Wednesday, December 14, 2011

SDR Radio

An early Christmas present to myself is this SDR-4 HF receiver from Cross Country Wireless. Actually, it wasn't intended to be a Christmas present. I decided to get one a couple of months ago when I first found out about it.

I think the SDR-4 is the lowest cost ready built HF bands software defined radio on the market (£150 or about $250 US). Unless you know different, of course. However it seems that a lot of other people thought so too, as there is a waiting list - people are ordering them faster than the designer Chris G4HYG can make them!

The SDR-4 works with the usual free SDR applications. But it also works with the free version of Simon Brown HB9DRV's SDR-Radio.com application. This is the best SDR software by a mile, though due to all the treatment and medication I am receiving for my brain tumour my mind is a bit slow at the moment and I find figuring out how to do what I want with it a bit challenging.


As you might expect from the author of Ham Radio Deluxe, SDR-Radio.com has built-in support for decoding digital modes. Unfortunately I haven't managed to work out yet how to get the digital decoder waterfall to be a reasonable size: At the moment it's a small window on the left hand side which is trying to display 15kHz worth of spectrum and although I'm hearing PSK31 I can't find a trace to click on! I'm also still trying to discover if there is a PSK Browser in the program that sends reports to the PSK Reporter reverse beacon site. Hopefully someone will enlighten me.

I'm sure I'll be writing more about the SDR-4 receiver and SDR-Radio.com in due course, but in the meantime if you want more information or to ask questions about the receiver there is a Cross Country Wireless Yahoo! group. You can even try an SDR-4 out over the Internet if you follow the instructions posted by Chris. I did and it worked perfectly - and it was so nice to hear the amateur bands without the awful frying noise I have to endure here.

Yahoo! is also the place to go for information and support of SDR-Radio.com (the software.) I look forward to seeing some comments and experiences of any of my readers who are tempted into trying this software defined radio.
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