29 April 2014

Elad FDM-DUO standalone SDR HF+6m transceiver

Things seem to be going the right way for SDR technology. The latest spawn from Italy - called ELAD FDM-DUO - definetely got my interest; we are talking about a direct sampling full SDR transceiver for HF/6m, that can also run standalone. The closest thing to it might be the Elecraft KX-3, but that is considerably behind in technology and still manages to have one of the top recievers around.





The ELAD FDM-DUO recieves from 9KHz to 52MHz and covers all the amateur bands from 160m to 6m, claiming an MDS of -132dB and an BDR or +115dB @ 500Hz. Power output is only 5W (!).


Besides being standalone, it can also be attached to a computer so you can benefit from all the power of the SDR technology: big spectrum analizer (up to 6MHz), dual recievers, total control via their SW-2 software etc.




Here's what makes it go:
- ADC: Linear Technology LTC2165 clocked at 122.88MHz
- DDC: Xilinx Spartan 6 XC6SLX25 FPGA + serial flash
- DDS: AD9957
- 2x STM32F4 microcontrollers


What I don't like about it is the fact that it is not concieved as a product, but looks more as a technological demo, made entirely by engineers. The hefty pricetag (1160EUR, about US$ 1600) asks for a good user interface, useful output power and decent build quality, otherwise it will be just a stillborn novelty - interesting from a technological standpoint but not appealing to purchase and use. FDM-DUO's kickass electronics with 100W output and a useful front panel could definetely your main station transceiver.



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