Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pimp my radio

Don Rasmussen WB8YQJ has created a "simplified" computer control interface for the Elecraft K3 that resembles a Drake R4C receiver. You click on the various controls to make changes. Currently only the S-meter displays an actual reading, the VFO and other controls are in progress.

I think it's a fun program whose novelty will soon wear off, but it did make me think of an idea that could get even me interested in SDR. What about a board running software that does everything expected of the computer side of a software defined radio? But instead of using a screen, mouse and keyboard for the user interface - though that could be an option - it would have a specially designed bus that would allow you to connect real switches, potentiometers, rotary encoders, meters and digital readouts to control the various different functions and display information.

Think of the possibilities. Instead of using a high-res picture of an R4C for the interface you could build everything into an actual R4C case, or indeed any other old radio that is dead beyond redemption, and create a "classic" radio with state-of-the-art SDR internals. Or you could design your own front panel exactly to your liking and create your own unique radio.

"Pimp my ride" is a TV programme about people who hack and customize cars to create something individual. Why not "pimp my radio?"

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