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***** Dave's Favorite Links / Archives *****

PLEASE NOTE : This "news" page is subject to frequent changes and updates (without notice).
NEW or updated entires are NOT necessarily moved to the top of the page.

*** NEWS PAGE CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING SECTIONS BELOW ***
  PLANNED UPCOMING REVIEWS
  WEB PAGE UPDATES / ADDITIONS
NEWS ITEMS and LINKS
  MALAHIT - MALACHITE NEWS and LINKS
  RANTS and REVELATIONS

********** DONATIONS - DONATIONS - DONATIONS **********
WE NEED CONTINUING READER DONATIONS FOR THIS WEB PAGE TO EXIST / CONTINUE.
PLEASE SEE THE MAIN PAGE THANK YOU  !

****  FUND DRIVE 2022  ****
Do you enjoy "Dave's Radio Receiver Page" ?

2022 marks our 24rd year on the Internet with “hard-hitting - tell it like it is” hands on reviews regarding SW/HF and VHF/UHF radio receivers and accessories and even an amateur transceiver once in awhile (usually as a SWL set, except handheld radios). As we do with the New Year, a reader "fund drive" period to at least to help cover costs of this web page (including just a little something for my time) and hopefully acquire test samples for review in 2022. This will be from “January 01 to February 28, 2022”.

If you appreciate what I do here, a donation of a few US dollars would be fantastic. Doesn't have to be much to help us greatly, even just a "single"  US dollar or two sent in a envelope (mail). Please see the main page on how to do this. If you need my USA mailing address, please just email me (just put "mailing address" in subject line...this is no problem at all , also my QRZ mailing address is valid as well). Paypal works too , here of course it does not have to be in US dollars. If you you wish to remain anonymous (and I never use last names in any event), please be sure to tell me.

We have "ZERO dollars" budget for this web page these days so we must now count on loyal reader support to help either with postpaid-test sample donations (even a older classic solid state receiver / HF ham transceiver) or a few dollars to help with the purchase of test samples. Again we also need some $ help for us to just be here and just a bit for my time, We do indeed thank you fantastic readers who have helped us greatly to carry on here, it is very much appreciated. Thank You.....Dave N9EWO

 *** Fund Drive 2022 ***
Web Page Donations between January 01 and February 28, 2022
 TOTAL "US DOLLAR" DONATION AMOUNT as of JANUARY 22, 2022 :  $ 115.65
 (new / used)  RECEIVER / TRANSCEIVER DONATIONS as of JANUARY 22, 2022 : None
please contact me before you send any receiver / transceiver donations (email above)

****  PLANNED UPCOMING REVIEWS  ****
(subject to change)
- Burkhard - Reuter RDR55E Tabletop SDR HF Receiver
Guest review in process - late January 2022

*****  WEB PAGE UPDATES / ADDITIONS  *****

- REVIEW : Icom IC-7300 Ver 10.6 (Updated).
- Added N9EWO comments with the Windows IC-7300 Memory Manager Program (Free Lite Version) with test sample 2 (using Windows 7).
- Added a IC-7300 vs. IC-R8600 SWL comparison list (near the bottom).
-"TIP" in regards to it's well known tight microphone connector and a internal photo of the tested SM-6 desk microphone.
- New information on the new ST-4003W "ICOM Time Adjustment Software".
- Updated "When the Rose is Not a Rose" (Sour Audio Quality for Broadcast Listening).
- Added the LCD "white line(s)" syndrome that MANY old and new samples are now suffering from (also see the news section below for more information on this).
- Added new text : "So Are You Are Having Limited SSB RF Output ?" (important discovery by Wayne W1QC, plus my additional finding here).
- Added new text in regards to USB cable use (if inserted when powered ON can cause internal port damage to transceiver.) (Updated : Jan 12)

- REVIEWS "Task Chairs" (Mid Back) (updated) : "BodyBilt" J752 ESD / Global #T9F695506 / Eurotech 4x4LE-LM59802A / Lemberi AB-EOC01 / OFM 119-VAM-AA / Cramer Triton R+. Updated 2022 pricing / availability and text {Cramer Triton R+).

Sadly it is already time to replace the Chinese cheapie Lemberi chair as tested in the report (only lasted 14 months and that is pushing it). The gas lift failed VERY early on and the already uncomfortable chair has now become dangerous to sit in anymore (health and stability issues). So we are considering replacing it with either the OFM 119-VAM-AA or try another sample of the Global #T9F695506 (with the first test sample the backrest tension adjustment was defective) ? Please see the chair reviews for more information. We would love to be able to obtain and test the Cramer Triton R+ with it's super heavy duty grade vinyl (but that is way outside the of the already stressed budget).

