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the Sony XDR-F1HD tuner

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  • the Sony XDR-F1HD tuner

    This is a popular new tuner equiped with HD that is rating high with other DXers. I recently added one to the shack and have to say I'm very impressed with the selectivity right out of the box compared to a Denon TU1500RD with 110/150kHz IF filters that I've been using for 3 years now. Although, the sensitivity on the Sony is not as good as the Denon and there is another problem.

    The audio level varies with signal strength. I find this undesirable for recording and requires constant adjustment of the volume of the speakers during attended DXing.

    Here's a couple examples.


    Selectivity test.
    Parked on 96.7 which is adjacent to 100kw WZNS 3 miles away, a virtually unusable frequency. The first half is the Denon TU1500RD with narrow filter. Splatter is strong. The second half of the audio is with the Sony XDR-F1HD. Very little splatter at all.

    The second audio is a sporadic E signal from 91.7 XHXL Monterrey, Mexico received on the Sony. Notice the fades where the audio almost disapears.

    The third audio is the same signal switched over to the Denon.
    Last edited by KW4RZ; 06-29-2008, 09:53 PM.
    Randy KW4RZ Goldfield, Nevada DM17

  • #2
    Here's another test using 93.9 WMTM Moultrie, GA. A 100kw station 177 miles to my east/ northeast.
    Both tuners on the same antenna, recorded at the exact same time. Started with the antenna southeast and moved it northeast to bring WMTM's signal up.
    Randy KW4RZ Goldfield, Nevada DM17

    Comment


    • #3
      the Sony XDR-F1HD tuner

      Randy,

      I must agree with your findings. The Sony is what turned me from a casual Es listener on my car stereo to an at home unattended logger using software.

      I purchased the tabletop XDR-S3HD at Best Buy open box return for $49.95 two weeks ago. I followed it up with the XDR-F1HD just last week ($99.00).

      I live in Philadelphia only 5 miles from the antenna farm. In the decade I've lived in this city, this is the only radio that refuses to overload on any frequency. I've logged 33 stations so far this year in the 600-1200 mile range with a dipole strung in the corner of a west facing window.

      However, I do agree that the radio soft-mutes weak signals and doesn't lock until there is a certain amount of signal strength or quieting. I assume this is to help the average listener who doesn't care to hear the hiss (we want to hear it). Sort of like a TV monitor that blanks the screen when there is a certain level of snow on it. Oddly enough the tabletop S3HD does a better job pulling in weak signals from a DXers standpoint than the component receiver S1HD. I am assuming without cracking them open that both radios use the same receiver with the S3HD adding an amp, speakers, an alarm clock feature and aux line in. Maybe my tabletop radio has a level set somewhere to a lower threshold for the soft-mute out of the box.

      Perhaps there is a way to defeat the soft-mute feature by cutting a trace or pulling a logic level somewhere up or down. Hopefully someday, someone will figure it out.

      Other than that I would only ask for only minor things added to this rig.
      • Show more RDS Info
      • