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Ensemble RX/TX external sound

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  • Richard
    I am finishing the assembly of my Ensemble RX/TX and I will be using it with my Dell portable computer. I am looking for recomendations for a good external
    Message 1 of 11 , Oct 7, 2011
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      I am finishing the assembly of my Ensemble RX/TX and I will be using it with my Dell portable computer. I am looking for recomendations for a good external sound card. I am not sure which software package I'll use, I have downloaded Rocky. Winrad and PSDR.

      I have a SignaLink USB, has anyone used it? I want to use my Ensemble for CW and PSK31.

      TNX
      73
      Richard, KC8RP
    • falcongsr
      I m playing around with the USB2SDR hardware from Christos SV1EIA. It is basically a USB sound card purpose built for SDR use with lots of flexibility for
      Message 2 of 11 , Oct 7, 2011
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        I'm playing around with the USB2SDR hardware from Christos SV1EIA. It is basically a USB sound card purpose built for SDR use with lots of flexibility for interfacing with various radios. My intent is to use it as a portable station with a laptop.

        Pros:
        It just works. With softrocks (RX and RXTX) it is almost literally plug and play. I say 'almost literally plug and play' because you have to install the drivers but the method provided works reliably. I've tested it in Windows XP and Windows 7.

        Cons:
        - Only works with PowerSDR. Only Christos' PowerSDR app can interface with USB2SDR, as far as I know. I miss WinradHD.
        - On the transmitting, the DAC that is used can only output a 0.5V peak to peak signal. What this means is when I'm driving my Softrock RXTX, I only get 0.5W max output. As I intend to drive a HF Packer amp Version 4 soon, I'll have to address this somehow, as the HF Packer amp V4 needs 1.0W input for full drive out.

        Side note: When I used my E-MU 1212PCI sound card, it would generate over 4.0V peak to peak, which means I could drive my RXTX well past 1.0W out. In fact I was stupidly driving it at 4.0W in early testing. I didn't have an accurate wattmeter and misread the one I had. Luckily it didn't melt anything. I guess I always had it driving a 50 ohm load which probably saved the BS170s but this is a testament to the Softrock TX design.

        - You only get the raw USB2SDR circuit board and there are no enclosures for it yet. You'll have to put it in something for portable operations.

        Even with the issues I've listed Christos is working on addressing them. In fact he has pretty big plans for it. I am wholly impressed with the USB2SDR so far and I'm moving forward with it at the center of my portable SDR station.

        Joe KJ6QBA

        --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Richard" <kc8rp@...> wrote:
        >
        > I am finishing the assembly of my Ensemble RX/TX and I will be using it with my Dell portable computer. I am looking for recomendations for a good external sound card. I am not sure which software package I'll use, I have downloaded Rocky. Winrad and PSDR.
        >
        > I have a SignaLink USB, has anyone used it? I want to use my Ensemble for CW and PSK31.
        >
        > TNX
        > 73
        > Richard, KC8RP
        >
      • Alan
        ... Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX/TX external sound ... Richard, Thanks for the write-up. The only thing to comment is that some have said that for
        Message 3 of 11 , Oct 7, 2011
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          ----- Original Message -----

          Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX/TX external sound


          >
          > I'm playing around with the USB2SDR hardware from Christos SV1EIA.


          Richard,

          Thanks for the write-up.
          The only thing to comment is that some have said that for best linearity and
          purity of signal the Softrock is best used at 0.5 watts.
          This is especially relevant when used to drive an amplifier.

          73 Alan G4ZFQ
        • falcongsr
          Just to follow up on my USB2SDR comments, there are a couple options for attaining 1.0W output from the RXTX from the USB2SDR. One is to increase the gain of
          Message 4 of 11 , Oct 7, 2011
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            Just to follow up on my USB2SDR comments, there are a couple options for attaining 1.0W output from the RXTX from the USB2SDR.

            One is to increase the gain of the input stage of the Softrock RXTX opamp, which is U6. You can change R15 and R18 to 5k ohms to increase the gain. Christos recommends adding a 10K resistor in parallel with both R15 and R18 to accomplish this.

            Alternately I found out he developed an external voltage amplifier to boost the USB2SDR output and he details it here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/powersdr-iq/files/USB2SDR%20OutputVoltageAmplifier/

            It is the same opamp as used in the softrock TX chain. You can order one from him or breadboard one yourself. Adding it between the USB2SDR and the Softrock RXTX would leave the Softrock unmodified for those who do not wish to change it for compatibility reasons.

