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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | QuickSilver QS1R Help

Reviews Summary for QuickSilver QS1R
QuickSilver QS1R Reviews: 13 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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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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