Sunday 16 May 2010

Revisiting DRM

Today the amateur bands didn't seem in very good shape, but I had some radio time. I fired up my old Kenwood R1000 receiver, dug out an old usb external soundcard and did some listening to DRM shortwave broadcasts once I has loaded the DRM "Dream" software onto my main PC.

There are still quite a few DRM broadcasts to be found, I received DRM for four or five different broadcasters today. The sound obtained from DRM is at its worst similar to perhaps mono sound via the internet and at best almost as good as an FM stereo broadcast. The problem is though that you need a very strong signal S9+20Db at minimum to get a readable signal from DRM, or at least that is the case using my elderly modified receiver.

This has brought me round to thinking about SDR radios. I mentioned in an earlier entry how a local amateur friend recently purchased a flex radio transceiver. I have briefly seen it in operation and the receive side sounded very good, with its filtering and good interference rejection. Of course such a device is very expensive and personally I would rather my main equipment is capable of being manually operated, I don't want to have to always have my PC running. An SDR receiver sounds appealing, particularly as I still do quite a bit of shortwave listening but again this is a very expensive proposition. So when another local amateur told me of the Elektor SDR radio which he was buying I was very interested. The Elektor is basically a populated board with all components installed  but no casing. My amateur friend has just received his and is in the proccess of setting it up and testing it out. When it is up and running I am hoping to see it in action. if it is any good it will be very tempting at the asking price when you compare it to the other SDRs on the market.

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