Airspy and Spyverter using a GPSDO
Recently Tim Havens (NW0W) wrote in to use to let us know about his work in connecting the Airspy and Spyverter to a very accurate GPS disciplined oscillator (GPSDO). Usually the drift on the Airspy and Spyverter is completely negligible, however Tim uses them together with his Yaesu FTDX-5000 for monitoring CW signals. He wanted to be able to click on a CW signal and have his FTDX-5000 tune to the signal perfectly every time, so even very small oscillator drift offsets could affect his tuning.
To get a high accuracy clock signal from a device such as a GPSDO can be used for both the Airspy and Spyverter. Tim was able to find a very nice GPSDO from Leo Bodnar that comes with two clock separate outputs that can be configured to output any frequency between 450 Hz and 800 MHz.
The Airspy already contains an external clock input for 10 MHz, however the present version of the Spyverter contains no such external input. To get around this Tim carefully removed the oscillator on the Spyverter and then added a second SMA connector to connect to the GPSDO.
His final setup consists of the Leo Bodnar GPSDO outputting a 10 MHz and 120 MHz GPS disciplined clock signal that feeds the Airspy and Spyverter respectively. With this Tim found that he needed no initial offset and zero drift was noticed over two days of testing.
Finally Tim also writes that this Leo Bodnar GPSDO could just as easily be used to create a 28.8 MHz clock signal for an RTL-SDR, or any other SDR or upconverter that needs it.
A question about frequency references in general: do any of the SDR software packages have any frequency correction loop capabilities (eg, something like a Costas loop) that would allow you to track the frequency of a signal while demodulating it? IIRC, even HF (using ionospheric propagation) will exhibit Doppler shifts.
in the US these can be purchased: