Friday, 19 April 2013

Utility Monitoring and Decoding

Let me start by stating that i love decoding and utility monitoring. Whether it's chasing numbers stations (of which there are many, considering we live in the age of texting, emails and mobile phones), or decoding something simple like RTTY or Global Wireless or more complex like the STANAG variants. Also on my list fun things are WEFAX, SITOR and the amateur digital modes.

My hardware was basic in the beginning: the small but robust DEGEN 1103. A great little perfomer for a small price. But it wasn't long before i realised that i needed a more substantial receiver to cater to my growing needs.
DEGEN 1103

I had looked around for a while, trying to decide which radio i was going to invest in next. Not suprisingly, many of the shortwave radios that are intended for the serious listener were around the $1000+ mark. Even used radios were $500 - $700. Way too much to even consider. I discussed the matter with a mate, who asked if i had considered Software Defined Radio? "No" i said (having both feet planted firmly in the 20th century). Much Googling and many reviews later, i dragged myself kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Enter the SOFT66LC4. This is my current radio and it's a beauty. Apart from the EXT I/O issue that is now common knowledge amongst SDR users, it is on a par with SDRs 3 or 4 times its price.
The tiny SOFT66LC4

HDSDR locked onto STANAG 4285
It is used in conjunction with Winradio HDSDR and programs such as MultiPSK, FLdigi, DREAM, PC-HFDL and decoding software software such as Ian Wraiths excellent program RIVET. More articles featuring these programs and modes to follow.


  1. I like the little Degen, it looks similar to the Tecsun I have. I guess they perform similar. 21st century is still beyond me, but well done mate, the upgrade looks great.

  2. Good point. The Tecsun and DEGEN are almost identical in function and have the market cornered for entry level SWL.