|Ok, I have had a flex 3000 and 5000, a qs1r and the sdr-iq.|
For what I do with the radios, the sdr-iq has been the best.
Not the best raw performance, it is not bad, just not the best. Its the ease of use I like, and the fact that there are three stable well working programs that run with the sdr-iq.
Spectraview (used as a lab tool mostly), sdr-console (my favorite) and hdsdr, very nice also.
I have never had a problem with any of these programs, and they never do anything odd.
You can also use all three of those programs without using a keyboard, you can do everything with the mouse. Not having to use a keyboard clears the operating desk.
My qs1r works a bit better, but the software does not seem to be stable or ham friendly.
PowerSDR is quite good, but the radios are expensive.
The major difference I can tell between the sdr-iq and the qs1r and the flex 5000 is a slight bit more background noise on the sdr-iq.
My sdr-iq does not overload on my 80 and 40 meter dipoles, while the qs1r needs a preamp on the higher bands, the sdr-iq has one built in.
Like Powersdr, sdr-console has all the buttons on the screen, band and filter buttons, display options, you can add buttons to the screen or hide them. It remembers where you were on each band, even after you restart, something the sdrmax program on the qs1r does not.
There are a lot of things that bug me about the sdrmaxV program, plus the frequency is off and is not stable, while the sdr-iq is spot on, always has been, and I never needed to correct it.
I think sdr# (sdr sharp) also runs on the sdr-iq, so that is FOUR programs you get to choose from, you are not stuck with a program with bugs or one you do not like.
So, all things being considered, I like the sdr-iq as a receiver and band scope for ham operation, because its runs with various sdr programs.
And revisions in the programs have reduced the background noise level. HDSDR has some very good fidelity.
It would be nice if they made an sdr-iq with a 16 bit converter for more dynamic range and less noise, but I do not have a problem as it is.
Earlier 5-star review posted by N2DTS on 2012-01-18
Been using the sdr-iq as a standalong receiver with the homebrew AM transmitters after building a small box with micro relays in it to mute the audio out from the computer and short the antenna to ground. Works great! I get to see my signal going out, and could even record it for later playback. With the HDSDR and sdr-radio programs, there is much to like, the displays are fantastic, the audio is fantastic, the 190 KHz display is fantastic, it really blows away the flex 3000 on receive.
I keep switching between hdsdr, sdr-radio and the flex, and sdr-radio is the BEST, but hdsdr has a really great display and some nice options.
I am no longer fond of the psdr software and the flex 3000, never use it, and might sell it off.
The only reason to keep it is for a backup rig since it does have a transmitter in it.
The sdr-iq is a very good value, its really 3 great radios and a nice piece of test gear, great for a remote receiver over the web, great as a recorder, not audio, but up to 190 KHz of rf bandwidth can be recorded.
Its little, rugged, powered by the USB port, what more can you ask for?!
Software will only get better I suppose, but its hard to think of any way to improve it.
Running the radio localy with a big monitor is stunning, the over the web use is a bit compressed, so if you try that, keep in mind a local sdr-iq is even much better looking when local.
Also, the sdr-iq likes a good antenna, many of the receivers on the web seem to have very poor antenna's.
On my dipoles, I get very low noise and great performance.
At my noisy work location, with a 50 foot low long wire antenna, it works but is still subject to the poor antenna.
I also found out the power supply for the work laptop was generating HUGE amounts of noise.
For what I do, the sdr-iq and the new software is the BEST receiver I have ever had, better then a flex 5000, better then anything out there at any price.
Earlier 5-star review posted by N2DTS on 2012-01-06
I had one a few years ago and sold it to get a flex, but missed the little IQ and got another one when I tested the new sdr-radio software by using remote radios on the web.
That software is VERY good, much nicer then spectravue, which makes a good spectrum analyzer out of the sdr-iq.
The sdr radio software has very good audio, all the right buttons, and makes spotting signals easy.
The sdr-iq seems to work as well as my flex 3000 as a receiver, and with the sdr-radio software, has even more features then the flex psdr software, a good sync detector, ecss detector, the ability to select the sideband in the ecss detector mode, a noise blanker that really works and other nice features.
hdsdr also works, so its sort of like having 3 radios and a piece of test equipment, and I suppose all the software will be improved even more over time, or new programs will arrive.
As I type this, I am listening to 80 meters with the receiver, on the same laptop, in the den, and it sounds great.
All the free software installed on my computers without any problems and does not seem to use much processor power.
I am going to make up a t/r switch box to allow use of the sdr-iq as a receiver with the transmitters, the sdr-iq needs to be protected from high level rf and muted, a micro relay to ground the receiver antenna input and open the audio from the computer, right at the sdr-iq in a small box, and that should allow me to see my signal as it goes out the antenna which should be interesting.
The radio stays the same (good) and the software seems to get better and better, for free!
Earlier 5-star review posted by N2DTS on 2008-11-15
Today, I hooked the lap top sound card output (headphone jack) into the marantz audio amp I use with all the shack receivers, this feeds into a 3 way speaker (12 inch woofer) and the transmitter mixer.
I did a switch between the homebrew single conversion (tube ) receiver and the icom 756 pro 3, and sdr-iq.
I was operating on 80 meters AM, and made a recording using all 3 receivers, then played back over the air.
The sdr-iq sounded very nice indeed, the adjustable filters help bring out the high end.
I also tuned in ssb signals and cw signals, and everything sounded very good.
The homebrew receiver might have a slight edge in noise and fidelity, but that is what it was designed for.
I think, as a receiver, the sdr-iq is very good.
Its hard to fine tune ssb, but otherwise its very god in my book.
Earlier 5-star review posted by N2DTS on 2008-11-14
I hate computers...I use them all day, and software is a mess.
But this radio works very well indeed, I just spent 4 hours checking out everything from just above 500 hz to 30 MHz, the CB band comes in real well!
It seems to work well on AM, SSB and CW, the display is great, easy to spot even weak signals, click on them, and listen to them.
Weak signals show up on the display before you can actualy copy them except CW which you can hear if you can see it.
The filters work very well, the noise blanker seems to make things worse.
I had no problem getting the IQ working on my laptop and desk top, both are low end units by todays standards. As others have pointed out, there is no book or manual, no info on what things do. tip: you have to push the start button before the receiver works.
But its easy to figure out how to use by poking buttons (once you turn it on).
Tuning is somewhat odd, you get a maximum of 190KHz on the display, you can click the demod button and if you point the mouse to a signal and click on it, that is what you hear, but you have to fine tune it another way on cw and ssb, by selecting the frequency numbers and using the up and down keyboard arrows.
If you click the demod freq button again, it changes to center frequency, then, if you click on a signal, that becomes the center frequency of the display....
You can click on any number on the freq display and up and down arrow. Unlike a real radio, there are no band buttons, its sort of like an old R390a, turn the MHz knob from 160 to 10 meters.......
Still, if you center the display in a band of interest, you can just click on any signal with the mouse and listen to it.
The receiver seems to work as well as any other receiver I have had, with maybe a bit more background noise.
Fidelity seems good, but sound card limited maybe, most computer stuff is not HiFi...
My Sony laptop does not have enough volume, even in the headphones.
I could NOT get winrad to run on XP (desktop) or Vista (laptop), no matter what I tried.
There are other programs out there I would like to try, the persius software looks real nice but wont work unless it detects a persius radio.
Spectravue works at least.
I would like to see a drag and drop filter adjustment, you have to click on a box and open it up, use up and down arrows to adjust the filter, then close the box the way it is now.
Gain adjustments are the same way.
I did not have any overload problems using a G5RV antenna with no tuner (up about 40 feet).
I did hear all sorts of VLF stations, 160, 80, 40 and 20 meters had a lot of signals on them, lots of CBers heard, short wave broadcast was good, as was the AM broadcast band.
It was very interesting watching the CB band, see something on the waterfall display and click on it and listen, hop all over the band, as most CB transmissions are short, see the ones with signals 10 channels wide!
This is going to be great for when 10 meters is open.
For $500.00, its a good receiver.
Its quite amazing otherwise, its very small, needs no power, just an antenna connection.
Maybe the software will improve over time...