The availability of cheap SDR hardware created a thriving ecosystem for SDR software, but much of the hardware that is driving the revolution was still “cheap”. Over the past few years we’ve seen high quality equipment in many setups to replace the TV dongles and buck converters designed for them so they can work on the ham bands.

But something specifically designed might be a better option if amateur radio, especially the shortwave part of it, is your target. First of all, you might want to broadcast which none of the TV dongles allow. Then you might want a little strength. If you are serious about shortwave, audio quality is more important to you than immense bandwidth. So you should need some good filters on the receiving side to get the signal out of the noise.

The RS-HFIQ 5 W SDR transceiver could be for you It is on Kickstarter at the moment, and worth checking out if you want one that is completely open source (Scheme, Firmware, and software) Shortwave SDR rig. It is also compatible with various open front ends.

For us, the single-board radio is not a complete SDR – it demodulates the radio signal and transmits 96 kHz IQ Pass the signal to your computer’s sound card, where it is sampled and fully decoded. This has the advantage that specially developed audio rate DACs have a comparatively high resolution for the money. The disadvantage, however, is that you only have a spectrum of 96 kHz in the computer. This is great for voice and code transmissions, but not for high bandwidth data or frequency hopping applications. But that’s a reasonable design compromise for shortwave.

However, an SDR like this is far away like a shortwave radio may be. However, if you’re looking to build your own SDR-based shortwave setup and want to hack into the controls more than the radio itself, this is a good place to start.