Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Using a clone SDRPlay RSP1 without SDRPlay's software

I've owned a genuine SDRPlay in the past and liked it but have moved over to the AirSpy HF+ as it seemed superior in A/B tests. The low cost of the clones makes them tempting for little reception tasks and where multiple receivers would be handy.

I am sympathetic to the SDRPlay folks who warn about products claiming to be genuine being sold quite cheaply. They have a page warning about all this. The "cloning" of the hardware is a little controversial there are reports that the hardware design is essentially based on a reference design.

One reason that I moved over to AirSpy is that it's very easy to install the driver software:

apt install airspyhf

does it on a Debian derived system. In contrast to get an SDRPlay going you have to download a closed source blob and they ask you to state that you are using it with a genuine product.

Fair enough. I wouldn't want to break my agreement with them.

How to use a clone without infringing on SDRPlay's software

There is a driver for the Mirics chips. libmiris. We live in a golden age of excellent SDR software.

SDRangel has a plugin based on libmirisdr-4 and does not need any software from SDRPlay.

SDRAngel is a little unwelcoming on first run. The main window comes up blank and you must create a Workspace, add a sampling device, then add a "channel" to get a demodulator such as a sideband demodulator.

Have a look at the Quick Start.

I hope that other SDR software, such as my favourite, SDR++, will add support for these devices without requiring the closed source driver from SDRPlay.

The pattern of a western company creating a new design, selling it for a while, then a much lower cost clone from China appearing is not new. Perhaps the way to survive this competition is to keep pushing for the quality end of the market. People who couldn't justify the price at first may enter a space by buying a clone then move up to buy a quality version with new features.

I totally agree that the clones should not pretend to be real though.

1 comment:

Peter Marks said...

Thanks Nick,

enjoyed the Wired video. The intel bit is dated of course after 7 years. The idea they talk about later is that the only defence against copying is to keep moving forward quickly.