A Couple of Interesting Software Defined Radios

For several years I have had a Perseus Software Defined Radio (SDR) manufactured by Microtelecom in Italy. The Perseus is an excellent radio and I have used it extensively for medium wave and long wave DXing. But it is not inexpensive.

There are other SDRs on the market at lower price points. I had not owned any of them until just recently.

The SDRplay has been popular since its introduction. A new version has recently been made available called the RSP2. The unit (including the SDRuno software) can be purchased for less than $200. A USB cable is required (not included) and you may need adapters for the antenna connectors. Details about the RSP2 are here:


The RTL-SDR dongle has been around for quite awhile. It was originally manufactured as a TV tuner. It was found that the I/Q data can be accessed directly, so the dongle can be used as an SDR. An overview is here:


Earlier versions were only capable of reception on frequencies above 24 MHz. There is a new version called the “RTL-SDR blog V3” that allows reception of much lower frequencies. This web page describes how this is done with a V3 dongle, using the SDRsharp software:


The RTL-SDR dongle is available for about $20. It is very small, with a USB connector on one end, and an antenna connector on the other.

Installing software and getting either of these SDRs running is not trivial but it is not difficult either. Readers should take a look at the respective web sites to understand the process. Among the various SDRs on the market today, there are a lot of variations in features available, and hence some SDRs may not work for a particular application. One thing for sure, there are SDRs available that provide a lot of capability for much less money than traditional hardware-only solutions.



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