We did endless WEEKS of research on this in the fall of 2020. Came up with nearly zippo that was to our desires and requirements. If any reader has ANY suggestions, please let us know (email address as the top of this page). Criteria is NO mesh or cloth / fabric coverings, or any task chair where the arms attach to the back (and yes arms are a requirement). Price point $ 200. to  $ 300. area USD ? (UPDATED Jan 08)


- "Radio's That Never Were" - (updated)
  Added new entry and photo : KWZ-50. (UPDATED Dec 17)

- REVIEW : "Icom IC-R8600" Ver 15.2 (Updated). We took another hard look at the IC-R8600's so-called "Synchronous Detector" and have did a reversal view with it's performance. Is about near equal to the lousy IC-R9500 Sync (our review on the IC-R9500 here) !
At first we felt it was improved, but after a few years of ownership the final word is it's NOT to our ears. Also corrected the round EIAJ DC plug information. This was wrong in previous versions of the review but has now been corrected. March 2021 service manual addendum (changes and 2nd production run for the USA 02 cell blocked version). Also added USB port connection warning. (UPDATED Jan 12)

- ADDED Coby CX-CB91A review (from old notes) on the "Miscellaneous Reviews" page. (Oct 28)


- ADDED Selected Sherwood Engineering lab numbers and reports (PDF files). Posted with permission by Rob Sherwood (NC0B) (Updated Oct 22, additional radios added)

- REVIEW : LOWE HF-250 HF Receiver (updated) Added REQUIRED electrolytic capacitor replacement section (in yellow block at the bottom of the review page). (UPDATED Sep 20)

- REVIEW : JRC NRD-630 HF Receiver (updated) Updated the JRC NRD-630 review text.  Minor text corrections made. Better quality main and internal PC Board photos. Added Sherwood Enginerring NRD-630 lab numbers (PDF). While it might be a extremely well made premium HF receiver, the overall performance and audio quality were a fast downhill silde in our hands on testing! Looking at Sherwood Engineering NRD-630 lab numbers (click here), it's IP3 Dynamic Range at 2 Khz spacing comes in at only 70db. That is a very sad showing for a excessively pricey modern premium receiver if you ask me ! (UPDATED Aug 10)

- REVIEW : Kenwood R-1000 (updated) Restored and updated (version 2) the PDF version of our Kenwood R-1000 “39.545 MHz” Display Repair doucment. New main photo added as well. (UPDATED Sep 01)

- REVIEW : TECSUN PL-660 (updated)
  Added new text and photo to the PL-660 review from information via Paul G and his new 2020 sample purchased from ANON in Jul 2021. Also added a few new You Tube links. (Jul 14)

- REVIEW : JRC NRD-545 DSP HF Communications Receiver (updated). Restored the BURP and TICK MP3 audio files to the review. Common traits for the NRD-545 and is most annoying. (Jun 28)

- REVIEW : Malahit DSP1 Original Russian Standalone SDR (updates). IMPORTANT UPDATE : 1.10d "Rev2" firmware comments. "Good News ", starting with 1.10c "Rev2" (my marking) firmware the "Sync Detector" now works properly, in fact it's excellent ! Please see the news section below for additional details and change log. (UPDATED Nov 27)

WARNING : Owners need to keep in mind that you should NEVER touch the LCD hard ! Only a very light LONGER touch is required. Excessively HARD presses (or fingernails) on the LCD will lead to premature failure for sure in time ! Equally nasty no-no's are the use of those stylus pens or any screen saver sheets.

- REVIEWS : SONY SW RECEIVER PAGE : ICF-SW7600GR , ICF-2010 (ICF-2001D), CRF-1, ICF-6500W Additional text and photo in the CRF-1 review section.

- REVIEW (Updated) : Sangean ATS-909X2 LW / MW / SW / FM / AIR Portable. Fixed typos and added a "firmware change log" PDF file. Addedd new information to general design (IF and the ceramic filters being used. Updated Comparison Chart (located on bottom of it's review page).

- REVIEW : Philmore / LKG - MW122A Regulated Power Supply New updated text and photo / links.
- REVIEW : ICOM IC-R9500 (added PRO and CON list plus updated text)
- REVIEW (Updated) : FLEX-6400M Tabletop SDR HF / 50 MHz Transceiver (Dean Bianco's Guest Review) .

