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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | QuickSilver QS1R Help

Reviews Summary for QuickSilver QS1R
QuickSilver QS1R Reviews: 14 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $899 + s/h
Description: The QS1R VERB is the most advanced open source digital down conversion (DDC) receiver board on the market featuring a 50Mhz panadapter display (selectable down to 50Khz) and waterfall.

It features a Linear Technologies LTC2208 16 bit, 130 MSPS Analog Digital Converter (ADC) and an Altera EP3C16 Cyclone III FPGA. Connectivity to the PC is through a high speed USB 2.0 interface. QS1R covers 15 kHz through 55 MHz in its standard configuration and can be used in undersampling applications to 300+ MHz.

    QS1R Specifications:
  • - Frequency Range (BNC LPF Input): 15 kHz to 55 MHz
  • - Frequency Range (SMA direct input): 15 kHz to 300 MHz
  • - Input Impedance: 50 ohms
  • - Clipping RF Level: +9 dBm (S9+80db)
  • - Maximum Display Bandwidth: 50 MHz
  • - ADC Sampling Clock: 125 MHz (1 - 130 MHz with external encode input)
  • - I/Q Image Rejection: 90+ dB
  • - MDS (500 Hz): -122 dBm @ 14 MHz
  • - BDR: 125 dB
  • - Voltage: 5 - 6 VDC, 2A fused, reverse polarity protected
  • - Current Draw: 500 mA (typ.)
  • - Connectors: BNC (RF IN LPF), SMA (RF IN, EXT ENCODE CLOCK), USB Type "B", 2.5 mm DC Power
  • - LEDS: Power, Clipping, Debug (internal)
  • - Dimensions: 160 x 100 mm (3.299" x 3.940") (board size)

The QS1R VERB is OPEN SOURCE. QS1R is not a black-box design. The firmware, software, and FPGA HDL are all GPL open sourced. You can view, change, improve, and experiment with what is inside. Since the majority of the VERB's functionality is within the FPGA, a new, updated radio is only a download away.

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SWL2002 Rating: 5/5 Jun 4, 2009 15:20 Send this review to a friend
Best SDR Receiver IMHO  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I’ve owned the QuickSilver QS1R for about 6 months before making this evaluation. I purchased my QS1R directly from the manufacturer. The QS1R receiver definitely outperforms all of my other analog receivers. I use it primarily for Shortwave listening, but I also use it for Medium and Long Wave DXing, as well as a receiver in combination with my FT-450.

I also have owned a SDR-14, and SDR-IQ. The QS1R greatly outperforms those receivers.

I found that CW Skimmer directly supports the QS1R on Windows.

For spectrum recording I must use Winrad on Windows with the QuickSilver QS1R. The manufacturer supplies a driver that allows the QS1R to work with Winrad. The manufacturer is adding spectrum recording capability to a future version of the software.

Discussion Points:
I sold my SDR-14 and SDR-IQ before purchasing the QS1R. At the same time as I purchased the QS1R I also purchased a Perseus Receiver to evaluate against the QS1R. After owning both receivers and running them side-by-side for a little over 6 months, I decided to sell the Perseus and keep the QS1R. Here is why:

1. The Perseus does not have an external muting input. The QS1R has an external muting input which makes it very easy to use with a separate transmitter or transceiver for transmitting. The muting is instantaneous with no delay from activation to full muting. The manufacturer of the QS1R also plans on making a matching transmitter board available called QS1T. I am looking forward to this.

2. Using CW mode, Perseus has too much latency. I measured it to be about 500 mS. While the filters are good with no ringing, the latency is just too high for comfortable use with a transmitter. The latency is possibly too high because the Perseus uses the computer sound card for audio output. I found that the QuickSilver QS1R Receiver had very low latency and I had no problem operating full QSK on CW. The QS1R has its own audio output and does not rely on the computer’s sound card for audio output. The QS1R latency seems to be less than 10 mS.

3. I found that Perseus is prone to images of very strong signals in the FM broadcast band aliased down into its range of 0 – 40 MHz. I have a few very strong FM stations in my area and this was annoying until I figured out these “phantom” signals were images of local FM stations. In comparison, the QuickSilver QS1R did not have these images in the 0 – 60 MHz range nearly to the extent that the Perseus did. The strongest image on the Perseus was about -50 dBm where the same station image on the QS1R was about -100 dBm. I added an external low pass filter to both receivers which dropped the strongest image on Perseus to about -85 dBm and below the noise floor on QS1R.

4. Other considerations are that the Perseus software could only be used on Windows, where the QS1R software works on Windows, Linux, and OSX. I am slowly converting my computer use over to Linux and this was a future consideration for me. Also Perseus covers up to 40 MHz where the QS1R covers up to 60 MHz. It is very nice that the QS1R is able to tune the 6 meter band. In my area I often have signal levels in the 1 – 20 MHz range up to about 0 dBm at night. I had to engage the Perseus attenuator to prevent overload at these times. The QS1R does not overload until much higher, I measured about +10 dBm, so I never had overload problems with the QuickSilver QS1R. Lastly, the Perseus was about $300 more in the USA than the QS1R, although the resale value of Perseus was good. When I sold it I got about 80% of the purchase price.

