November sweepstakes brings out the big guns, and some of them were big enough to clobber the diminutive SDR receiver. Clearly, a sense of magnitude is needed, when dealing with hardware that costs less than a salad dinner for two at our favorite fast food restaurant. There are signals that I can hear on my Ten Tec Omni, that never show up in the waterfall of the SDR. Generally, those signals are not 100% copyable on the Omni. When you factor in real-world conditions, an S3 or S4 noise floor, and the like, the difference between the two radios diminishes. When you figure that most of your rag-chew QSOs will entertain signals like S5, S7, or “twenty DB over S9” – the difference is reduced even more. In the case of the SDR, the Linrad software filters can be put to use to mediate some problems brought on by low parts-count radios. Considering the cost of that dinner-for-two, what have I lost? There’s not much lost, but plenty gained, in terms of having a first-look at SDR. Better spent money than buying a book.
Stay tuned, let’s see what else it can do.