With the options for experiencing the power of software defined radio on the shortwave bands limited but getting better all the time with some reliable up converters appearing for use with the readily available DVB dongles we thought it would be a great time to look at the professional side of shortwave SDR.
The SDR MK1.5 is the second improved version of this receiver building on the success of the original model but now incorporating a faster CPU in the design to speed up the processing of raw data.
But by far the most useful feature the MK1.5 brings to the shortwave hobby is the two independent front ends allowing each to be monitored in a completely separate channel by whatever software your using, this means you can listen to one output while using the other to continue looking for fresh signals.
This is the kind of architecture that’s making S.D.R a fast growing side of our hobby.
SDR MK1.5 Features
5kHz to 30MHz frequency Coverage
Integrated 10/100base Ethernet Adapter
View 400kHz IF bandwidth over Ethernet Network
64MHz Top End Sample Rate
View the Entire Shortwave Band at the Same Time with the Panadapter channel Feature
Powered either from the USB or an optional 5 Volt power adapter the SDR receiver has the choice of computer connections with both USB and network outputs. Due to the nature of SDR the associated computer software used is completely of your choosing with some very good open source packages free to download from the Internet.
This is by no means a cheap option for those wishing to get their hands on some shortwave SDR gear but if your serious about radio its best to read all the documentation before splashing the cash to make sure the MK1.5 will do all the things you expect.
Getting hold of one of these units will cost about the same as buying a new quality shortwave receiver but unless you have some experience with SDR software or decoder suites in general there may be a bit of learning on the cards.
For an idea of what the software looks like here is a short video running the Mk1.5 `Andrus` on the SDR console version 2 software, if you’ve ever used a data decoding software package called Multipsk you’ll already be familiar with the waterfall effect that makes viewing signals over a wide bandwidth easier.
Casing And Design
Working with bare PCB boards always leaves the task of housing them once your happy with the way they’re setup, this prevents any problems with broken tracks etc where connections are made to the circuit board itself.
This is all done for you with the MK1.5 by getting the whole unit into a manageable sized and robust metal casing. The entire make up of the construction is designed to give this S.D.R model a “set and forget” operation once its been installed.
There are less costly ways of setting up a SDR shortwave receiver by using a combination of a basic DVB dongle run through a suitable up converter like the Ham it Up v1.2 model which converts the signal from DVB dongles into the shortwave area of the radio spectrum. Even though up convertors work perfectly when setup well (with the right components) they are still a mash up of technologies unlike the power and simplicity of a purpose built SDR receiver like the MK1.5.
More information and the latest pricing on the MK1.5 can be found at Amazon