Soft66LC2- anyone have experience or opinions?

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N2UJZ

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I'm thinking of investing in an SDR to add to my setup and this one seems to fit my limited budget, I want to use it alongside my R75 to hunt signals (mostly ute stuff.) I'm running Windows vista & my soundcard is 96khz. I've been using the SDR-Radio program and with that I usually set it to 150khz waterfall bandwidth but 96khz is perfectly acceptable. There dosen't seem to be a whole lot of info out there about this particular model. The softrock is another SDR in the same price range but they are always out of stock. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Justin (oar9fi)
 

Token

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I'm thinking of investing in an SDR to add to my setup and this one seems to fit my limited budget, I want to use it alongside my R75 to hunt signals (mostly ute stuff.) I'm running Windows vista & my soundcard is 96khz. I've been using the SDR-Radio program and with that I usually set it to 150khz waterfall bandwidth but 96khz is perfectly acceptable. There dosen't seem to be a whole lot of info out there about this particular model. The softrock is another SDR in the same price range but they are always out of stock. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Justin (oar9fi)
With regards to the SoftRock, the web page always shows them out of stock, hit the contact link and ask if one is in stock, more often than not you will be able to get one that way.

Expect to have to upgrade your sound card. The 96 kHz card you have probably has other limitations in addition to the limited bandwidth.

This unit (Soft66LC2) is a sound card based SDR. Sound card based SDRs have several performance limitations not found on DDC SDRs. If you are used to using NetSDRs, SDR-14, SDR-IQs, etc, on SDR-Radio you will NOT get the same performance from a sound card based SDR. If you limit yourself to the soundcard based Ensemble IIs and Softrocks on SDR-Radio then you may see the performance differences and issues.

TANSTAFL, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Sound card SDRs are a real value. Performance and capability that is fair at a very cheap price. 10 years ago such capability would cost maybe thousands of dollars, and can now be had for under $100 USD, about the cost of an entry level portable. But, it is unrealistic to compare them to DDC SDRs costing many times more, so make sure you understand the issues with them before you purchase.

I have not used the Soft66LC2, but I did get ahold of an earlier version of the Soft66. It performed well, about on the order of my SoftRock Ensemble II, pretty much as expected. But, if you can afford the SDR-IQ (or any other non-sound card based SDR) I bet you will find it much more forgiving in use, more trouble free in operation, and require less tweaking to get optimal performance.

T!
 

N2UJZ

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Hi Token. of course one of the direct conversion SDRs are going to perform much better than one that uses the soundcard, and I would love to have something like an SDR-IQ. However, the IQ sells for >$500 while the soft66 is only $118 assembled with a case. I can afford that for sure. When I asked about the soft66LC2 in IRC scansweden said thad he had one but hadn't tried it yet, so maybe he'll get it hooked up & give me an idea as to it's performance. The softrocks online in SDR-Radio definitely have nore noise issues but they're still useable. One thing I'm a bit concerned about is setting up/configuring the radio. The guy selling them dosen't seem to speak much english so I doubt it comes with detailed instructions, but it looks like he's sold a good number of them from his feedback on ebay so if people were having problems I would expect to see it posted somewhere. I'll wait until I hear from a few folks who've tried one before I take the plunge but for now it looks like a pretty good bang to buck ratio. -Justin
 

Token

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If you want a less expensive sound card based SDR that might be better supported by the software out there you might want to look closer at the Softrock Ensemble II. As I said before, hit the contact button on the web site, I bet they are in stock despite what the web site says. Also, if building is not your thing sometimes, I say again sometimes, Tony will provide a built version, if asked, for a small premium. I do not know for sure what he is charging these days but the last one I heard about was about $85 USD built and tested. This did not include a box, but was a functioning unit.

While I am not a fan of the sound card based SDRs I absolutely have to admit they are a LOT of performance for the buck.

T!
 

surfsup28

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Hey guys, i actually have one of these units and they perform really well. But in saying that i have not actually owned any others. But for the money and the size, i think, its a very good performing and a sensitive SDR without the use of an amplifier, as long as you use a decsent antenna. I have found that it likes some antennas better than others.It also works well with many of the variations of software that you can download, but works best with the HDSDR and or SDR console. Even though some aren't directly compatible with the radio they still work with most of the features..
Unfortunately im not that technical but overall, its a well performing full HF radio.
 

N2UJZ

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I've had the radio for a few weeks now & I'm pretty happy with it. I wouldn't want it as my main receiver, but I like it (I mostly use it to "hunt"for signals then use my R75 to listen.) It does have its problems. There are quite a few birdies & there's a local MW station that shows up in quite a few places (in the center of the waterfall) so I'm going to put a hi-pass filter on. It took a bit of fiddling to get the skew calibration just right, but thats probably with any soundcard SDR. The same with the RF gain (the little blue pot. next to the antenna jack) I had it too high & I was hearing 3843 hams on 4778. Like any radio in it's price range, it's a compromise. I'm happy with it though. I use it with HDSDR. There is a file here (Soft66ADH software defined radio plugin for WinRad) that will let you control the radio directly with HDSDR, Winrad, & a few others so you don't have to keep the frequency control window on top. You need the one for the Soft66ADD for the LC2 73 -Justin
 
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