Category: SDRplay

New Product in Our Store: SDRplay RSP-1 Aluminum Case Upgrade

We’re happy to announce that in conjunction with Mike, one of the leaders in the SDRplay users community, we have manufactured and released a high quality aluminum enclosure upgrade for the SDRplay RSP-1 software defined radio. The SDRplay RSP-1 is a $129 USD 12 bit SDR that can tune between 10 kHz – 2 GHz. It comes by default in a simple plastic enclosure. Upgrading to a metal case enclosure not only looks sleeker, but also shields the RSP-1 from strong RF interference directly entering the PCB.

The enclosure also comes with a bonus RTL-SDR Blog broadcast FM (BCFM) filter to help reduce overloading and images from extremely strong broadcast FM stations. This filter can be installed either inside or outside the metal enclosure.

Also included is a semi-hardshell travel case which is perfect for protecting the RSP-1 while on the move. Finally, some accessories such as a thermal pad for mounting, grounding lug with nuts, 3M rubber feet and of course the enclosure screws are also included.

The cost of the enclosure including all extras is $39.95 USD with worldwide shipping included. The case is available from our Chinese warehouse for customers anywhere in the world, and in a few days it will also be able on Amazon USA for faster local US shipments. Shipping on Amazon should also be free as the free shipping threshold on Amazon was recently reduced back down to $35 USD.

Visit our store to purchase

See some images below for an overview of what you get in the package:

 

New Product in Our Store: SDRplay RSP-1 Aluminum Case Upgrade

We’re happy to announce that in conjunction with Mike, one of the leaders in the SDRplay users community, we have manufactured and released a high quality aluminum enclosure upgrade for the SDRplay RSP-1 software defined radio. The SDRplay RSP-1 is a $129 USD 12 bit SDR that can tune between 10 kHz – 2 GHz. It comes by default in a simple plastic enclosure. Upgrading to a metal case enclosure not only looks sleeker, but also shields the RSP-1 from strong RF interference directly entering the PCB.

The enclosure also comes with a bonus RTL-SDR Blog broadcast FM (BCFM) filter to help reduce overloading and images from extremely strong broadcast FM stations. This filter can be installed either inside or outside the metal enclosure.

Also included is a semi-hardshell travel case which is perfect for protecting the RSP-1 while on the move. Finally, some accessories such as a thermal pad for mounting, grounding lug with nuts, 3M rubber feet and of course the enclosure screws are also included.

The cost of the enclosure including all extras is $39.95 USD with worldwide shipping included. The case is available from our Chinese warehouse for customers anywhere in the world, and in a few days it will also be able on Amazon USA for faster local US shipments. Shipping on Amazon should also be free as the free shipping threshold on Amazon was recently reduced back down to $35 USD.

Visit our store to purchase

See some images below for an overview of what you get in the package:

 

A Review of the SDRplay RSP2 by DB Gain

Over on the Utility DXers file section at udxf.nl/ute-info.html, Mr. D.B. Gain has uploaded his latest review of the SDRplay RSP2 (pdf). The SDRplay RSP2 is the successor to the RSP1, and is a 12-bit SDR with tuning range from 10 kHz – 2 GHz. It currently costs $169.95 USD.

DB Gain’s review first covers the features of the RSP2, and some basic SDR vs Analogue theory. He talks a bit about what criteria makes a good SDR and discusses why SDRs are so good for digital work. The review then goes on to talk about the SDRuno software, sensitivity settings, and voice mode work. The review mostly concerns the RSP2’s use on HF, and in this respect DB Gain appears appears to be extremely impressed with the results that the RSP2 gives him.

Previously DB Gain has also reviewed our RTL-SDR V3 dongle (pdf).

The first page of DB Gain's SDRplay RSP2 Review
The first page of DB Gain’s SDRplay RSP2 Review

Setting up Propagation Triggered Spectrum Recording

Over on the SDRplay blog and forums OH2BUA has been sharing how he has set up ‘propagation triggered recording’ by continuously monitoring JT65/JT9 signals with his SDRplay. The idea is that you leave the radio on receiving all night, and set it to automatically start recording IQ files if good propagation conditions occur as determined by the locations received from the JT65/JT9 signal. This may yield some interesting far off stations that can be listened to in the morning, whilst weeding out hours where nothing but commonplace local stations are heard. The software is a simple Windows batch file that works together to coordinate HDSDR and JTDX. It should work with any HF capable SDR.

JT65/JT9 are weak signal propagation HF modes (also known as WSJT modes) that can be decoded all around the world, even with very weak reception thanks to strong digital error correction. They can often be used to determine propagation conditions by determining where successfully decoded messages are being sent from.

