YouTube Review of the RS-918: A Chinese Clone of a Clone of the mcHF SDR

Over on YouTube Kevin Loughin has uploaded a video reviewing the "Recent RS-918" which is a Chinese clone of the popular mcHF open source SDR transceiver made by Chris (M0NKA). The mcHF is a well known small and inexpensive home brewed open source HF QRP SDR that was started back in 2013. It's sold either as a kit for 236.82 GBP (US$287), or with metal enclosure at 292.78 GBP (US$354). The kit comes with SMD components already soldered, but you still need to solder the through hole components and assemble it into the enclosure. The RS-918 clone can be found fully assembled as a ready to use product on eBay for approximately US$400.

As the "Recent RS-918" is a commercial Chinese clone of an open source project that has restrictions against commercial use, it goes against the spirit and legality of the licence imposed by the original creator. So based on that Kevin cannot recommend the RS-918 SDR. However, from his review Kevin notes that apart from some burning hot areas on the metal after transmitting, the SDR itself works and has a nice minimal design. The design appears to be based on an older version of the mcHF, so the latest upgrades are not available.

Kevin's review just overviews the RS-918 and doesn't go into depth reviewing the radio. For the rest of his video Kevin discusses the lineage of the RS-918, noting that it is actually a clone of the Ailunce HS1, which in turn is a clone of the mcHF. He then goes on to discuss the mcHF itself, noting that we should support all the hard work that Chris has put in (and continues to put in) to the original mcHF rather than these immoral clones.

Ham Radio - The RS-918 clone of a clone of an outstanding open source SDR transceiver, the mcHF.

9 comments

  1. Quetzalcoatlus

    GPL says nothing about commercial use only that if you do use it you have to share your derivative works source code. Every Android smartphone is a commercial ripoff of Linux if you look at it that way and every Apple product is a ripoff of Darwin. I don’t see anyone else selling a pre assembled one so I don’t see what the problem is not every one has the time and money to sit around soldering and assembling and possibly breaking very expensive electronics it’s not as if this is an Ikea kitchen table. I’ve done enough bad soldering jobs in my time to be wary of anything that requires it, generally I’m only going to want to break out the soldering iron to fix something that’s already broken

  2. Mike

    It’s funny how state enforced monopoly is capitalism, yet free market entrepreneurship is “commie crap”.

    • steve

      Capitalism is bound by rules such as intellectual property rights, commies steal instead of create. Shame some idealigical puppets can’t see that.

      • RMS

        if the software is GNU/GPL Free Opensource then it is not stealing, the EULA requres the source code be open and shared with anyone that wants to use and/or modify it,

        • AD5NL

          The GPL copyright license only applies to copyrightable material (software, documentation, PCB layout, etc.). It wouldn’t prevent someone from looking at the McHF project and designing a *very similar*, albeit original, product — to stop that, the creators would need to get a patent.

          Given that the software is explicitly open source, they might be able to write new code using similar algorithms without having to go through the “clean-room reverse engineering” process. Just have one engineer read the source code and write a spec for what needs to be implemented, and have another engineer, who hasn’t seen the source code, write new code based on the spec. Likewise with hardware — especially since the project uses commodity off-the-shelf components rather than proprietary hardware. (Correct me if I am wrong).

          Compared to what, say, Compaq had to go through to clone the IBM PC BIOS, this would be a walk in the park.

          What’s crazy is that the Chinese don’t even do the minimal effort to implement a (semi)-original design, which would be legal. Moreover, they might be able to improve it if they did so, for example to fix the overheating problem.

          • AD5NL

            (Just to recap basic intellectual property law — you can’t copyright an idea, you can only copyright a tangible expression of an idea).

    • paul c.

      What the hell is “State enforced monopoly” got to do with a clever British guy making something original and the chinese stealing it for their profit? Idiot.

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