Tag Archives: Review

Best SDR Radios of 2015 and 2016 (so far)

Looking back over some SDR Radio products that were reviewed here and some that were not. Here is our picks of the litter so far:

Best “Dirt Cheap” SDR – $25
RTL Dongle – The venerable old RTL Dongles are still hard to beat for the price. The dongles are still one of the best ways to get your feet wet in SDR for a pittance. With free software, a wide VHF/UHF coverage range, a decent sized sample rate, and tons of projects based around them, what’s not to like. However, once you do get your feet pretty wet, you will probably be ready to move up.

RTL-820T Dongle from NooElec. One of the good ones!

Best “Bang For the Buck” – SDRPlay – $149
The recently reviewed SDRPlay is the perfect step up from the RTL-Dongles. Matter of fact if you decide to skip the dongle phase you may want to go straight to this one. With very wide coverage from 0.1MHz to 2GHz you can listen to just about anything. The very wide bandwidth up to 8MHz will you to view large swaths of frequencies at once in the SDR software client or even set up multiple VFO’s …

SDRPlay Review

Introduction
After having the SDRPlay around in daily use for a few months, it’s time to talk about this little gem. Good things indeed come in small boxes. The SDRPlay wideband receiver (0.1MHz to 2GHz) is a great example of what can be done to produce an easy to use and fun inexpensive wide coverage SDR receiver. On top of that throw in top notch customer support and you wind up with an excellent product all for the lowly sum of $150. While not entirely perfect, it’s really hard to complain too much given the cost and the hard work the SDRPlay development team has put in to continually improve the product. The SDRPlay would make a great product for radio hobbyist looking to get involved with their first SDR receiver due to it’s ease of setup or if you have been using RTL dongles and need something that packs a little more of a punch. More advanced users will find something also since the SDRPlay is pretty tweakable as well as far more sensitive on the upper end of its frequency range. The other advantage with the SDRPlay is that now you can order or pick one up from …

Afedri SDR-Net 2.3a Review

Introduction
Ham Radio Science occasionally get emails from our readers on suggestions for a good reasonably priced HF SDR radio that won’t break the bank. So, we spent a little time investigating what was available in the under $300 price range. Frankly, there is not much to be found with the exception of a few kits. The kits are great learning tools, but some of our readers may not prefer trying to build a kit that includes tiny sma parts. Also the kits and some of the less expensive SDR radios are still sound card based and we were really looking for a direct sampling receiver. The $249 Afedri SDR-Net HF SDR met our requirements and more. The Afedri Net-SDR allows for connection to your pc via an USB interface and what truly puts the Afedri SDR-Net in a class of its own is the ability to connect via TCP (Lan connection). After looking into the very positive comments on the internet regarding the Afedri SDR-Net, we thought it would be well worth investigating this amazing little budget HF SDR receiver. The Afedri SDR-Net is made by Alexander Trushkin 4Z5LV and is available in a case for $249 or as …

RTL2832U / R820T vs RTL2832U / E4000

The bad news is that the venerable RTL2832U / E4000 chipset DVB-T stick that has been the source of many SDR projects is getting a little harder find. The good news is that the new kid on the block the RTL2832U / R820T looks like a worthy replacement. The other advantage is the the RTL2832U / R820T is a bit cheaper. The RTL2832U / E4000 is typically selling from $25 – $35 while the RTL2832U / R820T sells for around $10 to $20. The frequency range of the RTL2832U / E4000 is generally around 64MHZ to 1700MHz with a gap around 1100MHz to 1250MHz. The RTL2832U / R820T frequency range is 24MHZ to roughly 1850MHz with no gaps (found yet), and no DC offset spike. RTL2832U / E4000 uses a Pal type antenna connector and adapters are easily found at your local Radio Shack for external antennas. …