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Show all reviews of the Elad FDM-S1
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of the Elad FDM-S1.
May 5, 2013 06:25
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A surprising SDR from LF to VHF
Time owned: more than 12 months
Since my purchase about a year ago the FDM-S1 "Sampler",as Elad calls it,has surprised me with its quality and versatility. The company is quite modest about its products and doesn't search press attention. However Elad also has a technical consultancy and measurements branch for the industry and produces its own advanced test equipment.
Initially the software used a maximum sample rate of 192kHz but meanwhile Elad has developed new dll's taking the viewable bandwidth to over 5MHz. In undersampling mode the FDM-S1 can receive signals up to 200MHz. The supplied software -FDM-SW1- covers all thinkable HF modes added with integrated WFM Stereo,RDS and DRM decoding.
To make good use of the entire frequency range one can add external bandpass filters. Because of the lack of input preselection Elad has honestly called the FDM-S1 a "sampler", while others like Winradio or Bonito call their devices (also without preselection) a receiver...In most practical cases a preselector is not needed as the FDM-S1 has more than adequate dynamic range. I have not experienced any overload on MW or HF with reasonably large antennas. It does have a LPF at 30MHz to seperate HF or undersampling use of the sampler.
As an add-on Elad is offering the very interesting SFE-1.0 board. This is a little circuit board with several switching facilities controlled from the FDM-S1 by a 9 pin connector. The board is not expensive (around 60 USD) and interesting about it is that it is fully automatable by a "frequency related settings table" inside the FDM-SW1 software. In other words; switching of filters,antennas,LNAs,etc can be fully automated depending on chosen frequency.
Recently also a factory-made extension PDC-V1 was released giving the user FM Broadcast and VHF coverage with LNA/conversion and filtering onboard, automatically switched in/out from the software.
The "frequency related settings table" also functions as a user defined bandplan. So if you select a given frequency, all other settings like mode,stepsize,antenna,downconverter,gain,attenuation,etc are automatically recalled by the software. It is the first SDR I know that allows automation in such an extensive way. It reminds me of the extensive editable bandplan used in the AR5000A receiver. I personally think it makes the FDM series more powerfull and versatile than any other SDR on the market.
Some nice extras in the software is the wide user configurabilty of demodulation parameters. The notches are direcly implemented on the frequency spectrum. Databases,memories or DX-cluster information is super-imposed on the spectrum field and move around while you're tuning. The DX cluster is linked to a server of choice and updates while you are DXing. It also has most of its functions available under direct keyboard entries and it features a "triple tuning bar" which guides you through the spectrum in meterbands,megahertz or finetuning, a bit like a mechanical tuning dial with multiple gears. All this advanced functionality is packed in a clear GUI which is still easy to use and has quite a low strain on CPU resources.
All in all I find this a very interesting package.
The software versatility and qualities have surprised me, as well as the possibilities of the FDM-S1 in combination with the SFE board. Updates to the software are handled in a very professional and friendly manner. Elad demonstrates a reliable contact with its customers.
With some clever configuration of the SFE board the package can serve as a 0-200MHz all mode receiving system, leaving not much to wish for. The new PDC-V1 also offers FM broadcast and VHF DX as plug-and-play solution.
Aside from all extensions possible,on itself the FDM-S1, as a high dynamic range HF SDR receiver,with a very wide viewable DDC bandwidth, combined with cleverly made software it is already *very* sharply priced.
(also uses Perseus,SDR-IQ,Telefunken ELK-639,AR5000A,FCD Pro Plus)
Product is in production.
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