- REVIEW : Tecsun PL-600 (early production sample).
- Tecsun PL-600 Audio Distortion Modification links and information.
- Sangean ATS-803 / ATS-803A - Realistic DX-440 "Anti-Chuff" Modification
- REVIEW : Sangean HDR-16 AM/FM HD Portable (Guest Review)
- REVIEW : Grundig Satellit 750 / Tecsun S-2000 / Eton Elite 750 Receiver

- JRC NRD-525 Important Serial Number Information
- REVIEW : Ameco TPA / MFJ-1020B Tunable Preamp - Active Antennas
- REVIEW : WJ-8711A "Condor" SP-1348 Electrolytic Capacitor Chart
- REVIEW : Sangean ATS-909X - "Downright Poor Audio Quality on MW/SW"

- REVIEW : AOR AR-DV1 - Massive USB Port Failures (with later production)
(IMPORTANT UPDATE, see Yellow Block in USB Failure section near bottom of page: Oct 07, 2021)
- REVIEW : C.CRANE Skywave AM/FM/SW/AIR/WX Portable Pocket Radio

- REVIEW : AOR AR7030 - Added Old Age Check List / Audio Distortion Comparison
Chart / New links (on page bottom) (Updated : Oct 08, 2021)
- REVIEW : SDRplay RSP-1 / RSP-1A SDR Receiver

*****  NEWS ITEMS and LINKS   *****

- ICOM IC-R30 DISCONTINUED - Reprieve "Last Call" (Last 100 USA samples available in January 2022). The ICOM IC-R30 handheld receiver has been discontinued, All versions worldwide including the USA blocked 16 version. Ray Novak (Sales manager at Icom America), informs us directly that there will be a FINAL shipment (100 units) of the "16" USA Cell blocked version arriving in mid-late January 2022 from Japan. So you have one last chance to obtain a brand new sample.

HRO (USA Ham Radio dealer) are taking orders here ! There
are no plans for a replacement model in the near future. Reason given for it's early demise (click here) ?

My extensive IC-R30 review is still available here.
  As it goes once these last 100 are sold (many probably as back ordered sales) it will only be the used market if you desire one. (Updated : Jan 12)


DISCONTINUED : ICOM IC-R30 wideband hand held receiver.
  My full review can be seen here. (N9EWO Photo)

- ICOM Price Increases now in effect. Ray Novak of Icom America indicated in early Dec 2021 that price increases on ICOM products starting on January 1, 2022. This is due to parts shortages and increased air freight costs.

ALL USA ICOM dealers have NOW raised street prices, including HRO and R & L. Some were at the old prices until January 12 and weirdly inconsistent. This has now settled down for the most part except with Gigaparts and not sure what’s up with this US dealer (prices are all excessively higher here) ?

USD street price increases :
(except Gigaparts which are higher.
HRO appears to have the IC-R8600 at the old price as I type this, only up $ 50. ? That will most likely change soon ?)

IC-705 up $ 50~70.
IC-7100 up $ 30~100.
IC-7300 up $ 100.
IC-7610 up $ 200.
IC-9700 up $ 200.
IC-R8600 up $ 200.
(NOTE : Selected models only given here. This list is NOT complete.)

Of course this forces used prices to increase as well. (Updated : Jan 12)

- "SDRuno V1.41 now fully released" / RSP1A Out of Stock in the USA - Price Increase :
New program software for the SDRPlay line of receivers was released on December 02, 2021 (version 1.41.1). Also includes the new 3.09 version of the API driver. See 1.41.1 release notes for more information. Sadly we still do NOT see the SoDiRa program to work with the new API drivers.

Information via the "Groups io" fourm (Jon from SDR Play) that stock of the RSP1A at HRO in the USA (all stores) are depleted and it is not expected to back available for sale until AT LEAST February 2022. Also was said that there will be a price increase of around 7%. But we should be appreciative that it has not been discontinued (and is only just a production delay due to part shortages). (Updated  : Dec 26)


New program software for the RSP1A and SDRPlay
 line of receivers was released on December 02, 2021 (version 1.41.1).
N9EWO full "RSP1A" review is still available here.

 - "QRM Eliminator X-phase 1-30MHZ HF Bands machine".


Is this device going to work as well as the MFJ-1026 at only around $ 50. USD (not tested) ?
A number of variants of this "el-cheapo" antenna phaser are floating around including on Amazon.
There is also a Russian RA0MOS kit version of this, but has even fewer parts. 


Missing on this Chinese cheapie vs. the MFJ-1026 is the all important selectable Pre-Amp for the AUX (noise) antenna. No reverse phase function (which needs to be adjusted with the MFJ sometimes). Appears to have a receiver transmit relay on board but no automatic switching (PTT connections required, which is no biggie as you should not trust the automatic relay function in the MFJ-1026 either.

As it usually goes with Chinese radios and products the price is highly variable. We have seen as low as around $ 35. on ebay.
 
