Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New Radios for 2011

Following something of a drought in tabletop communication receivers, we now see some interesting new radios in the pipeline for utility grade performance at less than astronomical prices.

Alinco DX-R8T

This is a small radio with typical tabletop receiver coverage and specs. It sounds worth checking out. Here's the description on Universal Radio's web site:

The Alinco DX-R8T receiver covers 150 kHz to 30 MHz in SSB, CW, AM and FM. Other features include: IF shift, band and memory scanning, attenuator, preamp, RIT and noise blanker. Enjoy 600 alphanumeric memories (3 banks of 200 channels). There are rear panel connectors for external devices including IQ output for possible use in SDR applications, DRM, external decoding, etc. With SDR freeware (not supplied) you will be able to decode DRM with a PC with sound card.

Requires 12 VDC at 1 amp. Please note that this radio comes with a 12VDC cable and Owner's Manual only. It does not include a power supply. An AC power supply that provides 12VDC filtered 3 amp (or greater) power supply is required for home operation. See Samlex SPS-1204UL (below) or equivalent. Size: 9.45 x 3.95 x 11.54 inches (240x100x293mm 4.1 kg).

Listed price is $549.95.

AOR AR7070

This replacement of the highly regarded AR-7030, made by AOR UK, has been in the works for some time now. Prototype units have gotten good reviews from the few who have seen them. Supposedly it's been held up by difficulties in obtaining quality parts and in various firmware issues. It has not been FCC approved for the US, though this is in work according to Universal. It's an up-converted radio with DSP and an H mode front end. Here's the first paragraph of a review:

The AR7070 has been designed by my friend John Thorpe the designer of the highly acclaimed AR7030 HF receiver and also the designer of the 'HF' series of receivers made in Matlock by Lowe Electronics in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The AR7070 is an up conversion receiver that uses the techniques of the receive section of the CDG2000 transceiver that Martein improved upon to make his 'holy grail' receiver with a 9MHz IF. Like the CDG2000 receiver the AR7070 is sensitive enough not to require a preamplifier before its first H mode mixer.

The price in US$ is not known, but it will not be cheap.

Winradio WR-G33DDC Excalibur Pro

Well, OK, this is actually an SDR for use with a computer, but it has been the subject of considerable interest, including here on my part. Winradio has two styles of radios in the G-3 class. The Excalibur is the version using digital down-conversion (DDC). This radio, the WR-G31DDC is still available, but presumably it may be nearing the end of Winradio's usual 5-year support cycle. The G33 is said to have 4 MHz available for demodulation instead of two. The radio will probably share the Excalibur's tendency to use all the PC computing power you can give it.

Here's the description on Winradio's site:

The WiNRADiO WR-G33DDC 'EXCALIBUR Pro' is a high-performance, low-cost, direct-sampling, software-defined, shortwave receiver with a frequency range from 9 kHz to 49.995 MHz. It includes a real-time 50 MHz-wide spectrum analyzer and 4 MHz-wide instantaneous bandwidth available for recording, demodulation and further digital processing.

This product is an advanced version of the WR-G31DDC receiver offering the following additional improvements:

4 MHz instantaneous processing bandwidth
Low-noise preamplifier
Configurable preselection filters
Filter bandwidth adjustable down to 1 Hz
0.5 ppm frequency stability
Test and measurement functions

Again, the price has not been announced. The current G31DDC is $849.95 at Grove.