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Thread: Airspy SDR

  1. #1
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    Default Airspy SDR

    We have mentioned the forthcoming Airspy SDR, which while based on the RTL dongles we love so much, is a much more robust receiver capable of displaying 10 MHz of spectrum simultaneously anywhere between 24-1750 MHz. There is more information now available at http://www.airspy.com . Register if you are interested, please, as the more people that express an interest in purchasing there are the less expensive the device may be. As it stands now the target range for pricing is between $99 and $149.

    Apparently preliminary testing by the beta team has yielded amazingly good results, with reportedly 8 MHz of spectrum being alias and image free, which is an inherent problem with SDR's given their lack of front end filtering. I'm sure everyone's mileage will vary with this given so many different types of RF environments, but it is encouraging. The person taking the lead in this project is also the author of SDRSharp, incidentally.

    This will be a USB 2.0 device and will run "out of the box" with SDRSharp software. I expect it'll run with SDR-Radio as well and it's all ready to go with gnuradio, gqrx, osmocom-sdr, etc. in Linux.

    If you're interested, please register and let them know! Thanks.
    Scott - Scan New England Webmaster

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    I've been holding out for a HackRF but I'd grab one of these to play with.

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    Has anyone received any communications after registering? They said they'd be ready in a month back in March.
    Luie
    Capital Region, CT

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    These small market products seem in general to take a lot longer than they're reported to. I know from following their Twitter feed that it is "close". But that said no timeframe. It was suggested in another forum that projects like this in general are not attractive to the companies that manufacture components because the volume of components is initially a lot lower than the larger electronics etc. companies they're dealing with. Apparently if this is correct information it causes such projects to be "back burnered" by the big guys in favor of other big guys.

    Case and point, I waited nearly 6 months to get Nuand's XB-200 HF/VHF transverter for my bladeRF. It seems to have been worth the wait though as preliminary performance seems excellent. Many people have been waiting for the HackRF for over a year. It is close to shipping finally. I have one on order as well and I've only been waiting since late June. I'll order an Airspy as well as it will serve well as a portable SDR whereas the other two are better suited to stay home, especially the BladeRF which still does not have a proper case to house both the main board and the transverter.
    Scott - Scan New England Webmaster

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    Meant to provide an update. As of 8/2 they are close to the first 500 being available. I think I'm somewhere within the first 500 that expressed interest so I'll keep you posted. Announcement was made on http://www.airspy.com .
    Scott - Scan New England Webmaster

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    I should be somewhere in there too.
    I'll post if I get a notice.

    Jon

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    Pre-orders for the Airspy are now being taken at the iTead Studios website. The final cost is $199, shipping options are either $3 for registered mail or $26 for DHL. I stumbled on it this morning during a check of the iTead website, and about an hour after that the "official" announcement was made. I placed the 37th order for one. They are slated to be shipped in mid-November and of course will be out-of-the-box compatible with SDR#, with support from SDR-Console and hopefully UniTrunker forthcoming.
    Scott - Scan New England Webmaster

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    I waited too long, they are all sold out. Hopefully there will be a second batch made. With my new antenna, a decent computer, and improved software I've been able to copy a lot of DMR traffic and even some NXDN. I'm really getting into this SDR stuff.
    Now if only a Unitrunker like product for DMR will come out, but I digress.
    We're peace loving people, we're not hunting trouble, but if trouble should find us, we'll stand up and fight.

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    I have one on order and I'll provide a full report when I put it through its paces.

    That said, it "appeared" to me that the forthcoming version of DSD+ has trunk following capability. There is a link in the DSD+ Status thread at RR that showed some pretty interesting video; you might want to check it out.
    Scott - Scan New England Webmaster

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    I'll definitely take a look at that thread.

    Now I'll have to figure out how to get two dongles working at the same time without crashing the computer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott SNE Webmaster View Post
    I have one on order and I'll provide a full report when I put it through its paces.

    That said, it "appeared" to me that the forthcoming version of DSD+ has trunk following capability. There is a link in the DSD+ Status thread at RR that showed some pretty interesting video; you might want to check it out.
    We're peace loving people, we're not hunting trouble, but if trouble should find us, we'll stand up and fight.

