Software Defined Radio (SDR) is a radio communication system in which the hardware components, such as mixer, amplifiers, and filters are implemented using a computer. It is a system in which hardware components are replaced with software.
The term SoftRock is used for the Software Defined Radio (SDR) system that uses SoftRock Ensemble.

A SoftRock system consists of the below listed components:

  • A SoftRock Kit
  • A computer that has a specific SDR software installed and running
  • A Stereo sound card
  • RX Stereo input should also be there
  • Stereo output for TX should be there if you need TX
  • If you also want sound in the PC speakers, then there should be one extra sound card

Benefits of SoftRock

SoftRock provides several benefits, as listed below:

Ease of Design

With improvements in the computer technology, it has been easier to use the sophisticated signal processing algorithms, finding analog-to-digital converters (ADC), and upgrading the system’s functionality just by a software upgrade. The reliability on the hardware circuit updates is no more a necessity; however, if there are several upgrades, then an identical hardware platform / component can be implemented.

Reliability

With the use of software, the SDR products have become more reliable, as chances of software damage / corruption are much lesser than the damage of a hardware component.

Consistency

SDR offers better and consistent performance, as software is far away from issues like heating, aging, etc. that hardware components always come across impacting the consistency and performance of the radio at any level.

Easy Upgrades

When it comes to replace a hardware component, you may need to undergo several processes and changes. You may also need to replace the old board. Moreover, replacing a hardware component with a new one is always costly. On the other hand, a simple software upgrade can update the complete SDR system while adding more functionalities to it. Also, software updates are often available for free, so there are no charges for the system upgrade as well.

Reusability

One software used in the SDR system can be easily reused on other hardware platforms for different purposes. For example, it can be reused to create new receivers or even an entire product family can be created by reusing the software.

Easy to configure

The SDR product can be easily configured to meet the customers specific requirements for additional / improved functionality. This can simply be done by making changes in the software rather than playing with the hardware components.

More functionalities at lesser cost

The SDR system makes it possible to include functionalities like complex signal decoders / demodulators, rich GUI, recorders, etc. for enhanced functionality with an ease that too at low cost.

Lower Cost

The SDR products are low in cost because they use less number of hardware components, and also the software is reusable.

 

After looking at the benefits of SoftRock, let us talk about its types.

 

Different types of SoftRock Ensemble

Listed below are different types of SoftRock Ensemble:

Ensemble RX III Home

The Ensemble RX III Home along with its 4.5: x 2” board signifies a long line of SoftRock SDR receivers. Starting from the SoftRock RX 40, the Ensemble RX III Home had gone through several iterations. This kit covers HF ham bands covering 160-10m under the below listed switchable bands that can be switched using the program control:

  • Band group 0: 160m - Continuous coverage from 1.8 to 4.0 MHz (attenuated)
  • Band group 1: 80m and 40m - Continuous coverage from 4.0 to 8.0 MHz (attenuated)
  • Band group 2: 30m, 20m, and 17m - Continuous coverage from 8.0 to 16 MHz
  • Band group 3: 15m, 12m, and 10m - Continuous coverage from 16 to 30 MHz (preAmplified)

SoftRock RX Ensemble II Receiver Kit

The SoftRock RX Ensemble II Receiver Kit can be used to build a kit for LF or HF. For LF, its coverage is from 180KHZ through 3.0 MHz, and for HF, its coverage is similar to LF, which is 180KHZ through 3.0 MHz operation. The size of the circuit board in this kit is 4.5” x 2 “.

SoftRock RXTX Ensemble Transceiver Kit

The size of the circuit board in the SoftRock RXTX Ensemble Transceiver Kit is 5” x 2.5”. It can be used for 1 watt SDR transceiver to be used with the below bands:

  • 160m
  • 80m/40m
  • 40m/30m/20m
  • 30m/20m/17m
  • 15m/12m/10m

The SoftRock RXTX Ensemble Transceiver Kit comes with all essential components that are required to build an SDR transceiver for all of the above listed bands. You just need to assemble the available components to make the SDR transceiver ready for the desired band group.

17.05.2016
 
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