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[TenTec] SDR-1000

To: tentec@contesting.com
Subject: [TenTec] SDR-1000
From: Lee A Crocker <lee_crocker@yahoo.com>
Reply-to: Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment <tentec@contesting.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2006 11:39:26 -0700 (PDT)
List-post: <mailto:tentec@contesting.com>

The Orion presently is the winner as far as tail
ending in a pileup, however that will change.  The SDR
presently uses click and shoot tuning which is
different from any other system I have seen in Ham
radio.  (N4PY's implementation of his scanning pana
dapter is close, but the SDR's panadapter is virtually
real time.)  The tuning device is a panadapter which
shows 20kHz of the band.  In that window you can see
every signal in that 20kHz slice of spectrum.  To
change freq you just put the cursor of your mouse on
the signal you want and click.  The signal is now in
your headphones.  If your aim was a little off there
is a button you can click that will center the signal
in the pass-band, even if your pass-band is 25Hz.  For
DX you turn on the second VFO and you can point and
click the second VFO anywhere in the pile independent
of where you are listening so there is no "adjusting
the RIT" or any of that nonsense.  To tail end you do
have to A/B the VFO.  However the code is written (but
not yet turned on) that will allow up to 16 receivers
to be in the pass-band of the DSP.  So if the DSP
bandwidth is 48kHz you can listen to up to 16
different QSO's at once in that pass-band.  When this
feature is implemented that advantage of of the Orion
will be over.  All you need to do is turn on one of
the 16 receivers to match the Orion's capability, and
the second receiver is of equal quality to your
primary receiver.  No second rate second receiver. 
Further these 16 receivers offer interesting
possibilities.  Consider if you had 16  receivers each
scanning 3kHz of the 48kHz bandwidth.  Consider if
they were able to decode CW.  Consider if they could
determine if a station was on in their little 3kHz
world that you need for Honor Role, or a multiplier
you need in a contest.  Hmmmmm.... a little pop up
shows up on the computer screen and you are whisked
away to yet another new one.  Another advantage of the
SDR tuning method is you spend all your time listening
to where signals are and no time listening to where
signals aren't.  So the 40M static is of no concern. 
If there is a discernible coherent signal above the
noise you will 1. SEE IT, and 2. WORK IT.  Even if the
RX was not as good as the Orion, this feature alone
blows away the Orion and every other radio I know of

With respect to QSK, I used to think this was a must. 
It is not.  Really good semi-breakin is just as
effective.  The latest software of the SDR has
improved to the point where the turnaround delay is
under 5ms, so the limiting factor for QSK in the SDR
is now the speed of the relay in the PA.  The other
relays switch at sub 3ms speed.  So I think QSK on the
order of how the Orion does QSK is in the cards if you
want to do a little relay work.  It looks like the new
DSP back-end from the open source hardware group will
further reduce the DSP latency so this will probably
improve also.  As the radio stands now I can shoot out
DX with anybody using the SDR.  I couldn't say that a
few months ago but then things have improved
dramatically to the point where it isn't even a small

The new SDR-X is not just a ham radio device, but a
commercial offering as well.  It's capability will far
far outstrip anything the present 10K radios will do. 
It is based on the idea of a blade server and it can
control a mixture of up to 64 independent RX/TX
hardware devices.  For example you could have 2 SDR
quality hardware receivers (each with its 16 software
receivers) and 2 transmitters and have a complete SO2R
radio in one box completely integrated and all
controlled by software, no need for the separate SO2R
box.  You want to add RTTY or PSK 31?  Just add the
software.  You don't even need to add cables to get
this to work.  The cables are all done in software. 
No cables no groundloops.  Add a couple of remote
tuned amps and a couple steppir antenna or a remote
switching setup and you can be the big dog.  You want
3RSO just add another RX/TX blade.   

The SDR-X is a full duplex radio.  This means you can
receive while you are transmitting, as in the days of
separate receiver/transmitter.  The original QSK was
done in this manner and the receiver recovery is
measured in microseconds not milliseconds.  So stay
tuned if you REALLY think QSK is the be all end all of
Dxing.  The transmitters are capable of being linked. 
What that means is that I can put multiple independent
transmitter outputs that have precisely the same
frequency to an array of antennas that are 
independently adjustable.  Imaging feeding 4 antennas
each with full control of phase and power delivered. 
In the broadcasting biz we called this a directional
array.  Change the phase/gain on the elements and you
now have a rotating directional array, and not just
rotational in 90 deg quadrants.  Maybe 10,000 isn't
such a steep price after all.

My credentials: 

47 years in ham radio (since age 7 licensed at age
11), electrical engineer, radio broadcast engineer and
engineering consultant, bla bla bla.

The SDR-1000 is not every one's cup of tea.  It has a
learning curve and it is conceptually and
philosophically not the same as the Orion.  It is a
very flexible radio and requires some tinkering to
make it behave they way you want.  It is fairly plug
and play.  It did not make me loose any more hair
getting it running.  Neither do I really care what
radio any one runs.  I have been a Ten Tec user since
I bought my first 580 delta in the early 80's.  I
don't own SDR stock nor do I work for SDR.  I'm just
stating my experience.  




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