Many operators are converting from analog, boxed radios to SDR receivers and transceivers these days. Being on the technical forefront is something that always has been a significant part of amateur radio. SDR – Software Defined Radio – is the cutting edge right now, and it will be for a foreseeable future. In addition to being a modern and current technology, direct sampling SDR receivers offers great performance, flexibility and and lots of fun to today’s amateur radio operator.
But there is something that make some operators reluctant of getting on the SDR bandwagon. They fear they will miss the physical, tactile touch which helps them get the most out of their radios. This might just be a generation problem. Todays kids grows up with smartphones and iPads and mechanical control might not relate to them the same way as they do to us who grew up before the IT explosion.
Luckily we have a great solution to this problem. A few years ago I started experimenting with remote control of my station. I used Ham Radio Deluxe, TRX Manager and other software packages to remotely control an Elecraft K3. I really missed the physical touch of tuning, switching A/B VFO to listen to a split frequency and having filter change on the touch of a button.
To solve this problem I acquired a few different USB controllers mainly targeted to the video editing industry. After testing a few different controllers I identified my favourite, the ShuttleXpress from Contour Design.
The ShuttleXpress has a clever combination of a center jog wheel plus an up/down ring outside the jog wheel. These two wheels makes precision tuning a breeze, but also allows for quickly scrolling the band. In addition to being a VFO the ShuttleXpress has with five (5) programmable buttons that can be used for controlling features like VFO A/B, BAND, MODE, or other features of your SDR radio.
The ShuttleXpress makes the perfect companion for the ColibriDDC receiver. It gives you a VFO to tune the bands with that physical touch and tactile feedback that you are used to from your boxed equipment. In addition the five buttons can be programmed to activate any other features you use on a regular basis.
Note: To use ShuttleXpress ExpertSDR2 version 1.1.0 or later is required. You can get the latest version of ExpertSDR2 from our downloads page.
The ShuttleXpress is favourably priced and available in our webstore.