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SDR interface for the IC-706MKIIG

These are the instructions to install the IFace interface inside of the Icom IC-706MKIIG. The installation is very easy.

The IC-706MKIIG, like other radios, has a fairly complex configuration and uses two different intermediate frequencies. We are interested in the first, the “wideband” one, the one before the main bandpass filter (the roofing filter so to speak). The sequence of operations to be performed in order to obtain a sufficient bandwidth to realize a panoramic receiver around the chosen IF frequency is shown below. The intermediate frequency filter is also used in transmission, so it will be preferable to use the PTT command to disable the IFace during transmission. The following images show the point where the IF signal will be taken.

Let’s start by analyzing the wiring diagram. We have to find the first mixer, the PTT and where to take the power supply. From the following images everything will appear clear.

PTT and power supply can be easily taken from the connector J10. The interesting signal are labeled as T8 and 13.8 respectively.

At this point we have to locate the points where we connect the electric cables to the IFace. The following images show where to take the various signals.

If you like the idea and the goodness of the proposal buy an IFace using the button below.

ATTENTION: Though installing the IFace is not difficult, you do this at your own risk. TSP S.r.l. is not responsible for any damage, unwanted side-effects or whatever.

For more information do not hesitate to write us.
Have fun!

IFace 2 – IF tap/pat interface

Would you like to have a radio with a nice 40 “LCD display where you can view spectrograms, waterfalls and much more information? And what would you say to have a modern SDR radio so that you can listen to more signals at the same time? Wouldn’t it be nice to have many digital filters to improve reception during contest or DX activity?

If you answered yes then IFace 2 is the electronic card that allows you to have all of this without having to buy a new radio. How? By inserting it inside your “old” beloved RTX and using a cheap SDR receiver for computers (some suggestions here) such as an USB RTL-SDR dongles.

IFace works with all the radios: click here!

Don’t you think so? Please watch this video and then keep reading.

The idea behind this product is to continue to use the radio that we have purchased and which has already given us so much satisfaction. Surely we already have the CAT interface with which we control it from the LOG or from other programs and we also have the audio interface for the digital modes. But sometimes we realize that we would need a second receiver (for example to follow the +5 kHz or + 10 kHz of a DX station), band filters with steeper sides to eliminate a disturbance on an adjacent frequency or a notch because our radio does not have it or it is not automatic. All this can be a memory!

So suppose to send the intermediate frequency signal (IF) of our radio to a dedicated SDR receiver and to start a program such as HDSDR (or SDR #, SDR Console …). On the screen of our computer we would have the spectrum display around the IF of our radio and, not to be neglected, we could also demodulate what it is receiving. But we could do even more, we could also demoulate other signals that are above or below the frequency tuned by our RTX.
Not bad, right?
The image below shows a screenshot of HDSDR connected to an FT-450D via an RTL-SDR and the IFace.

Reception at the IF frequency of a FT-450D though the IFace and a RTL-SDR.

What needs to be done is very simple. Let’s start by identifying within our radio the point where to take the medium frequency signal. This is between the output of the first mixer and the subsequent bandpass filters as shown in the following image.

After connecting the IFace to the mixer output, we supply it with a voltage between 8 V and 15 V (from inside the radio) and connect it to an external SDR receiver. During the reception the difference is strong, listen here.

In order to not alter the operation of our receiver, we must pick up the signal without charging the mixer, i.e. without taking power. For this reason we have to insert a special card between this and the external receiver: we can not connect it directly. The IF signal pick up card, the IFace, creates a copy of the signal to be sent to the external SDR receiver. This is a wideband and no-tune buffer, i.e. no calibration is needed, it is installed and it is ready to work. The usefulness of this circuit is to allow the medium frequency signal to be replicated without increasing the load seen by the source (the mixer) and therefore without changing its performance.

Once the IF signal has been obtained, it is sufficient to connect the A / D converter (an RTL-SDR is already more than enough) to the USB port and start the software for the reception (ex HDSDR, SDR #, SDR Console etc) and our RTX will now be equipped with a nice panoramic receiver.

There are numerous advantages in picking up the IF signal and not the one coming directly from the antenna: one of these is surely the fact that the amplitude of the signal is controlled through the AGC circuitry of the reception stages. This helps to prevent saturation of the dynamics of RTL-SDR (which is not known to be the most extensive). The point where you take the IF signal is easy to find, just take the schematic diagram of your radio and look for the first mixer: at its output you will find the signal of interest. The image below shows the point where you have to connect the IFace interface in the case of a Kenwood TS-530s, a radio of a few decades ago, which can be easily updated with this interface.

