tried the SDR-IQ on other software packages such as "SDR Console" by Simon Brown of HRD fame, and even "Win Radio". it works terrific on SDR console, but have yet been able to configure it on Win Radio. I'd like to try the later specifically since it demodulates DRM signals, and I'd like to experiment a little more with that mode, though it's used specifically for SWL broadcasters.
I hope to make the receiver more useful once I receive the IF-2000 interface board and am looking forward to working out the bugs I have with the included Spectra-Vue software.
So far, I'd have to give it a 5 unless it proves me wrong in the future. With it's ease of tuning, point and click features and greatly adjustable bandwidth, etc etc I expect to be using this as my main receiver for some time to come. If you purchase one I hope you get as much out of it as I do. It's all about technology, and this little box seems to be at the cutting edge of it!
Joe Cro N3IBX
N1DZ Rating: 5/5 Nov 23, 2009 19:17 Send this review to a friend
Very good bandscope  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am using the SDR-IQ in combination with a K3. The SDR-IQ connects to the K3 IF out and provides, together with the excellent SpectraVue software, 200KHz panoramic spectrum display with point and click K3 transceiver control.
As a receiver the SDR-IQ is ok.
As a panoramic display with a compatible transceiver it is excellent and on par or in some aspects better then a Flexradio with powerSDR.
AB3CX Rating: 5/5 May 22, 2009 10:01 Send this review to a friend
Fun and Useful  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Running the SDR-IQ with my FT-2000 and IF-2000. Once you add a Panadaptor with this level of detail, you wonder how you ever did without it. For contesting, it's a huge help in search and pounce. The rig control allows instant mouse click tuning to any signal on the band. Band activity is visible in a flash, allowing you to decide whether to QSY or not. Weak and strong signals are easily separated visually, so you can spot the stations that are not the "Big Guns". As a receiver it's also great, with continuously variable filter widths, AGC constants, noise blanker. It's an instant great SWL radio on the road with a laptop computer and a hunk of wire.
N9RO Rating: 5/5 Apr 14, 2009 13:21 Send this review to a friend
Great with FT2000/FT950  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Add the IF-2000 board and give your FT950/FT2000 real flexibility. Makes new IOCM's look old school.
N2DTS Rating: 5/5 Nov 15, 2008 20:43 Send this review to a friend
update  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Today, I hooked the lap top sound card output (headphone jack) into the marantz audio amp I use with all the shack receivers, this feeds into a 3 way speaker (12 inch woofer) and the transmitter mixer.
I did a switch between the homebrew single conversion (tube ) receiver and the icom 756 pro 3, and sdr-iq.
I was operating on 80 meters AM, and made a recording using all 3 receivers, then played back over the air.
The sdr-iq sounded very nice indeed, the adjustable filters help bring out the high end.

I also tuned in ssb signals and cw signals, and everything sounded very good.
The homebrew receiver might have a slight edge in noise and fidelity, but that is what it was designed for.

I think, as a receiver, the sdr-iq is very good.
Its hard to fine tune ssb, but otherwise its very god in my book.

N2DTS Rating: 5/5 Nov 14, 2008 20:01 Send this review to a friend
Very good!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I hate computers...I use them all day, and software is a mess.
But this radio works very well indeed, I just spent 4 hours checking out everything from just above 500 hz to 30 MHz, the CB band comes in real well!
It seems to work well on AM, SSB and CW, the display is great, easy to spot even weak signals, click on them, and listen to them.
Weak signals show up on the display before you can actualy copy them except CW which you can hear if you can see it.
The filters work very well, the noise blanker seems to make things worse.
I had no problem getting the IQ working on my laptop and desk top, both are low end units by todays standards. As others have pointed out, there is no book or manual, no info on what things do. tip: you have to push the start button before the receiver works.
But its easy to figure out how to use by poking buttons (once you turn it on).
Tuning is somewhat odd, you get a maximum of 190KHz on the display, you can click the demod button and if you point the mouse to a signal and click on it, that is what you hear, but you have to fine tune it another way on cw and ssb, by selecting the frequency numbers and using the up and down keyboard arrows.
If you click the demod freq button again, it changes to center frequency, then, if you click on a signal, that becomes the center frequency of the display....
You can click on any number on the freq display and up and down arrow. Unlike a real radio, there are no band buttons, its sort of like an old R390a, turn the MHz knob from 160 to 10 meters.......

Still, if you center the display in a band of interest, you can just click on any signal with the mouse and listen to it.

The receiver seems to work as well as any other receiver I have had, with maybe a bit more background noise.
Fidelity seems good, but sound card limited maybe, most computer stuff is not HiFi...
My Sony laptop does not have enough volume, even in the headphones.
I could NOT get winrad to run on XP (desktop) or Vista (laptop), no matter what I tried.
There are other programs out there I would like to try, the persius software looks real nice but wont work unless it detects a persius radio.
Spectravue works at least.

I would like to see a drag and drop filter adjustment, you have to click on a box and open it up, use up and down arrows to adjust the filter, then close the box the way it is now.
Gain adjustments are the same way.
I did not have any overload problems using a G5RV antenna with no tuner (up about 40 feet).
I did hear all sorts of VLF stations, 160, 80, 40 and 20 meters had a lot of signals on them, lots of CBers heard, short wave broadcast was good, as was the AM broadcast band.
It was very interesting watching the CB band, see something on the waterfall display and click on it and listen, hop all over the band, as most CB transmissions are short, see the ones with signals 10 channels wide!
This is going to be great for when 10 meters is open.
For $500.00, its a good receiver.
Its quite amazing otherwise, its very small, needs no power, just an antenna connection.
Maybe the software will improve over time...


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