            Alan's comment about spectral purity at various output levels is a good one. I recall reading something about that here in the past. I would appreciate it if someone had some measured data on this. I may be able to access a spectrum analyzer when I get my station "portable-ized" where I could observe IMD at the Softrock RXTX output.





            --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Alan" <alan4alan@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > ----- Original Message -----
            >
            > Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX/TX external sound
            >
            >
            > >
            > > I'm playing around with the USB2SDR hardware from Christos SV1EIA.
            >
            >
            > Richard,
            >
            > Thanks for the write-up.
            > The only thing to comment is that some have said that for best linearity and
            > purity of signal the Softrock is best used at 0.5 watts.
            > This is especially relevant when used to drive an amplifier.
            >
            > 73 Alan G4ZFQ
            >
          • Richard
            Where can I get the USB2SDR? Richard, KC8RP
            Message 5 of 11 , Oct 7, 2011
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              Where can I get the USB2SDR?

              Richard, KC8RP

              --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "falcongsr" <falcongsr@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              > I'm playing around with the USB2SDR hardware from Christos SV1EIA. It is basically a USB sound card purpose built for SDR use with lots of flexibility for interfacing with various radios. My intent is to use it as a portable station with a laptop.
              >
              > Pros:
              > It just works. With softrocks (RX and RXTX) it is almost literally plug and play. I say 'almost literally plug and play' because you have to install the drivers but the method provided works reliably. I've tested it in Windows XP and Windows 7.
              >
              > Cons:
              > - Only works with PowerSDR. Only Christos' PowerSDR app can interface with USB2SDR, as far as I know. I miss WinradHD.
              > - On the transmitting, the DAC that is used can only output a 0.5V peak to peak signal. What this means is when I'm driving my Softrock RXTX, I only get 0.5W max output. As I intend to drive a HF Packer amp Version 4 soon, I'll have to address this somehow, as the HF Packer amp V4 needs 1.0W input for full drive out.
              >
              > Side note: When I used my E-MU 1212PCI sound card, it would generate over 4.0V peak to peak, which means I could drive my RXTX well past 1.0W out. In fact I was stupidly driving it at 4.0W in early testing. I didn't have an accurate wattmeter and misread the one I had. Luckily it didn't melt anything. I guess I always had it driving a 50 ohm load which probably saved the BS170s but this is a testament to the Softrock TX design.
              >
              > - You only get the raw USB2SDR circuit board and there are no enclosures for it yet. You'll have to put it in something for portable operations.
              >
              > Even with the issues I've listed Christos is working on addressing them. In fact he has pretty big plans for it. I am wholly impressed with the USB2SDR so far and I'm moving forward with it at the center of my portable SDR station.
              >
              > Joe KJ6QBA
              >
              > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Richard" <kc8rp@> wrote:
              > >
              > > I am finishing the assembly of my Ensemble RX/TX and I will be using it with my Dell portable computer. I am looking for recomendations for a good external sound card. I am not sure which software package I'll use, I have downloaded Rocky. Winrad and PSDR.
              > >
              > > I have a SignaLink USB, has anyone used it? I want to use my Ensemble for CW and PSK31.
              > >
              > > TNX
              > > 73
              > > Richard, KC8RP
              > >
              >
            • Alan
              ... From: Richard Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX/TX external sound ... 73 Alan G4ZFQ
              Message 6 of 11 , Oct 7, 2011
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                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Richard"Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX/TX external sound


                > Where can I get the USB2SDR?
                >

                <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/58113>

                73 Alan G4ZFQ
              • Alan
                ... Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX/TX external sound ... Some time ago I put this on my Softrock web page Softrock 6.3 output stage:- The overall
                Message 7 of 11 , Oct 7, 2011
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                  ----- Original Message -----
                  Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX/TX external sound



                  > Alan's comment about spectral purity at various output levels is a good
                  > one. I recall reading something about that here in the past. I would
                  > appreciate it if someone had some measured data on this. I may be able to
                  > access a spectrum analyzer when I get my station "portable-ized" where I
                  > could observe IMD at the Softrock RXTX output.
                  >

                  Some time ago I put this on my Softrock web page "Softrock 6.3 output
                  stage:- The overall finding so far has been that the amplifier is not linear
                  at power levels over 1/2 to 3/4 watt or so. 1 watt level is fully saturated
                  output (cannot be operated on ssb). only good for CW.." (The Ensemble
                  circuitry is much the same as the 6.3).
                  It would have followed various comments made on this group. I have 3 RXTX
                  Softrocks, none would give much more than a true 1 watt. On some bands less
                  than 1 watt. I did no other tests as I don't have the equipment. Since then
                  I have reduced the op-amp gains so I can't get much more than 1/2 watt.
                  Without proper test equipment perhaps I'm overcautious.