The connection to the chosen point can be made with a thin coaxial cable (type RG178 or RG316) and will terminate at the “Input” pad of the IFace. If the connection is very short, a coaxial cable may not be necessary. The “Output” instead will be connected with another small coaxial cable to the input of the chosen SDR receiver. Obviously the buffer must be powered: it will not be difficult to find inside the radio a point where to draw a voltage of 9 Vdc or 12 Vdc. The following images show how easy it is to install the IFace into the TS-530s.

After making these simple wiring, you can connect your SDR receiver and start the reception software. The following image shows the SDR# screen during the reception with a Kenwood TS-530s (its intermediate frequency is 8.83 MHz) and an economical RTL-SDR.

Another IFace has been installed in a YAESU FT-450D. As you will see from the photos, the space occupied is very little and the time required to connect the 4 conductors (+13 V, Gnd, Ptt +, IF) is a few minutes. In this case the Ptt signal was used, that is the “TX” signal present in the IF-UNIT of the radio. All this clearly appears in the following images.

IFace Vs IFace 2: because the differences are important!

IFace

  • power supply: 8-15 Vdc, I <50 mA
  • bandwidth: > 700 MHz
  • input impedance: > 500 kOhm
  • output impedance: 50 Ohm
  • power-down input ( PTT)
  • dimensions: 38 x 48 mm, PCB 1.6 mm

IFace 2

  • power supply: 8-15 Vdc, I <50 mA
  • bandwidth: > 700 MHz
  • input impedance: > 1 MOhm
  • output impedance: 50 Ohm
  • power-down input ( PTT)
  • dimensions: 31 x 39 mm, PCB 0.8 mm

In case you do not want to display any signal during transmission it is possible to turn off, by sending it into power down, the buffer of the IFace through a special input pin (PTT) as shown in the following picture. To be more accurate, an active high PTT, i.e. the signal is at a voltage greater than 5 V when transmitting, otherwise 0 V, or an active low PTT, i.e. the signal is at 0 V when the radio is transmitting, otherwise it must be floating, can be used.

The following video shows how the card reacts to the pressure of the PTT, that is when the radio changes from reception to transmission: the red LED indicates that the card is in power-down because the radio is transmitting.

If you were still not convinced of the goodness of this interface look at this other video where you can see how the IFace works when added to an old Kenwood TS-530s.

Do you have any questions? Maybe we already have the answer you’re looking for.

Please read our Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ.

Isn’t it enough? We have some testimonials!

TS-2000 SDR + RTL-SDR by Alberto IK0ZTL

IC-7600 SDR + RSP1A by Alfredo EA5YJ†

FT-818 SDR by Alessio IU0LFQ

IC-7100 SDR + RSPduo by Pellegrino IU8JAD

IC-775DSP SDR by IV3XNF Luigi

HOW TO BUY IFACE 2

The price of IFace 2 is only € 42.90 including VAT + shipments costs for the “IFace + Cables” kit. If you also want the coaxial connectors, those for the power supply and those for the PTT buy the “IFace 2 + Connectors + Cables” kit.

There’s a third option, “IFace 2 + Connectors + SDR Panadapter”. This comprises a powerful 12 bit/sa 10 MHz panadapter that will bring your receiving experience to another level. And it is compatible with the RSP1 from SDRplay: you can use the software SDRuno.

In this page you can find the list of the instructions to install the IFace into your radio: it is continuoursly growing. For those radios that are not included yet, send a request so that it can be entered as soon as possible.

Content of the delivery “IFace + Cables”:

  • one IFace 2 board
  • a coaxial cable with both an SMA-f panel connector and an SMA-m connector in order to connect the IFace to the SDR receiver
  • four wires to connect the board to the PTT, IF and powering points on the radio (colors of the wires may be subject to change).

Content of the delivery “IFace 2 + Connectors + Cables”:

  • one IFace board
  • 1 SMA-m coaxial connector
  • a coaxial cable with both an SMA-f panel connector and an SMA-m connector in order to connect the IFace to the SDR receiver
  • four wires to connect the board to the PTT, IF and powering points on the radio (colors of the wires may be subject to change)
  • 2 U.FL connector for PCB mount
  • 2 pig-tail U.FL – SMA-f
  • 2.54 mm pitch connectors for power and PTT

Content of the delivery “IFace 2 + Connectors + Cables + SDR panadapter”:

  • one IFace board
  • 1 MSI.SDR panadapter (12 bit per sample, 10 MHz bandwidth, RSP1 compatible)
  • 1 SMA-m coaxial connector
  • a coaxial cable with both a SMA-f panel connector and a SMA-m connector in order to connect the IFace to the SDR receiver
  • four wire to connect the board to the PTT, IF and powering points on the radio (colors of the wires may be subject to change)
  • 2 U.FL connector for PCB mount
  • 2 pig-tail U.FL – SMA-f
  • 2.54 mm pitch connectors for power and PTT

Order now by clicking on the following buttons and have fun.

