A $60 digital HF SDR transceiver that delivers great performance
There’s a common stereotype which claims that radio is the kind of hobby that’s meant solely for those who have enough cash in their pockets. And even though it may have been true a decade ago, these days it’s not as accurate as it used to be. The appearance of cheaper microcontrollers and signal generators changed things quite a bit. So now you can easily find things like a $60 QDX from QRP Labs. This one really gives you the best combination of price and quality on the market. You can find a ton more details in the videos available on the net.
QDX was created by Hans Summers. He is largely known for devising incredibly accessible and performant amateur radio kits. These are aiming at lower power transmission – it’s widely known as QRP in the ham radio reality. So what does it stand for? Generally speaking, it’s a four band (20, 30, 40, 80 m) software defined radio (SDR) that easily fits into your pocket. It’s devised to be actively used with some of the most widely used digital radio modes. We’re talking FT8 and JS8Call. Furthermore, any other FSK based mode such as RTTY. It’s also important to mention that it works on 60 m as well – tested and proven.
It’s a commonly known fact that most classic radios will need to be connected to a PC via dedicated hardware interfaces. Still, the QDX is different as it connects to the PC via a simple USB cable (quite convenient indeed). The QDX handles the CAT control, PTT and Audio, and the best thing about it is the fact that no special interface is required to run it in the first place. Still, despite the fact that the radio is a plug and play one, any maintenance, configuration or testing will be carried out by connecting to the serial console that’s uniquely designed for QDX. It comes with a text-based waterfall, among other things. Those wishing to run their personal SDR receiver need to keep in mind that the I/Q output can be sent straight via the sound card. One could only exclaim – sign me up!
Unfortunately, the QDX is out of stock right now – all because the global chip shortages triggered by the pandemic. It’s hard to tell when the shipping will be renewed. While they’re looking for the chips right now, the entire world and their mum are doing the exact same thing as well.