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Thread: ADS Tech RDX-155 Instant FM Music

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Springfield, Missouri
    Posts
    957

    Default ADS Tech RDX-155 Instant FM Music

    Want an FM dx set-up you can use on the fly, with complete recording capabilities? There has been a brief discussion about this laptop FM tuner on the WTFDA email list recently. I post the info on this tuner and pics for your consideration. These are in stock at Amazon.com and Geeks.com

    Features/Specifications:
    ADS Tech RDX-155 Instant FM Music

    General Features:
    Instant FM Music with a simple USB connection.
    Listen and record FM Radio, Music and Programming.
    Transfer FREE FM Music to iTunes/iPod, Zune or any other portable music player.
    Can record live broadcasts and display RDS/RBDS data such as station call letters, radio text and more.

    Specifications:
    USB 2.0 and 1.1 compliant
    192 kHz Audio Sample Rate
    10 Bit ADC
    RDS/RBDS Data Decoder
    Worldwide FM Band Support (76 - 108 MHz)

    Unit Dimensions:
    0.5 x 1.2 x 3.25-inches (H x W x D, approximate)

    Regulatory Approvals:
    FCC
    CE
    C-Tick
    WEEE

    Package Includes:
    ADS Tech RDX-155 Instant FM Music
    Software and Driver CD for Windows Vista and XP
    Retractable FM Antenna
    6-inch USB Extension Cable
    Carry Bag
    Additional Information:

    Notes:
    Model: RDX-155
    UPC: 7 57887 15513 1

    Requirements:
    Windows XP or XP Media Center Edition Service Pack 2 or later/Vista
    Available USB port
    A minimum of 1 GB (5 GB recommended) of free hard drive space
    1 GHZ CPU
    256 MB RAM (512 MB recommended)
    Windows Media Player 10.0 or higher
    An Internet connection for Web Radio, Song ID and other information (e.g.
    album art, reviews, etc..)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Jim Thomas
    Springfield, MO

    Ozark Mountain DTV dxing Daredevil

    Dx Equipment - AntennaCraft MXU59 UHF antenna & homebrew version of AntennaCraft Y10-7-13 VHF antenna @ 25'. Both antennas fed through a Winegard HDP-269 12dB pre-amp; a Zenith DTT901 converter box & a Silicon Dust HDHomerun Dual ATSC tuner, using Rabbitears autologger support.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Northern NY
    Posts
    642

    Default

    From some research on Google, it appears this is using a Si4701 IC for the FM tuner. If so this should make a decent tuner once the antenna is upgraded. It appears to be an MCX type plug which I have an adapter for already. I have been quite impressed with Si ICs my Sandisk MP3 player has the Si4703, they have good sensitivity and have automatic gain control so they won't overload near strong signals as easy as most cheap tuners. This blog confirms it as a Si4701 IC and also has a tip on getting it to work under Windows 7.

    The old software download page can be found archived here, since it appears ADS Tech's website is gone. This is the spec sheet for the si4701 IC if anyone is interested.

    I have decided to order one of these since they are pretty cheap. I will post back here what my results are with this tuner.
    DX Radios:
    Sony XDR-F1HD
    Sony XDR-S10HDiP
    Tecsun PL-390

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Salvador, El Salvador
    Posts
    210

    Default

    Many thanks spunker88 for point me to that blog, when I go home I wil try to get working my usb radio on windows 7 that I never did. I bought my Instant FM radio several years ago for around $50 in a local office depot :'(
    The original software work well on Windows XP, under linux work too with GNUradio.
    Its a nice radio with RDS support under windows, btw.


    "Saludos" from San Salvador, El Salvador.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    48

    Default

    If the mailing list is any indication, there are a number of enthusiasts waiting for this beast to arrive at their doorstep (myself included) so the two sets of instructions the unit comes with are attached.

    To couple this RDX-155 USB tuner to the external rooftop antenna, I already have a MCX male to PAL female coaxial adapter which was supplied with the E4000 USB tuner. Hopefully that will be also compatible with the RDX-155, otherwise I'll cut into the dipole antenna (if it has a ground somewhere on the join)!

    Sorry to hear that when released your unit cost over $50, Humberto! This is probably why I am a belated follower rather than a first adopter with regard to technology.

    instant_radio.pdfsnapture_one.pdf
    Last edited by fmdxing; 01-07-2013 at 12:41 PM. Reason: furnished with additional NFO

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Northern NY
    Posts
    642

    Default

    Mine arrived today since I get 2 day shipping from Amazon as a Prime member. It took me a few minutes to get the thing working since its not supported under Windows 7, but once I got it working it seems to be fine. The included antenna is junk, its made of thin wire and the retractable part jammed the first time I used it. Its only good for a spare MCX jack to splice to. I actually used an MCX to F adapter I had gotten back when I bought my SDR tuner from ebay and it working fine. Reception wasn't as good as I had hoped and I noticed when I put my hand on it reception got a bit better. This usually means a bad ground, so I tested with my ohmmeter to see if the antenna ground was tied to the USB ground and it wasn't. Using a piece of aluminum foil I wrapped the unit and made sure the USB ground (the outer metal on the male USB plug) was in contact with the MCX ground. This noticeably improved reception.

