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SunSDR2 QRP vs Elad FDM Duo

Discussion in 'Software Defined Radio (SDR)' started by KF4VAR, Dec 31, 2019.

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  1. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Keep in mind, the elad amp is a power supply (for amp and radio), a display for the radio, an actual 120 watt amp, plus an antenna tuner.
    The duo station (radio and amp) was $2000.00 which is quite good but its always out of stock.
    WW2PT and KF4VAR like this.
  2. KF4VAR

    KF4VAR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yep agree I want one...... beautiful equipment.
  3. W2NER

    W2NER Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    if your going to spend $2,000 then go get yourself a apache labs. much better radio.
    KF4VAR likes this.
  4. KF4VAR

    KF4VAR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank for this...... Have looked at the Apache Labs radios. I am still considering the FDM Duo because I want to do some portable work. Being retired with a limited budget its difficult to have both--although I would like both. Were budget not a consideration these are the first two radios I would buy-the Apache Labs 7000 for at home-without the built in computer.... and the FDM Duo for POTA/SOTA where I live. I have a couple of Intel desktops I built on the I7 CPU platform that, when I was building them was partly with the idea of getting into SDR when I became active again. I am still computer fluent even though a bit old. Even though I have not used any SDR radio, none of what I see do I find in the least bit intimidating. Were/am I able to afford both of these radios I also would be able to afford and probably would build another desktop based on an AMD processor to have more than 4 cores/8 threads without having to spend huge amounts for the motherboard/CPU combination. I would use one of the new NVidia GEForce RTX 3080 or 3090 graphics cards -to offload some of the signal processing weight from the CPU..... I have been studying some of the FFT magic and other things that can be done with FPGA's as well from online sources although as long as I have been out of school and away from higher order math some is a bit hard going. From your post I am respectfully assuming you probably have had both radios on the bench where you could do an A/B comparison or at the least have owned both but possibly at different times.... Still have not purchased anything. Maybe next year......many thanks for the kindness of sharing your thoughts.

  5. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Elad works really well, very little delay through the radio standalone and its a very high quality piece.
    8 to 10 watts max, no antenna tuner, and a bit of a power hog.
    The KX2 or KX3 are both very good radios for in the field, not so great at home.
    I thought the KX2 was the coolest thing, its so small and well thought out.
    The Elad is sort of the delux radio, GREAT fidelity, great filters, if you don't expect it to do anything fancy its good.
    Park it on CW and operate, its fine, but jumping around bands or modes or changing settings quickly is not its strong point.

    If I was going to operate portable/SOTA I would pick the G90 or the KX2.
    The G90 is twice the power, half the cost, has a nice (but small) display/bandscope and the antenna tuner is just as good
    as the Elecraft ones.
    You can likely pick up a used G90 for under $400.00. Half the price of a used Elad or Elecraft.
    The KX2 is very small, light and efficient.

    Another one to consider is the Xiegu X5105, built in tuner and battery.
    I have not had one of those but it seems to get good reviews.

    There are others, but I would want a good built in tuner that allows tossing up any kind of wire antenna and getting a match
    without another thing to carry/hook up.
    KF4VAR likes this.
  6. KF4VAR

    KF4VAR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks very much for the evaluation. I really appreciate opinions on the different radios. I like the looks of the FDM Duo. Where I live probably most of my work is going to be done portable at least for now. I agree with you about the nicety of a builtin tuner, around here with portable work one less thing to carry can make a big difference. I also probably am going to end up using whatever radio that I run portable with at home as well. The main thing that attracts me to the FDM Duo is hearing what others say on their user forum. Seems like the receive portion of the DUO is really excellent and having viewed what can be done with it when hooked to a computer impressed me. The G90 is an interesting radio and one I am considering. From appearances it looks more rugged than the Duo is. Heavier, more powerful and I wonder about Rx in high noise conditions and dynamic range. Neither the Xiegu nor the Duo are on the Sherwood radio list although I exchanged e mails with him about the Duo. Another radio thats interesting is the Lab599 TX 500 although Sherwood did an eval on it and it placed pretty far down the list. I would like to talk to someone that has used either one of the Xiegus or the TX 500 in noisy urban environments to see how they fare. I have asked people on the Duo users group about that type of situation and they say that aside from being next door to an HF broadcast station, its not a problem or at least thats what I inferred. Sherwood's list isnt to me anyway, a final decider but it is a starting point.I want an Apache Labs for a home radio but getting one and a portable arent in the budget right now. Looks like its going to be after the first of the year before I have a radio in any case...getting around to getting one and getting it where I live add considerably to the complication.