OH2BUA writes:

I have made a set of scripts and other files which can be used to build a system which monitors JT65/JT9 (digital modes) amateur radio traffic on 160m/1.8MHz band, and if nice propagation to area you are interested in exists, a MW-BC-band recording is started. When the conditions fall off, the recording is stopped.

There is an attached zip-file containing all the necessary stuff. Sorry this is a windows thing – but easily portable also for linux. Create C:\bat\ and drop all there. Have a look, starting from README.

The default example is to start a MW-band I/Q-recording, if North American ham signals are heard – but it is fully modifiable according to your target when in comes to areas, bands, schedules etc.

The files are available as an attachment to the forum post.

Where WSJT Modes are located (slideplayer.com/slide/4310450)
Where WSJT Modes are located (slideplayer.com/slide/4310450)

Comparing the RSP1 and RSP2 on MF Non-Directional Beacon Reception

Over on our new YouTube channel we’ve uploaded a video comparing the SDRplay RSP1 and RSP2 on reception of Non-Directional Beacons at around 350 kHz. Both radios had their gains adjusted for the best possible SNR and reception. They were connected through a splitter to a Wellbrook Magnetic Loop antenna. The Hi-Z port on the RSP2 was used as Port A and Port B don’t have good reception below about 1 MHz.

In all tests the RSP2 appears to have the better SNR, a lower noise floor and thus better audio, though from the spectrum view the RSP1 seems to have a little less spurs.

Subscribe and keep an eye on our new YouTube channel as soon we’ll be uploading more RSP1 vs RSP2 comparisons, Airspy vs RSP2 comparisons and other SDR related videos as well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InYEHUF230Q

SDR-Console V3 Preview Updated to Support the SDRplay RSP2

Recently Jon from the SDRplay team wrote in to let us know that SDR-Console V3 (preview version) has just been updated and it now supports the RSP2. The RSP2 is the successor to the popular RSP1 software defined radio. It has improved filtering, more input ports, improved LNA, and just overall improved performance. See our initial RSP2 review here. They write:

Many thanks to Simon Brown for updating SDR-Console V3 Preview to fully support both the RSP1 and the RSP2- you can download the software from http://sdr-radio.com/v3_preview_downloads (be sure to click on the software link under where it says ‘Downloads’ unless you want to download the software from the advertisers who support Simon’s work!)

As new YouTube demo videos of SDR-Console V3 in action become available, we will add them to the playlists on our YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/c/SDRplayRSP

The RSP2 now supports its native SDRUno software, HDSDR through an extIO module, CubicSDR and now SDR-Console V3.

The RSP2
The RSP2

Cloud-SDR Releases New Client and Server Software for the RTL-SDR

Cloud-SDR is a company that aims to make using SDR over the cloud/network/internet easier. It allows you to set up a remote SDR server that you can access from anywhere. Previously Cloud-SDR was still in development, but now we recently received mail from Cloud-SDR programmer Sylvain that the client and server software has just been released for the RTL-SDR. It appears that it also currently supports the Airspy, BladeRF, SDRplay and PerseusSDR.

The email reads:

I am pleased to inform you that we have just released two softwares compatible with your devices :

  • The Cloud-SDR free client, a windows + Linux (to be released soon) client able to run locally RTL-SDR devices (check the news/turorials, we have featured several times dongles from your blog)
  • The Cloud-SDR streaming server (codenamed SDRNode) , a windows + Linux (to be released soon) multi-user configurable streaming server.

SDRNode is a commercial software but an evaluation version is already available. Both softwares can be downloaded from our store after registration.

Source code for the drivers are already released as open source software through our GitHub repo: https://github.com/cloud-sdr

You can find more details here :

The Cloud-SDR Network
The Cloud-SDR Network

To download the software you must register an account with them at https://store.cloud-sdr.com/my-account. The client is free but the server costs 110 euros for personal and hobby usage, although a 30 day trial version is available. Currently only the Windows Client and Server are available, but they write that Linux should be available soon.

We tested the software out with an RTL-SDR V3. The client installation process was a simple wizard and after installation we launched the Cloud-SDR client by opening the shortcut “cSDRc” in the Start Menu. We found that the hardware needed to be plugged in first for the client to recognize it. The client is basic, but can already demodulate USB/LSB/CW/AM/FMN without trouble. It also has some interesting features:

