[amsat-bb] Re: Anybody use a Soft66ADD SDR?

Robert Liesenfeld xunil at xunil.net
Wed Feb 10 13:24:54 PST 2010

Hi Mark-

I'm the friend Owen refers to; I just built a Soft66ADI.  I keep meaning to
do a blog post about it, but I'll summarize here.

I really liked the form factor of the Soft66; the software-selectable BPFs
and the fact that the control software is open source really sealed the deal
for me.  I ordered the unassembled kit, with the aluminum enclosure for
which it was intended.

The build instructions were baffling in parts, due to being written by a
native Japanese speaker (JA7TDO, the kit's creator).  They're not
incomprehensible, but he chooses some strange words sometimes.  Added to
this is the fact that the schematic lacks component values, IC labels, and
occasionally flat-out contradicts the PCB and parts supplied.  For instance
on one of the BPFs, the schematic showed a capacitor, the PCB seemed to call
for a capacitor (e.g. C23), but the parts list had C23 as an inductor.  I
emailed JA7TDO and asked him about this, he confirmed that the inductor was
the correct part.  The voltage regulator IC was listed as one thing on the
PCB, and something else entirely on the parts list; if there had been more
than one device with a similar package this would have been a show-stopper.

Issues like this lead me to advise against ordering this as a kit.  So far I
have not been able to get mine to work in xlinrad, Rocky, or any other SDR
software, but this might be due to the lack of a decent receive antenna.  If
improving the antenna doesn't yield results, I'm afraid I'll have to haul
out the oscilloscope... I dread this because the schematic is worse than
useless, and requests to the author for advice have so far yielded very
terse replies, which left me with more questions than answers.  Finally,
there's no indication of test points or any voltages or waveforms I should
see at certain points, so I'll have to puzzle it all out on my own.

I really ought to dig out that softrock rxtx kit and finish it...  anyway,
hope this helps.

Robert AK6L

On Wed, Feb 10, 2010 at 11:38 AM, Owen B. Mehegan <owen at nerdnetworks.org>wrote:

> > Message: 17
> > Date: Wed, 10 Feb 2010 13:35:19 -0500
> > From: "Mark L. Hammond" <marklhammond at gmail.com>
> > Subject: [amsat-bb]  Anybody use a Soft66ADD SDR?
> > To: Amsat - BBs <amsat-bb at amsat.org>
> > Message-ID:
> >       <5d8cecfe1002101035x35f07d7dpc047e54cf120a4aa at mail.gmail.com>
> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> >
> > Found this today, look interesting.  Prices are quite reasonable (if
> > not cheap).  Performance is the question..  I suppose the quality of
> > the system sound card is a big issue.
> >
> > Anybody here own one or seen one in use?
> >
> > How about piping a 10.7 MHz IF into it for VHF/UHF?
> >
> > http://zao.jp/radio/soft66ad/
> >
> >
> > --
> > Mark L. Hammond [N8MH]
> A friend of mine just bought and assembled one. He said that the
> instructions
> were pretty poor... the parts list and schematic didn't always match up and
> he
> had to do a fair amount of head-scratching (and I think
> bang-head-on-desk-ing)
> to get it built. He was not impressed with that aspect. I haven't yet heard
> how well it's working as a radio. I'll ask him and let you know.
> --
> Owen B. Mehegan (KJ6AKQ)
> _______________________________________________
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