[TangerineSDR] Nils Reviews the RX-888: A Sub $200 16-Bit 32 MHz Bandwidth SDR

Phil Erickson phil.erickson at gmail.com
Mon Sep 7 08:03:13 EDT 2020

Hi all,

  I also found the following:

- This one has a 20 dB LNA that is permanently switched on (dynamic range /
- From one post/review: "The LTC2208 is a very old part and so it shows up
in equipment found in the electronic scrap markets."

My colleague Ryan Volz, co-maintainer of Digital RF, reports:

- SDRC, the software which is reported to work with the boards, is closed
source freeware available on Windows only:
https://www.sdr-radio.com/download. I can't find definitive information on
the driver for this thing, but it's likely also Windows-only, for now.
- No Gnuradio / OsmoCom stack exists at the moment.
- Since these radios are derived from an originally open design, it looks
like the driver was adapted from the open ExtIO Windows driver as well,
which can be found here: https://github.com/ik1xpv/ExtIO_sddc.

The fact that this ecosystem is based on hardware clones of another design
is a concern.  The NanoVNA world is now very confusing with all the clones
being offered, and not all of them are well engineered or perform to spec.
Caveat emptor.

Phil W1PJE

On Mon, Sep 7, 2020 at 5:40 AM Bill Liles via TangerineSDR <
tangerinesdr at lists.tapr.org> wrote:

> No direct connect for a clock reference needed for multiple receivers.
> https://www.rtl-sdr.com/nils-reviews-the-rx-888-a-sub-200-16-bit-32-mhz-bandwidth-sdr/
> Nils Reviews the RX-888: A Sub $200 16-Bit 32 MHz Bandwidth SDR
> admin <https://www.rtl-sdr.com/author/rtlsdr/>September 7, 2020
> A lot of affordable Chinese clone SDRs have been coming onto the market
> recently, and the RX-888 is one of the most interesting. The RX-888 appears
> to be an improved clone of the RX-666 which in turn is a clone derived from
> Oscar Steila (IK1XPV)'s BBRF103 original open source design
> <http://www.steila.com/blog/index.php?controller=post&action=view&id_post=32>
> .
> The RX-888 is based on the LTC2208 16-bit ADC chip which is capable of
> streaming the entire 1 kHz to 32 MHz frequency range to the PC over USB 3.0
> with direct sampling. Frequencies from 32 MHz to 1.8 GHz can also be
> received via an R820T2 tuner which is on the board (the same tuner used in
> most RTL-SDRs). Due to the bandwidth restrictions of the R820T2 silicon,
> the bandwidth above 32 MHz is restricted to 8 - 10 MHz. The main change
> when compared to the RX-666 appears to be that there is an LNA which
> improves medium wave and small antenna performance which was a problem on
> the RX-666. The RX-888 also adds several heat sinks to the enclosure, as
> excessive heat generation of the LTC2208 ADC appears to also be an issue.
> <https://www.rtl-sdr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/rx888_1.jpg>The
> RX-888 Software Defined Radio
> Recently Nils Shiffhauer (DK80K) wrote up a great review of the RX-888
> <https://dk8ok.org/2020/09/04/rx-888-32-mhz-16bit-200-us-pricks-up-your-ears/>.
> In the review he covers the specs, shows a few screenshots of some signals
> he's received and also provides multiple audio samples of signals received.
> The RX-888 is currently available on marketplace sites like Aliexpress and
> eBay priced at around US$180. In the past SDRs that could receive the
> entire HF band at once were rare, with the only affordable SDR with this
> capability being the KiwiSDR. So it is good to see that we may now be
> entering a stage of new advancement in affordable SDRs.
> One thing to note is that this design can be considered a clone. However
> the original design by Oscar is open source and from this post on his blog
> <http://www.steila.com/blog/index.php?controller=post&action=view&id_post=32>
> he seems happy and accepting of the clones.
> We note that we have ordered a unit and will be uploading a review once we
> test it.
> <https://www.rtl-sdr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/rx888_2.jpg>The
> RX-888 PCB
> Sent from my iPad
> --
> TangerineSDR mailing list
> TangerineSDR at lists.tapr.org
> http://lists.tapr.org/mailman/listinfo/tangerinesdr_lists.tapr.org

Phil Erickson
phil.erickson at gmail.com
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