New Office, New Receiver (Elad FDM-S2)
Over the last few months I’ve been constructing an office-cum-shack at the back of our large garage, just a corner where I can hang out, be warm and comfortable shielded from the noisy elements of domestic bliss!!
Running the power, ethernet and antenna cabling was the most challenging hoping that at works end all the combinations could live together happily without interference. The good news is my planning was perfect! With my receiver and antenna runs terminating in the house I was plagued with interference from this and that, fridge, monitors and more. Now I have no interference from anything and with sound insulation not even road traffic, TV’s, general conversations etc. etc.
So here’s a picture of the new place. It’s only one end of a 3m x 2.4m room but it has natural light when the blinds are open and a low ceiling just 2.1m high. On the left are my two monitors, a Dell 19″ which is used for displaying the Elad FDM-SW2, a Samsung 22″ monitor for general PC stuff including VRS, Web browsing, web development etc. Then there’s the Raspberry Pi that runs a java programme for uploading ADS-B data to my web site (hfaero.com), the Elad FDM-S2 receiver and lastly the FR24 ADS-B receiver.
Antenna connections come in through the wall that you can see. I placed 2 BNC panel sockets on the exterior, one for the Wellbrook HF antenna and one for the VHF airband antenna (yet to be sited). From those sockets I connected some RG58 coax to a wallplate fitted with 2 BNC keystone connectors. The feedline from the ADS-B antenna (LMR400) terminates on the exterior garage wall as well but with a N-Type socket and on the interior is a straight through run of low loss cable the the receiver.
The desk itself is the remnant of a kitchen breakfast bar that we were hoping to use in our new kitchen but proved too big and of the wrong design so this was stored until I thought I could use it by cutting and trimming it to size. It weighs 60kg’s!!
A few weeks back I bought a brand new Elad FDM-S2 receiver to replace the Afedri SDR_Net. Figuring I would be in the new office, a networked receiver was not a priority but I was wanting something with more dynamic range and more bits in the ADC. I thought about waiting for the Cloud-IQ from RFSpace but while talking to the team at RFSpace they openly advised that the sensitivity would be the same there would be no option of increased RF range to include the VHF airband. Naturally being aero nuts I decided the FDM-S2 suited my purposes to a tee.
Another extremely attractive option with the Elad receiver is the accompanying FDM-SW2 software package. I had first come across this with my purchase last year of the Elad FDM-S1 receiver and I just fell in love with the software for two main reasons:
- The provision of four (4) virtual receivers allowing me to listen to up to four frequencies within the bandwidth, and
- The ability to display station names at the frequencies that they operate
In addition with the S2 receiver there is the option of two independent 384kHz wide channels allowing me to access for example the 5MHz airband and also the 8MHz airband. Plus there are still the four virtual receivers for each channel. While this may be a bit overwhelming it does open up some opportunities for when things get exciting, military exercise/ops monitoring, SAR events and just to monitor a station on both bands.
I’m not much of a scientific radio type of guy but I’m very happy with the performance of the receiver and over the Afedri it is very much more sensitive. Coupled with it’s specifically developed software (vs third party software) the combination is a winner for me.
There’s not much to look at, the receiver has just two LED’s on the front, one to indicate power is applied via the USB connector and another to inform USB data transfer, this only flickers as you tune. On the rear is two antenna connectors, one for HF to 30MHz and VHF over 30MHz, a USB connector to the PC controller, an RS-232 for CAT commands and an On/Off switch. Otherwise it’s casing is a very nice black anodised aluminium of solid construction. Being of Italian origin it is naturally beautifully designed!
The following picture shows how I have set the SW2 software. There are some quick tune buttons that were originally labelled and configured for the amateur metre bands (8m, 10m, 40m etc.) but since I only measure timber and coax lengths by metres I have converted these into the MHz bands for the typical aviation settings and there are sufficient buttons to include some frequent VHF frequencies. Note the clever use of showing the stations from memory files in the spectrum display so as a signal pops up I can instantly see who it might be without having to read along a frequency scale or tune and listen. You can click on the picture for full size display. In this particular screenshot I’m tuned to and listening to aircraft reporting to New York Aeradio (ARINC).