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Mercury HPSDR




 
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WA1GFZ
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« on: January 17, 2009, 05:32:46 PM »

Just checked out the latest software. MDS around -136 dBM.
Dynamic range 2.5 to 50 KHz spacing spur comes out of the noise floor when the two generator hit -26 dBM. That is 110 dB dynamic range.           Blocking happens around -14 dBM. Quite impressive.
This is not the bogus ARRL method this is the MDS method.
This is a solid 5 dB better than anything I've ever built modified or tested.
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Mike/W8BAC
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2009, 06:27:40 PM »

What kind of computer horsepower are you using and dose that require a special sound card? I'm not acquainted with anything but a Flex using a Delta 44 sound card.

Mike
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WA1GFZ
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2009, 08:10:04 PM »

You don't need no stinkin sound card. Dirt simple 50 MHz low pass filter into an A/D sampling at 122 MHz. Data stream then goes into a digital down converter with the results sent to an on board DSP that makes the audio output. Same A/D as used in the QSR1 but has the new buffer amp ahead of it. It does need to be plugged into the Atlas bus so it can talk to the computer.
QSR1 is a single board RX.
My computer a used Dell dual dual core 2.4 GHz with a G of ram. Runs at around 10% horsepower.
Next step mount the final on a bigger heatsink so I can transmitt with Penny.
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KF1Z
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« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2009, 09:52:03 PM »

You don't need no stinkin sound card. .................
............
QSR1 is a single board RX.


Yup,
I don't even have a soundcard installed in my 'puter anymore.

Speakers are plugged into the on-board DAC.

Glad HPSDR is going good for ya!
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WA1GFZ
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2009, 08:55:04 AM »

Too bad Phil's software doesn't interface to HPSDR yet....
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W3RSW
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Rick & "Roosevelt"


« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2009, 10:48:39 AM »

Frank,have you run performance specs on the QS1R w/o the front end.  Seems to me you or someone did not too long ago.  Are you planning to run specs again after Phil provides bandpass filter/preamp board, (vaporous so far.)?

I built a nice preamp/preselector for mine based on the series resonant 5 ohm impedance design recently popularized and copied by MFJ (low end) and others (very hign end.)   Some have said that it's just a simple single stage series resonant LC circuit but the magic lies in the very low impedance, complimentarily (Bushism) to the very high impedance of a parallel resonant tube or FET tuner.   Grin   

It is plenty selective for eliminating out of band and somewhat in-band intermod, but of course is nowhere near what a single freq. "roofing" filter can do.  The preamp does help, of course on 15 meters and down.   I also built a 7 pole L/C BC cutoff high pass filter, slotted on board above my QS1R.

Pix of both along with screen shots of QS1R appiications are :

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/qs1r/photos/album/706702803/pic/list
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RICK  *W3RSW*
WA1GFZ
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« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2009, 11:00:11 AM »

Hi Rick,
I don't have access to a QSR1 so can't check it for you.
Both receivers have the same A/D but Mercury has a 20 db amplifier anead of it and a selectable 20 dB pad. My relay is stuck so I'm in high gain mode.
MDS at 500 Hz. is around -136 dBM and spur generates audio around -26 dBM both signals. QSR1 does not have that much gain. I have not seen any overload problems yet so have no need to do anything ahead of the RX. Still i'm chicken and have a 6 dB pad ahead of it.
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W3RSW
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« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2009, 12:50:24 PM »

Phil's little red light warns of overlaod on the QS1R, heh, heh.
I've run it via t/r relays in the TR-7 and use an extra contact for muting the QS1R..
So far no zorch, but I can understand your 6db pad.

Haven't received yet with the QS1R coupled to the 350 w 813 am xmtr.; kind of like you, don't quite have the nerve, (not so much the absolute db diff, more worried about run around strays, etc.) although I set up mechanical sequential contacts on the 813's t/r relay.

Another problem is borrowing mummy's computer to run it; newer, faster,  has usb 2.0, etc. compared to the utility junker in the shack.  I guess the need for ever greater machines... ,-  "longer, lower, wider, more horsepower..."  is never ending.

