What are you using for recievers?

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K2GMZ

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Hi Group, It's been quite a few years since I've done any utility monitoring and looking for some tips on what to look for in a receiver in today's world. I'm a ham so looking to get an HF radio that will serve double duty as a general coverage receiver.

Years ago I had an Yaesu FT-757GXII and seemed do pretty good at picking out tough stations with notch & shift filtering, was into WEFAX, RTTY with my Universal M-400 Decoder, dating myself with that one eh? Still have that M-400 sitting in the closet.

Interested in anything I can listen to except Shortwave broadcasting I've got an Ameco SW pre-selector/amp and a 40ft longwire outside, the only thing missing is the radio at this point. Any suggestions and share experiences would be great, not even sure about what the Utility landscape holds anymore, thanks!
 

ka3jjz

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If it were me, and I had the cash, I would definitely look into Software Defined Radios. We have both a wiki (with lots of links to reviews and more) and a separate forum for this, but if you've got the horsepower in the PC, and don't mind being slaved to a PC, this is the way to go

Sad to say the desktop radio days are all but gone. The Icom R75, Alinco R8T and the Palstar are just about all there is out there. If you want a marriage between SDRs and a desktop, the CR-1a is something to look into. The bells and whistles can be found on the R75 and R8T - the other 2 radios are somewhat basic, but they will do the job. And as you mentioned earlier, many ham transceivers have general coverage receivers, so you get the best of both worlds. That's a route that offers much bang for the buck, if you're into HF hamming as well as Utes.

The digital world has changed drastically in the intervening years. See the link in my sig for various software packages - yep, the real push these days is soundcard decoding. There are LOTS of packages out there...some are free, some not. As we have a seperate forum for HF digital decoding stuff, I'll point you there to get more information - but I will mention that the old M400 will still work fine for WEFAX stuff.

Oh and as for where to go for utility logs and files - here you go...

Utility DXers Forum Home Page

and the Yahoo link that's on that page - you might remember the WUN (Worldwide Utility News) Yahoo group - that's what it evolved to.

Now back to the equipment stuff before I get flamed for being too OT...(links are always blue, by the way)

Software Defined Radios - The RadioReference Wiki

and follow the link in the preamble to the forum

Category:Receiver Reviews - The RadioReference Wiki

That should be more than enough to make you reach for your favorite tuning oil, hi

Mike

[edit] - One more thing - you no doubt know that a better antenna brings better results. We have a separate forum for receive antennas, too. Tell folks more about your setup (restrictions, height, etc.) and let's see if we can't come up with something better.
 
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K2GMZ

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Thanks Mike, Looks like I have my work cut out for me and thank you for the details. I very recently (and momentarily) stuck my toes into the SDR waters with a purchase of a Nooelec SDR and Ham it up upconverter, but my old slow XP machine choked on SDR and sent the who thing back to Amazon as I felt I had to regroup my approach.

I think your spot on with the recommendation of going the SDR route, on all levels it just makes total sense. I want as much flexibility as I can get and SDR offers it. Looks like I have some homework.

Thanks again!
 

ka3jjz

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A lot of times it's memory issues that cause things to boggle down. I'd look into that route first - although laptops are slowly coming down in price. Yes, time to do some homework...Mike
 

k9rzz

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Okay, I'm an old fogie and I admit it. Real radios have knobs! I'll go SDR for the whole band recording capability of the AM BCB band, but other than that, I still gotta recommend desk tops. There's plenty out there on the used market. I currently use the FT-767gx. Kick butt receiver on that.
 

SpectreOZ

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My understanding was that in their natural trim SDR dongles didn't work for the lower frequencies (below 50Mhz) and thus required down convertors and the like, surely with all that conversion going on something gets lost a little with a reduced sensitivity, I've often heard people comment how their SDR's seem a little deaf and equate it directly with the down convertors.
Nope - the Funcube dongle pro needs no downconverters and covers the HF bands in it's 'natural trim' - there's likely others I haven't heard of as yet. And within the world of full fledged desktop SDRs, you have the AFEDRI and Cross Country models. Again, no down converters needed. They're not the Perseus, of course, but they can and do, from what I've read, get the job done.

Mike

[edit] Sorry about that Oz - I fat fingered the editing on your post. I though I hit quote and I didn't. My bad....
 
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