Saturday, 20 August 2016

The SDRplay Radio Spectrum Processor (RSP)

So, I wanted a SDR that would fulfil the following requirements:

1. Receive Medium Wave (at the HF end especially),
2. Work well on the 48 metre band and
3. Not overload with a Wellbrook loop antenna!

After some research and reading of reviews, I settled on the SDRplay RSP, partly on the grounds that £118.80 plus postage was not a great deal to lose if I was not satisfied.

I had already looked at the software - SDRuno and I was reasonably happy with the look of the windows and the way to adjust bandwidth, notch filters and so on.

I ordered the SDR on a Saturday, I believe, and it arrived in my hands the following Tuesday in a DHL Express plastic envelope. Inside was a Jiffy type bag with the SDRplay inside in a plastic packet (see photo). A nice touch is that both SDRplay and DHL let me know that the package had been dispatched.

The SDR play has only two connectors, i) an SMA socket, and ii) a type B USB socket. The SMA socket is for the antenna and the USB socket connects to the PC, which also powers the RSP. No cables are supplied.

To get the SDR up and running, the software is available at the SDRplay website ( The Start Here menu allows you to register the product and download the necessary drivers. Nothing magical happened after I connected the RSP to the USB cable (when prompted), but after loading the software and realising that the Play button (on the Main Window) starts the SDR, everything worked. So now to play!

I opened the Main SP window by clicking the SP1 button, then the RX control window followed by the SP2 window, again by clicking the appropriate buttons in the Main Window. So I have 4 windows open. This can be changed to suit the needs of the user.

There are other windows which control less used parameters, like the ADV button where you can alter displayed bandwidth IF and other settings. It is worth downloading the "SDRuno Cookbook" and the "SDRuno User Manual" which are both available on the SDRplay website. You can browse these two manuals and try out various ways of operating the software.

So far I have just evaluated the SDRplay and the software having the 4 windows mentioned above open for receiving MW and LW stations and the 48 metre band. So, with the Wellbrook loop antenna (ALA 1530) connected there was noise coming out of the speakers. I tried Medium Wave, followed by Long Wave and then was amazed at how well I could hear the beacons on the frequencies between about 300 and 500 kHz. I briefly tried Band 2 broadcast stations, but this is not a real interest so I have not persevered (yet).

I set the AGC button in the Main Window to on (auto) and in the RSP control window (ADV button) I set the LowIF to on. This seems to work best for me, but you can set the IF to Zero by pressing the button.

Firstly, I have not had any overload issues yet. The Wellbrook Loop and the RSP enabled me to hear good signals on the Medium Wave just before and after dark on the free radio section (above 1602 kHz). If you look at the logs of Thursday 18th and Friday 19th August, all the MW stations recorded were received on the SDRplay. I can then listen to MW through one set of phones and on another set of headphones I can monitor the 48m band on the Icom.

Sterrekijker 1620 kHz
I am able to change audio bandwidth and move notch filters easily from the SP2 window. This really is quick and also allows bandwidth shifting (passband tuning). In the SP1 window, the tuning line can be dragged backwards and forwards across the displayed spectrum, feeling like you are tuning with a dial!

Long Wave is a bonus; it works nicely on the RSP and I can listen to 216 kHz from Roumoules (Monaco) in the daytime with a s9 signal and no IMD or splatter from 198 kHz (s9 +50). Long Wave will be a bleak place I suspect at the end of the year when many of the stations are closed down in Western Europe.

RMC Info Roumoules (Monaco) 216 kHz

So, yes, the SDRplay is doing what I had hoped for. I am really pleased with this setup; it is 
working well for me. As you can see it does not overload with the Wellbrook Loop, it receives well in the 48 metre band and it works well in the upper MW band.

I have discovered more about the inputting the RX frequency using the mouse. Also I have managed to set up a workspace that I have called "Terry's Hobby Radio" that opens when I click the SDRuno icon from the desktop (see RMC info photo above). I read the manual!

I did not intend this "review" to be exhaustive. It is offered purely as some information on the SDRplay. I have the feeling that I have only just started to explore this box of tricks!


  1. Thanks Terry for your review!

  2. You are welcome, thanks for stopping by!

  3. Thanks for the review and the logs ! Your loggings are the best on the internet in correlating with my own loggings, even though I'm about 1700 km away from you.

  4. Thanks Anonymous, I am happy you liked the review. Thank you for stopping by!
    73 Terry