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HackRF One

HackRF One

RRP: £99
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Also has unofficially developed ExtIO interface allowing it to work with any app supporting ExtIO. For example:

Several programs in code form on GitHub, but not many "plug and play" apps. Designed to be used more with software like GNU Radio. No requirements are given, but we estimate that minimum specs are significantly lower than what is needed by the Airspy. There is also the option to toggle on or off the internal Mirics chip LNA. This is the LNA in the tuner chip, and not the front end LNA which is always on for VHF+ frequencies. Turning this LNA on can help to reduce the noise floor, but also may cause additional imaging problems. You will also need to ensure that you have a high quality high speed USB 2.0 port and controller. Some controllers are known to be buggy and are unable to provide the full required bandwidth. Update your USB drivers if you have issues. IMPORTANT NOTE: Please note that this review is now out of date as the SDRplay RSP line has received significant improvements to their hardware and Airspy have brought out a new SDR that is much better at HF.It seems that the design approach of the Airspy is to optimize for signal linearity and to avoid overloading through natural high dynamic range. The decimation feature allows you to reduce the visible bandwidth while at the same time increasing the visible SNR. This allows you to easily spot and tune into weaker signals.

All three SDR's use a standard SMA connector. Previous versions of the RSP, like the unit we used in this review came with F-Type connectors. We don't like the F-type connector because it is less commonly used in the radio field and it has poorer RF insertion loss properties, so it is good to see that they changed the connector in the newer versions. There were no other changes to the RSP in the upgrade apart from the case and connector, so we believe this change should not significantly affect the review.

Part 1: What is HackRF?

I have 40+ years experience as a ham, SWL, scanner enthusiast, satellite enthusiast so I know what I am talking about. Bandwidth - A larger bandwidth means more signals on the screen at once, and more software decimation (better SNR). The downside is that greater CPU power is needed for higher bandwidths. Initially when writing this review we had deep problems with the imaging of strong signals on the RSP. However, a recent Dec 22 update to the drivers has fixed this imaging problem tremendously. If they ever build and measure the LNA with the PGA103+ they will never write such a statement. But even if they consult the datasheet they would see the the declared higher dynamic range can be achieved just on the higher frequencies, above the frequency range of the R820T tuner (much higher). This myth came from the “copycat” approach where the “designers” are just copying the layout and the declared figures without masuring anything seriously. Most of this LNAs are not even working properly because the builders were so lazy to read the complete documet set like Technical note AN-60-064 regarding the unstability problems. This LNA is not unconditionaly stable below 150MHz thus the Minicircuits release the patch (stabilizing network) at the MMIC input to meet the Rollet factor K over 1. How many PGA103* LNAs have you seen using this patch? Some of the fair designer admits that they have problems with unstability and they did try to solve that problems with the bias coil, but most of the designers does not recognise that problem at all. The MMICs are just smoking after you turn on the desktop light connected to the switched 12V power supply 🙂

The Airspy team write that they sell units mostly to universities, governments and professional RF users. However, they also have a sizable number of amateur users. THAT’S WHY I WENT TO RED PITAYA AND I’M NEVER LEAVING. At least THEY are developing apps –– and REALLY GOOD ONES AT THAT –– to support the Red Pitaya for a FULL UP HF TRANSCEIVER. My plan is to produce an upconverter for Red Pitaya that will allow it to transmit U/VHF, too, longer term. For all destinations outside European Union, all shipments are DDU - Delivered Duty Unpaid. This means that your country's custom service impose a VAT/TVA/Import Duty on your shipment. I am charged VAT ?As the video below shows, receiving downlink signals from Coriolis with the rig wasn’t all that difficult. Even with manually steering the dish, [dereksgc] was able to record a couple of decent passes with SDR#. Making sense of the data from WINDSAT, a passive microwave polarimetric radiometer that’s the main instrument that’s still working on the satellite, was another matter. Decoded with SatDump and massaged with Gimp, the microwave images of Europe are at least recognizable, mostly due to Italy’s distinctive shape. Well, so far initial results on HF are fine, need to do more monitoring on VHF/UHF to determine how well it works. I can recognise a lot of efforts to perform such a detailed test and to write the article but unfortunatelly this test can not bring the real light on the performance of the tested equiment simply because of the method used to perform the comparison. I will not judge about the tested receivers performance, I will try to point out some wrong statements written about the equipment I made (LNA4ALL). The RSP has 8 switched front front end filters that are automatically selected, as well as an adjustable IF filter inside the MSi001 chip which can help to overcome interference from strong in band signals. To use this internal filter the IF bandwidth must be reduced in the RSP configuration screen. This means that when reducing the IF filter size you will see less that 8 MHz. Center DC Spike - A good SDR should have the I/Q parts balanced so that there is no DC spike in the center.

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