My new ham radio passion revealed.

My new adventure arrives
  IARU contest was in full swing and I felt it was a great time to see if my I.P. address both static and dynamic as well as the good old Subnet mask was going to bring me joy! I started the PC and with the pushing of a few buttons I was up and going. I am the proud owner of a new Expert Electronics SunSDR2 Pro. So the cat is out of the bag as some had already guessed my new adventure is SDR radio. For real VFO spinning and button pushing I still have my Elecraft KX3.  Expert Electronics has currently 4 transceivers, the MB1, SunSDR2 Pro, SunSDR2 and SunSDR2 QRP. I chose the SunSDR2 Pro for a few reasons first being the MB1 was way out of my price range. I wanted a bit more than QRP power so the SunSDR2 QRP was out of the question. The U.S dealer is NSI communications and on their site the SunSDR2 Pro was on sale as well! I order the rig and it took about a week to make it up to me in Canada. Before it was shipped Yuri from NSI communications called me just to let me know if there was any issues with setup to call him. He also advised me to download and start reading the manuals.

The SDR radio is a learning experience for me and I’m sure it is going to be the way of the future and I’m a slow learner so I wanted to get on the wagon soon. I “tried” to set the radio up on my own to have it communicate with my PC and it just went from bad to worse. I had to get the rig to communicate with my PC via the Ethernet card. I have two Ethernet cards and was getting them intermixed until I was lost. I didn’t want to get frustrated as this is a huge learning curve BUT I did give in to emailing Yuri about my situation. He promptly called me and set up a time to use Team viewer and take over my PC to figure out the issue. Within 15 minutes he had my PC and SDR radio “talking” with each other.

SunSDR2 pro 

The SunSDR2 Pro tops out at 20 watts and includes VHF and a lot more that you can read about from this LINK. As I was saying at the start of this post the IARU contest was on this weekend and I threw my SDR rig into the action. This contest gave me an opportunity to see how the receiver stacked up on a busy band. I was impressed and very much enjoyed using the second independent receiver/transmitter.
I was not an active participant in the contest I was there to see how the receiver preformed. Next I want to get my contest software and logging software on board with the SDR radio. Some draw backs I have found with this rig this point in time there is no QSK and there is no one button split operation. For split it involves a few button pushes. I have been told and read on the forum that these issues are known and solutions are being worked on.
Using the 2  receivers 
Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

4 Responses to “My new ham radio passion revealed.”

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    Let me say first of all Mike, you picked a good radio to start a new venture. That said a 100% SDR radio can be a joy and a pain since it is totally tied to a computer and the software being used.

    My venture into SDR has been A few Softrocks, Flex 1500, Flex 3000, RTL-SDR, SDRPlay RSP1A, and K3+P3. I have battled HDSDR, SDR#, NaP3, PowerSDR, Console, SDRPlay UNO to name a few or at least most of them.

    After way too many hours of more computer then radio and really missing the knobs I have bailed out of total computer married SDR and have gone the sissy route. My IC-7300, which is a true SDR radio is still connected to a computer but I am using the spectrum scope/waterfall built into Win4IcomSuite. It has proven itself to be a very capable package for a true interactive SDR radio..with knobs. My FTdx5000MPL has it’s IF connected to a SDRPlay RSP1A and I use the built in spectrum/waterfall that uses SDRPlay and again totally interactive like other SDR software defined radios. (I have also used HDSDR and Console with the 5000, but prefer Win4Yeasu).

    Don’t get me wrong, you will find the radio and it’s supporting software very effective for making qso’s and digging out weak ones. But I will be reading your comments with a open mind as you learn a different way of making ham radio work for you. I know people who just love true SDR radios like Flex and like similar radios like you bought and would never go back to a knob radio ever again. Most are hard core computer people, thus they have the best of both worlds that they live in… I have also known people who miss the knobs, thus radios like the IC-7300 and IC-7610 are radios they have moved too.

    Keep us updated as often as possible and no matter what have fun. That is the bottom line.

    73 Harry K7ZOV

  • Larry WB8LBZ:

    I had a stint with the Flex 1500 and 3000 that I enjoyed. I was going to go for a 6700 but had a financial setback. I am mainly an Icom guy but have been missing the SDR world and the graphic feedback I got with the 3000. I have had a HackRF one, Lime SDR, several RTL-SDRs and an SDR-Play. I started looking and could not afford the large cash outlay of a straight out purchase. I found a deal using PayPal and went for it. I’m now having my display on a 23 inch monitor with another screen for the logging program. I have found the Anan radios to be as good as or better than any other on the market and the software is very good.

    73, Larry WB8LBZ
    El Paso, TX

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good evening Harry, yes it’s so true that depending on a PC for radio communications can be a times a show stopper. Just in case the PC refuses to co-operate I still have the Elecraft KX3 in my back pocket. The Flex radios are very nice and as I get used to the SDR effect I may move up to one other rigs. Tom has done a great job with the Win4 products and I did (and still do for me KX3) his product which is very well supported. I am for sure not a computer geek but I do have an amateur so of speak understanding of computers and maybe the SDR adventure will move that forward. For sure I will be updating the blog with my adventure.

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good evening Larry, The Flex radio is a great product but when you get up into the 6700 and beyond the price is such that you want to make sure you are buying in the SDR thing. I have been an Elecraft person for years and still have the KX3. Icom is a great radio and the 7610 looks like an amazing radio and it’s nice to see that Icom has entered the SDR world in a very serous way. The Anan is a very quality product and very well supported as well.

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