Last month saw some excellent “late” morning reception of East Coast north American MF stations almost 90 minutes after local sunrise in the western coastal scouselands. Here’s 880 kHz WCBS NY NY and 860 kHz CJBC Toronto Canada. Perseus SDR and Wellbrook 1530LNP antenna.
I picked up the new Elad FDM-S3 receiver a couple of months ago. Its headline feature is a 24 MHz recording bandwidth along with a price tag of almost a grand. What follows is a very concise review.
It’s a very solid, heavy, well built rig. Comes with BNC connectors for the sma sockets and a top quality usb3 cable. Small point but I like the fact it’s powered by 12V DC and has a powerpole connected DC lead in the box. All my DC gear uses powerpole connectors.
I’m using SDR Console V3.027 and the reception of MF and 6 MHz is excellent – not tried other bands. You can add up to 8 hardware bandpass/hi/low pass filters if needed. Also more options for above 108 MHz will be released. The price of a filter is around £20. I’m really not sure how much they are required. In any case most are amateur band bandpass filters though LF and MF high and low pass are also available. Really depends on your individual environment but good to know the options exist.
As I said it runs on nominal 12V DC (e.g. 13.8 V ham quality power supply) which is extremely convenient for portable operation. Any LiFePo4 battery that you’d consider for sota activations such as the Zippy ones should be perfect. Obviously the larger the capacity the better for extended recording sessions.
The manual is available here: http://sdr.eladit.com/FDM-S3/ELAD%20FDM … ev%204.pdf and contains information on recommended PC specs. Use your common sense though – if you think your PC may not cope with a 24 MHz recording then it probably won’t cope. You need a fast processor (i5 or i7) and, most importantly, a fast large capacity ssd with plenty of free space.
Like the Perseus it is certainly not plug and play and the Elad requires drivers to be installed. This is done as part of installing the FDM software which should be done before trying to use SDRC I believe – that’s the route I followed anyhow. Most SDRs require a driver and are not plug-and-play; even the cheap dongles require Zadig. The only SDR I know which is truly plug and play are the Airspy Discoverys.
Finally – what made the Perseus such a great receiver was its front-end. All other consumer-grade SDRs up to then (and sometimes after…) suffered from no or poor front end protection and could overload badly. This is why the FM+ was such a disappointment – it was basically massively over-priced and worked no better than a dongle. The S3 appears to have the same level of high quality front end hardware protection. This rig is cheaper than a Perseus/FM+ combination and has the ability to be expanded with, hopefully, high quality modules.
I’ve done a quick and dirty 2 minutes video to demonstrate MF and HF reception https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkjkmZ4h4pU A small taster… 🙂
It’s not cheap and it is driving the Band II benefits dxers wild as they can’t afford it (get a job springs to mind…). You may need to spend the same again (if not more) to improve your IT set-up but it may be the last receiver you need to buy in your lifetime. It’s a serious rig for serious dxers. It exudes quality and with the additional options for vhf/uhf will surely becomes the reference semi-professional rig. To compete with it you’re going to need to spend thousands on professional monitoring rigs aimed at governments and agencies with 3 letter initials….
Many dxers have been reporting this one during UK afternoons recently. This is how it was sounding just after local sunset in western coastal Wirral Sunday 17 January 2021. Note sideband shapes and notch on 684 kHz to enhance audio fidelity. Perseus SDR/native software/Wellbrook 1530LNP
All my 6m contacts since 2003 – all modes. Need to focus on Caribbean next season!
5 January 2021 saw a solar blow-out which started impacting MF around 04.00z. However before that conditions became enhanced. Never heard Winnipeg’s CJOB as loud as this:
Couple of hours earlier there was a bit of a mystery on 1250 kHz. Is the first station CJYE/CJOY 1250? I can’t transcribe correctly the words after “I’m Dave Pike.” Then do we have a fade and another religious station comes up and goes through TOTH without ID?