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    There's a utility that allows for changing the serial #'s of RTL dongles so they don't have a potential "clash". Off the top of my head we may have discussed it here. You may also be able to find it at www.rtl-sdr.com. I may have it somewhere; it's been a long time since I've done it, but it was relatively easy, command window command line program.
    Scott - Scan New England Webmaster

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    I have two different brands, but they might be the same only different cases. This happened when I was trying to use Unitrunker early in the year. I stopped working with SDR until I could get the new antenna up. I looked at the DSD+ thread and the upcoming version looks like it will be very nice. Being able to lock out talk groups, if that ends up being supported will make trying to track TGs much easier. Right now about half of what I hear on the ICE system is AAA traffic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott SNE Webmaster View Post
    There's a utility that allows for changing the serial #'s of RTL dongles so they don't have a potential "clash". Off the top of my head we may have discussed it here. You may also be able to find it at www.rtl-sdr.com. I may have it somewhere; it's been a long time since I've done it, but it was relatively easy, command window command line program.
    We're peace loving people, we're not hunting trouble, but if trouble should find us, we'll stand up and fight.

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    Ordered on today. They anticipate mid December shipping. Now I really need to start learning the various software out there.
    Last edited by garys; 12-04-2014 at 21:45.
    We're peace loving people, we're not hunting trouble, but if trouble should find us, we'll stand up and fight.

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    Received my Airspy today. It didn't ship until after the first of the year, but I wasn't in a real hurry anyway.
    Set up took a bit, but I figured it out after playing around with the settings and THEN reading the manual.
    I need to get a decent Type F to SMA adapter as I have too many adapters in line right now.
    I'm actually seeing some different data being displayed in DSD+ and I'll post a sample of the txt file in the DMR thread.
    We're peace loving people, we're not hunting trouble, but if trouble should find us, we'll stand up and fight.

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    Reading manuals sucks. Interested in what software you're using the Airspy with. SDR-Console is my favorite, and for sending audio to DSD+ it's as easy as using FMW with 10 KHz of bandwidth, dumped out via Virtual Audio Cable. I actually use this mode all of the time, and send the audio through VAC to KGTone, which not only decodes CTCSS and DCS tones very nicely, but also decodes the received audio and actually does a fine job making it sound like a narrow FM signal. All of this software is free. Once you learn the advantages of Airspy's decimation features you'll start to see that it offers significant bang for the buck. It is by far my favorite VHF and higher SDR yet.
    Scott - Scan New England Webmaster

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    Quote Originally Posted by garys View Post
    I need to get a decent Type F to SMA adapter as I have too many adapters in line right now.
    You Do It has them all. I've gotten a bunch of various adapters there, even ones you didn't think existed.
    CLYDE - N1BHH - A KNOW-CODE AMATEUR RADIO OPERATOR / WQLF416 - GMRS
    Pro94 Pro106 Pro164 Pro197 Pro2006 Pro2015 Pro2021 Pro2055
    Yaesu's FT60R, FT2900R, FT8000R & FT8800R, Icom IC735, Motorola MTX9250 (900 MHz.)

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    Scott and garys (and anybody else who has purchased an Airspy),

    Now that you've had 1+ month to work with these things, what's the verdict? Are they worth the investment?

    I feel like I have at least a couple of months worth of experimentation left on my RTL-SDR dongles and some of the advanced features of my BCD396XT. But if the Airspy is truly a life-altering experience, then I would consider diving in. The fact that I haven't seen much posted about the Airspy makes me think that maybe it's not worth purchasing immediately.

    73.
    Bruce
    Burlington, MA

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    It all depends on what you want to do. I've had really good results using mine. There is a learning curve and I haven't been able to spend time on it for a few weeks, but it's much better than a RTL-SDR dongle. I've been concentrating on figuring out talk groups on some DMR trunked systems and the lack of software that will decode the data and process the audio makes that a chore.

