Is there a FAQ for software defined radio? ...
I'd like to start reading up on exactly what it is, and what is needed. I'm on the hunt for my first HF radio, but I'm starting to wonder if it might be cheaper and/or easier to go the SDR route to start?
Any pointers to FAQs, beginner info, etc. appreciated.
A FAQ? No. Not that I know of. SDR is a fairly small communit(ies) that tend to group around particular radios on the web.
I would not recommend an SDR as a first radio. Certainly not as a cost saving measure.
Software Defined Radio from a technical maturity level is about where Heterodyne (not Superheterodyne) radios were in the early Twenties. Eventually I think most radios will be SDR types, probably within twenty years. The underlying microprocessors are still evolving, and we see improvements every year. Since I got interested in ham SDR radios five years ago the number of radios available has grown.
Now there are several levels of SDR radios from little kit receivers to a handful of turn-key manufactured transceivers. Still, in comparison to conventional analog radios there are actually very few SDR radios. Now flip side is that getting into SDR's now, offers the excitement of playing with cutting edge technology, that may require some level of tinkering, that may become somewhat obsolescent in a few years as better designs come out. But then, how many hams in history have said "I'm not gonna get today's radios because better ones will develop in a few years!"
Probably the two biggest events to learn about SDR are forums at Dayton or other major ham conventions, and the ARRL/TAPR Digital Conference held every fall.
Some of the better known radios are:
-Perseus, receiver, http://microtelecom.it/perseus/
-HPSDR, High Power SDR Project, experimental with kits sold by TAPR http://openhpsdr.org/ http://www.tapr.org/hpsdr_index.html
-Softrock, receiver http://wb5rvz.com/sdr/
-GenesisRadio, txcvr, http://www.genesisradio.com.au/
-QuickSilver QS1R, top of the line receiver! http://www.srl-llc.com/
One other point of order. I hold to a fairly strict definition of SDR. That is, a radio where the waveform can be changed merely by changing the software code. A radio should be equally able to do SSB, Mono-pulse radar signal, or Compandored sideband. None of the radios offered by YaeComWood are SDR radios, and very many people don't understand that.
Last edited by KB4QAA; 04-29-2012 at 02:15 AM.