Roundup of Software Defined Radios

New software defined radio (SDRs) products are popping up every few months these days so we thought we'd compile a big list of available SDRs as there are a few people who were bitten by the RTL-SDR bug and are now looking to upgrade.

For each SDR we compare the cost, frequency range, ADC resolution, maximum instantaneous bandwidth, whether or not it can TX and if it has any pre selectors built in. Here is a quick guide to what some of these metrics mean.

Frequency Range: The range of frequencies the SDR can tune to.
ADC Resolution: Higher is better. More resolution means more dynamic range, less signal imaging, a lower noise floor, more sensitivity when strong signals are present and better ability to discern weak signals. Some SDR's give their resolution in ENOB which stands for effective number of bits.
Instantaneous Bandwidth: The size of the real time RF chunk available.
RX/TX: Can the radio receive and/or transmit.
Preselectors: Analogue filters on the front end to help reduce out of band interference and imaging.

* - Denotes top choice for high value

General Use Software Defined Radios

We define general use SDRs as ones with a wide frequency range and with no focus on any specific frequency band.

R820T RTL2832U a.k.a RTL-SDR*


Cost: $10 - 22 USD
Frequency Range: approx. 24 MHz - 1766 MHz (below 24 MHz available on V3 dongles)
ADC Resolution: 8 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 3.2 MHz / 2.4 or 2.8 MHz max stable.
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: Uses tracking RF filters on the R820T2 chip.
Release Date: August 2016

The RTL-SDR is still the best 'bang for your buck' software defined radio out there. While it was never designed to be used as a general purpose SDR in the first place, its performance is still surprisingly good. If you're on a budget or are just starting out with SDR or radio this is the one to get. (Link)


The new RSP2

Cost: $169 USD
Frequency Range: 10 kHz - 2 GHz
ADC Resolution: 12 Bits (~10.4 ENOB)
Max Bandwidth: 10 MHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: 10 switched filters
Release Date: November 2016

The RSP2 is similar to the RSP1 in that it uses the same core technology and chips. However the RSP2 is an iterative improvement over the RSP1 as it has more preselectors as well as broadcast AM and FM notch filters. It also adds multiple antenna input ports, a Hi-Z HF input for end fed wire antennas and external clock in/out ports. (Link)


Cost: $99 USD
Frequency Range: 1kHz  – 2GHz (single antenna socket for all frequencies)
ADC Resolution: 14 Bits (at up to 6 MHz bandwidth)
Max Bandwidth: 10 MHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: 11 built-in filters, plus s/w selectable AM/FM/DAB Broadcast band notch filters
Release Date: November 2017

The SDRPlay RSP1A is the next iteration of the popular RSP1 and is a SDR that uses the Mirics MSI3101 SDR chip and a MSI001 tuner. It has 11 built in switched preselectors that cover selected ranges over the entire bandwidth as well as AM/FM and DAB notch filters. We consider the SDRPlay to be a competitor to the Airspy and perhaps Funcube Dongle Pro+ as well. Though, the difference between the SDRPlay and Airspy seems to be that SDRPlay uses a bank of preselection filters, whereas the Airspy focuses on using the R820T2's IF tracking filters and naturally higher dynamic range to overcome aliasing. The Funcube also uses similar filters to the SDRPlay but the Funcube also has some extra sharp SAW filters. The SDRPlay also has a much larger bandwidth compared to the FunCube which is a major advantage, but a similar bandwidth to the Airspy. Over time the RSP1 and now RSP1A has been reduced in price from $299 to $99 USD. (Link)

Airspy R2*

Cost: $169 USD
Frequency Range: 24 MHz - 1.750 GHz
ADC Resolution: 12 Bits (10.4 ENOB)
Max Bandwidth: 10 MHz (9 MHz alias free)
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: Uses tracking RF filters on the R820T2 chip.
Release Date: Late 2014 (Airspy R1)

This SDR is designed by the Airspy team who are Benjamin Vernoux & Youssef Touil. Youssef is also known as the programmer of SDR#, one of the most popular SDR software programs. Many people see the Airspy as their upgrade to the RTL-SDR, with its wide 10 MHz bandwidth, 12 Bit ADC (10.4 ENOB) and higher precision clock. The Airspy code is open source. It uses the RF tracking filters on board the R820T2 chip which is used in its design and it has a very high claimed (80 dB) dynamic range. (Link) (Store)

Airspy Mini*

The Airspy Mini SDR Dongle

Cost: $99 USD
Frequency Range: 24 MHz - 1.750 GHz
ADC Resolution: 12 Bits (10.4 ENOB)
Max Bandwidth: 6 MHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: Uses tracking RF filters on the R820T2 chip.
Release Date: April 2016

The Airspy Mini is the little brother to the Airspy R2. It is basically the same performance, but in a smaller dongle style package. The Mini has a smaller maximum bandwidth of 6 MHz compared to the 10 MHz on the Airspy R2, and doesn't have external clock input. or internal expansion headers for electronics experimenters. (Link) (Store)

FunCube Dongle Pro+


Cost: $~210 USD
Frequency Range: 150 kHz - 260 MHz and 410 MHz - 2.05 GHz
ADC Resolution: 16 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 192 kHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: Yes 11 switched SAW filters
Release Date: Late 2010

