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Reviews For: QuickSilver QS1R

Category: Receivers: General Coverage

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Review Summary For : QuickSilver QS1R
Reviews: 14MSRP: 899 + s/h
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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Product is not in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
G4AON Rating: 2017-09-27
Rare but worth looking out for one Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I’ve been running a Perseus on a single band with CW Skimmer for some time, the QS1R was a receiver that interested me primarily for its multi band CW decoding with Skimmer Server software.

I finally found a nice example of the QS1R and it does exactly what I expected. The original software (SDRMAX V) loads the drivers for Windows 10 without any issues, and CW Skimmer Server “just works” with it. The whole installation was very easy.

I was impressed with the Perseus and it’s software, but I think the SDRMAX software is as good, if not better.

The QS1R can withstand very high signal levels without overload, but doesn’t have bandpass filters (the Perseus has), so really strong out of screen view signals may cause problems. So far I’ve not had any strong signal issues.

It is a pity the QS1R is no longer available new, as it appears to be unique in its ability to work across 7 bands simultaneously using CW Skimmer Server.
RV3APM Rating: 2017-02-14
QS1R is the best Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've tried different SDR receivers, but the QS1R is the best and super audio best
K9IUQ Rating: 2013-10-24
A Big Plus in my Shack Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I bought the QS1R after much research. For a long time I could not figure out why I needed a SDR RX. After all I am a ham and hams want to TX. After reading the very thorough QS1R review on
I decided to open up my wallet. The QS1R does many useful things in my shack. I have it working with my TS-590s as a Panafall/second RX. This is done easily with Omni-rig free software. The QS1R follows the Ts-590s frequency and Vice-Versa. Also I use the QS1R as my personal DX Cluster with Skimmer Server software.

The QS1R is almost but not quite the equal of my TS-590s RX. I use free HDSDR software which suits my needs better than SDRMAXV. I have found the QS1R to be extremely useful and worth the outlay of $$$. I now have the best of both Ham worlds - A SDR and a Knobbed radio both working together to improve my hamradio experience.

Stan K9IUQ
N2DTS Rating: 2013-09-13
nice hardware... Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I just recieved the receiver a few days ago, but gave it a workout.
Shipping was very fast, recieved 2 days after ordering it. I had pre installed the software (sdrmaxV) so I just plugged it in and turned it on and it worked. As a receiver, it seems to work very well. I have an sdr-iq and have had a flex 5000 and 3000, and other modern rigs like the icom 756 pro 3, and the qs1r works as well as anything else on the lower bands.
It needs a preamp for higher frequencies, at least it does with my antennas.

For ham use, as a receiver, the software is not my favorite, small buttons, many things hidden in menu's (filter settings, band buttons, memory settings), the radio tunes differently then what I am used to (sdr-console).
The noise blanker works VERY well, great filters, good audio out, really stunning bandscope.

I must be doing something wrong though, as the reason I got the qs1r was to get low latency, and the qs1r is supposed to have low latency due to the on board dac audio output and the fast fpga on board to do a lot of the heavy lifting, but I have 1/2 a second delay through the system for some reason.
Everyone else reports very low latency, so something is not set up right I guess.
The latency on the flex 5000 and 3000 was very low on the same computer...

To get a big stunning band scope, they hid many things in menu's, you have to click on a small band button to open up the bands, and when you pick one, it does not remember where you left it, you always get the center of the band. There may be a setting for this someplace...or not.
I have a big monitor, but the buttons are still very small.
Flex went the other way, most buttons on the screen, with a smaller band scope, but for a ham, that is likely better.

As recieved, my qs1r is off in frequency about 150 Hz. You are supposed to be able to correct that (calibrate) by entering the offset in a menu, but there must be a trick to get it to work, as it did nothing when I tried it.

Its a shame the qs1r does not work with various programs, psdr, sdr-console, hdsdr, spectraview.
The rf space radios (sdr-iq anyway) works with most, but has much lower performance then something like the qs1r. Choice is good, everyone will want something different, and its kind of cool to have one radio with a bunch of different programs you can run on it, each with their advantages. It really is like having a bunch of different radios.

