Ham Radio Receivers
The Future Is Now!

Choosing one of the many ham radio receivers on the market can be an intimidating experience, especially if you are an aspiring ham or just beginning.

This Page Covers
1. What To Buy
2. SDR Kit
3. HF? VLF-SHF?
4. Moving Up O/S!
4. Soft VS Hard

After all, it's your money that is a stake!

The ham radio receiver you choose should ideally meet your present and future needs .. as well as fit your budget, of course!

As every good ham radio operator, you will listen a lot more than you will transmit. Therefore, your receiver must be up to the task.

What To Buy?

Frankly, I would recommend that your first ... or next amateur radio receiver be a Software Defined Radio (SDR) receiver.

Let me explain.

Your first (or last) communications receiver will have helped you discover what you really want out of a receiver.

Sooner or later, you will end up leafing through online catalogs and roaming the Internet in search of the "ideal receiver".

Might as well choose a receiver that can and will
change as your needs and preferences change
with experience.

What kind of receiver can keep up with you? A Software Defined Radio Receiver (SDR)!

When you buy a SDR receiver from a responsible manufacturer, software upgrades will be free of charge.

Getting Acquainted With SDR

A SDR receiver kit is a great way to acquire experience and knowledge of Software Defined Radios.

The SoftRock Wiki will give you all the introductory information you need to get started. It will also give you access to the current availability status of the SoftRock kits. The latest Softrock Lite II Project is the direct descendant of the hugely popular SoftRock 40.

HF Only Or VLF-SHF?

To keep the cost down, you might want to limit yourself to a HF SDR. But, like every new technology, prices go down fast and what you could not afford eight months to a year ago ... may well have become affordable since then!

I have seen SDR solutions that cover VLF to SHF for only about double the price of a HF SDR!

Keep in mind that a well designed SDR receiver will give you performance approaching that of hardware-only ham radio receivers that cost thousands of dollars more!

Popular SDR Makers
Moving To Better O/S

However, you should be aware that...

  • Most SDR software runs on some flavor of Microsoft Windows™.
  • Microsoft Windows™ was never designed to handle interprocess communications in real-time!
  • Therefore, some of the major ham radio SDR players are working on porting their SDR to the Linux O/S perhaps even on Intel-based Mac OS X. That's the case for the QS1R SDR receiver.

Soft VS Hard Approach

SDR ham radio receivers let you upgrade your radio to include new features as they become available. It's simple. You just download and install the new software version. In almost all cases these upgrades are free of charge!

On the other hand, hardware-only receivers limit you to what you bought and force you to buy the new models to get the extra features you want!

Choosing a SDR ham radio receiver
is the most rewarding choice you can make! :-)


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Author: Claude Jollet - VE2DPE


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