This SDR/Super-het combo was a bit more complex to setup than setting it up with the 590SG, because mainly you have to crack the case open & tap into the Kenwood TS-480’s First IF on jumper CN152. Kenwood makes this all too easy though, by providing prongs for you to attach your cables to already!
I picked up a panadapter kit from KA9MOT on mypanadapter.com. The kit came with an RTL dongle, but for purposes of this setup, we’ll be using the SDRplay, the RTL has sort of a similar setup, you just need a different .dll file in the HDSDR directory and some different settings within HDSDR, and a different driver.
I suggest by stopping by the SDRplay website, and navigating to their “Downloads” section, and click on the HDSDR package. As of today’s writing, there’s a more recent version of HDSDR (stable 2.75 release), but you can download that after we run this .exe first. This package from SDRplay will ensure that the SDRplay .dll file gets placed into the HDSDR directory, it will install the driver & the software that you’ll be using.
I would have used SDRConsole for this write up, but as of today’s writing, according to Simon’s website, the latest release has issues when using the external radio with IF out. So we’ll use HDSDR latest stable release 2.75. I already had Omni-rig downloaded & configured with my logging software, but you’ll need to download that as well & enter all the settings according to your radio, i’m using a TS-480SAT, so my settings are as follows:
Rig type: TS-480 / Port: Com 4 / Baud Rate: 57.6k / Data bits: 8 / Parity: None / Stop Bits: 1 / RTS: High / DTR: High / Poll int: 500 / Timeout: 4000
Now since this is an IF tap, and your not directly connecting to the antenna, you’ve essentially tapped into the radio’s signal chain so the signal your tapping into is @ the First IF frequency of the 480. Which means you’ll have to enter some numbers in HDSDR under “Options” & “RF Front End Calibration”, the thing is these numbers are all different for every computer, but if your using the same radio, & the same SDR, these numbers might get you close to calibration:
To calibrate completely, you’ll need to navigate your radio to a WWV signal and make the image for the WWV signal match up with the frequency, i.e. 2.5/5/10/15/20 MHz. I basically just adjusted little by little until the images matched up perfectly on frequency, and mine resulted in the above numbers with the SDRplay.
The only thing i’ve noticed, is that with using an IF tap, there is a peak in the middle due to the IF filter bandwidth, but your still able to see signals in that section for the most part:
It’s definitely not as slick as the 590SG panadapter setup, but it’ll work for field day 🙂 Which was my original intent. Now keep in mind while I was doing all of this, my Windows 10 laptop decided to stop allowing me to access the ‘start menu’, it required creating a new account, just be sure that when you installing everything on your machine, install it & open it as administrator, especially if your on Windows 10!