                  Some have claimed much more than 1 watt from theirs I have my doubts but I
                  do only use 12V.

                  I suspect there are tests buried in the Group's archives. Lots of posts,
                  some tests here
                  <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files/KF4BQ/RXTX%2BXtall%20V6.3/>

                  73 Alan G4ZFQ







                  @yahoogroups.com, "Alan" <alan4alan@...> wrote:
                  >>
                  >>
                  >> ----- Original Message -----
                  >>
                  >> Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX/TX external sound
                  >>
                  >>
                  >> >
                  >> > I'm playing around with the USB2SDR hardware from Christos SV1EIA.
                  >>
                  >>
                  >> Richard,
                  >>
                  >> Thanks for the write-up.
                  >> The only thing to comment is that some have said that for best linearity
                  >> and
                  >> purity of signal the Softrock is best used at 0.5 watts.
                  >> This is especially relevant when used to drive an amplifier.
                  >>
                  >> 73 Alan G4ZFQ
                  >>
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > ------------------------------------
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • Richard
                  Joe, I have been considering the USB2SDR for my Ensemble RX/TX. I was wondering about the DB14 interface and how that is accomplished with Ensemble? The
                  Message 8 of 11 , Oct 12, 2011
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                    Joe,
                    I have been considering the USB2SDR for my Ensemble RX/TX. I was wondering about the DB14 interface and how that is accomplished with Ensemble? The biggest problem I see working DX is the inability to split to a second RX.

                    The final decision will be to spend the 195 Euros/268 dollars.

                    73
                    Richard, KC8RP
                    --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "falcongsr" <falcongsr@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > I'm playing around with the USB2SDR hardware from Christos SV1EIA. It is basically a USB sound card purpose built for SDR use with lots of flexibility for interfacing with various radios. My intent is to use it as a portable station with a laptop.
                    >
                    > Pros:
                    > It just works. With softrocks (RX and RXTX) it is almost literally plug and play. I say 'almost literally plug and play' because you have to install the drivers but the method provided works reliably. I've tested it in Windows XP and Windows 7.
                    >
                    > Cons:
                    > - Only works with PowerSDR. Only Christos' PowerSDR app can interface with USB2SDR, as far as I know. I miss WinradHD.
                    > - On the transmitting, the DAC that is used can only output a 0.5V peak to peak signal. What this means is when I'm driving my Softrock RXTX, I only get 0.5W max output. As I intend to drive a HF Packer amp Version 4 soon, I'll have to address this somehow, as the HF Packer amp V4 needs 1.0W input for full drive out.
                    >
                    > Side note: When I used my E-MU 1212PCI sound card, it would generate over 4.0V peak to peak, which means I could drive my RXTX well past 1.0W out. In fact I was stupidly driving it at 4.0W in early testing. I didn't have an accurate wattmeter and misread the one I had. Luckily it didn't melt anything. I guess I always had it driving a 50 ohm load which probably saved the BS170s but this is a testament to the Softrock TX design.
                    >
                    > - You only get the raw USB2SDR circuit board and there are no enclosures for it yet. You'll have to put it in something for portable operations.
                    >
                    > Even with the issues I've listed Christos is working on addressing them. In fact he has pretty big plans for it. I am wholly impressed with the USB2SDR so far and I'm moving forward with it at the center of my portable SDR station.
                    >
                    > Joe KJ6QBA
                    >
                    > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Richard" <kc8rp@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > I am finishing the assembly of my Ensemble RX/TX and I will be using it with my Dell portable computer. I am looking for recomendations for a good external sound card. I am not sure which software package I'll use, I have downloaded Rocky. Winrad and PSDR.
                    > >
                    > > I have a SignaLink USB, has anyone used it? I want to use my Ensemble for CW and PSK31.
                    > >
                    > > TNX
                    > > 73
                    > > Richard, KC8RP
                    > >
                    >
                  • sv1eia
                    Hi Richard, ... If you are talking for the same band, that functionality is already there ! With the PowerSDR-IQ you can have split Tx up to 180KHz. Also you
                    Message 9 of 11 , Oct 12, 2011
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                      Hi Richard,

                      --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Richard" <kc8rp@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Joe,
                      > I have been considering the USB2SDR for my Ensemble RX/TX. I was wondering about the DB14 interface and how that is accomplished with Ensemble? The biggest problem I see working DX is the inability to split to a second RX.