  1. Dual channel receiver: RXA and RXB are two totally independent receivers;
  2. Geographic integration: Display on map beacons, ADS-B reported airliners, known HF broadcast stations or any geo-localized information coming from the SDRNode server;
  3. GPS compatibility: plug a GPS receiver to your computer and track your location on the map, record signals with your position for later processing (coverage mapping etc.); display the UTC time;
  4. Digital Terrain Elevation: See the terrain elevation around your position, or in the direction of the antenna directly on the map (requires to download the free SRTM3 files from NASA, with 90m resolution);
  5. MP3 audio recording: record to mp3 the demodulated streams to reduce disk requirements;
  6. Chat with other users connected to the SDRNode Group: when used as a remote client for the SDRNode streaming server, you can interact with other users with messages or station spotting;
  7. Time-domain analysis: the MSR mode enables analysis of any sub-band and displays in real time the time domain signals of the selected spectrum portion. This sub-band can also be recorded (with geographic position if GPS is connected) and processed with provided MATLAB®.
The Cloud-SDR Client Software
The Cloud-SDR Client Software

Next we tested the evaluation version of the SDR-Node server software on a remote laptop with an RTL-SDR connected. Again installation was easy, just follow the wizard after ordering the evaluation version. SDR-Node installs itself as a Windows service which starts up automatically on boot. To set up the Node we followed the guide shown in the video below. To connect with the client you need to know the IP address of the remote computer, the port is 8080, and the certificate is displayed on the server PC SDR-Node dashboard. We note that we also had to disable the Windows firewall to get it to connect, but it should be possible to also add SDR-Node to the firewall whitelist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waRP7PIcOBc

When streaming it appears that only 1/4 of the SDR sample rate can only be sent over the network. There are also compression options which can be used on slower networks or the internet to reduce bandwidth. Using the interface while in network mode was slightly laggy, but the waterfall and audio was smooth.

Overall everything worked as expected and it looks to be a very useful tool. More information is available at cloud-sdr.com. Some already existing alternative remote SDR streaming software that supports the RTL-SDR includes rtl_tcp, the SDR Console V2 server, OpenWebRX and ShinySDR.

Comparing the RSP1 and RSP2 on VLF, LF and AM BC Reception

Over on YouTube user Mile Kokotov has uploaded two new videos that show both the SDRplay RSP1 and RSP2 receiving VLF, LF and AM BC signals. The SDRplay RSP1 is a 12-bit SDR that can receive from about 10 kHz – 2 GHz. Recently the RSP2 was released which is an upgrade over the RSP1 with additional filters and features. On this blog we did an initial review of the RSP2 and found mostly improved performance over the RSP1.

Mile writes about the signals he receives:

Antenna on RSP2 is connected to its Hi-Z port.

Here are some information about signals in this video:

60 kHz Time signal from NPL is a radio signal broadcast from the Anthorn Radio Station near Anthorn, UK.
The signal, also known as the MSF signal is broadcast at a highly accurate frequency of 60 kHz and can be received throughout the UK, and in much of northern and western Europe. (But I am receiving it in Macedonia) The signal’s carrier frequency is maintained at 60 kHz controlled by caesium atomic clocks at the radio station.

77.5 kHz Time signal is German DCF77 longwave time signal and standard-frequency radio station. The highly accurate 77.5 kHz carrier signal is generated from local atomic clocks that are linked with the German master clocks.

On 295 kHz there is NDB (Non directional Beacon) from Alexander The Great Airport near Skopje (about 80 km from my home)

On AM Broadcast Band (530 kHz – 1620 kHz) you can see how many AM stations are on the spectrum display (with 9 kHz raster) receiving here at my home with Mini-Whip antenna which is only 10 cm long!

More information you can find on my web-page: http://www.qsl.net/z33t

The first video shows reception with a Mini-Whip, and the second with a Delta Loop. We don’t see much difference in reception between the RSP1 and RSP2 in these videos but viewers with more sensitive ears may be able to tell us if they notice any differences.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-MwEzyXf2o
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhNPS8tluHQ

Some More Reviews of the SDRplay RSP2

Two days ago the RSP2 was released for sale as we released a review of a pre-production unit that they sent us. Since then there have been some more review that have come out from other users who had a review unit.

Hamradioscience.com have released a good review of the RSP2 along with a video. The author writes how he’s impressed with the additional shielding, the software switchable antennas and the bias tee. Like in our review he also tested the RSP2 bias tee with the Outernet LNA and found good results. He notes that the RSP1 and RSP2 are very similar in terms of RF performance, but writes that he noticed times when the RSP2 seemed to be more sensitive or exhibit a lower noise floor than the RSP1.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwshKQT1-7c

On YouTube user Laboenligne.ca reviews the RSP2 and also has a live Skype interview with Jon the head of marketing at SDRplay. Jon gives a good overview of the new features and some applications that they could be used for.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6aGy7_mQv0

Over on NN4F.com Paul Jones also reviewed his RSP2. He was very impressed with the performance of the Hi-Z port, the performance of the BCFM notch filters and the stability of the TCXO.

The author of swling.com has also released his review and he too was impressed by the improvements.

On a related note the RSP1 is now for sale for black friday at HamRadioOutlet for only $119.95 USD.