Back in September 2016 we posted about the PatronX Titus II portable software defined radio which appears to currently be on its way to beginning production. It is a portable Android tablet based SDR, which we speculate is using similar chips to the SDRplay RSP with its 100 kHz to 2 GHz tuning range. The price goal is set to be under $100 USD.
As you can imagine the response to Titus has almost been overwhelming! Pre-orders far exceeded our imagination and excitement from broadcasters has been very loud. DRM and digital broadcasting seems to be reinvigorated with Titus in 2017. I think we really broke the price barrier that most everyone has been dreaming of and provided the flexibility that has held back the cause.
‘Update on availability received from PantronX: “We have been overwhelmed with the response to Titus with orders and request – coupled with an early Chinese New Year that the pre-production date has slipped a bit. Please be patient as we work with our suppliers and add more functions.” ‘
We are doing all we can to push – Chinese New Year is a crazy time – the factories are shut down for 3 to 4 weeks and as you can imagine the stress prior to and the performance after.
Hopefully in the next couple of weeks our http://titusradio.com/ website will undergo a much needed update. So much to do – but we are making good headway.
Earlier in the month we posted about the Titus II SDR. The Titus II is an upcoming full SDR solution, including a wideband 100 kHz to 2 GHz SDR, Android tablet with touchscreen and speakers. They write that the price will be under $100 USD.
The High Frequency Co-Ordination Conference (HFCC) is a group active in informal co-ordination of frequency channels used in short wave broadcasting. The HFCC appear to be helping with the release of the Titus II, and they now have an online expression of interest form available on their Titus II page. The form is labelled “Pre-order”, but there is no payment or contract present, so it is more like an expression of interest. They write:
The Titus II – an Android tablet computer with wideband SDR receiver – was unveiled for the first time at the B16 HFCC/ASBU conference in Miami, Florida, 22-26 August 2016.
The receiver has been the result of cooperation between Trans World Radio (TWR) and PantronX.
The HFCC is assisting in collecting the demand/pre-orders.
Availability: Pre-production batch – 4Q/2016, regular production – 1Q/2017
Price: Under 100USD plus shipping and local duty/taxes not included
Payment methods: Wire transfer for larger quantities, PayPal works too, but the buyers would need to add PayPal bank fees
An initial order sufficient to start the production has already been placed and production will start irrespective of the amount pre-ordered via this page. Pre-order is not binding and you are NOT asked to send any advanced payment or credit card number to secure the pre-order.
Recently we’ve heard news of a new portable SDR called the PantronX Titus II which is currently in development. The receiver is a full SDR solution, including the computer, speakers, antenna and SDR all in a single boombox styled enclosure. The computer appears to be based on an Android tablet, and comes with a Quad-core ARM A53 @ 1.2 GHz CPU, 1 GB RAM, 8 GB Flash memory, 7″ TFT screen, touch screen, 5 watt stereo audio, li-poly battery. HDMI output, microUSB OTG connector, WiFI/Bluetooth connectivitiy as well as having an optional camera.
The frequency range extends from 100 kHz to 2 GHz, and the built in software is capable of decoding AM/FM/SSB and DRM. Since it is essentially an SDR with an Android tablet, it should also be capable of decoding any other signal, as long as software decoders are written for it. We are unsure what SDR is used on the inside, but judging by its frequency range we speculate that it may be the same Mirics chips that are used inside the SDRplay RSP.
Rumour currently has it from word of mouth of the developers that this unit will priced “well below $100 USD”.
Digital radio voice communications are becoming more commonly used in the radio spectrum. This is due to the various improvements offered over traditional analogue voice radio systems. Unfortunately for radio scanner hobbyists, digital radio is difficult to receive, as special radio scanners which can be expensive are required to decode the digital signal. Additionally, digital radio systems can be encrypted making it impossible for communications to be decoded by a hobbyist. However, most users of digital radio do not bother to encrypt their systems as it can introduce lag, monetary expense and extra battery drain in portable radios.
The most common digital speech codec is APCO P25, which DSD is able to decode. DSD is also capable of decoding other common digital codecs such as DMR/MOTOTRBO, NXDN, D-STAR and ProVoice.
Super cheap software defined radios such as the RTL-SDR can be used to decode these digital voice communication signals instead of expensive radio scanners. While this tutorial is aimed at the RTL-SDR, other software radios such as the Funcube dongle, Airspy, HackRF and BladeRF will also work. Hardware radios with discriminator taps connected to a PC may also work.
Examples of DSD Decoding Digital Voice with RTL-SDR as a Radio Scanner
YouTube user Geoff Wolf shows a video where he uses RTL-SDR as a police scanner to listen to public safety P25 digital radio using DSD, SDRSharp and virtual audio cable.