The FunCube is one of the original 'dongle' based SDRs made for hobbyists. It has certain major advantages over a cheap RTL-SDR like its 16 Bit ADC resolution and 11 discrete hardware filters with two sharp SAW filters. These preselector filters really help to reduce noise and images which can in some cases plague the RTL-SDR and other SDRs without filtering. However, a major disadvantage to the FunCube is that its bandwidth is small at only 192 kHz. (Link)


The PlutoSDRCost: $99 USD (Special), $149 USD
Frequency Range: 325 – 3800 MHz (default), 70 - 6000 MHz (with firmware hack)
ADC Resolution: 12 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 20 MHz (default), 56 MHz (with firmware hack)
TX/RX: TX and RX (Full Duplex)
Preselectors: None
Release Date: Mid 2017

The PlutoSDR is a low cost full duplex TX and RX receiver designed by the big silicon company Analog Devices. It is designed mostly for University students to use for learning about RF and SDR concepts, but it can also find use as a general purpose experimenters SDR.

Performance is not as great as the RX dedicated SDRs like the Airspy and SDRplay, so it is not designed for dedicated high performance listening, but it is still good enough for most experimental and general use purposes. (Link)

PatronX Titus II

The Titus II Portable SDR

Cost: Under $100 USD (Claimed)
Frequency Range: 100 kHz - 2 GHz
ADC Resolution: Unkown
Max Bandwidth: Unknown
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: Unknown
Release Date: Unreleased

The Titus II is going to be a handheld boom-box style SDR with large LCD screen and built in speakers. It is intended to try and invigorate the DRM market by providing a low cost DRM receiver. But it also has a wideband frequency range, so presumably it could be used for many other purposes as well. It is guessed that it will be using Mirics chips, similar to what is inside the SDRplay RSP1/RSP2.

We first heard about the Titus II in late 2016. Apparently it's still under development, but no news of its progress is slow and rare. (Link)

HackRF One*


Cost: $299 USD
Frequency Range: 1 MHz to 6 GHz
ADC Resolution: 8 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 20 MHz
TX/RX: TX and RX (Half Duplex)
Preselectors: None
Release Date: April 2014

The HackRF is one of the first 'low cost' software defined radios that is capable of receiving and transmitting, although only in half duplex mode (cannot TX and RX simultaneously). It has received the most media attention out of any SDR and it seems to be marketed towards hackers and security researchers, but it should be just as capable for general ham or hobbyist users.

The main advantages of the HackRF are its transmit capabilities, its wide bandwidth and its massive frequency range. There are concerns about its small 8 bit resolution, and poor RF design so noise and SNR performance is likely to be similar to the RTL-SDR. It also has an on board Arm Cortex M4 microcontroller and a CPLD.

The HackRF has good community support, an example already being the HackRF Portapack, a portable spectrum analyser designed to fit onto the HackRF. (Link) (Store)


The LimeSDR Board

Cost: $299 USD
Frequency Range: 100 kHz to 3.8 GHz
ADC Resolution: 12 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 61.44 MHz
TX/RX: TX and RX
Preselectors: None
Release Date: April 2016

The LimeSDR appears to be one of the 'next generation' of experimenter focused RX/TX capable SDR devices. It falls into a similar category as the HackRF and BladeRF. It was crowdfunded on Crowdsupply and at the time of writing this (January 2017) is in its initial production stages.

One of the biggest problems with the HackRF is the lack of community and ready to use software. LimeSDR hopes to overcome this problem with an 'App Store' type feature on their Ubuntu software. We also think this will be an excellent step up from the HackRF once it releases thanks to its 12-Bit ADC. (Link)



Cost: $299
Frequency Range: 300 MHz - 3.8 GHz
ADC Resolution: 12 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 28 MHz
TX/RX: TX and RX (Full Duplex)
Preselectors: None

Myriad RF is an open source SDR that uses the same transceiver chip as the BladeRF shown below. A modified version is also compatible with the Novena open source laptop. Aimed towards embedded developers as the Myriad RF by itself does not have hardware to connect to a PC. (Link)



Cost: $420 USD (x40), $650 USD (x115)
Frequency Range: 300 MHz - 3.8 GHz
ADC Resolution: 12 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 28 MHz
TX/RX: TX and RX (Full Duplex)
Preselectors: None
Release Date: July 2013

Another TX and RX capable SDR is the BladeRF. The BladeRF has a smaller frequency range compared to the HackRF, but has a greater ADC resolution, larger maximum bandwidth and is capable of full duplex transmissions. It also uses USB 3.0 which is required to support the data rates needed for its wide bandwidth and 12 bit ADC. From the specs the BladeRF is a better receiver compared to the HackRF due to its larger ADC resolution, but it misses out on the frequencies below 300 MHz. Frequencies below 300 MHz can be received with a $200 transverter add on board however.

The BladeRF also comes with an on-board ARM9 general purpose processor and an FPGA for some serious digital signal processing work.

