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RX-888 is worth ?

✔ Now supported, kit available by the end of September 2020.
hb9rxc
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2020 8:09 pm

RX-888 is worth ?

#1

Unread post by hb9rxc »

Hello Forum,

I would like to know if it is worth buying this type of receiver (to complement my SDRPlay) and what are the strong and weak points for general HF - VHF use ?
Does it work well with SDR-Console? Any limitations?

Many thank for any info !

Pietro @ hb9rxc

User avatar
N6ATC
Posts: 45
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2020 6:25 pm

Re: RX-888 is worth ?

#2

Unread post by N6ATC »

Hi, Pietro:

I have an original RX-888 (not the MKII).

On the theory that one can never have too many radios, yes, I think this receiver is worth what you'll pay for it. (Currently $188 USD.)

A strong point is the 32MHz of usable bandwidth on HF. (The bandwidth is limited to 10MHz for VHF/UHF.) I have heard that a maximum real-time bandwidth 64M is possible with the new driver, but I have not tried that. (I assume it is possible in HDSDR.)

In my sample, the gain of this receiver is not as high as my Airspy HF+ Discovery, but I like the RX-888 anyhow. I like that I have the broad bandwidth and frequency range in one little box.

I have found that you will need a robust USB connection for it to work well. I built a new AMD Ryzen 9 5950X/64GB computer. The motherboard that I selected had tons of USB 3.1 and 3.2 resources, however in practice, only one of those ports was sufficient to run the RX-888, and it did not run very well. In the end, I had to buy a new USB PCIe card and bought one with 4 controllers, one for each port. It seems to be working very well.



The RX-888 works very well with SDR Console, although Simon has not implemented the 64MHz bandwidth yet. That is not a huge deal for me, but it would be nice to see. Maybe I would appreciate that more after I've used it.

I have not noticed any appreciable limitations with this receiver.

If I were to buy another, I would opt for the MKII version. This is one linked to by Justin when he announced it...

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005002133979911.html

Best of luck to you.
hb9rxc wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 6:12 am
Hello Forum,

I would like to know if it is worth buying this type of receiver (to complement my SDRPlay) and what are the strong and weak points for general HF - VHF use ?
Does it work well with SDR-Console? Any limitations?

Many thank for any info !

Pietro @ hb9rxc

User avatar
ukdx
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2020 7:52 am

Re: RX-888 is worth ?

#3

Unread post by ukdx »

Hi Pietro,

Unless you have a much larger budget or are only interested in viewing a small bandwidth I would say the MK2 is very much worth buying. I've compared mine against my Elad S3 and on HF the MK2 really isn't far behind the S3 performance, given the S3 is seven times the price I'd say it was a compromise worth making. It does need the gains turning to maximum for best performance and given it's then only slightly less sensitive than the S3 makes me think a small pre-amp could be beneficial but it's not enough for me to rush out and buy one.

Strong points have to be the viewable bandwidth, 32MHz within Console and upto 65MHz in HDSDR or SDR#. Compact design and powered via the USB makes it a good option for portable use, I've just returned from holiday and took mine along, couldn't fault the performance on a portable HF dipole.

As N6ATC points out it does need a good USB port, the onboard 3.1's on my Gigabyte board did a fair job but the cheap add on card from Amazon does better and lets me view much more bandwidth than I'm ever likely to use in practise, around 46MHz. VHF uses the 820 or 828 so should be similar to an Airspy or RSP1A, there have been a few homebrewed VHF to HF downconverters built but I've never seen one commercially which is a shame.

Bugs, I get a high pitched tone over my audio amp when I plug in the USB but only when it's connected to the rest of the antenna distro system, I think it's inadequate isolation of the ADC. The cure is to switch off the PC and start from cold (a software restart doesn't work) It's a curious fault but at least there's a fix. If it hangs or the PC needs restarting because the VACs have crashed it won't be found on restarting the radio software, it requires the USB pulling or a cold start of the PC, something to bare in mind if you intend running it remotely.

To me these are small niggles and quite possibly only affecting my unit so I'm happy to recommend one.

Paul

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