    I've also been busy with work, snow, using my new 536HP, more snow, and other things. I plan to get back to using the SDR this weeks sometime. I hope that DSD+ 1.60 will come out soon and that maybe someone will make a Unitrunker like app that will include DMR. Maybe even the Unitrunker developer.

    Whether or not it's worth the money is up to you. One thing to consider is that if demand tapers off, there may not be more production runs.

    Quote Originally Posted by bfrederi View Post
    Scott and garys (and anybody else who has purchased an Airspy),

    Now that you've had 1+ month to work with these things, what's the verdict? Are they worth the investment?

    I feel like I have at least a couple of months worth of experimentation left on my RTL-SDR dongles and some of the advanced features of my BCD396XT. But if the Airspy is truly a life-altering experience, then I would consider diving in. The fact that I haven't seen much posted about the Airspy makes me think that maybe it's not worth purchasing immediately.

    73.
    We're peace loving people, we're not hunting trouble, but if trouble should find us, we'll stand up and fight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by garys View Post
    I've had really good results using mine.... it's much better than a RTL-SDR dongle.
    Thanks. Those are the key points I was looking for. The lack of chatter was making me think that maybe people were disappointed with the results they were getting. I've been using the 2 MHz-wide SDR# spectrum display on the dongles a lot in searching for frequencies, and the promise of a much wider display is very appealing. If the Airspy is more stable and more sensitive as well, all the better.

    Thanks for the feedback.
    Bruce
    Burlington, MA

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    For the price I absolutely love mine. One of the keys to making it work here for me was to buy a Par Electronics filter for a 152 MHz paging system that was throwing spurious images all over the place. I am very pleased with its performance. I find myself using SDR# far more than SDR Console these days with it though, largely due to the volume of plug-ins for that software. It is FAR superior to the RTL dongle, although they are still fun to use and definitely have their niche.

    One caution with the Airspy, if you need to be disconnecting/reconnecting it regularly, do it at a point other than at the actual mini-USB connection on the device itself. There have been reports that they have on occasion failed, which means they have to take a trip back to China for repair. Also, if you're a ham or using any two way radio be sure to not transmit too close to the device; overly strong signals can croak it. I use mine for watching spectrum all over the place to include low band skip, tropospheric ducting in the VHF/UHF bands, watching the majority of the VHF federal spectrum all at once, etc. Of course the narrower the bandwidth, the better results, but it works fine at 10 MHz for me in certain applications, although it truly shows only 9 MHz as it rolls off at either end.

    A very nifty tool and well worth the $199.
    Scott - Scan New England Webmaster

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    Thanks Scott.

    Sounds like I need to re-prioritize my discretionary spending. Appreciate the helpful feedback.

    B.



    Quote Originally Posted by Scott SNE Webmaster View Post
    For the price I absolutely love mine. One of the keys to making it work here for me was to buy a Par Electronics filter for a 152 MHz paging system that was throwing spurious images all over the place. I am very pleased with its performance. I find myself using SDR# far more than SDR Console these days with it though, largely due to the volume of plug-ins for that software. It is FAR superior to the RTL dongle, although they are still fun to use and definitely have their niche.

    One caution with the Airspy, if you need to be disconnecting/reconnecting it regularly, do it at a point other than at the actual mini-USB connection on the device itself. There have been reports that they have on occasion failed, which means they have to take a trip back to China for repair. Also, if you're a ham or using any two way radio be sure to not transmit too close to the device; overly strong signals can croak it. I use mine for watching spectrum all over the place to include low band skip, tropospheric ducting in the VHF/UHF bands, watching the majority of the VHF federal spectrum all at once, etc. Of course the narrower the bandwidth, the better results, but it works fine at 10 MHz for me in certain applications, although it truly shows only 9 MHz as it rolls off at either end.

    A very nifty tool and well worth the $199.
    Bruce
    Burlington, MA

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    There are also reports via the Airspy YahooGroup of a "little brother" to Airspy, dongle-style, with 6 MHz of bandwidth. Similar specs otherwise and retailing somewhere around $100. I'll be on board for that, to be certain. No time frame for release yet, actually no info at the website, but straight from the mouth of the creator.
    Scott - Scan New England Webmaster

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