One of the reason's I picked up Phil's board was the undithered output through 6 meters.  Looks like the software people (Cathy, N9VV, et. al.) are having a lot of fun cobbling up various GUI's for Phil's orig. server.
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RICK  *W3RSW*
WA1GFZ
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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2009, 05:00:40 PM »

Phil's stuff is very cool and the single board makes sense. The A/D overload was just added to HPSDR Flex display last week. Saturates at -12 dBM with the preamp turned on. MDS is around -136 dBM. So Mercury has a better MDS due to the new amp that Phil didn't have when he did his board.
I started working my final again yesterday. Sawed all the extra crap off the MRI board so it is only 5 by 12 inches. Now need to decide which heat sink I want to use. Class A bias is about 9 amps at 48 volts all three stages so it will be heating the shack. I can also run AB with higher IMD.  Mercury also works to 6 meters and Penny exciter also good. Filter module later this spring so I'll cob something up to get on.
It just seems like cheating with such simple hardware.
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Tom WA3KLR
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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2009, 08:48:22 AM »

Frank,

You have no excuse now for not being #1 in the next CW corntest.
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73 de Tom WA3KLR  AMI # 77   Amplitude Modulation - a force Now and for the Future!
steve_qix
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« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2009, 08:57:31 AM »

Ok, this sounds really great !

Dumb question - where would I get the hardware?  I've done some reading here and there on the 'net, but have not found a source of the actual hardware, nor anything about prices.

Very curious to try this out  Cheesy

Regards,

Steve
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WA1GFZ
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« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2009, 09:44:53 AM »

http://hpsdr.org/

Steve this is the highest performance stuff to date.
This is not the softrock stuff that is a lot cheaper.
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WA1GFZ
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« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2009, 09:54:46 AM »

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/

This is the link to softrock users where you can find the latest kits. I built the 6.2. You use FLEX software which is a free download. Then go through the set up and select softrock or HPSDR interface. I have a simpler transformer design for the input transformer using a lot less wire.
You just have to tell Tony your IF frequency so he gives you the right crystal with the kit. I actually used a color burst crystal in my homebrew divided by 8 to generate I/Q LO.
HPSDR has no LO just A/D sample at 122 MHz.
The nicest 1 board solution radio is Phil Covington's QSR1 that uses the same A/D as Mercury but not as sensitive becaus ehe designed it before the input amp came out.
Perseus is also a very nice radio but a slower A/D sample rate 80 MHz. This was the first A/D to come out and Jay reports it works quite well. He found a used one. fc
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W1VD
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« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2009, 10:14:05 AM »

Steve

Some info on the Perseus tests I ran a while back.

http://amfone.net/Amforum/index.php?topic=18050.0

It's one step down from the Mercury / QS1R but still does 100 dB DR. Even with big high antennas it's doubtful that DR in excess of 100 dB will actually be useful in all but the rarest of circumstances.

I've been using this A/D receiver daily for about a month now and have felt no reason to switch back to conventional receivers. My first jump was from conventional to an R-390A / SoftRock setup...but this is significantly better.

The Perseus seems expensive if bought new (bought mine used at a big discount - thanks Frank  Wink ) but when you consider what it does it's really not that bad. Mercury and QS1R may be a better $ / performance.

Perseus lets you record a 1.6 MHz chunk of spectrum for later playback. Yes...you can tune around the 1.6 MHz chunk as though you're doing it in real time.

Another feature I like is using a 'virtual audio cable' to connect the WinRad software (also runs on Perseus) to other application software like Argo, Spectrum Laboratry etc.

Cool stuff indeed!



