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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Soft66AD SDR Help


Reviews Summary for Soft66AD SDR
Soft66AD SDR Reviews: 3 Average rating: 2.0/5 MSRP: $105.00 assembled
Description: General coverage software defined receiver to ~21MHz with USB based frequency control.
Product is in production.
More info: http://zao.jp/radio/soft66ad/
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You can write your own review of the Soft66AD SDR.

N5ALE Rating: 3/5 Feb 9, 2012 07:01 Send this review to a friend
ok for the money  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The Soft66ad sdr receiver works pretty well but suffers from some limitations. It has problems with Image rejection and front end overload. These manifest them selves as birdies that popup and disappear on the display. If you get the the DLL from EA2BQH it will cover from 1 MHz to 70 MHz [be sure to click the dac for am BC coverage]. I am using HDSDR and can tune it from the program with out any problem. Support is minimal and you have to drill out the panels in the case for the connectors and led but that is not a big problem. I am quite sure that there are better receivers out there but this one is a pretty good leap into SDR for a first time experience, especially if you don't have the time to assemble one of the softrock kits.
 
73383 Rating: 0/5 Dec 17, 2010 09:09 Send this review to a friend
Not worth the money  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
A look at the schematic indicates that it is based on some good ideas. But its performance leaves a lot to be desired and support is non-existence. For example, the developer's website shows a DDS34 program for controlling the SDR oscillator frequency. When I asked him some questions about the program, he replied "refer to the source code". Maybe the biggest problem with that was there is no source code available. Also, on this same program there is a checkbox marked BPF, which presumably stands for bandpass filter. The radio does have several filters and they are supposed to be switched in or out depending on the frequency. The filters also can be bypassed. To bypass the filters, you have to check the BPF box. This is about as intuitive as the theory of star formation. As for the support, you probably will get a reply from the developer, but that reply will be unintelligible and completely worthless.

This radio has one stage of RF amplification after the bandpass filters discussed above. You have to adjust the gain with a potentiometer. I found the gain pretty sensitive to adjustment and found there was a fine point where the noise floor dipped and signal level peaked. This apparently is the optimum setting. However, I could not get the minimum discernible signal better than about -105 dBm, which is pretty bad.

The radio does not work below around several MHz, but you can tune it into the kHz range.

The developer's website refers you to G8JFC-SDR software defined radio software. When you install the latest version this software (243) you will see it supports the Soft66AD. However, there is absolutely no setup information nor is there any support from either the software or hardware developers. So, forget this.

I was able to get the radio to work with WinRad. However, there is no direct support. This means you have to use the DDS34 program to tune the radio and then set both Tune and Local Oscillator in WinRad. It works, but it is kludgey and inconvenient.

Finally, there are many versions of the Soft66AD available - Soft66ADD, Soft66ADH, and so on. What is all that about? I have no idea.

Forget this radio, it is a waste of money.
 
NH7O Rating: 3/5 Jun 10, 2010 10:57 Send this review to a friend
Not for communications use  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This receiver made a good initial impression, upon looking at the schematic. However, it's performance was very disappointing. The USB based DDS IQ clock has far too many birdies to be useful with any decent antenna. The sensitivity at the high end of its range is too low for ham use. The front end is overloaded by strong HF BC signals, even with the front end filtering. Image rejection has to be adjusted when changing bands, as the 90 degree phase shift is rather frequency dependent. There is no user group, and the designer only speaks Japanese. If you don't, you are on your own.

Go with the Softrock instead. A much better choice for US hams looking to experiment with SDR.
 


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