                      If you are talking for the same band, that functionality is already there !

                      With the PowerSDR-IQ you can have split Tx up to 180KHz.
                      Also you can monitor both frequencies, Rx and Tx and even better you can have Rx on left audio channel and Tx monitor on right audio channel on your headphones, with their volume separately adjusted each so you can hear louder the DX and lower the Tx monitor.

                      As you said, its just the buying decision that you need to consider.

                      73,
                      Christos SV1EIA


                      >
                      > The final decision will be to spend the 195 Euros/268 dollars.
                      >
                      > 73
                      > Richard, KC8RP
                      > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "falcongsr" <falcongsr@> wrote:
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > I'm playing around with the USB2SDR hardware from Christos SV1EIA. It is basically a USB sound card purpose built for SDR use with lots of flexibility for interfacing with various radios. My intent is to use it as a portable station with a laptop.
                      > >
                      > > Pros:
                      > > It just works. With softrocks (RX and RXTX) it is almost literally plug and play. I say 'almost literally plug and play' because you have to install the drivers but the method provided works reliably. I've tested it in Windows XP and Windows 7.
                      > >
                      > > Cons:
                      > > - Only works with PowerSDR. Only Christos' PowerSDR app can interface with USB2SDR, as far as I know. I miss WinradHD.
                      > > - On the transmitting, the DAC that is used can only output a 0.5V peak to peak signal. What this means is when I'm driving my Softrock RXTX, I only get 0.5W max output. As I intend to drive a HF Packer amp Version 4 soon, I'll have to address this somehow, as the HF Packer amp V4 needs 1.0W input for full drive out.
                      > >
                      > > Side note: When I used my E-MU 1212PCI sound card, it would generate over 4.0V peak to peak, which means I could drive my RXTX well past 1.0W out. In fact I was stupidly driving it at 4.0W in early testing. I didn't have an accurate wattmeter and misread the one I had. Luckily it didn't melt anything. I guess I always had it driving a 50 ohm load which probably saved the BS170s but this is a testament to the Softrock TX design.
                      > >
                      > > - You only get the raw USB2SDR circuit board and there are no enclosures for it yet. You'll have to put it in something for portable operations.
                      > >
                      > > Even with the issues I've listed Christos is working on addressing them. In fact he has pretty big plans for it. I am wholly impressed with the USB2SDR so far and I'm moving forward with it at the center of my portable SDR station.
                      > >
                      > > Joe KJ6QBA
                      > >
                      > > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Richard" <kc8rp@> wrote:
                      > > >
                      > > > I am finishing the assembly of my Ensemble RX/TX and I will be using it with my Dell portable computer. I am looking for recomendations for a good external sound card. I am not sure which software package I'll use, I have downloaded Rocky. Winrad and PSDR.
                      > > >
                      > > > I have a SignaLink USB, has anyone used it? I want to use my Ensemble for CW and PSK31.
                      > > >
                      > > > TNX
                      > > > 73
                      > > > Richard, KC8RP
                      > > >
                      > >
                      >
                    • Richard
                      Christos, Thanks for the information. I am still learning about SDRs and how they differ from radios such as my FT-2000. I should have realized that the BW of
                      Message 10 of 11 , Oct 13, 2011
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                        Christos,
                        Thanks for the information. I am still learning about SDRs and how they differ from radios such as my FT-2000. I should have realized that the BW of an SDR would allow for split VFOs.

                        Sometimes what appear to be simple inexpensive projects get pricey real quick. I try to investigate all the pitfalls before spending money that can be scarce at times.

                        I was asking Joe how he interfaced the DB-15, sorry about the DB14 reference, to his Ensemble. I have seen a couple pictures of setups using the USB2SDR and none show the SDR connected to the USB2SDR. It appears they are using it only as a very high end sound card. I have scanned all available PDFs on this unit and have not been able to answer this question. You are correct about the buying decision and as a retiree I have to make sure that the money I have available accomplishes my goals.

