Black Box Radios

This category includes two types of radios:

  • Conventional superheterodyne radios controlled by software, with either a minimal or no front panel human interface. Signal detection/demodulation is done in hardware/firmware, with "software defined" techniques generally applied only on the last IF. Examples:

  • Software Defined Radios (SDR). All signal detection/demodulation is done in software. Examples I have used include:

    • AFEDRI SDR-Net (Ethernet capable, network SDR clients support Windows, Linux, MacOS)

    • RFSpace Cloud-IQ (network SDR clients support Windows, Linux, MacOS)

    • SDRPlay, 12/14-bitSDRs, 100 kHz - 380 MHz, 430 MHz - 2 GHz, with support for Windows, Linux, MacOS, Rasberry Pi, and Android

    • Software Radio Laboratory LLC QS1R (My favorite, receives 7 bands at once, and supports Windows, Linux, and Mac)

    • KiwiSDR network accessible SDR with web browser interface.

While many black box radios are much smaller and lighter than conventional and boatanchor radios, they do require the use of a separate computer (desktop, laptop, tablet, phone) to control them.

My favorite radios support open application programming interfaces and/or front ends that support multiple operating systems. With the Qt framework, there's really no excuse for single-operating system SDR front ends.