The Malachite-DSP: A $195 Russian Made Portable Wideband SDR Receiver with Touch Screen

Over on the SWLing.com blog we've seen news about the release of a new Russian designed and made portable software defined radio called the "Malachite-DSP". The Malachite-DSP is an "all-in-one" portable SDR that is controlled via a touch screen and two control knobs. It covers 0.1 MHz to 1000 MHz with a bandwidth of up to 160 kHz, and the custom software supports all common modulation types. The whole device consumes 300mA and is powered by a Li-ion cell. It's marketed as a modern DEGEN and TECSUN replacement, so it appears to be targeting the HF short wave listening (SWL) customer.

Production appears to be small, with purchasing currently done by contacting RX9CIM, one of the project creators, directly at his email address (details on this forum post). The cost for a fully assembled unit is 12500 Russian Rubles which is 195 USD (not including international shipping). You can also purchase just the PCB without components for 1100 Rubles (17 USD). Importantly the forum post notes to watch out for scammers, who appear to be trying to take fake preorders for the device.

From the components list we can see that this SDR runs on the MSI001 tuner chip, which is the same tuner chip used in the SDRplay line of units. However, unlike the SDRplay units which use a wideband MSi2500 ADC, the Malachite-DSP uses an audio chip as the RF ADC. This provides a 16-bit ADC, resulting in high dynamic range, but at the expense of the available bandwidth which is only 160 kHz. A STM32H743VIT6 with ARM Cortex A7 processor runs what appears to be custom DSP and GUI software. The software doesn't seem to support DRM, but AM, WFM, NFM, LSB, USB are all supported.

The main place for news and discussion on the Malachite-DSP appears to be on a Russian ham radio forum thread. Judging by the fact that the schematic, software and BOM is all freely released, the project appears to be open source. There is also a group on the Russian Facebook clone vk.com where some discussion is occurring.

The YouTube videos below are by a Russian reviewers. Be sure to turn on the YouTube closed captioning and auto translation feature if you want to follow along in English.

😲ПРИЕМНИК КОТОРЫЙ ЛОВИТ ВСЁ!!!💥🔝 ЭТО ВАМ НЕ Degen и Tecsun ВСТРЕЧАЙТЕ НОВЫЙ МАЛАХИТ DSP V2💯🆕

SDR приемник МАЛАХИТ DSP

The Malachite-DSP reminds us a bit of the unreleased PantronX Titus II SDR, which is supposed to be a low cost (aiming for less than $100 USD) 100 kHz - 2 GHz tablet screen based SDR that was supposed to make DRM reception more popular. However the Titus II hardware has never eventuated since it's initial news in 2016, and at this time appears to be a dead project.

35 comments

  1. Christian

    Hi, I found this on Amazon:

    https://is.gd/Wd3V7t

    Not much info provided But I searched online and found what looks to be the same unit on Aliexpress. It has more details on the unit:

    https://is.gd/BQUb6t

    I am not sure…is this unit a “good” example…or is it representing the “junk” version referenced in these comments?

  2. Eric

    Don’t buy the Chinese versions !! Put an extra $ 100 and you will have a good, well tuned receiver with a one year warranty. In addition, if there is a problem, Georgye easily responds by email.

  3. D/R. ANGLE / WA8DGG

    NOT AVAILABLE !!! I did an on-line translaion of the Russian manual to English , but it is of very limited help. It is also not much good with the Chinese crap flooding the ebait market with their hacked ( more like slaughtered ) firm ware.
    Beware..the Chinese JUNK being offered is JUNK …. &
    JUNK IS JUNK. Firmware has been gutted and does not contain most of the features shown and advertised .

    • DF

      Don’t be so stupid. That is the free demo firmware available for evryone. If you want full functionalty you can buy commercial firmware. Write a message to author with the code on your displat to
      [email protected] ru , [email protected]
      Chinese’s receivers so cheap because it does not contain a price for firmware. Russians RX will be expensive in twice.

