Monday, December 25, 2017

The SDRPlay RSP1A: A Closer Look

After I had done my first test of the RSP1A I realised that the comparison I did was rather unfair. The SDR was connected to a cheap laptop, and cheap laptops usually have awful audio cards. Especially in comparison with the Cakewalk UA-16 I use on my main PC! So I moved the radio to the main PC and decided to do another test.

This time, I recorded 20 seconds of audio from a very weak KONP 1450 kHz to the RSP1A, the Cloud-IQ and the Perseus (Jaguar software).

So you can listen for yourselves. Sorry that the line level of the Perseus came up a bit louder than the other two. The sequence is: 20 seconds RSP1A, 20 seconds Cloud-IQ and 20 seconds Perseus/Jaguar.  Software used with RSP1A and Cloud-IQ was SDR Console V3, USB mode, 2.8 kHz bandwidth (Perseus 3.2). The audio is recorded today at 12:30:00 to 12:30:20 UTC.

Apart from this, I have compared the RSP1A to the Cloud-IQ on various frequency ranges, various software (HDSDR and SDR Console V3), but only with the 2,048 kHz bandwidth. It does in fact fare well.

Below are the RSP1A (left) and Cloud-IQ when connected to a 500-metre, 50-degrees beverage (the Asia-Pacific antenna).

Friday, December 22, 2017

New Toy: SDRPlay RSP1A

First 10 minutes of use: Not bad for USD 100. Setup was ok, I chose to use HDSDR and when default setup was chosen, it was up and running. I needed to push LNA all the way up (which turned out to be UP towards zero!) for best sensitivity though.

Speaking of which: Not at the Perseus level, but not too far behind. Here's an audio file from KLAM Cordova Alaska 1450 with a relatively strong interfering signal on 1449. RSP1A is set up with USB, 2.7 kHz bandwidth. The Perseus is also set up with USB, but 3 kHz bandwidth. Antenna: 340 meters long beverage directed towards western North America. When I tested on KHKA Honolulu 1500 (below), the difference in sensitivity was noticeable with KHKA having audio and being partly readable on the Perseus. The RSP1A could only barely hear audio.

For sure not an SDR to replace the Perseus-grade SDRs. The price-performance ratio is good though.

More as it happens.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

QSL: JOEO RCC, Fukuyama 1530

This 1-kW relay of JOER 1350 was heard with a good signal in September 2016. I sent a report in April and received a QSL card today.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

QSL: Hokkaido Hoso, JOQN/JOQS/JOTN Kitami/Nemuro/Tomakomai 801, JOTL Nayoro 1494

During October I was able to log the missing frequencies for HBC. 801 with 100-watt relays was a bit tricky while the 1-kW 1494 relay is easier to hear, although JOYR RSK is the dominant there. In addition to QSL cards I also received a personal letter from the Programming Manager. Hokkaido QSL #25.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

QSL: JOPN/JOPM Yamaguchi Hoso, Iwakuni/Shimonoseki 918

JOEF Yamagata Hoso tends to dominate 918 during good conditions to Japan. One evening in October, Yamaguchi Hoso did surface, and let off a "KRY" ID just as YBC was holding its breath. QSL card and schedule received today. All three frequencies (765, 918 and 1485) now confirmed. Those on 918 are both 1 kW.

QSL: KFLN Baker MT 960

This Real Country station was heard a few days ago. The last time I heard KFLN, in 2015, I didn't receive any response, but today I did. CFAC was weak for a change.

Friday, December 15, 2017

QSL: KCTE Independence MO 1510

"ESPN Kansas City" was heard one fine night in November with a very good signal. A quick Facebook response this afternoon confirmed my Missouri station #20. Thanks Ole.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

QSL: Radio Kiribati, Kiritimati/Christmas Island, 846

I have been chasing this new Radio Kiribati outlet since I read that they had started transmissions on November 25. Finally I found a rather weak signal in parallel, but with significant audio delay, with their much stronger 1440 station. The NHK signal on 846 wasn't too strong at the time, and the multiple Chinese stations were absent, so I was able to make a decent recording which was confirmed.

Radio Kiribati has used 846 before, but this station is new and located a staggering 3300 km away from the capital Tarawa. It's 10 kW and built to serve the Line Islands and their 9000 population.  Their Facebook story about the new transmitter is here. Kiribati is a long, long country...
MW station #120 from the Pacific.

Friday, December 08, 2017

QSL: JO__ NHK-1 Morioka relay, Yamada 1323

This 1-kW relay station of NHK-1 Morioka was heard in October with a fair signal. Friendly letter received today.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

QSL: KSJK Talent OR, 1230

KSJK has been heard before, but at the time no reply. It was heard again this autumn though, and Ole Forr found a kind person who confirmed his report - and then confirmed mine! Talent is a small town mid-way between the larger cities Ashland and Medford, which are likely the main markets.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

QSL: KXET Mt. Angel OR, 1130

Russian is not a common language to observe on North American radio stations, but there are a few. Like KXET, licensed to the small town of Mt. Angel, but with a potent 25 kW daytime signal directed north-east, profiled as Slavic Family Radio. Owned by Bustos Media, who confirmed my report today. Thanks OJS for info.

QSL: Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, Honiara 1035

I heard SIBC briefly many years ago, but at the time only by comparing audio with its 5020 kHz outlet.

In October 2017, the signal was quite good, although mostly under the Newstalk ZB Wellington signal. A reference to their web page secured a proper ID, and a friendly email a couple of weeks ago secured my 13th Pacific country on MW.

SIBC returned to Kongsfjord in early November with another good signal.