The main difference between the x40 and more expensive x115 versions are simply that the x115 version has a larger FPGA (more logic elements). (Link) (Ebay)

USRP B200/B210


Cost: $675 USD (B200), $1100 USD (B210)
Frequency Range: 70 MHz - 6 GHz
ADC Resolution: 12 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 56 MHz
TX/RX: TX and RX (Full Duplex) (B200), 2 x TX and 2 x RX (Full Duplex) (B210)
Preselectors: None

The USRP B200/B210 are advanced software defined radios that seem to be aimed more towards the professional and research market, but are still very usable for hobbyists. The USRP team recently used some of these devices to help contact the lost ISEE-3 spacecraft using the large Arecibo radio dish.

The difference between the B200 and B210 is simply that the B210 can transmit and receive in full duplex with two signals at a time, making the B210 a MIMO system. (Link)

Windy City SDR / HandHeldSDR

Cost: $350
Frequency Range: 33 MHz - 4400 MHz
ADC Resolution: 14 Bit
Max Bandwidth: 16 MHz @ 8-Bit, 8 MHz @ 16-Bit
TX/RX: RX and TX
Preselectors: ???

Seems to have been recently renamed from Windy City SDR to HandHeldSDR and now back to Windy City SDR again. Not much is known about this SDR other than the creator has advertised it on some blog comments and has been seen at some conferences a few times. Has been in the making for a number of years now, and a prototype seems to be ready, but there is no sales page. (Link)

WinRadio WR-G305e/i


Cost: $749.95 USD
Frequency Range: 9 kHz - 1.8 GHz
ADC Resolution: NA (sound card based)
Max Bandwidth: NA (Sound card based)
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: Yes, tracking

A general purpose receiver by WinRadio. Has tracking filters on the front end. Comes in an external box with USB connection, or in a PCI 2.2 card. (Link)

Per Vices Noctar


Cost: $2499 USD
Frequency Range: DC – 4.4 GHz
ADC Resolution: 12 Bits (RX) / 16 Bits (TX)
Max Bandwidth: 250 MHz
TX/RX: RX and TX (Full Duplex)
Preselectors: None

A high performance SDR that fits in the PCIe slot in a PC. Because of its PCIe interface it can provide up to a massive 250 MHz worth of bandwidth. Has an on board Altera Cyclone IV FPGA. Can interface with GNU Radio. Marketed more for industrial and research purposes. (Link)

SignalHound BB60C


Cost: $2879
Frequency Range: 9 kHz to 6 GHz
ADC Resolution: 14 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 27 MHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: Yes, switched

A USB 3.0 device with a very wide frequency range and large bandwidth. Marketed as a Real-Time Spectrum Analyzer and RF Recorder so seems to be targeted towards the industrial and research market. (Link)

AOR AR-2300


Cost: $3599.95
Frequency Range: 40 kHz - 3.15 GHz
ADC Resolution: 14 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 15 MHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: Unknown. Assumed yes.

A very high performance wideband SDR receiver that has good performance over the entire frequency range. Can purchase add on boards such as a P25 decoder. Seems to be targeted at Government users. (Link) (Purchasing Link)



Cost: $4500 USD
Frequency Range: 300 MHz - 3.8 GHz
ADC Resolution: 12 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 28 MHz
TX/RX: RX and TX
Preselectors: Yes

A very advanced SDR and high priced SDR. Seems to be mainly intended for industrial applications. Has a built in Linux microcomputer and also has a dedicated GPS receiver. Eqiq Solutions the company behind the Matchstiq also sell the Sidekiq - a 70MHz - 6GHz MiniPCIe SDR card and the Maveriq - another advanced 2x2 MIMO RF transceiver. (Link)

Bitshark Express RX


Cost: $4300 USD / $6300 USD
Frequency Range: 400 MHz - 4 GHz
ADC Resolution: 14 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 50 MHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: No

Another SDR by Epiq Solutions. This one is PCIe based and can have up to 50 MHz of bandwidth. Marketed more towards industrial usage. (Link)

Per Vices Crimson


Cost: $6750 USD
Frequency Range: DC - 6 GHz
ADC Resolution: 16 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 1200 MHz
TX/RX: 4 x RX and 4 x TX (Full Duplex)
Preselectors: None

A step up from the Per Vices Noctar is the more expensive Crimson SDR. It has a frequency range of up to 6 GHz and a huge 1200 MHz worth of bandwidth through four independent receive and transmit chains. The huge bandwidths available can be processed on the onboard Altera Arria V ST (SoC). Data is sent through a 20 Gbps SFP+ data link and the SDR comes with a very accurate +/- 5 ppb OXCO oscillator. Marketed more for industrial and research purposes. (Link)

Per Vices Cyan

Cost: Starts from $73,500 USD
Frequency Range: 100 kHz - 18 GHz
ADC Resolution: 12 - 16 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 1 - 3 GHz (customizable)
TX/RX: 0-16 receive and 0-16 transmit (total of 16 radio chains) (full duplex)
Preselectors: None

Per Vices’ latest SDR, Cyan, continues fulfilling the company’s vision to provide the market with the highest performance radio solution. Offering a tunable frequency range of 100kHz - 18GHz and a configurable number of phase coherent radio channels, up to 16 total, each with 1-3GHz of instantaneous bandwidth available, the highest currently available in market on a compact radio platform. This bandwidth is processed on the Intel Stratix 10 FPGA SoC with data send through four 10Gbps SFP+ data links. Primarily marketed for industrial/research purposes. (Link)