I see this same Chinese ebay seller has a PC board only version available. The innards are the same as with the fully assembled one (Ali Express shows internal photos here), We have not tested this far cheaper alternative to the MFJ, Also available as a unassembled kit (PC board and parts).

By the way USD MSRP on the MFJ-1026 was just increased to $ 270. We still have a 1026 version at HQ and continues to be a very useful gadget for killing local power line noise (aside from MFJ’s usually poor quality control). Our Monitoring Times April 2007 review on the MFJ-1026 can still seen here. If one using the MFJ-1026 (or the lesser 1025 without the preamp) with a transceiver, there is a simple AUX antenna relay modification (addition) that is a requirement to be done. Our thanks to Payman A. for the heads up on the Chinese device. (Updated : Nov 16)
 
- ATS-25 (another Si473x-A10 one chip wonder receiver) :
The ATS-25 Chinese MW / SW / FM receiver has been around for awhile and with rather mixed reviews. Is in a very attractive cabinet (metal top and bottom, fiberglass front and rear). Gilles Letourneau says is a improvement over the disaster ATS-20 model but is not a replacement for a decent portable. It APPEARS from watching videos that it has usable SSB modes (not too much clipping distortion with strong signals) and a decent Sync Detector (double sideband only). Also APPEARS NOT to have the the excessive lock up issues that the ATS-20 has (much more powerful microprocessor and better DSP) ? Touch screen and one large tuning knob does ALL (the smooth slide no encoder knob version looks like a outright joke). Pretty excessive tuning "chuffing" (muting) as does the County Comm GP-7 SSB (from watching videos). Internal non-replaceable rechargeable battery (about 140 ma current draw).
Seems to be excessively overpriced for what it is and has NO bandpass front end filtering (zippo !).


The ATS-25 Chinese MW / SW / FM receiver (with newer GUI firmware).
Appears to be a improvement over the disaster ATS-20 model ?
Front model number marking is either as ATS-25 or ATS25.
  Is this ANOTHER Chinese disaster receiver to pass up (not tested) ?

Internal video can be seen here) , another one here. Take note on how the large internal speaker is crudely GLUED onto the case (talk about UGLY). Firmware can be updated (arduino based and appears is NOT  easy to do...see this "you tube" video). Can be purchased on ebay for around $ 100. USD. Or also available on Amazon for a tad more (if you care not to have to deal with Chinese shipping and delays). Also available on on AliExpress. Variable attenuator is mis-marked as AGC.

Firmware version 3.1 (July-27-2021) appears to have less chuffing (see this You Tube video).
Firmware version 3.3 (Nov-02-2021) looks to be even better yet (You Tube video here).
Firmware version 3.4 (Nov-23-2021) is the latest. See the GitHub page here for additional firmware information

Facebook User Group (Public) : Si47XX for Radio Experimenters
Groups.io si47xx page (Public)

Here is a seller up on Amazon (as I type this) that SHOWS a ATS-25 with newer firmware installed. Of course IF one receives it with this newer firmware installed is a totally different story (see other photos on the page, old firmware shown in these) ! As it goes buying radios on Amazon the price is more expensive vs. ebay (China direct), but is MUCH less risky if it turns out to be a dud and can be easily returned.

WARNINGS : Are MANY reports where the tuning encoder works backwards with some samples (clockwise rotation tunes down and counter clockwise tunes up). Other reports indicate that some samples have very poor sensitivity (more like dead) ! Strongly appears this is ANOTHER Chinese disaster "pot luck" receiver to pass up by who knows by many DIFFERENT "knock off" manufactures. Probably best to spend your money on a different model. Please Note : We have NOT tested the ATS-25 (ATS25) nor the ATS-20. (Updated : Jan 20)

- CountyComm GP-7 SSB : Video on the CountyComm GP-7 SSB portable. I can not see any differences over the OEM Tecsun PL-368 including using the same BL-5C battery (aside from the stainless steel antenna) . Price : $ 95. USD. CountyComm is also offering a extended run time operation kit (extra battery and EXTERNAL fast charger for $ 15. USD) which is a very nice touch. Our GP-5 SSB review is still available here. I see the GP-7 SSB suffers from the same VERY annoying tuning muting / chuffing as with the GP-5 SSB model. Seems that the also untested Tecsun PL-330 makes more sense in this price point having a real external SW antenna jack , so if you don't need that TV remote size. Anyway it appears these both have the normal Tecsun trait of lousy SSB clipping distortion and unacceptable Sync performance. Model not tested by N9EWO. (Updated : Nov 01)


The NEW CountyComm GP-7 SSB is now available Price : $ 95. USD.
A Tecsun PL-368 in a gray cabinet plus an added stainless steel whip antenna.
Improvements over the elder GP-5 SSB model (as shown above) include keyboard entry
and bandwidth adjustment  / sync functions. (N9EWO Photo)


- ICOM IC-7300 / IC-9700 :  Bad LCD displays with some current (and older too) production samples.

