Photos of the MSi.SDR Dongle: A New SDRplay RSP1 Clone
Thank you to reader Mikael for writing in and letting us know that over on Aliexpress a new clone of the SDRplay RSP1 has been starting to show up. The sellers are terming it as the "MSi.SDR" in reference to that fact that it uses the Mirics MSi chips, which are the same chips used in all SDRplay SDRs. Currently the MSi.SDR is selling for about US$65 on Aliexpress.
In the past we've seen other SDRplay clones but this is the first version in a dongle format, and the first time that it is actually priced cheaper than the original. SDRplay and Mirics are owned by the same people, and Mirics note that they have not distributed any chips in over 5 years, so it a mystery as to why there are suddenly a lot of unauthorized Mirics chips available on the Chinese market. It is unclear if SDRplay will be able to enforce their IP rights in China, but it seems unlikely.
Mikael has provided some good photos of the PCB from the version he received which we show below. It appears to be similar to the RSP1, so it is missing the new features and filtering improvements of the newer RSP1A. When connected to a PC it shows up as an RSP1, so all compatible SDRplay software including SDRuno and HDSDR with the official SDRplay EXTIO should function with it.
I have seen this sdr on various China sites for quite some time and lately on ebay as well, I was kind of sure it was a rsp1 in a new pcb layout as it claimed it to be 10khz to 2Ghz with a 10Mhz bw and 12 bit resolution and containing an msi chipset with a 0,5ppm tcxo.
I ordered one two weeks ago from aliexpress for about 67$ incl postage and got it in the mail today, it was delivered with a micro usb cable and a magnetic telescope antenna with an about 2m coax cord.
pluged it in and watched the device manager, as I have a rsp1a and a rsp2 I already had the drivers loaded for those, and sure, it was identified as an rsp1, so I did a quick test and and started hdsdr and and selected the extio.dll for the rsp1, it started up as it should and it behaves just as a rsp1, did a quick tunearound in the 3,5 and 7Mhz band and it was working well, have not done any in depth analys yest, will examine the pcb to see if there is any kind of filtering in there.
In an upcoming post we plan to compare the various SDRplay and Airspy clones available on the market with the originals.