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Reviews For: ELAD FDM-DUO

Category: Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - non QRP <5W

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Review Summary For : ELAD FDM-DUO
Reviews: 40MSRP: 1450
HF+50MHz SDR QRP transceiver with direct sampling technology.
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KT4WO Rating: 2021-10-18
Flex at Alinco price. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Update 18-OCT-2021
"So who is the Duo for? "(from a poor review)
Simple--- The Duo is for folks who want a $3000 RX for
a $1000 price. The ONLY reason this radio is NOT a $3000
radio is because it not 100 watts. It does not cost $2000 to
add 100 watts!

The RX is on par with Flex at an Alinco price.
At my elmers shack we did A/B tests with a Flex
6000 series and the Elad was almost equal. I will admit the Flex software was better/easier to use. The Elad has, by far, the best RX I have ever used. Although a small radio, it IS NOT a great rig for SOTA. It uses ~500ma on RX and it is not what I would call "tough", but for the shack, esp. using it with a computer, it is amazing. I mostly use it on 6M and can work stations that my Icoms can't even hear.(I use a 150w amp on 6M).
For the price, I believe it has the best RX you can buy.
A true hidden gem!!
N4BRJ Rating: 2020-10-09
Superior filtering Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've had more than a few HF rigs over the years, but none have had filters like this. Adjacent QRM just disappears with the turn of the BW knob while the intended signal remains clear.
The receiver is very quiet. Low noise floor.
Loads of options when used with a computer and the FDM-SW2 software.

I use it with the matching SP-1 speaker and DUO-ART 120W amp. Makes a great desktop setup.
I am very happy with this purchase!
N8OBU Rating: 2020-06-30
GREAT RADIO Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This is a great sdr radio i have ran mine for over a year now i own a icom 7300 and this runs circles around it the sw2 software is great but the sdr console v3 that simon brown wrote makes this radio 10 times better , i run a b26 2xblf 189 amp set up for 5 watts drive so the low power was not a issue , if you get a chance to play with one don't pass it up 73 n8obu
M7MCQ Rating: 2020-02-12
STUNNING RECEPTION!!!! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
This radio reminds me of my ELECRAFT KX3 - but this is BETTER! It's not only a stunning STANDALONE SDR radio, compact enough to easily go portable, but it also has some of the BEST SOFTWARE on the market!

NINE separate receivers?? WOW! And the addition of the awesome matching amp, with built-in ATU and Panadpter just takes it to another level. OMG.

N2DTS Rating: 2018-05-21
very good in many respects Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I would give it a 4.5.
Very good audio output, good filters, receive performance of the standalone radio is very good, as good as anything I have used on the low bands. The noise blanker rocks!

Good TX audio, 50 to 4000 if you want, good AM modulation, good ssb modulation, seems to work great on CW using semi break in, nice side tone.

Yes, it could use a few more knobs and buttons, running it with the software allows a nice combo of mouse and knob work. Use the band buttons in software to jump around the bands quickly.

Well made rugged case, not swr sensitive, low TX latency, minor RX latency (standalone).
Its got a lot to play with between the radio and the software.
The one I have puts out 8 to 10 watts.

The software has no real TX options as others have mentioned, and with the usb latency, you likely would not want to use the transmitter through the computer for voice modes.
They could do a LOT better with software and an ethernet interface for transmit...

Overall, the amount of things you can play with ,and the great audio output, and the great receiver performance, along with very good TX audio make it better then some other radios for me.

The KX2 was also good, but had no ability to use it with a computer, and mine had power output issues on some modes, along with so/so audio quality.

Earlier 4-star review posted by N2DTS on 2017-05-09

It is a standalone radio that does not need a computer to do most operations, its 8 watts out from 160 meters to 6 meters and is a direct sampling radio like the flex and Anan radios.
It comes with software to run it like a normal sdr on your computer, but as its USB between the radio and the computer, its got a lot of delay using it that way.
But you can talk into and listen out of the radio with NO delay.
While you are doing that, you can look at the big display on the computer screen, and tune the radio by clicking on signals and so on.
The display (software) looks stunning and there is an IF view and an audio view, along with the main band scope that can be sized any way you like, and zoomed in or out even to 6 MHz.
The software supports 8 receivers 4 on one band, 4 on any other, so you could listen on 160 and also on 10 meters, and other crazy sdr stuff like that.