      • Raymond Perrin

        OK. I have purchased a Chinese “Thicker” receiver on ePay. It seems to work OK, but features are lacking. Also it lacks an internal battery. One feature it seems to lack is the ability to key in a frequency. I assume that this keyboard would also be used to key in an authorization code if you want to upgrade the firmware. If so, how can you upgrade it? Or is there way to purchase the proper Russian radio with the complete firmware?

        • Michael Thompson

          check the switch on the bottom. It is labelled “REST” and looks like a pushbutton; however, it is a slide switch for disabling the battery. Once you turn it on the battery will be connected.
          I ran into this too and thought the battery was simply flat from shipping, but when I looked close then I saw it, flipped the switch and all was good.
          This is information deemed “not important enough to tell the customer” LOL

          • Raymond Perrin

            Thanks for your help! You are correct! Who I saw the REST switch, I thought it was a RESET button! Sliding the switch activated the internal battery.

            As I said, I bought my radio from China. There were no instructions provided. After I received it, I sent a message to the seller asking him how to install an internal battery. He did not seem to know that the radio already had an internal battery and said I would have to modify it to accommodate an internal battery.

            Thanks again!

            Ray Perrin

  4. D/R. ANGLE / WA8DGG

    ENGLISH MANUAL… DOES NOT EXIST! download Russian manual then try to convert – it can be done , its not easy. Just gotmy Malachite “DSP_SDR ” from china. WHAT A MESS! Firmware (HARD menu) is missing 12 of the 14 items (FEATURES) it should have come with. The 4 items that are on the “HARD” menu only two actually function. The firmware has been hacked and missing features like: Frequency bar between spectrum & waterfall displays …not there .Also missing is Freq. Calibration, , Spectrum Scale set , and about another 10 features …all missing. The seller builder (china) then offers to give you a code to flash so you can get the lost features (for a mere $55.00 more ). The basic receiver is VERY difficult to tune. <oving the Frequency digit cursor is a challenge and even once adjusted I find the 2 meter repeater frequencies are randomly from 25 to 95khz off , with no way to correct. The list of short comings goes on and on. These EBAY – CHINA units are definately not ready for prime time.
    New units have started to appear on Ebay with direct frequency entry but no information as to what is on and what is not on the GUI. I suspect still no frequency bar display. Pay your money and take your chances. What could have been a real neat receiver is just a toy and not a very good one at that.

    • D and F

      That is not “hacked” firmware, that is a free Demo firmware. Buy in additionally a full futured firmware from russian designers.

      • D/R. ANGLE / WA8DGG

        What does D and F stand for,, DECEIVE and FAKE? The3 DEMO version of firmware is a joke , and a bad one at that. It is a come-on to get the CHINESE hand in your pocket for an extra $55 or so. They BAIT you with features in their pictures then after purchase they ask if you want to flash some “real Russian” firmware. This is no more tha ntheft…AVOID IT !

  5. Eric

    Stop confusing the real Russian Malahit receiver with the Chinese Malachite copies !! It’s not the same thing ! The Russian receiver covers from HF to UHF. I own one.

  6. GIORGIO POZZI

    Appena ricevuto Questa radio, assemblata, dalla Cina. Non c’è allegato un manuale di istruzione. Ho provato quasi tutti i comandi, ma non sono riuscito a capire come cambiare il modo della modulazione. Non c’è un tasto “MODE” dedicato come ho visto in altri apparati su You Tube. Qualcuno mi può aiutare? Grazie
    IW2JKT Giorgio Italy

  7. Gains

    Unique and cool device. It’s a pity that so far there is no serial production for this thing. You need to contact manufacturer by email and gather support information and manuals through russian forums.
    http://hamforum.ru/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=193
    It seems manufacturer is really busy because device is quickly gaining popularity.
    Hopefully manufacturing and marketing process will improve soon. Would get one for myself.

      • D/R. ANGLE / WA8DGG

        NOT AVAILABLE !!! I did an on-line translaion of the Russian manual to English , but it is of very limited help. It is also not much good with the Chinese crap flooding the ebait market with their hacked ( more like slaughtered ) firm ware.
        Beware..the Chinese JUNK being offered is JUNK …. &
        JUNK IS JUNK. Firmware has been gutted and does not contain most of the features shown and advertised .

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