This was covered on one of the Icom IC-7300 Facebook User Groups and equally important these QRZ forum postings (also see eham reviews). It appears that Icom has received at number of BAD batches of RayStar LCD screens affecting some currently sold IC-7300 and IC-9700 samples. Actually this bug started to appear more a little under a year ago with one batch and now a new round with LCD displays with white lines. From viewing all of these user report failures this is NOT happening with just one or 2 samples (it’s MANY more than that).
 
Reports indicate this has effected a number of very CURRENT production samples out of the box brand new. Some only being days old in 2022, while others take a month or 2 (or even longer say a year) to appear. But as I read there are much even older samples that are also suffering from this "White Line" issue(s) as well. With some it has been 3 lines have appeared. I have to wonder IF abusing the LCD (say touching it too hard) or using those stylus pens (or even worse trying to use screen protectors) could be a factor in this LCD failure occurring ?

Also reported that IF out of warranty ICOM is NOT covering the replacement LCD or labor charges (which is about $ 250. USD including the return shipping fee). (Updated : Jan 08)



- Palstar R30A DISCONTINUED - R30B COMING SOON...? Would be fantastic to see a HF only tabletop receiver back in the market place. Crossing our fingers that this new proposed R30B comes  to market ? Release date and other information is unknown (stay tuned right here). (UPDATED Sep 12, 2021)

Teaser news direct from Paul Hrivnak at Palstar on the new proposed R30B tabletop HF receiver :

- TFT touch screen display
- 100 Khz to 30 Mhz coverage
- AM  Synchronous Detector
- Internal Lithium Ion battery power supply
- 6 Pole Lattice crystal filtering at 6 MHz

- ICOM FIRMWARE (UPDATED Nov 12)

- ICOM IC-R8600 - LCD Display Failure Issues have been reported (see bottom of N9EWO's IC-R8600 review page)
- ICOM IC-7300 and IC-9700 - LCD Display Failure Issues, (also please see this Facebook forum)

- JRC Receiver Display Failures
- "Knock off the knockoffs": A plea to cassette deck manufacturers (FAKE Chinese "JUNK" manufacturing)
- HF RFI Generator - "Electronic Defrost Timer"

- What happens when an Uniden SDS100 battery fails
- Uniden SDS-100 and SDS-200  Entire receiver on "one chip" disaster ?
- Uniden SDS200 - LCD Failures (again)

- Uniden SDS100 - J401 Bad Connection To PC Board

*****  MALAHIT - MALACHITE NEWS and LINKS  *****

- Are CERTAIN Chinese Clones getting better ? Hal H. from the USA reports to us directly that he had good luck with the Chinese Malahit model purchased thru AliExpress (HamRadioShop store). He was looking at Dan Robinson's YouTube channel and decided to purchase one based on what he saw in his video. It took about 6 weeks to get, but says it was worth it. It's running 1.10C firmware and it's every bit as good as his Russian DSP2 that he paid twice as much for. The build quality is excellent (at least on the outside) and APPEARS to have decent internal shielding from the web site photos (NOW if it REALLY has this shielding is of course another story !). Hal says this really improves the radio using a whip antenna, so it CAN be used as a portable. Receiver was well packed from China. Hal is delighted with the purchase. He says the radio is very good looking, built well, and the front facing speaker is just as good as the DSP2. I will say that knob placement is more proper as well as the headphone jack and USB connector are on the LEFT side of the cabinet (not all crammed on the right side). Uses that PC board fiberglass case material again.

WARNING : We feel this is the very rare exception and not the rule (Please Note : This version has not been tested by N9EWO). Identical looking variants could very well exist and what one actually ends up with could be different (the Chinese normal) ? Also from reading Facebook reports, this version STILL uses the lower spec. (and cheaper) NAU8822L audio CODEC chip.

"shango066" checks out a different working Chinese knockoff (you tube video). Why some of these clones have the knobs very inconveniently located on the TOP is beyond me (I thought the right side was bad enough).

