Figure 1: A salad dinner for two priced SDR radio requires some sense of magnitude
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 either.
When you factor in real-world conditions, and an S3 or S4 noise floor, 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. I think it’s better spent money than buying a book. Yet – when I want a relaxing QSO, I’ll turn on the Corsair or the Omni. Enough said.
Stay tuned, let’s see what else it can do …