During the past few years, the trend has been more and more toward software defined radios (SDR). Why is that? Well, in our computerized age, more and more jobs are done with the help of a PC. So it stands to reason to have hobby-related applications done by a PC as well. As far as listening to the radio is concerned, there are some advantages which we cannot do without any more. Almost all functions, which in the past were done by hardware, are done now with computer software. You don't need hardware radios for an excellent reception of shortwave. But still these have their right to exist because not every listener likes sitting in front of the computer all the time and would like to have a few buttons to turn.
That is the reason why I had the SDR-IQ by RFSpace sent to me from the USA. A small nice box, solidly built, is now on my table. There isn't much to connect. A USB-cable, the antenna and that is all. The power is supplied by the USB port. The installation is without any problems. The SDR-IQ comes with a CD which contains the program "SpectraVue", which is an easy to handle program which fulfills almost all wishes of the listeners. If you want to have more functions and settings, you can use the great program "SDR Radio", which is free of charge. There you have an almost unlimited number of functions and settings. This program is a piece of joy for the listener with a good knowledge of PCs. If that is too much after all, you can try the excellent program "HDSDR", which runs on the SDR-IQ, too.
How is reception with the small SDR IQ?
I compared it to the Perseus SDR and other hardware radios. Because reception depends very much on the software, the sound of the programs is different. I liked the sound of "SDR Radio" the best. You can adjust the sound with an equalizer. But it's not perfect. When setting the frequency, the spectrum lags behind. HDSDR can handle that a lot better and makes the tuning of the frequency really smooth. I didn't like SpectraVue that much. Tuning the frequency cannot be done without some jerking. But all programs are almost noise-free and make good reception possible. The large signal immunity of the SDR-IQ is rather good with IP3+15dBm. There were hardly any overdrive effects with my antennas: 35m long wire and Fenu-Loop/HDLA3. In this respect, the Perseus is a lot better. Sensitivity is not as good as for the other radios, but is good enough for DXing. All in all, a great receiver with the possibility of using other control programs. The right radio for the SDR beginner. Not too expensive and good value.