So the usual "Caveat Emptor" (buyer beware) still needs to be stressed with ANY of these Chinese clone / knockoff SDR's ! FYI : The original Russian DSP1 version was discontinued in late November 2021. (Updated : Dec 05)


- Original Russian Malahit DSP2 : The DSP2 (version two) of the the MALAHIT MALACHITE is basically the same original version with an added huge shield and some other upgrades. Includes the normally optional DSP1 front end board circuits as stock (but is now all on one PC Board). It's still in a all metal case but is is slightly larger than the discontinued original DSP1. Ordering information : THE MALAHIT TEAM - Official ENGLISH Web Page

Three DSP2 early issues reported have now been fixed. Those were : Dead or Unstable Operation of Internal Clock , (not being able to set the clock nor the LCD backlight timer operating at all, remove 2 surface mounted capacitors (C29 and C30) on X2 crystal. Inaccurate Battery Readings, Showed very inaccurate "high" readings. Female internal SMA / U.FL - IPX connector - jumper cable issues, (same as with discontinued DSP1 version). Caused by a too stiff and too short internal antenna jumper cable that places heavy stress on the U'FL / IPX female connector. Also reported that a different U.FL - IPX socket manufacture is now being used (also more reliable).

See Manuel's web page here for the latest DSP2 firmware news and instructions / other information). Was being reported that the DSP2's are not always taking firmware updates on the first try. Usually the second attempt does the trick.



Please Note : The original DSP1 (version 1) that we review here was discontinued in late Novermber 2021 and is no longer available. Provided you don't mind it's finicky operation, in our view these marvels puts to SHAME ANY Tecsun or Sangean portable currently sold for performance (with external outdoor antennas as we have not tested the add on front end board with a whip antenna) ! Good news is the DSP1's Syncronous Detector now works as it should (excellent) with the 1.10c / 1.10d firmware. See change log below. (UPDATED Dec 07)


N9EWO Malahit / Malachite DSP1 (original version (review is available here).
(Please Note : The DSP1 version is discontinued, no longer available new)

- Looking for the REQUIRED FLAT top 18650 (unprotected) Battery for your Malahit Receiver ? : Seem to be in short supply these days ? If you live in the USA we see a couple of LG made ones listed on the ONlY BATTERIES web site that APPEAR to be in stock (as I type this) ? PLEASE NOTE : We are not recommeding these per say, this is just for the information only and nothing more ! (Jul 19, 2021)


- Malahit DSP1 Firmware 1.10d / Rev2 (Released November 17, 2021 download link here) :
Please Note : The DSP1 version is discontinued, no longer available.
(This appears to be the final DSP1 firmware version ?)
Firmware 1.10d (what we call Rev2):
- fixed the error indicating the firmware version. The version is now indicated on the splash screen in the lower right corner
- added display noise reduction function to HARD menu (EMI Reduction)
- WTF replaced with WF
- changed encoder control - now, being in the menu, the frequency encoder is used for control
- added 9kHz step in SSB
- added the ability to select colors in the Visual menu
- excluded Sleeptime parameter for backlight control
- no delay when switching between menus
- small bugs fixed
- 11/17/2021 lower receiving frequency reduced to 10 kHz

We have installed 1.10d (what we call Rev2) in our DSP1 test sample and the review includes updated testing notes. (UPDATED Jan 08)

Information on the Chinese Malachite / Malahit SDR's - "Caveat Emptor"
 See N9EWO Russian Malahit / Malachite - review page here


NOTE : Original posted information page is still available via
 
"The Way Back Machine - Internet Archives" ....CLICK HERE

New Malahit DDC Version
 
(UPDATED Jan 15, 2022)



- "You Tube" video from the Russian Developers on the exciting and more powerful "Malahit-DDC" Version. Improved dynamic range / front end filtering and spectrum scope span of 1.9 MHz (is 160 kHz in original version). Pre-assembled only (no kit version will be available). Contains a 14 bit Analog Devices AD9649 ADC (Analog to Digital converter). It is unknown when this DDC version will become available (early~mid 2022 ?) and for what price it will be at ($ 500. USD area , not including the add on board that gives full coverage ?) ?

See the Malahiteam "You Tube" channel for new videos on this new DDC version. This one clearly shows a SEPARATE DC input jack now being used (also see photo below), (12 VDC input).

Also see this "You Tube" Video (in Russian) : Prototype MALACHITE DDC on domestic ADC !

A REVIEW OF THE SOON TO BE RELEASED MALAHIT-DDC PORTABLE SDR (from RTL-SDR.Com)

Unlike the DSP1 and DSP2 versions, battery operational voltage is 7.4 volts (2 x 18650 batteries in series). As I add this text it is unlikely we will be testing a DDC version due to funding issues.


Side view of the new "Malahit DDC" that clearly shows the added DC Input jack (12 VDC input).
Sadly still missing is a "Line Out" (fixed low level audio) jack for external recorder's etc.


