Thinking of buying SDRplay. Anything else I should consider?

Discussion in 'Software Defined Radio (SDR)' started by W4MJZ, Feb 5, 2019.

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  1. KD9NKJ

    KD9NKJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    My initial thought was to purchase only the RSP1a. I opted however to spend the extra money and purchased the RSPplay Duo and boy was I glad I did. Especially now since discovering the MFJ-1708sdr RF switch. I'm quickly seeing the advantages of having two waterfalls working simultaneously on 40 and 20 meters. Talk about a game changer when it comes to contesting. For the money, the RSPPlay Duo is well worth it. You won't regret purchasing one. I'm really hoping to get my general class soon so I myself can take advantage of my RSPplay Duo's full potential.
  2. AF7XT

    AF7XT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thinking of buying SDRplay. Anything else I should consider?

    A good IPA?
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  3. KD9NKJ

    KD9NKJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are many things to make note of, yes. One is that when you buy one, note the antenna connections are the smaller N type connections. So be aware that you'll need to accommodate for those. Also you'll need to get one of those type HDMI cables that have the Hewlett Packard style end on it. That is what is required to plug into the SDR. You'll also need to be aware that only the RSPplay Duo has multiple antenna connections 3. This comes in very useful if you are wanting to hook up more than one antenna. I have a 148' endfed wire antenna, a 20/15/10 meter Yagi, and a 2 meter antenna all connected at once into my RSPplay Duo. I'm able to have multi-band coverage and two waterfall displays operating simultaneously. It's awesome. With it I can see where all the activity is on two complete bands at once.
    1. You will need a fair amount of speed on your computer in order for the SDR to work properly. I have a laptop that has windows 10, and have never had a issue of stalling or locking up the computer.
    2. I would recommend you purchase a MFJ-1708B RF Switch. You'll need one if you intend on ever operating a transmitter near your SDR. The SDR's are sensitive to RF overload and can be ruined by a improperly tuned antenna. Same as in all your other devices. So I recommend you operate through a RF Switching device whenever possible if you are transmitting near the SDR. You will not regret buying one, I assure you. I haven't. You will find that you're going to be learning new features each time you use one. They are simply amazing devices. I can't tell you the amount of fun I've had with mine.
    3. I was just going to purchase the RSPPlay1a, but I went ahead and purchased the RSPPlay Duo instead. I don't believe I could have made a better purchase. Again, I say enough. You'll be glad you got one trust me. If you are a contester, the Duo is a must. Just saying. Good luck with your purchase, whichever way you go. Remember, you'll have every band available to you where receiving goes lower and upper sideband. So you may wish to get a multi-band antenna that will allow you to receive on one antenna connection for each. Again, good luck and 73.
  4. KX4OM

    KX4OM Ham Member QRZ Page

  5. VE7BPB

    VE7BPB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Those small N-type connectors are called SMA connectors. Having various adapters will be very useful here.

    The USB cable needs a type B connector on the SDR end and a standard type C on the computer end.

    The SDRPlay RSP2 also has 3 antenna connections.

    regards, Roy
  6. KT1F

    KT1F Ham Member QRZ Page

    I just preordered myself an Airspy HF+ Discovery for $169 which I think is the same price as the RSP2. I'm not sure when I'll get it but based on forum posts etc it sounds like it's not far off.

    I spent some time researching what to get. Of course it depends on your requirements. SDRPlay looks really good but it doesn't have good Linux support which is important to me. The Airspy does and is also great on Windows because I think one of the developers is the author of SDR#.

    The Airspy doesn't have the wide frequency range like the RSP2. It's 500 kHz to 260 MHz with a gap between 31 and 60 MHz. I'm mostly interested in HF so that's good enough for me.

    The Airspy developers seem to be focusing a producing a good clean front end.

    FWIW, I almost bought a HackRF because I'm quite interested in learning at least the basics of digital signal processing using GNU Radio. Michael Ossmann's free video course on YouTube seems really good for this and focuses on the HackRF but I first want a good general purpose receiver and that's not really what the HackRF is. It's more a piece of test equipment / hacking tool. Maybe I'll still be able to play with the Airspy on GNU Radio as a learning tool but I guess I'll mostly be using it with GQRX which as based on GNU Radio.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
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  7. K2NCC

    K2NCC Ham Member QRZ Page

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  8. KT1F

    KT1F Ham Member QRZ Page

    A correction to my post above where I said that the Airspy HF+ does 500 kHz to 260 MHz. I misread the specs. It starts at 500 Hz not 500 kHz !

    Copied from the specs ...
    I thought I would need a SpyVerter to get to VLF but now I know I don't. I think the SpyVerter is really intended for the R2 but I was told that it works well with the HF+ and HF+ Discovery to fill in the gap between 31 and 60 MHz.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2019
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  9. N0YPD

    N0YPD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I started out using the SDR Play 1a,and made another investment and bought the Airspy HF,which is now my favorite SDR. I am using SDR console,and it sure seems to have better filtering and audio than SDR play.JMO.
    N6YWU likes this.
  10. N4UP

    N4UP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I just ordered my third and fourth SDRPlays. First was RSP-1a and worked very well with my HF radio and HDSDR on Windows 7. No antenna switching issues for me as I have it fed from the radio such that it hears on whatever antenna I feed to the radio, including RX antennas. So I can "see" on whatever my TX antenna coax switch is set for, and if I use the radio to select RX antenna it "sees" on whatever my RX antenna switch is set for. Worth it's weight in platinum. I have multiple TX antennas and multiple RX antennas. It "sees" whatever I want it to.

    As a panadapter it is priceless. Makes finding signals very easy. And very easy to tune in RTTY stations. Huge improvement over using MMTTY for that. It works perfectly even though I often run legal limit. No RFI issues at all. Don't need RF sensing "anything" if the radio does the RX-TX switching for you.

    Ordered a RSP-2 and it was dead on arrival. Piece of junk. Maybe just a lemon, but a throw away.

    But then my beloved RSP-1a failed in a recent nearby lightning strike. Radio is fine. Computer is fine. But the RSP-1a is fried. So I have ordered two more, one from HRO and a second directly from the UK. One as replacement, one as spare. Can never have too many of a good thing.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019

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