The good:
No latency through the radio.
Great sounding RX audio on the aux and headphone out, I put it into my old Marantz audio amp and it sounds great.
The built in speaker is not bad.
The software loaded trouble free.
The radio menu system is fine, if a bit limited.
TX audio sounds clean and punchy, on AM at max power output the positive peaks are reduced a bit, but not at lower powers.
SSB works great.
Its nice that you can tune the radio and the software display follows, like a great band scope, or you can click on a signal with the mouse and be there, it tunes the radio.
CPU usage is very low, 7% on my crappy I5 box.
Its very small, a space saver.
It has a receive antenna port that can be turned on (or not).

The not so good/different,
The IF window does not stay on top if you do anything on the main screen,
You can not change the filter on the main screen waterfall/spectrum, you have to change it in the IF screen , why?
No band stacking registers, no band buttons on the radio, moving between your favorite spots is hard. Must have band stacking registers in the software at least!
The vfo to memory button does not act like I expect.
The software does not seem to save settings.
There is a big delay through the software, just on RX is about 500 ms, thats the USB port issue.

It would not have been hard to put two buttons on the front of the radio for band up and down like Elecraft does.

I am sure there is a way to navigate frequencies quickly and I just need to find it and use it.
And I could not figure out on my own how to change the mouse wheel step size in software.

Overall, the Anan radio (and even the KX2) is a lot easier to use and navigate around the ham bands. The KX2 remembers where you left the radio on each band and you jump from band to band with the tuning knob.
The Anan (sdr only) had triple band stacking registers with band buttons on the main screen.

The duo works well standalone with NO latency.
It has much better RX audio over the Elecraft stuff.
As a basic stand alone qrp radio it works very well.
As an sdr radio it is not great, the USB delay can cause problems if you want to monitor your signal. The software seems to be general short wave receiver software with many ham things missing and transmit ability tacked on.
All the TX software seems to be mostly in the radio with very little in the software, and what is in the radio is limited.

It can be very confusing to work both the software and the radio itself, some things interact, some don't.

I have used just about every sdr software on many sdr radios, and for operating, powersdr into an Anan has the right buttons, does the right things, has all the options and features operators need.
The DUO works well as a standalone radio with the ability to have a very nice band scope with good audio and basic features.

The radio itself seems very well made.
It does not seem fussy about some swr, output is very clean, and it seems impossible to get it to sound bad on transmit.
G8CGR Rating: 2018-01-29
Good hardware, weak software Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought my FDM-DUO in June 2015 and have studied it in some depth. In my view the technical capability is excellent. But for anything other than an occasional phone or cw contact, I find the stand-alone mode to be too fiddly for serious use.

No matter, my primary interest was (and still is) integrating the FDM-DUO with my computer. For that purpose, ELAD provide the FDM-SW2 software application.

The FDM-SW2 core functionality for receiving is good and it works well. However, straying beyond the basics soon leads to trouble. Successive FDM-SW2 updates and recent new functions seemingly lack the attention to design detail and software quality that is evident in the core functions. Too often, FDM-SW2 is difficult to use. It can be unpredictable, tiring and frustrating.

The situation is exacerbated by the absence of any truly useful ELAD documentation aimed at using FDM-SW2 with the FDM-DUO. (Note that the FDM-DUO hardware manual is pretty good.)

What to do about it? I find that the ELAD supplied EXTIO .dll files work well and perform flawlessly (so far) with HDSDR which I now use for all routine operation.

But presently, only FDM-SW2 has the potential to release the full capability of the FDM-DUO. To achieve that, ELAD still have some work to do – if they so choose, of course.