PC Board of the new DDC version (rev 0.8.2 TEST)
(click on photo for larger view) (N9EWO Picture Edit)


- Updated / Additional information from Mark KD9NXV on the new DDC version :

"DDC which I believe stands for Direct Digital Conversion. The circuit is a total redesign. The bias tee problem does not exist with this model.  The Dynamic Range is much improved over the DSP2 or DSP1 because of the high grade digital circuitry. I recall hearing that Dynamic Range for DSP2 is around 87 dB while for DDC it is around 100dB. Only 30 BETA test versions exist at this time.  I have one of them and testing it now and providing feedback. It has an optional board for it that should be available in a few months."

"Baseline DDC model tunes from 50 Khz to 2 GHz but only filtered to work best on 50 KHz to 30 MHz, 88-108 MHz, and 144-148 MHz. The optional board (now in final design stages) will possess the additional filtering and up-converters for 30 MHz to 88 MHz, 108 Mhz to 144 MHz, 148 MHz and up.  The up-conversation circuitry of DDC optional board will expand high tuning range to 6 GHz. Yes, the DDC is planned to cover that much more spectrum. I believe the reason why the Malahiteam decided to introduce DDC this way is because majority of DSP1 and DSP2 customers are using them under 30 MHz and save cost for them. The DDC is quite expensive (about double the cost of the DSP2) so if a user does not want high frequencies, they will not need to spend roughly $80 bucks for the upgrade."

PLEASE NOTE : The DDC model is not yet for sale and still undergoing firmware / hardware updates before actual release.


1. DDC charges on 12.0-13.8 VDC using standard 2.1mm jack (positive in middle, negative outer conductor).
          - Two 18605 Lithium-Ion batteries are used.
          - 8.0-8.15v is maximum charged voltage.
          - 6.4v is the "normal" setting for low power cut off while 6.0v is forced turn off by FW when Vbat control is not used.
          - Each battery is wired for individual battery voltage sense.  2 black and 2 red wires connections exist between battery holder and the main board.
          - Battery lasts 6+ hours between 8v and 6.4v.  Voltage seems to decay quickly from 8-7volts and then linger a long time between 7-6.4 volts.
          - When 6.4v is reached in Normal setting, a screen briefly appears announcing the radio is being turned off.
         - HARD Menu includes selectable readout of battery management system voltages.

2.  Firmware upload process still uses CUBE STM program and improved computer CAT control
        - Procedure is slightly changed with encoder/power switch push sequence to get into DFU mode.
        - A good quality data capable USB-A to USB-C jumper is needed for firmware flash and remote computer operation.
        - New USB control selection available to assign USB to IQ or Sound options
        - Details forthcoming on the improvements with CAT computer control.
        - Delays between DDC and computer greatly reduced and more features can be controlled on computer end.

3.  RTTY decoder available with several baud and shift settings. (Feature promised to be in DSP2 update)
      - Weather broadcasts for marine as well as amateur radio is supported
      - RTTY Text wording uses the middle bar area which is the same place where morse code messages are displayed.
      - Touch S-Meter to clear the middle text line as usual with Morse Code.
      - PSK and other modes under development.

4.   NCO Tuning where red marker line moves and carriers/waterfall stays still
     - Feature has recently been introduced to DSP2 - FW 2.10F.
     - NCO can be disabled so that the classic screen tuning is restored.  This is where the red marker stays still as carriers, waterfall and the middle frequency bar moves during tuning.

5.  Spectrum/Waterfall bandwidth now has 15 BW views available from 24 Khz to 38.4 Mhz.
       - Settings are made with volume control and push-in function.
       - Now you can see many stations on FM broadcast at the same time.  NCO Tuning is in real handy here!

6.  BIAS TEE now with higher voltage range available thus opening more options for amplified antennas
         - Because the DDC power is in the 6.5-8v range as compared to the 3-4v range in DSP 2, more brands/models of antennas using BIAS TEE can be experimented with.
          - "PWR ANT Enabled" for Bias Tee only works with 50 ohm antenna setting.
          - Hardware fix improvement over DSP2:  Choke inductor joining bias tee volts to the antenna path is now switched in circuit via relay verses fixed in place. 
          - The inductor always in place for DSP2 negatively affected LW-3Mhz reception in both 50 ohm and HiZ antenna settings, so DSP2 users were removing the L7 inductor and taking away bias tee ability.