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'Tnx Fer the Dope OM'.
WA1GFZ
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« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2009, 10:52:36 AM »

I suggest the QSR1 as the way to go if you are just getting started.
I bet Phil has some cool stuff coming in the future.
HPSDR plans to have some very cool functions in the future. I suggested a spectrum analyzer with tracking generator. I was told it is just a software change. Then there is the guys working on a vector network analyzer.
NO MORE BOGUS S METER REPORTS with this stuff
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KF1Z
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« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2009, 11:28:11 AM »

Steve....
Buy QS1R here:

http://www.philcovington.com/QuickSilver/

All source code is in SVN repository here:

http://qssdrcode.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/

And Yahoo group here:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/qs1r/



For buying HPSDR hardware, go here:

http://www.tapr.org/products.php
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Steve - WB3HUZ
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« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2009, 11:34:57 AM »

If you are planning to tap off the IF of your receiver, the Softrock is not needed. A far simpler NE602 based downconvertor will work just fine. Get the schematic of the one KE1GF built several years ago to demod DRM.
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WA1GFZ
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« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2009, 12:07:51 PM »

When you compare the price of the SE3 to the QSR1 it quickly becomes a no brainer.
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Steve - WB3HUZ
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« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2009, 12:11:44 PM »

Steve already has an SE-3. Unless you are saying Steve has no brains.
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steve_qix
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« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2009, 12:26:59 PM »

Steve already has an SE-3. Unless you are saying Steve has no brains.

The SE-3 is on loan to me for evaluation.  It actually belongs to someone else who may or may not want it back  Smiley

It is very nice - been listening a lot to many QSOs.  Outstanding not to have any distortion introduced due to selective fading - AND no distortion showing up on SSB rigs running AM with too much audio for the carrier!!

I've used the softrock kit at K1KBW's place.  Pretty nice, but I would like to use a "real" SDR in my shack.  This is my interest in the HPSDR or QS1R.

Prices:  how much does the current HPSDR hardware (for receive functions only at this time) cost?  How about the QS1R?  Apparently, no sound card is needed with the HPSDR, which I would have to otherwise purchase.

Thanks and Regards,

Steve
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KF1Z
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Are FETs supposed to glow like that?


« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2009, 12:34:49 PM »

QS1R = $849. + shipping (no enclosure)

No soundcard needed. Has DAC ouput on board.



Frank can tell you HPSDR...

I BELIEVE Mercury is $349.
But, you need Atlas and I think Ozzy as well...

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W3RSW
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Rick & "Roosevelt"


« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2009, 12:36:41 PM »

Not a reply per se, but here's the future of your receivers out there in radio land boys and girls.

Everything on a 4" x 6" board (not counting a reasonably fast, these days almost low end computer.)   The preselector/attenuator/pre-amp board will fit in the same Hammond case. For 99% of my use in a relatively quite radio interference region, don't even need the 'pre' board.

As Frank says,  you can do the mail, surf, watch about any amount of bandwidth and listen to a qso at the same time.  The GUI's going to allow you to receive two signals in each headphone if that's what you want.. blue grass at 980khz and a ham qso in the other ear on 3773, variable bandwidth, demod and volume for each.  You'll also be able to catch the grey line /sunrise dx on, say, the entire BC band all in one recordable swatch, listen to it at your leasure over hours for what was originally a fast moving window.

Couple all this with the instrumentation applications coming and this type of receiver will be fantastic.  In many senses it already is.


* 00qs1r_front_sm.jpg (30.76 KB, 400x225 - viewed 502 times.)
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RICK  *W3RSW*
WA1GFZ
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« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2009, 05:31:53 PM »

I think I'm into my set up for around $600 now that Janus isn't needed any more. Alex preselector is coming in the spring. Still my Racal hangs pretty close in performance unlike Flex type radio where Racal did a better job during poor conditions. You do have to assemble the motherboard which takes a good afternoon.
I bet the next Flex will use A/D since it is less hardware.

I would go with QSR1 if I was starting fresh and everyone I sent that way turned out very happy.  Steve being a software guy would get into HPSDR
guys. 
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KF1Z
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Are FETs supposed to glow like that?


« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2009, 06:09:18 PM »

I would like to see Steve with a QS1R!

He'd be able to writte in a software defined modulation monitor, with no extra hardware needed.

Not to mention a regular scope display etc....

So Steve....
Have you placed an order yet??   Grin
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WA1GFZ
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« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2009, 07:41:04 PM »

Bruce,
I was just thinking of the same thing this afternoon. Imagine Mercury as a spectrum monitor of Penny while in TX. See your own IMD as you generate it.
I just suggested it to the mother ship.
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