                        73
                        Richard, KC8RP

                        --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "sv1eia" <sv1eia@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Hi Richard,
                        >
                        > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Richard" <kc8rp@> wrote:
                        > >
                        > > Joe,
                        > > I have been considering the USB2SDR for my Ensemble RX/TX. I was wondering about the DB14 interface and how that is accomplished with Ensemble? The biggest problem I see working DX is the inability to split to a second RX.
                        >
                        > If you are talking for the same band, that functionality is already there !
                        >
                        > With the PowerSDR-IQ you can have split Tx up to 180KHz.
                        > Also you can monitor both frequencies, Rx and Tx and even better you can have Rx on left audio channel and Tx monitor on right audio channel on your headphones, with their volume separately adjusted each so you can hear louder the DX and lower the Tx monitor.
                        >
                        > As you said, its just the buying decision that you need to consider.
                        >
                        > 73,
                        > Christos SV1EIA
                        >
                        >
                        > >
                        > > The final decision will be to spend the 195 Euros/268 dollars.
                        > >
                        > > 73
                        > > Richard, KC8RP
                        > > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "falcongsr" <falcongsr@> wrote:
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > > I'm playing around with the USB2SDR hardware from Christos SV1EIA. It is basically a USB sound card purpose built for SDR use with lots of flexibility for interfacing with various radios. My intent is to use it as a portable station with a laptop.
                        > > >
                        > > > Pros:
                        > > > It just works. With softrocks (RX and RXTX) it is almost literally plug and play. I say 'almost literally plug and play' because you have to install the drivers but the method provided works reliably. I've tested it in Windows XP and Windows 7.
                        > > >
                        > > > Cons:
                        > > > - Only works with PowerSDR. Only Christos' PowerSDR app can interface with USB2SDR, as far as I know. I miss WinradHD.
                        > > > - On the transmitting, the DAC that is used can only output a 0.5V peak to peak signal. What this means is when I'm driving my Softrock RXTX, I only get 0.5W max output. As I intend to drive a HF Packer amp Version 4 soon, I'll have to address this somehow, as the HF Packer amp V4 needs 1.0W input for full drive out.
                        > > >
                        > > > Side note: When I used my E-MU 1212PCI sound card, it would generate over 4.0V peak to peak, which means I could drive my RXTX well past 1.0W out. In fact I was stupidly driving it at 4.0W in early testing. I didn't have an accurate wattmeter and misread the one I had. Luckily it didn't melt anything. I guess I always had it driving a 50 ohm load which probably saved the BS170s but this is a testament to the Softrock TX design.
                        > > >
                        > > > - You only get the raw USB2SDR circuit board and there are no enclosures for it yet. You'll have to put it in something for portable operations.
                        > > >
                        > > > Even with the issues I've listed Christos is working on addressing them. In fact he has pretty big plans for it. I am wholly impressed with the USB2SDR so far and I'm moving forward with it at the center of my portable SDR station.
                        > > >
                        > > > Joe KJ6QBA
                        > > >
                        > > > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Richard" <kc8rp@> wrote:
                        > > > >
                        > > > > I am finishing the assembly of my Ensemble RX/TX and I will be using it with my Dell portable computer. I am looking for recomendations for a good external sound card. I am not sure which software package I'll use, I have downloaded Rocky. Winrad and PSDR.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > I have a SignaLink USB, has anyone used it? I want to use my Ensemble for CW and PSK31.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > TNX
                        > > > > 73
                        > > > > Richard, KC8RP
                        > > > >
                        > > >
                        > >
                        >
                      • k5oor
                        Take advantage of the fall sale. Build the HF PackerAmp V4 http://www.hfprojectsyahoo.com/hf-packeramp.html 73 K5OOR - Virgil HF Projects
                        Message 11 of 11 , Oct 15, 2011
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                          Take advantage of the fall sale. Build the HF PackerAmp V4
                          http://www.hfprojectsyahoo.com/hf-packeramp.html

                          73 K5OOR - Virgil HF Projects


                          > > > - On the transmitting, the DAC that is used can only output a 0.5V peak to peak signal. What this means is when I'm driving my Softrock RXTX, I only get 0.5W max output. As I intend to drive a HF Packer amp Version 4 soon, I'll have to address this somehow, as the HF Packer amp V4 needs 1.0W input for full drive out.
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