Best SDR?

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JASII

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Slicerwizard (or others),

I am giving some thought to an SDR. What would you suggest? Would something like the $100.00 Airspy Mini and DSD+ be a reasonable choice or would you recommend something else?
 

br0adband

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Considering that most of the "cheap USB TV tuners" from $10-25 can do most of what the vastly more expensive ones can do in terms of being a software controlled receiver (Airspy, SDRplay, HackRF, BladeRF, etc), as stated above it really depends on what you not only need the SDR hardware to do in terms of capabilities but also what you'd want to use those capabilities for.

Make a list of things you absolutely require the SDR hardware to be capable of then it'll be possible to make a decision based on that as you eliminate devices that can't match those necessities. The software support can make a difference as well but I'd say most SDR hardware in use today by most people is capable of supporting devices from the super cheap end (the RTL-based sticks) up to the higher end (HackRF/BladeRF/etc) so that alone - the software - won't factor into things nearly as much as the SDR hardware itself will.

Do you need HF/MW/LW/SW reception in the ~100 kHz to ~25 MHz range or reach higher than ~1.7 GHz? Do you need more than ~2.5 MHz of visible spectrum at one time? Do you feel like tinkering around with transmitting as an additional feature (the higher end hardware can do that with limited power output typically under 100 mW)? These kinds of questions can help present you with the hardware you'll find appropriate to meet your needs/wants.
 
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slicerwizard

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I use the rtl-sdr dongles as well as Airspy Minis. The antennas that are included with the rt-sdr dongles are great. The Airspys have less noise, so they work better on weak signals. Some images that show up on the rtlsdr dongles aren't present with the Airspys. The Airspys would be more useful if DSD+ would make better use of their wider bandwidth, e.g. if multiple VFOs were implemented.
 

a417

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The antennas that are included with the rt-sdr dongles are great.
Gotta disagree with you there Slicerwizard, the antenna that i've been getting (three different vendors, same antenna) is TERRIBLE. One had no connection in side, second one had no magnet, and all three are deaf as a post. The only thing they're great for is harvesting the connectors off and splicing onto better line & antennae to allow better reception. For $25, a very capable SDR and an (essentially) antenna pigtail is a terrific bagain.

The only real reason I'll spend more money is if I have to TX, or I want to (as previously mentioned) monitor large sections of bandwidth.
 

JASII

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I am interested in getting one to "map" out local DMR systems. Would any of these perform that task adequately?
 

dlwtrunked

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Slicerwizard (or others),

I am giving some thought to an SDR. What would you suggest? Would something like the $100.00 Airspy Mini and DSD+ be a reasonable choice or would you recommend something else?
I have two Airspy, two Mini-Airspy, two SDRplay, and numerous of the cheap dongles. Best(with the Spyverter if you want HF) is the Airspy, with the Mini-Airspy coming in a close second. Concerning the antenna discussion: people have different standards to compare, mine is "through it away (or keep it for a spare if you ever need it for strong signals". Always remember that for VHF/UHF, antenna height is crucial.
 
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