Red Pitya


Cost: $470
Frequency Range: 0 - 60 MHz
ADC Resolution: 14 Bit
Max Bandwidth: 50 MHz (Probably not instantaneous)
TX/RX: RX and TX
Preselectors: None

The Red Pitya is a little different to the above SDRs in that it is marketed and designed as a type of digital Oscilloscope. It connects to your mobile phone or PC and can be used as an oscilloscope, spectrum analyser or signal generator. Of course with the right apps it could also be used as a radio. (Link)

Modified RTL-SDRs

There are several individuals who are selling modified RTL-SDR dongles that utilize the direct sampling mod or a built in upconverter to receive HF frequencies. V3*


Cost: $19.95 USD
Frequency Range: 500 kHz - 1.75 GHz
Preselectors: Tracking filters on the R820T2 and HF LPF.

Our modded RTL-SDR V3 has the direct sampling mode diplexed out from the input SMA. Performance is good, but you may need additional HF filtering espeically if you have strong broadcast AM stations nearby. It comes with an onboard HF amp, as well as good low pass filtering to remove interference from the broadcast FM band. We also added many other improvements like a TCXO, metal case, thermal pad cooling, USB line filtering, better LDO, expansion ports, 4.5V bias tee and a redesigned PCB that removes most of the spurs. We think our V3 is the greatest value low cost SDR available. (Link)

BA5SBA Direct Sampling Receiver

Chinese RTL-SDR Kit

Cost: $60 USD
Frequency Range: 100 kHz - 1.7 GHz
Preselectors: Low pass filter

A prebuilt direct sampling receiver by BA5SBA from China. Also available in much cheaper kit versions. Adds extra USB filtering, a 5V bias tee, and the direct sampling mod. Appears to be decent, and fairly popular, but you probably won't get any support for it if something goes wrong. (Link) (Ebay)

DX Patrol Receiver


Cost: $105 USD
Frequency Range: 100 kHz - 2 GHz
Preselectors: Yes

This modified dongle is designed by CT1FFU, designer and manufacturer of some HF upconverters popular with the RTL-SDR. (Link)

Janielectronics Receiver

Cost: $129.99 USD
Frequency Range: 100 kHz - 1.5 GHz
Preselectors: Unknown. Assumed to have a low pass filter.

This is an RTL-SDR R820T built on a custom made PCB that fits into an original dongle casing. This is different to most other modified dongles that simply retrofit an existing RTL-SDR dongle. (Link) (Ebay)



Cost: $43 USD
Frequency Range: 3 kHz - 30 MHz and 50 MHz - 1.7 GHz
Preselectors: Unknown.

Japanese modified RTL-SDR that uses direct sampling and comes in an aluminium box. Includes an RF amp and several built in switched filters as well. (Link)

HF + SWLing Targeted Software Defined Radios

These SDRs are designed or optimized for the HF bands only, either for listening to the ham bands, or for listening to shortwave radio (SWLing).



Cost: $100 USD
Frequency Range: 1.8 Mhz-30 MHz
ADC Resolution: N/A (sound card based)
Max Bandwidth: N/A (sound card based)
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: Yes switched

A small fully assembled HF SDR. (Link)

Hunter SDR


Cost: ~$130USD
Frequency Range: 1 MHz - 30 MHz
ADC Resolution: N/A (sound card based)
Max Bandwidth: N/A (sound card based)
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: Yes, 6 Swtiched

A kit based SDR made by a UK based manufacturer. (Link)

Airspy HF+*

Cost: Expected $149 USD 
Frequency Range: DC - 31 MHz, 60 - 260 MHz
ADC Resolution: 16 bits -> decimated 18 bits
Max Bandwidth: 768 kHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: Yes, LPF + VHF filters
Release Date: Unreleased

The Airspy HF+ is touted as the next big thing in low cost high performance SDRs for HF reception. It uses some interesting new technology including polyphase harmonic mixers and sigma delta ADCs which should naturally improve the dynamic range and performance of the SDR, without the need for excessive filtering. We have a review here. (Link)



Cost: $169 USD (Kit with preselector)
Frequency Range: 200 kHz - 30 MHz
ADC Resolution: 24 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 192 kHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: Yes low pass

Originally intended as a construction project for a youth camp, this SDR is now for sale as a low cost software defined radio. (Link) (Purchasing Link)



Cost: ~$240 USD (Kit Version)
Frequency Range: 100 kHz - 72 MHz
ADC Resolution: N/A (sound card based)
Max Bandwidth: N/A (sound card based)
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: Yes, 3 switched

A SDR that looks to be German made. Some info on the older V2.1 model can be found here. (Link)



Cost: $259 USD
Frequency Range: 10 kHz - 36 MHz
ADC Resolution: 12 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 1.85 MHz (Using network connection), 230 kHz (Using USB connection)
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: Low pass filter

An SDR targeted at the budget ham market is this AFEDRI SDR-Net receiver. Has a LAN interface so it can be accessed remotely through a network - a feature rarely seen on cheaper ham radio SDRs. AFEDRI also sell the new AFE822x dual channel SDR which has two receive channels and costs $359. (Link)

Cross Country Wireless SDR Receiver 


Cost: $295 USD
Frequency Range: 850 kHz - 70.5 MHz
ADC Resolution: Sound card based
Max Bandwidth: 48 kHz (internal sound card), 192 kHz (external sound card)
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: Yes band pass filters

Another low cost sound card based SDR. (Link)


The latest KiwiSDR Board

Cost: $299 USD
Frequency Range: 10 kHz - 30 MHz
ADC Resolution: ???
Max Bandwidth: 30 MHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: ???