ATTENTION: Though installing the IFace 2 is not difficult, you do this at your own risk. TSP S.r.l. is not responsible for any damage, unwanted side-effects, or whatever.

Any question? Please use the following form.

ICOM IC-775/775DSP SDR!

Our friend Luigi IV3XNF sent us some pictures of the installation of our universal SDR interface IFace inside the great ICOM IC-775DSP. This is a very powerful testimonial and we like to share it to thank Pellegrino.
In this way, using an external SDR receiver and its software you can take advantage of all the advanced features of the SDR technology and improve the performance of any radio!

This image shows just how our IFace works: it is used to take the IF signal from the radio and send it, properly processed, to the external receiver: this creates a real SDR panadapter.

And if it works with an IC-775… it works with any radio!

The installation is very easy, the instructions can be found here, and from the following images, you can see result of the installation made by IU8JAD.

If you’d like to buy an IFace please use the following button. A shopping cart will appear and you will be able to proceed with the order.

If you want to find out for which other radios the installation instructions are already available, go to this page.

If you do not know which SDR receiver to use and you want an advice, please note that all our tests were carried out using one of the receivers shown in this article: click here.

For more information, videos and other technical notes please visit the product page, click here.

ATTENTION: Though installing the IFace is not difficult, you do this at your own risk. TSP S.r.l. is not responsible for any damage, unwanted side-effects or whatever.

For more information do not hesitate to write us.
Have fun!

ICOM IC-7100 SDR!

Our friend Pellegrino IU8JAD sent us some pictures of the installation of our universal SDR interface IFace inside the great ICOM IC-7100. This is a very powerful testimonial and we like to share it to thank Pellegrino.
In this way, using an external SDR receiver and its software you can take advantage of all the advanced features of the SDR technology and improve the performance of any radio!

This image shows just how our IFace works: it is used to take the IF signal from the radio and send it, properly processed, to the external receiver: this creates a real SDR panadapter.

And if it works with an IC-7100… it works with any radio!

The installation is very easy, the instructions can be found here, and from the following images, you can see result of the installation made by IU8JAD.

If you’d like to buy an IFace please use the following button. A shopping cart will appear and you will be able to proceed with the order.

If you want to find out for which other radios the installation instructions are already available, go to this page.

If you do not know which SDR receiver to use and you want an advice, please note that all our tests were carried out using one of the receivers shown in this article: click here.

For more information, videos and other technical notes please visit the product page, click here.

ATTENTION: Though installing the IFace is not difficult, you do this at your own risk. TSP S.r.l. is not responsible for any damage, unwanted side-effects or whatever.

For more information do not hesitate to write us.
Have fun!

FT-818 with SDR panadapter

A loyal friend and customer of ours sent us photos of the installation of our universal IFace interface inside his Yaesu FT-818.

If you wonder what an SDR panadapter can do for your station, watch this video.

This radio is practically the same as the FT-817, so the installation of the interface is identical for both radios. Now that little gem is equipped with an SDR panadapter which makes it an exceptional adventure companion.

Click here to access the installation instructions on this and other radios.

For more information use the form below.

HDSDR settings for SDR panadapter and CAT control

Our IFace interface is used to add an SDR panadapter to any radio, present or future. The image below shows the typical application context where the IF signal of our receiver is sent to an external SDR receiver (in the specific case one from SDRplay).

The configuration we are going to examine is, therefore, the following.

We sample the signal after the first IF mixer but before the bandpass filter, the so-called “roofing filter”, and we send it to our IFace. This is nothing more than a broadband buffer that allows you to replicate the signal without overloading the mixer circuits. At the output of the card, the signal can be sent to an external receiver, typically an SDR, through a common 50 Ohm line.

At this point, there is nothing left to do but install the drivers for our A / D converter for RF signals and the demodulation software. In the specific case, we will use an RSP1 from SDRplay and the HDSDR program. In addition, through the CAT port, we can control our radio so as to have a perfect match of what we see on the screen with what we are receiving from the radio. The CAT interface is managed through the OmniRig software.

The main advantage is that of having a second receiver much more powerful than the internal one of the radio.