7.  BAND menu has many changes (nice job by Igor Naumenko)
        - Up to 8 characters can be used to name a memory and is displayed on button above the displayed frequency
        - Mode such as AM, USB, etc. also displayed on memory button below frequency
       - “ Squelch On” also appears on memory button if the memory is highlighted to be a scanned channel and squelch for that memory is enabled.
        - In a new subsection of BAND menu called Monitor, the memorized menu channels can be selected and heard when rotating the VFO Encoder.  Rotate VFO to a number and hear the station memorized in that memory channel.
       - Channels can be set to scan in a bank or skip from scanning.
       - 4 scanner banks can be set up. 
       - Squelch is set up by the -dBm value (ie., if noise floor is -105 dBm, set squelch to -90 dBm).  Setting squelch level by -dBm value helps when understanding signal to noise.  Setting range is -10dBm for blocking all but the real strong stations or down to -110 dBm for weak stations breaking the squelch.
      - The squelch level set in the memory scanner menu is same squelch setting found in the Audio Menu.
      - For the brief moment in a scan sequence, while the memory is being scanned, the memory number (1-50) and its memorized 8 character name is displayed
      - A time delay can be set up so when the squelch is broken (a person talking), it holds for any value chosen between 1 and 200 seconds.  Normal setting 5-10 seconds for services like CB radio while others may choose 60 seconds for rag chew conversations on 75 meter phone.

8.   FM Broadcast RDS menu has an update:
        - The MPX signals with RED, GREEN and BLUE lines are explained with menu labels
            Pilot 19 Khz
            L-R SC 38 Khz
           RDS SC 57 Khz
      - New Multipath counter lower right of screen. The lower the count, the higher quality of signal.  Since the S-Meter on Wide FM likes staying at S-9 or higher, it does not tell much about the quality of the signal. The Multipath counter does by looking at the breakdown of the received signal. The lower the count, ie., 1-10 indicates a very strong signal while weak or no stations gives a multipath number in the 90’s. This can help understand when RDS texting is not working vs other times when it does.
 - There is a RDS “PTY” control in the works to be added to set the standard decoding to either Europe or USA standards. DSP1, DSP2 and current day firmware for DDC are showing the Europe standards for PTY values now.

Beta baseline versions are only covering 50 Khz to 30 Mhz, 88-108 Mhz and 144-148 Mhz. The up and coming optional board will bring the radio to no gaps and cover to 6 Ghz. Georgiy will also be working to increase LW down to 10 Khz.



Mark (KD9NXV) showing the AFEDRI (stand alone version) and the
Malahit DSP1 at the yearly Wisconsin Radio "Get-Together" in August 2021. (N9EWO photo)


*****  RANTS and REVELATIONS  *****

A EXTREMELY RARE "5 Volt" CLEAN LINEAR USB Power Supply
 (for USA 117 VAC input voltage)


Have covered this topic in the past with other radios that use a USB socket for power. What to do about the excessive RF noise that ALL switching AC adapters emit for use with a HF receiver ?  CCrane in California USA still has available an excellent , RARE and fairly inexpensive ANALOG / LINEAR / REGULATED 5 V 900ma USB power supply that provides enough “cool” and TOTALLY CLEAN current for operation with receivers that use a 5 pin MINI USB socket (example : Tecsun PL-880). CCrane Item # CWTPLP, Model: SR0509U. Yes it has a good old power transformer and linear type regulator. If one is handy enough, can add four .01 disc ceramic capacitors across its internal 4 power rectifier diodes to make it even cleaner (kills off diode hum for close indoor antennas, see photo). We just soldered them across the top of each of the diodes. But this is not a requirement of course AND DONE AT YOUR OWN RISK !!


Super RF quiet LINEAR 5 V AC Adapter with MINI USB connector (left). Sold by CCrane in the USA.
Hefty 900ma Output. CCrane Item # CWTPLP, Model: SR-0509U (subject to availability).
Right photo shows 4 - 0.01 disc-ceramic capacitors added to
 reduce rectifier hum with indoor antennas on MW and HF.


The downside is that the CCrane power supply has a MINI USB output cable and you need a MICRO USB for the Russian Malachite SDR (Chinese ones use a USB Type C) so of course it will not work out of the box. Not to worry as there are simple adapters available on ebay and elsewhere. Example adapter here but a warning here that it will be a bit stressful on the receivers USB socket (so be very careful). If one is electronic handy could just change out the DC output cable for the proper one with a USB "Micro" plug (just dealing with the red and black wires of course). The CCrane adapter above is screwed together for easy access.

IMPORTANT - WARNING ! : With the Russian Malahit / Malachite SDR operational current consumption approx. 300ma (as indicated in the manual), normal operation with this CCrane AC adapter is no problem at all. However when charging the internal lithium ion battery, current jumps to around 850 ma PEAK (NOTE : RECEIVER OFF) and makes this supply operate HOT and near it's maximum rating ! It would be a good idea to use a 2 AMP USB switching type adapter when charging the internal battery to rule out any possible heat failure problems down the road of the linear power supplies regulator.

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