In my setup, the sdr-iq works on higher frequencies with a built in preamp, so on a marginal antenna, you can hear signals.
The qs1r seems weak there but I need to do more tests.

Background noise is low on the qs1r, its high on the sdr-iq because of the cheaper 14 bit dac I suppose.
The QS1R has no problem dealing with my high power transmitter, and its interesting to watch your signal off the air as you transmit.
If I fix the latency, I will be able to monitor the audio as well...and maybe even hear other signals on the band as I transmit.
The qs1r allows a very strong signal into the input without clipping, and with a seperate RX antenna might allow me to hear other things as I transmit. That would be interesting.

So the hardware is fantastic, I have a few software? issues to iron out, and maybe I just have to get used to the software, which is a bit different from most others I have used.

AKREIDER Rating: 2013-02-24
Amazing Radio Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I recently got back into shortwave radio after staying away due to the horrible urban RFI situation. I previously used a Drake R8 original. That was a great radio, but having a software defined radio is a vastly different experience.

The SDRMAX V software is amazing. It has a couple quirks, and it takes a while to switch from using dials for everything -- but the ability to view up to 2 Mhz spectrum and the selectivity makes it all worthwhile! The one improvement I most want to see is a better spectrum playback. Currently you can record and re-tune the radio. However you cannot jump ahead or back to a time in the recording. This makes reviewing a long recording very difficult.

The selectivity is superb. I don't know the specifications but it crushes the Drake. The synchronous AM outperforms the Drake (which had locking issues). You can vary the bandwidth in each mode to the nearest 1 Hz.

The noise reduction provides marginal improvements on weak signals. It is not a miracle. It also makes it easier to listen to signals that have moderate noise.

The two noise blankers are useful. NB2 is effective on power line noise. I can hear WWV on 60 khz thanks to NB2. They are quirky. At some settings, signals bleed all over.

I don't like the auto-notch filter as it appears to be too wide or too deep. However in practice, I never need it because you can avoid the heterodynes by using tight filters and USB/LSB. The manual notches work great and you can have up to ten.

The graphical display is very useful to find stations. For instance, it is easy to see Transatlantic MW carriers. It is also useful for determining what filter size to use, and for peaking or nulling a signal.

The documentation is limited. However there is support via a YahooGroups.

If you live in a city, you may see a weak image of FM stations around 30-35 Mhz (probably the 55 mhz low-pass filter is not strong enough). There are also several spurious signals that appear as multiples of the spectrum width that you are viewing - however they can be eliminated by changing that width.
KE5JPP Rating: 2012-09-10
Best overall SDR I've tried. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have had experience with or currently own the following SDR receivers: Microtelecom Perseus, Winradio Excalibur, RF Space SDR-IQ, RF Space netSDR, HSPDR Mercury, Flex-5000a, and of course the QS1R which is the subject of this review. Hands down, I prefer to use the QS1R over the others. The QS1R SDRMAX V software is excellent and updated regularly. The QS1R manufacturer is open to suggestions and always helpful with problems. The QS1R covers up to 6 meters (up to 62 MHz) where the other SDRs only cover up to 30, 40, or 49.99 MHz.

I also use the QS1R as a pan-adapter for my Kenwood TS-590s via CAT. When I tune with the QS1R SDRMAX V software, my TS-590s follows along. I use the QS1R as the primary receiver and the TS-590s receiver as secondary. I transmit with the TS-590s. It all works seamlessly over a signal USB cable.

I rate the QS1R as a '10', but since I can only do a 5 on eHam reviews, I rated it a 5.
YV4OW Rating: 2012-08-14
Great panadapter for ts-590 Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Buy this receiver with the intention of using it Panadapter my ts-590 which was made possible by software and the connection omnisrig qscatconnection for the qs1r sdrmax software.
It works perfectly well using the ts-590 as master or slave. Due to the high performance of TS-590 I keep using as a receiver and only as panadapter qs1r.
I have placed a high pass filter to shut the stations in BC and a preamplifier to improve the sensitivity at 10 and 6 meters Clifton both laboratories.
Only when I turn on my qs1r I will listen and I can do simultaneously viewing from 80 to 6 meters and if I see any activity then turn on dx-590 ts.
Of course this is possible because I have a wide OCF antenna.
I am impressed with its performance and even learn something from him every day.

Compre este receptor con la intención de usarlo como Panadapter de mi ts-590 lo cual fue posible gracias al software omnisrig y a la conexión qscatconnection para el software sdrmax del qs1r.
Funciona perfecto tanto usando el ts-590 como master o como esclavo. Debido a las altas prestaciones del ts-590 lo sigo usando como receptor y el qs1r solo como panadapter.
Le he colocado un filtro pasa altos para callar la estaciones de BC y un preamplificador para mejorar la sensibilidad en 10 y 6 metros ambos de Clifton laboratorios.
Solo lo enciendo el qs1r cuando voy a escuchar y lo puedo hacer viendo simultáneamente desde 80 hasta 6 metros y si veo alguna actividad de dx entonces enciendo el ts-590.
Claro esto es posible porque cuento con una antena ancha OCF.
Estoy impresionado con sus prestaciones y aun aprendo algo de él todos los días.

LU1DO Rating: 2012-04-03
very good Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Did my first experiences with SDR using this receiver. Cannot compare to other rigs but confirm it works with Windows and with a Mac Pro Air. To use with Linux, it requires a little more effort.
I love the reception quality and the shown spectrum.
KC2RGW Rating: 2012-02-11
Excellent and still the only DDC with full linux support Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've owned my QS1R for about three years now.

It has ruined me for normal receivers. It is just plain fantastic.

The flexibility it offers compared to seemingly 'similar' products in the market is outstanding.

This is a radio for a technical ham and for the curious. There isn't a phone support line where you can harass people about how to make a 5V DC connector. There is however a pile of documentation on line and an active mailing list.

This receiver is for those who like to help themselves and explore options in software and have the patience to do so. This isn't to say it's difficult to just get up and running but there are a lot of possibilities for this receiver that might take some actual thought to envision.

I run linux full time and this project has had software that builds and runs on linux reliably the whole time I've owned it. This was the initial reason for my purchase and over time it turned out that I really bought a monster receiver, far better than my expectations.

The exciter board is due imminently and I can't wait until I can ditch the Dow-Key relay I use it with now and just run a fully direct SDR station.

Hams not at least toying around with an SDR receiver are truly missing out.

Just one small example, with decent SDR software you have full control over all the AGC parameters. FAR greater control than the usual speed only on most rigs. What this means in just one case is that with static crashes on the band, you can adjust your AGC params to a point where the sudden crashes are only a minor annoyance and not like being hit over the head every time. Features like this make listening so much nicer via SDR. The filtering of course is just beyond belief how effective it is and strong adjacent signal rejection is equally amazing.

This receiver will allow you to see entire bands at once as well, far greater bandwidth than many others on the market. 2+ MHz of spectrum at a time. This means you can turn on 10m and really see if there is anything going on at a glance. Really handy.

If you are a ham that thinks an FT-857D is too complex, don't buy _any_ SDR product. If you are the guy who wonders why there aren't another 40 menu options or deeper control, you should have already purchased an SDR ;-).
NI5O Rating: 2012-02-10
Great SDR receiver... Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I have had my QS1R for over 6 months now and use it with the Pixel Technologies RF-1B loop antenna... Being able to see a signals with a wide frequency panadapter is awesome!!! Hookup to CW Skimmer was a snap... With the Pixel loop antenna, do not need to worry about decreased RF gain on 14 Mhz and above... It seems to hear all that I can hear on my TenTec Orion 2... Audio is crisp and clean... Well worth the money... Many CW Skimmers use this receiver...