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WiNRADiO Excalibur WR-G31DDC HF Receiver

In the legend of King Arthur, "Excalibur" was a sword with magical properties. It is an appropriate name for the latest Software-Defined High Frequency Receiver from WiNRADiO of Melbourne, Australia. Like its namesake, Excalibur is immensely powerful and - dare we say it - almost magical in performance!

By Maurie Findlay, MIEAust

Sixty years ago, communication receivers used vacuum tubes and came with precision mechanical dials in big metal boxes.

Thirty years ago, transistors and integrated circuits had replaced the valves and the boxes were smaller.

Click for larger image

Today, this new receiver does a great deal more than any of the former and comes in a very small sealed metal container – just 156 x 97 x 41mm.

A purchaser receives a professionally presented package which includes the receiver, power supply, cables, user’s guide, an SMA/BNC adapter for the antenna socket and a CD-ROM with the application software.

It is assumed that a computer, essential to the operation of the receiver, is already on hand.

The user’s guide discusses the requirements for the computer. The one I used is a four year old laptop, Compaq Presario V6000 running Windows XP, and is about the minimum standard suitable for the job. Windows 7 or Vista would be the operating system in more modern computers. The hard disk must have at least 20MB of free space to hold the information from the CD-ROM.

After connecting the receiver, loading the CD-ROM and attaching a random (short) length of wire to the antenna socket, I followed the user’s guide and within five minutes was hearing my local station on 702kHz, through the speakers in the computer. Another five minutes and I was able, one by one, to tune in all my local stations on the default AM setting of the receiver.

Yet another five minutes with the guide and I was able to receive the local stations in the USB (upper sideband) and LSB (lower sideband) modes. That is, with the receiver-generated carrier substituted for the incoming carrier.

It is that easy to get started.

The 107-page User’s Guide is packed with well written information. Most owners, new to software-defined high frequency receivers, will take several weeks to fully appreciate the facilities offered by Excalibur.

In addition to the manual, there a great deal of helpful information on www.winradio.com

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