    The Instant FM Radio program is the nicest one to use. The biggest downside is its a little slow to tune. The Snaptune program was made for an online music ID service which no longer exists and doesn't show RDS, The Instant FM Radio has a nice feature where you can change the seek sensitivity, I'm guessing the units used are the same dbu used by other Si ICs. From my experience with the Si4703 in my MP3 player, RDS data starts showing at around 15-20 dbu and stereo decode occurs at around 20-25 dbu, meaning it will usually decode RDS before it locks in stereo. Unfortunately Instant FM Radio only records in 96khz wav which creates a large file quickly. But you can easily use a 3rd party program to record since the tuner shows up like a external microphone, most programs will let you record straight from it. Snaptune would be quite useful for doing unattended DX recordings since it can schedule recordings and it record in MP3 format.
    DX Radios:
    Sony XDR-F1HD
    Sony XDR-S10HDiP
    Tecsun PL-390

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    48

    Default

    Great report, very much appreciated! Any chance of a performing an A-B comparison with a Realtek based tuner? Personally, I would be most interested in the strong signal immunity of the Silabs IC based tuner, specifically performance in a congested urban area.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Springfield, Missouri
    Posts
    957

    Default

    Spunker88, did you connect an antenna feed from an outdoor antenna? If so, any overload issues?
    Jim Thomas
    Springfield, MO

    Ozark Mountain DTV dxing Daredevil

    Dx Equipment - AntennaCraft MXU59 UHF antenna & homebrew version of AntennaCraft Y10-7-13 VHF antenna @ 25'. Both antennas fed through a Winegard HDP-269 12dB pre-amp; a Zenith DTT901 converter box & a Silicon Dust HDHomerun Dual ATSC tuner, using Rabbitears autologger support.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Northern NY
    Posts
    642

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Thomas View Post
    Spunker88, did you connect an antenna feed from an outdoor antenna? If so, any overload issues?
    I have not noticed any overload issues during my testing, but I don't have the best antenna setup where I am. Plus I haven't had a whole lot of time to test drive this thing. The same antenna setup does overload my RTL SDR with a few of my stong locals.

    If you've ever used a radio with an SiLabs IC like many Tecsun radios and some Grundig radios (which use the Si4734), you'll know what to expect as far as overload immunity and adjacent channel selectivity. Some Dxers have complaiBoth the Si4734 and the Si4701 used in this unit have the same selectivity specs and from my testing, I can confirm that. This tuner exhibits similar behavior to other SiLabs ICs where you lose some sensitivity when in the presence of strong signals due to the auto gain control. Some dxers have complained about this since hooking an outdoor antenna up can sometimes cause loss of sensitivity.

    There is more noise on this unit compared to my Tecsun PL-390. This could be caused by noise from my computer and the fact that my antenna jack is grounded through the USB port. Overall I'd say for only around $6 this tuner is worth it, plus it uses a lot less resources than the SDR tuner does.
    DX Radios:
    Sony XDR-F1HD
    Sony XDR-S10HDiP
    Tecsun PL-390

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Salvador, El Salvador
    Posts
    210

    Default

    Hi, I was able to run the RDX-155 USB tuner on win7 with the snaptune software only.
    This tuner seems good on a FM signal overloaded environment like mine, I have most of the FM stations line of sight around 5 miles away from my window, several with 3 an 5 kW, the sony 7600GR needs to be attenuated to work well, not the Grundig G8 that is powered by the Silab chip too.

    The antenna connector is the same as my NooElec R820T SDR USB stick, btw.

    Saludos

  10. #10
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    Jul 2009
    Location
    Northern NY
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    Default

    The Instant FM app can be tricky since its designed for XP only and Microsoft changed the way Windows handles audio devices after XP. Make sure you only use a single USB port, whatever was the first port you plugged into.

    If you want to switch ports, you need to uninstall the device on the other usb port(s) you plugged it into (Device Manager -> Sound, video and game controllers -> ADS InstantFM Music -> Properties (right click) -> Driver tab -> Uninstall). Then plug into the USB port you want to use and it should reinstall, make sure you enable the device under the Recording tab in Sound as explained here: http://belthur.wordpress.com/tag/fm-radio-usb-silabs/

    On the shortcut for Instant Radio, right click and go to Properties -> Compatibility tab. Click run this program in compatibility mode for XP (Service Pack 3) and also click "Run this program as an Administrator". If the program ever opens and shows 292.1 Mhz and refuses to tune, unplug the usb cable, wait a few seconds and plug it back in. Then it should work.

    I found an alternative application that may be better for you. This program also allows you to switch firmware, but it can be used as an FM radio tuner program as well. It supports RDS, although it takes a several seconds until RDS locks. Download ADSConfig Beta2.zip from this site and unzip all the files wherever you want to install it, and then open the ADSConfig Beta2.exe program and select Radio Reciever from the list of devices when you open it.

    There is also a program on that site which allows you to view more RDS info from the tuner and locks on info really quick. Download USBRadio Experimental DualTunerDS 0.8.zip from the same site as above and open TestSilabDLL.exe once you extract all files to a folder of your choosing. The RDS country info is messed up, so just ignore it and the PTY code gives the European program type, but the code number is correct and you can find the North American program type in this table. The PI code is shown decimal only but can be converted to the call letters in two steps. First the 5 digit decimal code needs to be converted to hexadecimal, this can be done using Windows calculator in programmer mode or simply by typing "12345 to hex" into Google where 12345 is your decimal PI code. Then use this page courtesy of W9WI to convert the hex PI code to call letters. This program shows signal strength in dbu as well which is nice. Unfortunately you can't hear the audio in this program, but there is a way to get past this on Windows 7. Go to the Recording tab under Sound in the Control Panel (same area where you had to enable the tuner). Right click on the Radio Reciever and go to Properties -> Listen tab. Check "listen to this device" and click Apply. You will have to disable this when you close the program or else the tuner keeps playing.
    DX Radios:
    Sony XDR-F1HD
    Sony XDR-S10HDiP
    Tecsun PL-390

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