Last year I found this new lost cost SDR, Hermes Lite. It’s a low cost clone of the Hermes. It uses a FPGA evaluation kit from Altera,an ethernetboard from Waveshare.

In the meantime I bought a Hermes(used in 2m NAC), but I still wanted to play with this low cost project, maybe not good enought to use in 2m contest with lots of big signals, but would be fine for uW use with a transverter I think. Of course you can also use it on HF 🙂

Here some info :

  • 0-30MHz (HF) transceiver with decent performance (12 bit)
  • Entirely open source and open hardware design
  • Cost of less than $150 (cost includes FPGA board) for hobbyist who build their own
  • Maintain enough compatibility with Hermes to use existing Hermes SDR front-end software with no or minor modification

Look at the Github page and the google discussion group for much more info.

hermeslite121Looked so interesting, that Palle(oz9dt) and I decided to build one. KF7O made the project and made some kit with the most difficult components mounted.

But we came to late, so now we are going to build our own, so we ordered pcb and all the components, and started yesterday to build them, here Palle trying to put the small 0.5mm pitch AD9866 on the pcb :

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Some weeks ago, I purchased a Hermes SDR. At home I am only qrv on 10GHz, but it could be nice to try to use it on 144MHz in a contest. Then yesterday, the first NAC contest on 144MHz took place, what a contest, the result is here.

Normally we work with an Icom IC-756 ProII and a DB6NT transverter.

Can a SDR transceiver be used in a NAC 2m contest, my answer is yes, but you need to do a few things (in my opinion).

1) If you don’t like to call cq all the time, you have to find some voice-keyer, the IC-756 has one build in.
2) If you don’t like to use a mouse, you have to find some USB Controlled Tuning Knob or something else

As voice keyer, we used one from K9DUR, if you don’t want to make extra cables you can just use it at the same PC as we use for PowerSDR. You then need a virtual audio cable (VAC) to pass audio from the voicekeyer to PowerSDR.
You also need a virtual null modem cable, to pass the PTT to PowerSDR. I used VAC and Com0Com.

As Tuning knob, we used a Hercules DJControl, and then we can move a lot more knobs/buttons out of the PC. DH1TW made some code for using a DJControl, and the guys from OpenHPSDR implemented it in the PowerSDR from OpenHPSDR.

Here how it looks in our first draft setup:

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And how did it perform ? I think we will use it in the next contest again, the sound from the SDR is better as the one from the Icom 756proII, maybe it’s because we used the equalizer, to fine tune the sound. No one complaint about our tx signal, so I guess that was also ok.

Here our setup inside the caravan, it’s a portable setup, and we need to make it a lot better, but we still manage to work 290 qso’s in 4 hours, conditions a little above normal.

If you want more info, just contact me. 


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Here OZ1LPR as operator.

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Rainscatter again again, but no rain here, for maybe 14 days, very dry here.

So worked 3 stations today, DL1HTT for the first time, DL7QY now qso 8 different days in 2014 and finaly DC6UW 59S+ as always.

Today I also heard my own signal via WebSDR a nice way to monitor signals on 10GHz, the SDR receiver is in Dresden, JO61VA.