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I haven’t been active on the blog lately. But that doesn’t mean i was not active with the radio. Lately i haven’t made a lot of QSO’s, i’ve been busy with everything to do with shortwave listening.

A couple of things i want to talk about. I guess i will do this in separate posts because it will make this post way too long when i explain everything in just one article.

03-07-2015 8.27.51 AMFirst things first. I got a new RTL-SDR adapter. This adapter comes from a special website (link behind the image) where they sell all kinds of medicine for stress and pain relief, sexual health, urinary tract, vitamins and they also sell RTL adapters and up-converters… I was very suspicious about sending my money there, but good reviews on my favorite Facebook group made me bite the bullet and take the chance to lose 15 euros if everything is a scam. Well, it wasn’t.

The adapter is one of those pre-prepared adapters for direct sampling. Direct sampling is a hardware trick to make the adapter listen below the 24MHz limit these adapters have. And because i spend a lot of time listening on the shortwave bands i thought i’d give it a shot realizing i could not expect too much from an adapter that is built for 800-900MHz.

My experiences so far are mixed. The adapter contains an oscillator chip to keep the frequency stable and only this chip is already worth the 15 euros. The adapter is spot on frequency where famous and well-praised NooElec adapter is more or less off frequency depending which mode you use and where you are on the band. The farmacy-shop-adapter is perfect!

03-07-2015 8.51.04 AM

I get the feeling i have a much lower noise floor and less internal noise in the adapter. I replaced the NooElec with the OEM adapter and my waterfall is much more quite where actual signals stand out where with the NooElec i need to search between the spikes for useable signals.

 

03-07-2015 8.55.54 AM

As for the direct sampling feature i am still not sure if i do something wrong or if the adapter is much worse then i expected. Using SDR# which is the de-facto software for experimenting with this i only get noise and spikes, no readable signals. Now, on the website, the seller mentions two soldering pads to connect a long wire antenna to the adapter to use the Q-branch of the adapter. It might be that that is what i have done wrong, because i was assuming that, with the correct driver setup, i would be able to use the MCX connection and hook up any HF antenna. I will have to try the long wire and see what happens.

For the moment i will continue to use this adapter instead of the NooElec one for my HF listening. I have it hooked up to the IF of the TS-590, so i don’t really have the need for direct sampling. I was just curious how it would work. I guess a a story to be continued.