Nils Reviews the RX-888: A Sub $200 16-Bit 32 MHz Bandwidth SDR

A lot of affordable Chinese clone SDRs have been coming onto the market recently, and the RX-888 is one of the most interesting. The RX-888 appears to be an improved clone of the RX-666 which in turn is a clone derived from Oscar Steila (IK1XPV)'s BBRF103 original open source design.

The RX-888 is based on the LTC2208 16-bit ADC chip which is capable of streaming the entire 1 kHz to 32 MHz frequency range to the PC over USB 3.0 with direct sampling. Frequencies from 32 MHz to 1.8 GHz can also be received via an R820T2 tuner which is on the board (the same tuner used in most RTL-SDRs). Due to the bandwidth restrictions of the R820T2 silicon, the bandwidth above 32 MHz is restricted to 8 - 10 MHz. The main change when compared to the RX-666 appears to be that there is an LNA which improves medium wave and small antenna performance which was a problem on the RX-666. The RX-888 also adds several heat sinks to the enclosure, as excessive heat generation of the LTC2208 ADC appears to also be an issue.

The RX-888 Software Defined Radio

Recently Nils Shiffhauer (DK80K) wrote up a great review of the RX-888. In the review he covers the specs, shows a few screenshots of some signals he's received and also provides multiple audio samples of signals received.

The RX-888 is currently available on marketplace sites like Aliexpress and eBay priced at around US$180. In the past SDRs that could receive the entire HF band at once were rare, with the only affordable SDR with this capability being the KiwiSDR. So it is good to see that we may now be entering a stage of new advancement in affordable SDRs.

One thing to note is that this design can be considered a clone. However the original design by Oscar is open source and from this post on his blog he seems happy and accepting of the clones.

We note that we have ordered a unit and will be uploading a review once we test it.

The RX-888 PCB

11 comments

  1. Peter N5UWY

    If the source code (for software) is open, that means it has a license from the copyright holder that allows others to use that code in any way they see fit, within what the license allows. Maybe it can be commercialized,maybe not – depends on the exact license.

    But if it’s “open” and the license allows it, it’s not a “clone” …. it’s just another instance of the copyright holder’s work.

    • Jo Boring

      No. Clone means as close in appearance to another companies product so that people are tricked into buying it when they believe they are buying the product of another company. Normally, the clone is of lesser quality……

    • KPC6NDB

      With HDSDR I found a simplistic RF/AF block diagram and it shows a low pass filter in the RF path but no access to bypass/disable. Is this another SDR where the user must perform surgery on the product to get good/complete performance? Also you guys doing reviews do not mention the all running around the internet whilst trying to avoid false downloads of extraneous software/adverts to find the software for the few .dll tid bits required to get this SDR operational. I also agree the USB cable is way too heavy duty/klunky. I have been running my RX-888 for hours and there are no heat issues even at the max rate. The only issue for me is that there is NO longwave/VLF reception below 540kHz. WWVB is only ~240mi from me and was not very strong. Absolutely NO VLF or NDB beacons even as close as 37km!!! Various advertising states reception down to 1kHz or less in other adverts. Did you all miss that? Seems like this is just a USB dongle on a smallish PCB in a metal box. Not even a one sided A4 page of simple things like what each antenna port is for and the tiny LED lights and where to actually find the not included .dll’s and operating software. Oh, and the manufacturers name as well. LoL
      1

      • James Finch

        Any links you can provide to save time and hassle regarding the required .dll or file required for operation. Maybe some details also for what applications functions with. Might be a good idea to create a blogger.com or other site to organize the info and files so in one source location.

  2. Enrico Horn

    I don’t like the dynamic range on the 666. Is the 888 better then? For HF I recommend the RSPdx. Man knows what you have.

  3. Ernest

    A complete run down of actual bandwidth, frequency coverage and RBW within a specific band would be great. What frequency ranges can be covered?
    How sensitive is the receiver as it is?
    Noise floor…can I recover a signal on 1240MHz down to -120dBm?

Post a comment

You may use the following HTML:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.