New Products in Our Store: Wideband LNA + Spare V3 Metal Enclosures

We've just released two new products in our store. The first is a low cost general purpose wideband LNA and the second is some spare RTL-SDR V3 aluminum enclosures. The wideband LNA is currently available for shipping from our Chinese warehouse and will be available on Amazon in a few days time. It costs US$17.95 including worldwide free shipping. The spare aluminum enclosure is only available from our Chinese warehouse and costs US$5.95.

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Wideband LNA

The Wideband LNA is based on the Qorvo SPF5189Z LNA chip (datasheet pdf) which has the following declared specs:

  • Frequency range of 50 MHz to 4000 MHz
  • Noise figure = 0.6dB @ 900 MHz
  • OIP3 = 39.5 dBm @ 900 MHz
  • P1 Saturation = 22.7 dBm @ 1960 MHz
  • Gain = 18.7 dB @ 900 MHz

Compared to most of the other SPF5189Z LNAs found on eBay, our wideband LNA comes standard with a full conductive metal case, includes ESD protection on the antenna input, and is by default powered via 3 - 5V bias tee power. Our RTL-SDR Blog V3 dongles have a 4.5V bias tee built in, so they can be used to power this LNA. Direct power can be enabled simply by changing a jumper position, and removing the metal case.

This is a general purpose wideband LNA. It is useful for reducing the noise figure and thus increasing SNR, and for overcoming coax loss on all supported frequencies between 50 - 4000 MHz. However, because it is wideband you may need additional filtering if you have strong overloading signals in your area. If you're mostly interested in improving ADS-B reception, then we instead recommend our Triple Filtered ADS-B LNA which is also available at our store. The specs of the SPF5189Z are similar to that of PGA-103+ or PSA4-5043+ based LNAs. In the image slider below we compare the gain with the LNA4ALL which is a PSA4-5043+ based LNA.

Spare Aluminum Enclosure

The second product is some spare RTL-SDR Blog V3 aluminum enclosure. A few readers of this blog contacted us as they found RTL-SDR V3 enclosures to be a good fit (after being cut down to size) for home made filters, other LNAs and for FlightAware dongles. Our spare enclosures come with two SMA side panels, and one USB side panel. There is only limited stock of this product at the moment. Note that we're not including a thermal pad, since FlightAware dongles do not require additional cooling since they operate at 1.09 GHz. Additional cooling via thermal pad is only needed for stable operation when using RTL-SDRs above ~1.5 GHz.

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13 comments

  1. Simon

    Hmmm…Typo? “The Wideband LNA is based on the Qorvo SPF4189Z LNA chip”
    Isn’t it the SPF5189Z?
    It has slightly better specs than the PSA4-5043+; Lower Noise, Higher Linearity but the 5043 has ESD protection on die.

  2. Phil

    Got mine 2 days ago. Solid performer, very nice case, adapter included and green LED to show power to the unit. Unbeatable value! Thanks!

  3. vsonnier

    Congratulations @admin ! Now waiting for your wideband loop amplifier/antenna 🙂 because random wire is really terrible in town/flats here and I want to finally use my SDRPlay RSP2 below 30Mhz properly…

  4. Max

    uhmm… i failed to ask you to use for the next dongles series a metal enclosure with at least one flat side to allow easy cooling connecting it to a heatsink or any metal surface.

  5. James

    Hello,
    From what I understand from the graph, the Lna4all has slightly more gain. Is that correct? Does it mean that for most frequencies the Lna4all is better?
    How does it perform compared to cheap LNAs from China?
    Regards,
    James.

    • admin

      More gain isn’t necessarily better. Once you have enough gain to overcome any losses from coax, connectors etc, then more gain won’t help much, and might make things much worse by overloading the RTL-SDR. That said the difference between the two past 500 MHz is only 1-2dB anyway, so they’re pretty similar overall.

      The $10 SPF5189Z LNAs from China will have similar performance. The difference with ours is that it comes with the protective and shielded metal case, has bias tee power, and ESD protection. To make the most of an LNA you absolutely need to place it close to the antenna, so bias tee power really helps with this.

      • James

        Hello,
        Thanks for your explanation.
        Where is the best place to put the FM Trap filter? In between the antenna and the LNA or in between the LNA and the receiver? I’ve see both answers on the Internet. What’s your point of view?
        Thanks for your help.
        Regards,
        James

        • admin

          It depends. If your RF environment has extremely strong FM signals that are strong enough to overload the LNA itself, then put the filter in front of the LNA. If it’s not overloading the LNA, put it after to reduce the filter insertion losses.

          If you’re not sure, try with the filter after the LNA first, and if you don’t see any overloading issues (signal images etc), then leave it that way. If there are images, you need to put it before the LNA.

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