Thursday, June 15, 2017

ColibriNANO - A Few More Impressions

"Premature" is indeed making up opinions about a radio without even having plugged an antenna into it.  But it will have to wait another week. I've had the opportunity to play with software though, and make some notes.

The installation problem seems to be resolved, and only affected the first or so batch of receivers with serial numbers not programmed into the receiver's EEPROM. I have since connected the Nano to other PCs with no problems at all. The fate of the early adaptor, I guess.

I haven't found info on power consumption, but it does run off a USB 2.0 port, so it must be lower than 450-500 mA. This makes it a good candidate for field or remote operation using battery power. A tested and working setup is Intel NUC + SDR + hard drive powered by a 12V battery.

I do have to commend on the apparent build quality of the Nano. It's aluminium, tight, feels heavy (as heavy as 43 grams can feel) and looks "expensive". Because of the weight, it might be an idea to use a short USB extension cable to reduce strain to the PC's USB port.

The ExpertSDR2 software does have its shortcomings, said to be addressed later this year. HDSDR is the best (and indeed a very good) alternative right now, except there is a 60 dB signal reading error. There is support for SDR# too, but only for version 1005 which is rather old.

So we'll see after I've had the chance to listen to real signals, and measure its sensitivity. I do like the concept though. Pocket receiver redefined.
Photo: Expert Electronics

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