The following images show how the HDSDR program should be configured.

The result is also shown in a video where you can appreciate the reception quality and ease of radio control.

For any questions, use the form below.

The best SDR panadapter

After a few months of tests and various evaluations, we can claim to have identified the best SDR panadapter to combine with our IFace. We have tried cheap 8-bit products as well as much more expensive high-end products but this seemed to us the best compromise.

It is a small device to be connected to the USB port of our computers and allows you to digitize RF signals from 10 kHz to 2 GHz with a resolution of 12 bits. It works at a sampling rate such as to have up to 10 MHz of frequency band. It also features a 0.5 ppm TCXO.

Its technical characteristics are as follows:

  • continuous coverage from 10 kHz to 2 GHz
  • 12 bit resolution ADC
  • TCXO 0.5 ppm reference oscillator
  • up to 10 MHz of RF band viewable
  • low background noise compared to 8-bit devices
  • micro-USB 2.0 interface
  • SMA 50Ω antenna connector
  • it can also be used as spectrum analyzer (RF input power 0 dBm max)
  • compatible with all programs and drivers for SDRPlay RSP1
  • works with the most popular SDR software (HDSDR, SDR Console, Cubic SDR, and SDRuno)
  • case in anodized aluminum
  • power supply current from USB: 120-175mA
  • high quality/cost ratio

2 purchase options are available.


You can find more information in our previous article on which SDR panadapter to use.

In this article you can find how to set up HDSDR to use this SDR receiver together with our IFace.

For further information, please write via the following form.

Panadapter SDR for the TS-440s

To install the IFace card inside the Kenwood TS-440s follow the steps below.

The TS-440s, like other radios, has a fairly complex configuration and uses different intermediate frequencies. We are interested in having a “wide band” signal, so it will have to be picked up before the main bandpass filter. The sequence of operations to be performed to obtain a bandwidth sufficient to realize a panoramic receiver around the chosen IF frequency (45.05 MHz) is shown below. The path of the TX and RX signals is partly separate, so the PTT command to disable the IFace during transmission may not be necessary. The following images show the point where the IF signal will be taken and the power supply.

Now we need to locate the points where to connect the electric cables to the IFace. The following images illustrate where to get the various signals on the RF UNIT.

You can buy an IFace using the button below.

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ATTENTION: Though installing the IFace is not difficult, you do this at your own risk. TSP S.r.l. is not responsible for any damage, unwanted side-effects or whatever.

For more information do not hesitate to write us.
Have fun!

Panadapter SDR for the TS-430s

To install the IFace card inside the Kenwood TS-430s follow the steps below.

The TS-430s, like other radios, has a fairly complex configuration and uses different intermediate frequencies. We are interested in having a “wide band” signal, so it will have to be picked up before the main bandpass filter. The sequence of operations to be performed to obtain a bandwidth sufficient to realize a panoramic receiver around the chosen IF frequency (48.055 MHz) is shown below. The path of the TX and RX signals is partly separate, so the PTT command to disable the IFace during transmission may not be necessary. The following images show the point where the IF signal will be taken and the power supply.

Now we need to locate the points where to connect the electric cables to the IFace. The following images illustrate where to get the various signals on the RF UNIT.

If you like the idea and the goodness of the proposal buy an IFace using the button below.

[:it]
[:]

ATTENTION: Though installing the IFace is not difficult, you do this at your own risk. TSP S.r.l. is not responsible for any damage, unwanted side-effects or whatever.

For more information do not hesitate to write us.
Have fun!

Panadapter SDR for the IC-735

To install the IFace card inside the ICOM IC-735 follow the steps below.

The IC-735, like other radios, has a fairly complex configuration and uses different intermediate frequencies. We are interested in having a “wide band” signal, so it will have to be picked up before the main band pass filter. The sequence of operations to be performed to obtain a bandwidth sufficient to realize a panoramic receiver around the chosen IF frequency (70.451 MHz) is shown below. The path of the TX and RX signals is partly separate, so the PTT command to disable the IFace during transmission may not be necessary. The following images show the point where the IF signal will be taken and the power supply.

Now we need to locate the points where to connect the electric cables to the IFace. The following images illustrate where to get the various signals on the MAIN UNIT.

If you like the idea and the goodness of the proposal buy an IFace using the button below.

[:it]
[:]

ATTENTION: Though installing the IFace is not difficult, you do this at your own risk. TSP S.r.l. is not responsible for any damage, unwanted side-effects or whatever.

For more information do not hesitate to write us.
Have fun!