The KiwiSDR is designed as a cape (addon) for the BeagleBone Black single board computing platform. It combines together with the OpenWebRX software to provide multiple online users anywhere in the world an interface to listen to any HF frequency between 10 kHz - 30 MHz. Some examples can be seen at

It also comes with a GPS receiver, which can be used to collaborate with multiple KiwiSDRs placed around the world for projects like finding the source of a signal, or mapping reception quality of the ionosphere. (Link) (Amazon Store) (Seeed Store)


Cost: €299.95 EUR -> ~$360 USD
Frequency Range: 100 kHz - 55 MHz, 100 kHz - 500 MHz (undersampling)
ADC Resolution: 14
Max Bandwidth: 3 MHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: HF LPF
Release Date: 2017

The ColibiriNANO is a high performance dongle form factor radio that uses direct sampling technology. The HF performance is excellent, but performance in undersampling mode at 55 MHz+ is poor due to a lack of filtering. To use undersampling external filters are required. (Link)

Elad FDM-S1/S2


Cost: $379 USD / $580 USD
Frequency Range: 80 kHz - 30 MHz, 30MHz - 200 MHz (Under sampled) / 9 kHz - 52 MHz, 74 MHz - 108 MHz, 135 MHz - 160 MHz
ADC Resolution: 14 Bits / 16 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 6 MHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: 30 MHz Low Pass Filter

A high performance SDR. The FDM-S2 is a newer version of the S1 with improved ADC resolution. This is an SDR used very commonly by SWLers as it has very good dynamic range. (Link S1) (Link S2)

Elad FDM-S3*

Cost: ???
Frequency Range: ???
ADC Resolution: ???
Max Bandwidth: 24.576 MHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: ???

Unreleased as of yet, but probably one of the best reasonably priced SDRs for this frequency range out there. Can monitor almost the entire HF band, and will even reach up to broadcast FM.

Satrian MK1.5 Andrus


Cost: $480
Frequency Range: 5 kHz - 30 MHz
ADC Resolution: ???
Max Bandwidth: 400 kHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: ???

An openly designed SDR with full schematics and software code available.Can buy an add on downconverter daughtercard for operation up to 2.2 GHz. (Link)



Cost: $525 USD
Frequency Range: 100 Hz to 30 MHz
ADC Resolution: 14 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 190 kHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: Yes

An SDR made in the USA by RFSpace. Appears to be high quality with good performance. The same company also sells the SDR-IP and NetSDR which are networked SDR products. (Link)

SRL QuickSilver QS1R

Minolta DSC

Cost: $899.99 USD
Frequency Range: 10 kHz - 300 MHz
ADC Resolution: 16 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 4 MHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: Yes

Another high performance SDR competing in the same price range as the Perseus. (Link)

WinRadio WR-G31DDC Excalibur


Cost: $949.95
Frequency Range: 9 kHz - 49.995 MHz
ADC Resolution: 16 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 2 MHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: MW Filter

Another high performance SDR. WinRadio also sell more SDRs with higher performance and ones that can plug directly into a PCI-e card slot. (Link)

Perseus SDR


Cost: $1,100 USD
Frequency Range: 10 kHz - 40 MHz
ADC Resolution: 14 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 1.6 MHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: Yes 10 switched

Many owners of this SDR claim that it is one of the lowest noise SDRs available and that it is great for DXing. (Link)



Cost: $1449 USD (Basic Package)
Frequency Range: 100 Hz to 32 MHz
ADC Resolution: 16 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 1.6 MHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: Yes 10

Another SDR by RFSpace, this one connects to the computer via a network connection, making it easy to be placed in remote locations. RFSpace also sell the SDR-IP which is a similar SDR but with TCP/IP networking. (Link)

HF Ham Radio Software Defined Radios

Radio amateurs and shortwave listening (SWLing) hobbyists have had high performance SDRs for some time now. These receivers will usually significantly outperform the more general purpose receivers shown above in terms of sensitivity, but they usually concentrate only on the HF or amateur bands. Some of these SDRs are transceivers with transmit capabilities and these are for hams, whereas some only receive and may be more useful for shortwave listening.

