Tagged: malachite

A Review of the Soon to be Released Malahit-DDC Portable SDR

The Malahit DDC is the latest in portable SDR packages coming out of the Russian designer and manufacturer known as 'Malahiteam'.  In the past they released the hugely successfull Malhit-DSP. We want to thank Manuel Lausmann for sending us a video and review that comprehensively looks at one of the first Malahit DDC devices that have been received. Manuel writes:

Differences between Malahit DSP and Malahit DDC

The comparison results for the main characteristics are summarized in the table. The worst result of the comparison is marked in red, the best or neutral result is blue.

The comparison took into account the results from the DDC versions with two ADC versions - AD9649 and MDRA1A16FI.

1) the sensitivity is about the same, there is no difference.

2) The dynamic range blocking is a big difference in favor of DDC. It is caused by the properties of the radio reception path and not by the difference in the classes of radio receivers. This has the practical advantage that a radio receiver with large antennas can be used under difficult conditions, for example when it is necessary to receive a weak signal in the presence of a strong interfering one.

3) The dynamic range of third order intermodulation is a big difference in favor of DDC. It is caused by the properties of the radio reception path and not by the difference in the classes of radio receivers. The practical advantage of this is the lack of parasitic or false reception channels.

4) The frequency range is different. This is the difference to specific design solutions. And the DDC has to catch up with the DSP version due to the additional board developed with converters. The additional board is already under development.

5) The type of antenna input - everything is the same here, the receivers can receive signals with both the telescope and external antennas.

6) Band values ​​/ frequency values. The DDC version is the undisputed leader here. In addition, these figures have actually already been confirmed.

7) Side channels of reception. As mentioned above, these are better in DDC. The difference lies in the classes of radio receivers.

8) The capacity of the ADC. I will go into this characteristic in a little more detail. Very often the ADC bitrate is used as a marketing ploy that is misleading the user. It is logical that the more the better. But as we see, even with a 14-bit DDC, a better dynamic than 16-bit DSP. And that's why not only the ADC capacity is important for classic or analog SDRs, but also the properties of the ADC radio path. If you use 24- or 32-bit ADCs in the Malachite DSP series, the radio receivers do not get any better - MSI001 does not allow this, in which case it limits the connection. So, you need to carefully analyze the build of radio receivers and not trust misleading promotions - many bits are certainly good, but you shouldn't forget the location of the ADC either. The main properties of radio receivers are determined in particular by the first input stages.

9) Overall dimensions. Everything is the same here.

10) audio output. And everything is the same here.

11) PC connection. And this is where the big difference in favor of DDC lies. A faster type of USB interface is used, the quadrature width is increased to almost 2 MHz, and the QUISK program also has the option of viewing the spectrum up to 38 MHz against the background of radio reception.

12) Power consumption. The power consumption is not the strength of the DDC - the digital technology eats up a lot of energy. In comparison, there is one more characteristic - the prices. With the DDC, the price is significantly higher due to the more expensive components

From February you can also expect an optional additional board where reception on 6ghz is possible with additional filters. A 16 bit ADC will also be built into the Malahit DDC from February.

The video review below is in German, however you can use the YouTube autogenerated English captions below, or wait a little as Manuel indicates that English subtitles will be added soon. 

Malahit DDC in Gefahr Teil 1

Comparing the Malahit DSP-2 Russian Original vs Chinese Clone

Over on the SWLing.com blog guest poster Dan Robinson has posted an article comparing  the Russian made original "Malahit" DSP-2 (~$200) vs the Chinese clone who have upped the version number to DSP-3, but will be referred to as the "HFDY V3" (~$180). The original Malahit DSP-2 from "Malahiteam" is a portable SDR with built in speaker and touchscreen. It has a frequency range spanning between 50 kHz to 50 MHz, 50 MHz to 250 MHz and 400 MHz to 2 GHz.

There are several clones out there, but Dan notes that the Chinese "HFDY V3" version appears to be superior in terms of build quality with its high quality metal construction, high quality knobs, two antenna jacks for AM and FM, good internal shielding, and front firing speaker with beautiful gold grill. These are all improvements over the Russian made version, however it's important to note that the Chinese clone version comes with older firmware that must be carefully updated first, in order to obtain the same features as the original DSP-2.

Overall in terms of performance, after the firmware upgrade, Dan finds no difference in performance between the two. Dan goes on to mention that both the clone and original suffer from grounding problems and sensitivity to touch especially with shortwave. 

Finally he notes how Malahiteam are planning a new higher end more expensive product which will include an optional add-on for enabling reception up to 6 GHz. The estimated cost of the new version will be $480 with the 6 GHz add-on, and $42o without.

The HFDY Malahit DSP SDR V3 (Chinese Clone)

Arinst Dreamkit SDR now on sale for $230 + Shipping

About a month ago we posted about the Arinst Dreamkit, which was an unreleased Russian made portable receive only SDR with 16-bit ADC, 1 - 3100 MHz tuning range, up to 5 MHz instantaneous bandwidth, and very fast scanning capabilities.

Reader 'sunny' has written in and informed us that the Arinst Dreamkit is now released and available for sale on both eBay and Aliexpress. The pricing is $230 + shipping costs. Sunny notes that the manual is only in Russian, and currently it does not have any digital decoding capabilities, and no preselector on the input.

The Arinst Dreamkit

Arinst SDR Dreamkit: A Portable RX SDR with 16-Bits, 1 – 3100 MHz Range and 5 MHz Bandwidth

Thank you to reader 'sunny' who has written in to share a new software defined radio that he has found being previewed on YouTube. The SDR is the Arinst SDR Dreamkit, a Russian made portable receive only SDR that will have a 16-bit ADC, 1 - 3100 MHz tuning range, up to 5 MHz instantaneous bandwidth, and have very fast processing which can scan the spectrum at 20 GHz per second. It also comes with a built in 3.9" touchscreen and loudspeaker.

Arinst are a Russian company that designs, produces and sells affordable portable spectrum analyzers, vector network analyzers, power amplifiers and antennas.

The Dreamkit is not yet available for sale but reader sunny has indicated that the pricing will be ~$250, although we cannot confirm that information. In a YouTube comment the developer only writes that it will be slightly more expensive than the Malachite SDR, for which an original non-clone unit sells for around $200. 

The Arinst SDR Dreamkit

We have not seen any announcement of the product on their website, but on their first YouTube video for the product they write some specs (translated from Russian):

  • There is no preselector.
    • Possibility to supply preselectors and source repeaters via SMA antenna connector. It also provides for the generation of a code message for each frequency range by pulse modulation of the supply voltage supplied to the antenna connector.
  • Operating frequency range - 1-3100MHz
  • Input impedance 50 Ohm.
  • ADC capacity - 16 bits, effective 13 bits.
  • Instant scan bandwidth - 5 MHz, sampling rate: 2 IQ channels at 6 MHz.
  • Scanning speed over 20 GHz per second.
  • Audio: built-in loudspeaker, headphones, bluetooth (optional).
  • Battery life up to 3 hours.

From the English demo video shown below, the interface looks very slick, customizable and with a very responsive refresh rate. The video shows off the features which include all the standard demodulation modes, an RDS decoder, 12V 100mA bias tee, and the ability to connect to a PC and run it on HDSDR.

It appears that they plan to sell additional preselectors and LNAs that will be powered via the 12V bias tee. An interesting point is that it appears that they will control the external devices via a some sort of modulated pulse on the coax.  

Arinst SDR Dreamkit V1D