I would definitely recommend purchasing the QuickSilver QS1R if you are in the market for a SDR receiver. If you are a Linux or MAC user, then choosing the QS1R is a no-brainer. If you are considering purchasing a SDR receiver then the QS1R should be on the top of your
VE7MDL Rating: 5/5 Dec 23, 2008 11:14 Send this review to a friend
My First SDR  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is my first experience with a software defined radio. Since it may change tomorrow or the next month, I have to mention that the review is based on SDRMaxII v1.0.1.4 running on Windows Vista.

First and foremost, the receiver is great. It stands up well against my TS-480SAT and my Icom 746Pro.

Now to the part that may scare some. It is all controlled by mouse and keyboard. If you have some computer skills that should not be a problem. With a few days of practice, it comes as natural as operating a traditional radio.

The SDRMaxII screen is very well laid out. It is convenient and fast to change the most important parameters, such as frequency, volume, filter, mode, etc.

One of the more powerful features is the memory. You can add memory categories and simply click a button to add the current frequency complete with filter and mode settings to the memory category. It makes for a very nice general-purpose RX and for very fast switching between frequencies.

The noise blanker is very powerful, but it takes some practice adjusting it to get the best result. The filters are a dream come true. The filter skirts are very steep and I have detected no ringing on CW with a width of as little as 50 Hz.

The major advantage of an SDR is the panadaptor. This allows you to view a spectrum of 50 kHz up to 4 MHz. It is really useful to see what is happening on a band these days with low solar activity. It also allows you to pick a clear frequency when you QSY after making a connection on a calling frequency, such as 50.125.

The software is divided into two parts:

1. a server, which talks to the QS1R via a USB 2.0 interface
2. The GUI, which can either run on the same computer or a different one that is connected via a LAN or the Internet. This means that you could run and control the radio remotely.

The radio currently does not have badpass filters and a pre-amp. A little more sensitivity would be desirable on 6M, for instance, but the manufacturer has promised that a bandpass filter/preamp/attenuator will be available soon. You will also ned an external audio amplifier unless you are happy with headphones.

Overall, a very positive experience on my part. I would highly recommend reading all of the documentation before buying the radio. Since the source code for the radio is available, I expect that we will see many new features in 2009, so the radio will evolve, which is one of the interesting attributes of an SDR.

I have only had my QS1R for a week and I am still finding new things I can do with it.

KF1Z Rating: 5/5 Jun 4, 2008 15:47 Send this review to a friend
Wonderfull!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The QS1R is really living up to it's growing reputation!

This unit has features that make it stand up to just about any receiver out there...

The panadapter and waterfall display beats anything out there right now.. at a really fine 50 megahertz wide!! (selectable from 50khz to 50mhz sample rate, in several steps)

At the time of this writing, the band-pass filter, pre-amp, attenuator board is not connected...
But during today's 10 and 6 meter band openings.. I was copying many stations on both bands... on my 75 meter antenna!
(NOT through a tuner)

The other day, I was using my Icom R-75, which I had though was a pretty fair reciever...and it is... BUT I couldn't stand to listen to any AM stations on it anymore, and went right back to the QS1R....
The QS1R was actually more sensitive, and produces better audio than the R-75..

The dsp filtering make crowded conditions much more bearable, and the noise filters do a great job of eliminating lightning static ..etc.

I could go on and on about it...

Right now just waiting for the companion transmitter board to be made available ( the QS1T )... that pair will make other "comparable" SDR transceivers feel like toys.

With a software defined radio like this....

"A new radio is just a download away..."

If you've been thinking of taking the next step up in software radio....
This unit is what you're looking for.

Bruce G

N9VV Rating: 5/5 Jun 4, 2008 14:54 Send this review to a friend
Amazing technology  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The QuickSilver QS1R is truly a Generation-III Software Defined Radio's. Phil N8VB has developed an amazingly straight forward set of chips to bring the HF spectrum from the antenna to the PC. He used a very high speed ADC and the Cyclone-III FPGA to achieve 15khz to 55mhz coverage. The project is Open Source so that anyone can play. Cathy in England has already contributed a beautiful new Graphical User Interface.

Phil has designed the whole PCB so that all buses and interfaces are exposed. He will be creating various add-on boards in the future. Some of the add-on boards are going to dazzle the Ham and SWL fraternities.

A simple server running on a small PC connects the QS1R USB port to the outside world. The server sends and receives it's commands, spectrum data, and s-meter data via TCP/IP connections. This means the QS1R works on your local LAN or directly on a single PC. The entire setup can run comfortably on a 1Ghz mITX 512MB PC.

Join the Yahoo group where you will find loads of images, documentation, Application Notes, and Cathy's GUI binary and source code.

I am looking forward to the new cabinets and new boards that will be available later this year.

This is an amazing time to be in Ham Radio!
73 de Ken N9VV
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