Hamfest & Misc

Terry Fox tfox at knology.net
Sat Feb 2 18:45:54 CST 2008

We had the annual Charleston hamfest today.  It's wierd having hamfests on
Saturday!  But, in the bible-belt, it makes sense.

In addition to selling some small stuff, we had a demo of SDRs, showing a
SoftRock Lite receiver, SoftRock RxTx V6.1, and a Brainerd board.

As usual, the metal building proved to be an adequate faraday shield for HF
signals.  If anybody ever needs a chamber, just use the room that you will
be showing off actual receiving equipment.  That's guaranteed to prevent

I was able to receive an AM broadcast station, thanks to demoing the tunable
Brainerd board.  The SoftRocks were fixed on 40M only.

There was quite a bit of interest in SDRs in general, and the Brainerd board
in particular.  Many were concerned about construction, some even with the
SoftRocks.  But, for this small hamfest, I was pleased with the number of
people showing interest.  I had my FT817 with me (to create a signal), but
decided not to set it up.

Winterfest is coming soon, is AMRAD setting up another demo there?  I
remember last year there was quite a bit of interest.  Also, has anybody in
DC put together the Brainerd board yet?

David Brainerd just received the first prototype QSE exciter boards, I have
one coming.  Is anybody else in AMRAD working with this stuff?

I also note that Phil Covington just announced that his QS-1R SDR receiver
board is coming to the market.  It is a 15-bit direct-to-A/D board, with an
FPGA doing digital-down-conversion, decimation, and LP filtering.  No QSD,
QSE, or sound card issues.  The good news is that it's closer to the cutting
edge of technology.  The bad news is that it costs $799, plus more if you
want a more stable oscillator.  I'm passing at this time, due to cost.

One last thing:  TAPR is getting ready to take orders for their Penelope, a
1/2W transmitter/exciter board.  Delivery is close to Dayton timeframe.  I
believe the companion Mercury (which is close to Phil's QS-1R in concept) is
further behind.  They are also working on their Phoenix, which is a
combination QSD/receiver and QSE/exciter.

Lots happening in the HF SDR world.


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