I Bought My First SDR Radio
by Ron Chester ★ Monday, November 23, 2020

I bought my first ever SDR radio today. One of my favorite blogs to follow is The SWLing Post which is written by Thomas Witherspoon, K4SWL, who is a ham, but started off as an SWL and still loves SWLing, maybe even more than hamming. In June 2020 he republished an article he wrote for the Jan 2020 edition of The Spectrum Monitor magazine all about his portable SDR setup using The AirSpy HF+ Discovery SDR which plugs into his Windows laptop. Using a small loop antenna it gives him excellent HF and VHF radio reception from anywhere in the world. This SDR radio is tiny and costs only $169. I was intriqued and thought maybe I'd look into getting one of these one day. 

Well today was the day. Airplay has a big sale every year and the 2020 sale has begun. The AirSpy HF+ Discovery is on sale for $118, 30% off, so I bought one! How could I pass up such a big sale? It covers 0.5 kHz to 31 MHz plus 60 to 260 MHz in one tiny 45 X 60 mm box. Practically free! For another $21 I also got the usually $40 HF loop antenna. Connect it to my Windows 10 laptop and I should be all set.

Then it occurred to me that in this digital age, someone just starting out could use this setup to practice receiving Morse Code being sent over the air on the HF ham bands. This would complete everything one would need to implement the full W6AM method of learning the Code. And of course you could also do another million or so cool things with this thing, as described in the article Thomas published. Fun, fun, fun with radio!