Softrock Ensemble SDR

softrockCost: $69 (RX Only Kit), $89 USD (TX/RX Kit), $92 USD (RX Built), $124 USD (TX/RX Built)
Frequency Range: Choice of either 160m, 80m/40m, 40m/30m/20m, 30m/20m/17m, 15m/12m/10m
ADC Resolution: N/A (sound card based)
Max Bandwidth: N/A (sound card based)
TX/RX: TX and RX (if option chosen)
Preselectors: Yes for the chosen band

The Softrock SDR is one of the original sound card based SDRs, meaning that the ADC conversion is done by a computer sound card. The bandwidth will be dependant on the maximum sampling rate of your sound card. The Softrock is a HF only SDR and you must choose which band you are interested in listening to when buying the kit or preassembled board.

The Softrock has good HF performance due to its preselector circuits. The kit is a great project for someone wanting to learn the components of an SDR. (Link)

PeaBerry SDR V2


Cost: $149 USD (Kit) / $249 USD (Assembled)
Frequency Range:
ADC Resolution: 24 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 96 kHz
TX/RX: RX and TX
Preselectors: Yes

The PeaBerry SDR is similar to the SoftRock SDR, but this SDR has a built in soundcard ADC meaning that no external sound card is required. (Link)

mcHF QRP Transceiver


Cost: ~$40 USD just the PCBS, ~$422 USD for the full kit including all SMD parts soldered
Frequency Range: 3 - 30 MHz
ADC Resolution: ???
Max Bandwidth:  48 kHz
TX/RX: RX and TX
Preselectors: Yes

This SDR is a standalone DIY tranceiver kit, but it can also be purchased as partially assembled. A fully assembled Chinese made clone of the mcHF is now also available, although the circuit is supposedly downgraded from the original kit, and the mcHF circuit revision that you get could be anywhere from v0.4 to v0.6. (Clone Amzn Link) (Link)

Genesis G59


Cost: $399 USD (Kit)
Frequency Range: ~1.8 MHz - ~50 MHz
ADC Resolution: ???
Max Bandwidth: ???
TX/RX: RX and TX
Preselectors: ???

A transceiver kit which has 10mW of output power. Can be boosted by purchasing an optional 10W amplifier. (Link)


FlexRadio FLEX-1500 SDR


Cost: $699
Frequency Range: 490 kHz - 54 MHz 
ADC Resolution: 16 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 20 kHz
TX/RX: RX and TX
Preselectors: Yes

The Flex series are capable of RX and TX. FlexRadio also have higher end SDRs with 24 bit ADCs and ones with up to 14 MHz of bandwidth available on their website. (Link)

Alinco DX-SR9T


Cost: $749
Frequency Range: 135 kHz - 30 MHz 
ADC Resolution: N/A (sound card based)
Max Bandwidth: N/A (sound card based)
TX/RX: RX and TX
Preselectors: ???

This is a hybrid HF radio which acts as a normal HF transceiver, but also has a built in SDR that can connect to a PC sound card for SDR operation. (Link)

HPSDR Hermes Transceiver Card


Cost: $895
Frequency Range: 10 kHz - 55 MHz
ADC Resolution: 12 bits
Max Bandwidth: 192 kHz
TX/RX: RX and TX
Preselectors: Yes low pass

An open source SDR project. (Link)

Elecraft KX3


Cost: $899.95 USD (Kit) / 999.95 USD (Assembled)
Frequency Range: 1.8 KHz - 50 MHz 
ADC Resolution: N/A (sound card based)
Max Bandwidth: N/A (sound card based)
TX/RX: RX and TX
Preselectors: ???

This is an SDR radio which can act as a standalone receiver and transmitter just like a normal HF radio, but it can also connect to a PC soundcard via its IQ output port to act as a computer based SDR. (Link)

Apache Labs ANAN-10


Cost: $1679 USD
Frequency Range: 10kHz - 55 MHz
ADC Resolution: 16 Bits
Max Bandwidth:  ??? MHz
TX/RX: RX and TX (Full Duplex)
Preselectors: Yes

Apache Labs sell high performance TX capable SDRs. They also sell more expensive versions of the ANAN series with more transmit power and also ones with built in FPGAs. (Link)

Portable SDR


Cost: ??? USD
Frequency Range: 0 MHz - 30 MHz
ADC Resolution: ??? Bits
Max Bandwidth:  ??? MHz
TX/RX: RX and TX
Preselectors: ???

One of the Hackaday prize finalists. Still under development and unreleased. A stand-alone (no computer needed), compact, Portable SDR Uses a a 168 Mhz ARM processor, color display, and an innovative interface.

Did we miss any popular SDR receivers or are there any mistakes? Let us know in the comments.

More Lists:

Here is a wiki listing several SDR radios. It may be more up to date than this list.

Previously Listed Vaporware/Dead SDR's (History)



Cost: Unreleased. Expected cost $199 USD.
Frequency Range: 100 kHz - 1.750 GHz
ADC Resolution: 8 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 3.2 MHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: None

The XiOne is a SDR that is claimed as 'The first software defined radio easy to use with smartphones and fully open to the maker community'. In August they fundraised on Indiegogo. Unfortunately the fundraiser was not successful and we have not heard any word on whether this SDR will ever be released now.

The main advantage of the XiOne is that it is battery powered and connects to smartphones via a WiFi connection. The developers are also creating a wide array of smartphone apps for the device. It also has a built in general purpose microprocessor.