FDM-DUO H/W rating **** (shame about the wobbly VFO knob and flimsy front legs)
FDM-SW2 S/W rating **

Overall ***

VK4SX Rating: 2018-01-09
3yrs to the day Time Owned: more than 12 months.
3Yrs to the day I have owned and operated the ELAD FDM DUO,
wonderful shack addition, still has pride of place with a SPE 1.3 KFA, both arrived in same week,
the ELAD is maturing with FW updates, NB & AN areas still need tweaking, wonderful receiver that kicks butt in comparison to a lot of OVER PRICED receivers,
it is at home with K3-S & IC-7610, nothing lost in selecting Either, Iether OR,
SHAME ELAD never followed on when the ride was high as a 25w version with some chip changes would have been most welcomed,
it is a keeper, the Front end is a little wooly in some condx, but easy adjusted if you have a decent antenna system

Dennis vk4sx

Earlier 5-star review posted by VK4SX on 2015-07-26

ok well I have already left a review, that was when I had first purchased the ELAD FDM DUO, I just had to leave another comment, after 7 Months of using the little critter every day, well every day it just puts a smile on my face, best fun I have had for years,the ELAD is first on, Last off every time,
just an absolute pleasure to use, with outstanding performance figures.
a 3K & MKV have been made redundant
Dennis vk4sx
IK6IOQ Rating: 2017-12-01
richiede studio ed impegno Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Questa e' la seconda volta che compro il DUO la prima volta l'ho rivenduto ma mi e' rimasto sempre impresso.... poi sono andato alla fiera di Pescara e visto il prezzo non ho resistito, ricomprato e sono più' che soddisfatto.
Voglio tuttavia avvisare che non si tratta esattamente di una radio accendi e trasmetti tipo icom kenwood yaesu ecc. ecc. ma questa radio richiede studio ed impegno più' degli altri modelli sia sul lato soft che hard.
Capisco pertanto le lamentele di alcuni ma non le condivido, quando si acquista un prodotto bisogna essere consapevoli di quello che si compra.
Il tutto abbinato ad un amplificatore fa la sua bella figura e posso essere fiero di avere una stazione al 100 per 100 made in italy
/ Antenna Baby Loop di Ciro Mazzoni
/ Radio Fdm DUO di Elad
/ Amplificatore RM
AE7YD Rating: 2017-11-26
couldn't be more happy Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I have had the radio for a few months now and am very happy with it.
The audio is very nice, not tiring at all.
The keyer is working as expected.
Overall the radio is very easy to use, no complicated menus.
I just wish that they made their software available for Mac OsX.
My only negative are the USB cables they are too many and too big.
If so many cables I wish they would have used USB Mini connectors.
Agreed that they are not as reliable.
Bottom line this radio is a keeper.
VE3BXG Rating: 2017-07-18
the FDM-DUO user experience - some problems Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
First, some context to help you understand my review. I am not an experienced radio guy. I am new to amateur radio having received my operating license in July 2017. I do not have advanced electronics skills - I wouldn't be able to build or tinker with my rig. I'm just someone who loves radio (got into SWL when I was a kid) and wants to enjoy the adventure of ham radio. That's the perspective with which I am approaching the ELAD FDM-DUO - my first ham rig.

I am not going to comment on its technical performance. That has been covered elsewhere (for example, a review in QST last year). The general view is that from a technical perspective this rig is a solid performer.

I want to talk about a few aspects of the user experience that I think require improvement. First thing I found odd was that in order to do an upgrade of the TX or RX firmware, you have to open the case because the relevant USB ports are inside the box. Why was it designed this way? Why make the user go to this trouble? Why couldn't the ports have been made accessible from the outside?

Second, ELAD is an Italian company and this is evident (not in a good way) from the user manuals for both the radio and the SW2 software that accompanies it. Both read like they have been written by someone without full command of English, which means the manuals are not always easy to understand. Surely the company could have hired a technical writer who was a native English speaker.

Related point - technical support is based in Italy, which means dealing with a 7-hour time difference. And there is only one person who handles tech support requests from North American, which means delayed response to your problem. (I am currently having an issue where my laptop suddenly stopped recognizing that the FDM-DUO is connected to it.)

Finally, the FDM-DUO is advertised as a rig that works either standalone or computer controlled. This is true, but I find the standalone experience awkward. From a design perspective the front of the box is very clear - just a small screen and a few knobs and buttons. But this means having to scroll through lots of menus and combinations of button-pushes to get where you want to go. Not intuitive. (On the other hand, computer controlled operation is easy.)

Hope some of you will find this useful.