Ah Geez. Play Fair with SDRPlay. And If Some Don’t, Here’s What Can Be Done….

Many of us hams, SWLs, and makers buy inexpensive electronics from China. It’s become a bonanza for small, cheap and surprisingly good radio-related gadgets and parts on eBay and other vendors. I buy a fair amount, most recently a recommended project box for a set of HF bandpass filters I purchased from a small company in Australia. It finally arrived and is superb for a very cheap price!

But there’s a dark side. I love a bargain more than most. But when it’s an illegitimate clone of another genuine manufacturer’s product, that’s no fair. Yep, there’s ways to legitimately copy another design with various hardware licenses and beaucoup software licenses (if that’s relevant to the product). One of the ongoing issues in the Pacific Rim to the rest of the world has been the taking of the intellectual property from others, making a cheaper product offered for sale, and using the trade naming and hardware/software designs of the originating manufacturer. In short, stealing for profit.

So be careful. The fake copies may not work with the latest SDRplay software including SDRuno. There will be no technical support even if you get some limited functionality using out of date software.

Jon Hudson SDRPlay.com

For those in or interested in the SDR receivers available, there are a number of prominent names. I’ve had an Italian Perseus SDR for over a decade. Paid the asking price (a lot by today’s standards). It’s a terrific product although aging in the technology of the design. The SDRPlay company in England has risen to the top in terms of performance, continued innovation and the software they purchased for a free download to their legitimate customers. SDRUno is a terrific software package which they continue to update. They have an API so other software makers (like Simon Brown with SDR Console) can drive the SDR car, too. Their price points are very good and appropriate for the various receiver models they have on the market. A third-party individual has written code for a continually updated package that implements a Spectrum Analyser for most of the SDRPlay receivers. I’ve used an old (no longer in production) RSP1 with it and it’s very cool! And don’t get me started on their tech support and education. Mike Ladd KD2KOG is the Dude on social media for SDRPlay and related products. Mike creates new markets for SDRPlay products by educating hams and listeners on creative new ways to use them.

Individual preferences for one SDR product or another aside, SDRPlay is a legitimate company that plays more than fair in the marketplace. They do a lot to support the various elements of the radio hobby that we all enjoy. We should return that favor so that they can continue without the eroding effects of illegal clones undercutting their market, n’est-ce pas?

In Episode 344 of the ICQ Podcast, we covered a news story about illegal fakes of the RSP-line of SDRPlay receivers being sold through various online sales venues. I made the suggestion that there’s a means for honest members of the amateur radio and SWLing community to help. On both eBay and Amazon (Ed DD5LP pointed out Amazon), there is a simple quick procedure to report fake or illegal clones or deceptive use of trademark identification on items for auction. I actually reported six (6) during the recording of the podcast!

Here’s what you do. I’ll pattern it after Jon Hudson’s blog post at SDRPlay.com that he published after I sent him a note of my statements on the podcast that drops today. It only takes one minute to do.

If you search eBay for the term “sdrplay,” you can get a string of hits returned, some of which are completely legitimate. For instance, SDR-Kits in the UK is a bona fide reseller of SDRPlay receivers (and another really good international seller of VNA and related test equipment!). Some might be individuals offering personal units for sale. But many are effectively selling fake clones. Here’s the first hit I got when I just did this search on eBay. Heck, it’s even a SPONSORED auction!

Clearly, it’s labeled as an SDRplay RSP1A but real owners who have looked at the SDRPlay website will recognize that it is a “black box” clone. Here’s the next step:

Scroll down to the Description of the product and look at the Report Item tab

Once you find the Report Item tab, here are the options you should select to report it as a fake clone in violation of eBay’s stated terms of sale. I’ve added a brief narrative in the Brief Description that gives eBay your claim and the website through which to validate that it’s a clone:

Don’t think that just repeatedly filing a claim on the SAME clone auction is doing even more good. It won’t. It will just slow down the process.

After you click the Submit Report button, your submission will be greeted with the following response:

eBay thanks you for helping it to police all the possible intellectual property violations that it could have on it’s vast set of auction websites!

While this action on your part might appear to be vindictive, it’s not in light of what the nefarious seller is doing to the legitimate amateur radio and SWL marketplace of legitimate products. IF enough of us engage in this public service, it will greatly help eBay and companies like SDRPlay continue to provide legitimate products to the marketplace. It only takes a minute!

Frank Howell, K4FMH, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Mississippi, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

3 Responses to “Ah Geez. Play Fair with SDRPlay. And If Some Don’t, Here’s What Can Be Done….”

  • Bob N8SQT:

    Two other outfits who are often cloned:
    * Anderson Powerpoles
    * Saleae logic analyzers
    If you see fakes, do the same type of reporting.

    I have a bag full of fake Andersons that I picked up over time at various hamfests.
    Then I bought some from one of their authorized distributors, Mouser Electronics. The difference in quality is striking. The fakes have missing letters where they should be embossed, text turned 180 degrees, corrosion on the terminals, cheap metal stamping, etc.

  • Tom VA2FSQ:

    Any possibility that one country can be distributing bad units? I’m, the author of Win4Yaesu and have three people only in Poland that are having hardware issues. No where else.

  • Frank K4FMH:


    Use the method in my blog post and check the country of the seller. You’d likely get mostly one country. But Eastern Europe might be a minor source.



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