The main concerns with this SDR are that it uses the RTL2832U chip - the same one used in the RTL-SDR. This means that there is only 8-bits of ADC resolution and 3.2 MHz of bandwidth, though this is probably acceptable due to its mobile application priority as any larger sample rates or resolutions could have trouble with WiFi data rates. (Link)



Cost: $300 USD, $600 USD
Frequency Range: 400 MHz - 4.4 GHz
ADC Resolution: 12 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 8 MHz
TX/RX: RX Only (ASRP3), 2 x RX and 2 x TX (Full Duplex) (ASRP1)
Preselectors: None

We don't know much about these SDRs but the ASRP3 seems to occupy a similar space as the Airspy and the ASRP1 seems to be similar to the HackRF/BladeRF/USRP B210. Is possible vaporware as the ordering website appears non functional. (Link)

Marty KN0CK Upconverting Receiver


Cost: $75 USD
Frequency Range: 500 kHz - 54 MHz
Preselectors: Low pass filter

This modded RTL-SDR receiver uses a miniature upconverter that is small enough to fit inside the dongle casing. Also has a MAR-8 preamp and 5-pole low pass filter. (Link)

Marty KN0CK Direct Sampling Receiver


Cost: $60 USD
Frequency Range: 500 kHz - 54 MHz
Preselectors: Low pass filter

This second version from Marty KN0CK uses the direct sampling mod for HF reception instead. Also has the built in MAR-8 preamp and 5-pole low pass filter. (Link)

Brazilian HF - UHF Receiver


Cost: $100 USD
Frequency Range: 0 kHz - 14.4 MHz and 24 MHz to 1.7 Ghz
Preselectors: ???

One of the first modified RTL-SDRs that went on sale. Is probably outdated now. (Link)



Cost: $98 USD
Frequency Range: 500 kHz - 70 MHz
ADC Resolution: N/A (sound card based)
Max Bandwidth: N/A (sound card based)
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: Yes band pass filter

Low cost sound card based receiver. Similar to the SoftRock but no TX option. (Link)


The SDRplay RSP

Cost: $99 USD
Frequency Range: 10 kHz - 2 GHz
ADC Resolution: 12 Bits (~10.4 ENOB)
Max Bandwidth: 10 MHz
TX/RX: RX Only
Preselectors: 8 switched filters
Release Date: Late 2014

The RSP1 has been succeeded by the RSP1A which is listed above. (Link)

If you enjoyed this tutorial you may like our ebook available on Amazon.

The Hobbyist's Guide to the RTL-SDR: Really Cheap Software Defined radio.

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Surprised that a list as comprehensive as this does not show entry levels kits such as the Acorn II and Finningley SDR receivers from Kanga (UK)


The Softrock RX radio as in SoftRock RX Ensemble II Receiver Kit have a 3-30Mhz bw.

The Softrock tx kits does have 2/3 band only option.


Add the TitanSDR to the list….
comment image


How about the first Icom 7300 SDR transceiver?


IC7300 is great – works much better than I expected from direct sampling radio. Very sensitive on RX, very good audio on TX, clean signal, etc. Remember it’s SDR for ham radio people and to transmit you should be a licensed operator.

Jon Hudson

Nice updated view from ham radio Science here…



Don Latham

A master list indeed. Now, for each hardware, which of the software packages ie sdr#, hdsdr, linrad, etc. will REALLY ACTUALLY WORK WITH THEM?????????????????????????


I’m a bit surprised that the Conexant cx23880/1/2/3 based PCI TV cards are not mentioned at all. Their sampling rate of 27MHz makes them suitable for many more projects. Just search for cxadc. The driver is in need of some love, though.

Jon hudson

The $149 SDRplay RSP 12 bit receiver no longer has any coverage gap and goes from 100KHz all the way to 2GHz. See


Hi dear /sir
I have a DVB-T dongle with TDA18218HN chip.
Is it possible to work as a SDR ?
If yes please tel me what software can do control it.


Emily Taylor
les norton

I have one of these on the way, have downloaded a few pieces of software to use, which do you use?
Have also downloaded GQRX for mac which i like the look of but won’t know what will work with it until it arrives.
Im also interested in remote controlling it by wifi if thats possible. i.e.; connect a laptop or raspberry pi to the unit by usb and connect my laptop downstairs to it – I have a decent antenna system so hence wanting to run it nearer the antennas.

Emily Taylor

Why is that windy city guy listed here? From all the sdr forums everyone hates him, says he’s a scam liar and ex convict lol


The correct link for Per Vices should be –
Product page for Crimson:

Michael Berliner

Did not find Comm Radio CR – 1a.

Other than that, This was an excellent article, and timely, because I have been wondering about getting a PC and adding a radio to it. Wish these would work with an Apple.

Neil W2NDG

GQRX on the Mac supports quite a few of these.

