Monday, January 15, 2007

Joining the SDR* club

The 80m SoftRock Lite that I got 2 months ago received its first signals late this afternoon -- to my surprise. I didn't expect it to work without some troubleshooting!

Most of the build was done before Christmas, but I had to steal time to get the toroids wound and installed. One of them sat for 2 weeks on the workbench just waiting for me to turn on the soldering iron. This afternoon I finally did, then decided to keep going by attaching barebones connectors for power, antenna, and line-in.

Downloaded Rocky, attached a telescoping whip, clicked "Start Radio," and scratched my head till I selected the correct line-in settings to get some band noise out of the computer's speakers. Soon after, I was copying W1MK, then some other 1s, some 2s, someone in AZ, and a DX pileup. Very cool.

This $10 radio went together pretty easily without any special equipment beyond that needed for any other radio kit I've put together. It's an incredible bargain, but dangerous... now I'm eyeing the RXTXv6.1 and a Delta 44.

*SDR = software-defined radio

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