Monday, May 17, 2010

The shape of things to come .....

Between the video streams offered by G4GXL at FDIM (in particular the FlexRadio one) and some conversations that I have had with some returning Dayton attendees .... it seems that SDR is now VERY mainstream.

I must admit being a bit behind the times; and not giving it as much due as the subject warrants. But from what I can tell, software defined radio has left the "fad", "niche" and "experimental" stages and has become a force to be reckoned with. When you start hearing some locals (whom I respect) on the repeater say that , "I will never buy a "regular" radio again"; well, that makes you sit up and take notice.

This is a very good thing, of course, as all things should progress. I would certainly like to try one; but I would have to say that the reason that I probably will not at any time in the near future is due to economics and not an aversion to the radios. Too many things that I would like to try; and too little disposable income.

It was interesting to watch the chat room during the FlexRadio presentation. You could actually sense fellow QRPers drooling over these. And some comments were made saying that FlexRadio is the "only way to go" and that products like Genesis were a "waste". Having no idea as to the validity of such claims, it makes you wonder. Are these just the ravings of "fans"; or is there some truth in that?

I'd hate to plunk down coin only to find I had made a wrong decision. Looks like a lot more research is in order. As a confirmed CW curmudgeon, I still get the hankering to get back to the digital modes from time to time. Truth be told, I've never even tried PSK31. While it would be cheaper to buy the SSB board for the K2 and go to town, there is also something appealing about building one of those Genesis 20/30's and giving SDR a whirl.

Decisions, decisions .........

72 de Larry W2LJ


  1. hi there! really been enjoying the blog. i built a zetasdr with parts from digikey (although i probably had most of it lying around). it was like 20 bucks all said and done, really dirt simple build, i haven't soldered since i was 12, and now i'm 32. i'm listening to 40m right now, and have been for some time. i should probably pick up my dad's old hf, but i keep planning building another one of these for 80. anyway, i have received bpsk31 so far as far away as cuba, georgia bay, colorado, and of course a lot of PA, NY, VA here in Ohio. Just with a long piece of wire (well, and an MFJ tuner :P) ... lots of fun, and hasn't broken the bank. Best of luck! kd8mek

  2. I would recommend one of these inexpensive kits to get your feet wet but they are so seldom available you probably wouldn't be able to. I did manage to snag a 40m SDR receiver a while back that I haven't built yet. A very active Yahoo group though and they all seem to love 'em...

  3. Hi Larry,
    I like to have in the near future a general coverage receiver in the shack. I like the feel of the old receiver, with a real old S-meter. But I have eye on the ICOM PCR-1500 (I put a video on my blog today) For 495 euro I can buy a new one, but it is still a lot of money. I am hooked on PSK31 and other digital modes. It is sure my favorite mode. It is very sensitive and ideal for QRP. The software is free, like Ham Radio de Luxe, which I use. I have a simple set up: using VOX and an audio cable into the soundcard and the mic against the PC speaker. I don't use a CAT cable because my PC will be very unstable and will crash. 73 Paul

  4. You could try one of the Softrock boards to check it out for low cost but you got to be quick:

    to find them in-stock!