Airspy HF+ Discovery Wins the WRTH 2020 Best Value SDR Award

The World Radio TV Handbook (WRTH) is a directory book (or CD) of world radio stations on LW, MW, SW and VHF broadcast FM which is released yearly. Along with the directory, the WRTH authors often review the latest shortwave listening hardware including SDRs and give out awards to the best units. 

Last year the Airspy HF+ won the WRTH 2019 award for best value HF SDR, and this year the Airspy HF+ Discovery wins the 2020 award. The award comes with a glowing review in the magazine (the review is freely accessible) noting the HF+ Discoveries' "spectacular combination of performance and versatility" as well as it's affordable price point. 

World Radio TV Handbook (WRTH) Reviews the Airspy HF+ Discovery and awards it the 2020 "best value SDR" award.
World Radio TV Handbook (WRTH) Reviews the Airspy HF+ Discovery and awards it the 2020 "best value SDR" award.
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The chinese Itead which designed and build the Airspay HF+ Dual some years ago did a great job at least at that time. No doubt.

The Airspy Guy who sales the SDR didn’t. Poor support, poor development & product care, unsolved obstacles & problems, a aggressively suppressed user community.

Wouldn’t buy an Airspy product again. I guess I was blended by the noble appearance an moderate pricing of the HF+ Sorry.

Ladislav OK1UNL

Jeff,do not buy any receiver or components produced by Itead (Seeed etc too) from local dealers.Your way is a buying direct on Itead website. If you want better price exist action “Black friday” every year.
Plastic enclosure is a build from material used at automotive industry. More intersting info and discuss and information are from source, me suggest you read Airspy discuss group. Also Youseff author of Airspy is a known guy on twitter aka “lambda prog” user. I am not advocate if Airspy. Me have an experience with R2, Discovery, ( Nothing is a perfect, HF+ or Discovery have “weak points” too. Especially AGC, but there is a support from company and improving FW) I am using RTL-SDR v.3 too. These receivers are the best in entry level category. If you wan better receiver I suggest you Elad FDM S2. (better than famous but old Perseus by Microtelecom) The highest class is a Winradio G33 Excalibur Pro.

Ladislav OK1UNL

Jeff, for example:
local dealer selling Discovery for 6590,- CZK, I bough this one in Black friday action direct from Itead for 2800,- CZK.
What a difference!!!
If we talk,about flaws and “weak points” HF+ tragically missing preselector on front end.
I understand, this one model was a first Airspy receiver for HF. Jeff did you make any mistakes in time??
Youssef and his guys after bad experience understand problem and preselector for Discovery was developed by Leif SM5BSZ.


He should concentrate his efforts at his software, firmware, product care and customer service etc. There are so many flaws. Also after HF+, the plastic Discovery is a superfluous waste of time and a big step backwards.

WRTH was an authority some 40 years ago.Nowadays there is almost no equipment to award and also no customers left to pay.

Shuji Nakamura

so what do you recommend instead

Henry M

Can you list the flaws? I’ve been using my HF+ Discovery for a while and it’s been my best radio by far. Curious to know what’s been found lacking.


Airspy HF+ Dual Port (9 kHz to 31 MHz ; 60 to 260 MHz ; unofficial 1.2 to 1.67 GHz)
Pro: Small.
Pro: Heavy. Full metal case which offers good RF shielding from external EMI. For some odd reasons old hams place value on weight.
Pro: Two antenna input ports. One for HF and one for VHF since an antenna for both would be equally bad at both.
Con: no pre-selector filters

Airspy HF+ Discovery (0.5 kHz to 31 MHz ; 60 to 260 MHz ; unofficial 1.2 to 1.67 GHz)
Pro: Small(er).
Pro: Light. Internally there is a metal can placed over the entire analog section of the PCB, the entire digital section was moved to the back of the PCB which I’m sure has multiple copper ground planes between the two sections in effect adding additional cheap isolation/shielding/attenuation. If anything it is going to improving the overall performance.
Pro: They added Pre-selector for HF with 4 filter banks (corners at ~DC, 5, 10, 17 and 31 MHz).
Con: One SMA connector for both HF and VHF.

So in summary they reduced the size of the PCB which I’m sure has reduced cost, they have swapped over from an metal case to using a larger internal metal can (again lowering cost) specifically targeting the entire analog section. They flipped the digital section to the back side to have the ground plane layers of the PCB provide additional attenuation between the analog and digital sections. The removed the second SMA connector (reduced cost). They added pre-selector filters (costing more) and reducing the overall price point.

Calling the device with the plastic case “a big step backward”, in my mind suggests that the person saying it needs to say exactly why they mean, I see mostly beneficial changes added and the price point lowered (both devices run the exact same firmware).