    Again many thanks for the kindness of sharing your experience
  7. KF4VAR

    KF4VAR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just realized that I have not liked everyone who contributed to this thread. I started it on Dec 31 st 2019. Wow. Living in Ecuador with the 60% duty on anything amateur radio makes things difficult particularly when retired and on a limited budget. Way to do it I am told is to fly back to the US, get a radio, stick it in your suit case and fly back. Never having done this but having been told by a number of other expats that you dont get charged duty for one item in a suitcase I probably am going to try this but now, looks like in February..... Again many thanks for the kindness of sharing what you know.
  8. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    For what the Elad goes for, you can get the G90 and the new GSOC screen/processor and have money left over.
    That gets you 20 watts, a band scope (a little one on the G90 itself, a BIG one on the GSOC, a great built in tuner, mouse control, keyboard support,
    touch screen, and lots more free upgrades in the future.

    I found the computer interface with the Elad to be useless other than as a receiver for swl type work.
    The delay through the USB ports was excessive for operating the radio.
    At best its a band scope (which is nice and useful) but leaves a LOT off the table due to all the delay.
    The Duo would be SO nice if it had an ethernet interface with the computer and they really added the transmit stuff to the software.
    The radio itself does not have enough buttons and knobs, the software side is useless because of the delay and missing (or hidden) TX stuff.
    The Duo does not even have a band button, or a band up or down button.
    The Duo has 3 knobs and 6 buttons, the G90 has 3 knobs and 17 buttons, including band up and down, and mode up and down, plus 25 on the microphone including each ham band.

    Performance on the Duo is better, its a direct sample 16 bit radio with band pass filters in front I think.
  9. KF4VAR

    KF4VAR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Brief reply here. Been a killer day, 20 Km in the mountains on the bike, then bike shop to replace rear wheel bearings then a huge update on Manjaro Linux when I did finally get back to the house..... I have both the GSOC and the G90 io groups I am a member of and have been keeping up with what goes on with that radio. I am impressed with both the GSOC and the G90 although the GSOC seems to be still in early development phase- someone on the GSOC forum was complaining today their delivery had been delayed by a product recall from wonders about whats going to happen with existing beta users if the recall was for a hardware vs firmware change....will Xiegu change their beta units out......

    For the money the G90 is pretty impressive. Since I will be using whatever I buy for both portable and home ops, I do wonder how the G90 will fare in a high urban noise environment. Would really like to know how effective is NR/NB on the RX.

    Also couldn't agree more with you about an Ethernet connection for the Duo. I have read a number of things about USB latency and the problems it can create with that radio. I anticipate using the Duo (if thats what I get )not only with their software but also want to try my hand at building some signal chains with GNURadio as well-- from what I read that requires moving a LOT of data back and forth from the computer to the radio. Also from what I read the Apache Labs radios' software suite is built either in part or completely open source and some of its based on GNURadio but the Apaches use Ethernet. I want an Apache 7000 (without the internal computer) for a shack or home radio and something different for portable. The G90 might fill the bill until I could manage to get a 7000. The GSOC is impressive from what little I have seen of it. What I have NOT been able to find is a block diagram of the G90, would be interesting to see how its put together.
    pretty good review here-also some not bad at all Rx it is an SDR where their other models are not. I wonder if it has I/Q out (Jesus I got to go to bed its almost 2 AM) and I am going to look for the instruction manual tomorrow online to see pinouts. Have you or do you use the G90? Just looking at the review I linked as I am writing its an impressive radio for the money but as they state not something you want to hook to an amplifier. Still not bad.

    Regards & 73. Thanks for the suggestion. We are thinking along similar lines
  10. KF4VAR

    KF4VAR Ham Member QRZ Page

    found out today that the G90 has a noise blanker but no noise reduction per se --at least with the current firmware. Also found out that the radio has I/Q output, something that really surprised me.

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