Neil W2NDG


Hi, I released RTL2832U direct sampling customized SDR.
only $18USD + shipping fee

John Toscano, W0JT/5

A couple more candidates:
The UHFSDR board, like the SoftRock, is an SDR board that requires an external sound card and computer, to make it work, and it is capable of both reception and transmission. (But see below for an alternative to the computer!) Unlike the SoftRock, the UHFSDR covers a frequency range of 1.75 to 700 MHz. Web site is at

An alternative to using a full-blown computer and sound card with the SoftRock or the UHFSDR is to use the STM32-SDR kit. You still require a source of I/Q audio such as the SoftRock or UHFSDR, but no sound card and no computer. The STM32-SDR has an on-board Cortex M4 ARM processor (STM32F4 processor with hardware floating-point and on-chip DSP instructions), a touch-sensitive LCD display and two rotary encoders to implement the user interface, and on-board D/A and A/D converters to take the place of the sound card. Current software supports USB, LSB, CW, and PSK31, but software development is still active, and future versions may support AM, NBFM, WBFM, and additional digital modes. Information can be found on the web site: . The source code can be found on the web at but enrolling in a Yahoo group puts you in close touch with the developers and may allow you to get access to new versions of the software sooner than from the Github site:


Bonito RadioJet is missing… They offer 2 models plus antenna splitter, a USB antenna switcher & activa antennas…


The Bonito Radiojet is big Crap !! i use it, and the Software is big Shi* !! i sel lit fast..



Why can I pick up frequencies as high as 4.4ghz.
It sounds like hamms talking to each other.
Is this some kind of harmonics going on?
I read the range for the RTL is like 1700Mhz
Any ideas?

Al West

I would like to know something about the Huhushop 100kz to 1.7ghz for $68.00. RTL2832U & R820T tuner from


The Hunter – SDR Receiver / Panadapter hasn’t been mentioned. A great looking kit for the constructor and only GBP 80

Specifications in this PDF
Operating Frequency – 2.5 – 30MHz
Single tone dynamic range – > 110dB dynamic range
Sensitivity – Noise floor -137dBm
Maximum power handling – 120W


For US$ 100 this looks good

It hasn’t been around for that many years by the look of it, and I hadn’t come across it before!


A new player that isn’t on the market quite yet but is heading that way is Michael Colton KE7HIA’s Portable SDR transceiver.
Definitely worth looking into, and maybe fit for this list.


I came across these today :- PMSDR Software Defined Radio (RX) 100kHz – 55MHz

and PMSDR- SDR RX 0,1-72 MHz Kit Version 2.2

The Genesis G59 is a 160-6m SDR transceiver kit running 10mw to start. Add the G10 power amp and you’ll get up to 10 watts. It was a very fun kit to build. 95% through-hole, and only a few surface mount components to solder.
g59 – $399 US
g10 – $249 US

Tracey Gardner G5VU

The Afedri SDR-Net is specified as 100kHz to 30MHz not 36MHz as in your details. The LF performance is specified down to 100kHz as that is the quoted spec for the Mini-Circuits input transformer but it will receive with lowered specs, well below 100kHz
You haven’t mentioned the AFE822x SDR-Net (Dual Channel) which contains 2 x Direct sampling receivers and features a synchronized (diversity) or independent Dual Channel reception mode over 100 kHz to 30.00MHz .

Sivan Toledo

You missed the Peaberry transceiver, which is basically an Si570-based SoftRock transceiver with a built-in sound card (and a few other goodies, like switched filters and a power-amplifier interface).


SignalHound BB60C

USB 3.0
9 kHz to 6 GHz
range: -158 dBm to +10 dBm
27 MHz bandwith (IQ)
drivers and API for Windows 7 and 8
9 inches long!

Please Note: The BB60C is currently on backorder, due to higher than anticipated demand. Our next production run of BB60C’s will be available on September 15th, 2014.

Renan Mert Ozel

How about the mcHF QRP Transceiver from Chris (M0NKA)? Uses quadrature switching detector (QSD) to produce IQ pair.


Many SDR devices. My list was very small before this article, but I think my choice stay on HackRF or B200


The Elecraft kx3 is a SDR interfaced with nice controls. Maybe the best /p implemented SDR radio. 73s


Don’t miss the new Alinco DX-SR9T ($789). It is a HF hybrid transceiver that acts a a stand-alone ham radio. But when connected to a PC if become a full-featured SDR.


Very helpful, thanks! Next step is a review of the more popular of these SDRs? By one or a number of persons, a collaboration?

Shae Erisson (shapr)

There’s also the MyriadRF as included with the Novena laptop:


This list is missing the “Noctar” card from Per Vices.

Cost: $2500 CAN
Frequency Range: 50 MHz – 4 GHz; mixer bypass path available
ADC Resolution: 12 Bits
Max Bandwidth: 100 MHz
TX/RX: Full Duplex
Preselectors: None


Seems that the ANAN is comparable to the Flex Radios =>


Frankly speaking, I have yet to figure out why some of this stuff costs so much. In particular the very wide variability in pricing and claims to performance too.

Personally, I own an Ettus B100 which came with a WBX card for about £700 all in (including import duty and VAT here in the UK).

tom zicarelli

The Elecraft kx3 transceiver provides direct IQ output for SDR applications.


The most current Elad SDR is actually this one:

The current price for the S1 is much lower now at $379:


easySDR USB Dongle

Frequency Range : 64 MHz – 1700 MHz,
Price: +- 90$ wihout shiping


How about the Andrus MK1.5 SDR from Satrian –