SDRPlay RSP1A for the win….best money I have spent in the hobby. I started out with the SDRPlay RSP1 about 7 years ago. The upgrade to the RSP1A happened about two years ago.
The RSP1A covers the complete radio spectrum from 1kHz (VLF) to 2GHz (Microwaves) with up to a massive 10MHz visible bandwidth and the companion SDRuno software has all the popular ham bands and shortwave broadcast bands as “presets” for instant set-up.
The SDRPlay RSP1A is a major upgrade to the popular RSP1. It is a powerful wide-band full featured 14-bit SDR which covers the RF spectrum from 1 kHz to 2 GHz. Due to its exceptional combination of performance and price, the RSP1 has proved to be a very popular choice as a SDR receiver.
The Kenwood TS-590SG in the shack runs digital modes only. I often run four digital modes simultaneously. The operating modes are JS8Call, Contestia 4/250, FSQCall 4.5 and gARIM.
The shack has one HF antenna, the GAP Challenger DX. This configuration allows for one radio at a time on the air. With the TS-590SG providing a “persistent presence” on the digital modes, I can’t tune through the bands.
To solve this problem, the SDRPlay shares the antenna with the TS-590SG. This is an option within the radio. The RSP1A connects to the DVR port on the back of the radio. While the radio is busy doing digital modes, I can tune around all the bands listening for exciting activity. The shared antenna does decrease the signal strength to both devices, however it is marginally noticeable.
To use the RSP1A, I run a software program called CubicSDR. My computer runs on Linux Mint 20.1 and CubicSDR is the only Linux option. There are several hoops to jump through getting the SDRPlay and CubicSDR to see each other. Once properly configured, the bands are open for exploration.
While the radio is busy working the digital modes on 40 meters, I can be listening to a SSB conversation on 20 meters, or CW on 30 meters. I could also be watching for a band opening on 10 meters or listening to a local FM broadcast station, all without interfering with the radio.
If I find something exciting to participate in, I will stop the TS-590SG and switch to the Kenwood TS-990S to join in the fun.
In conclusion, it’s the SDRPlay RSP1A for the win. I have the freedom to go anywhere in the bands without disrupting my radio on digital modes.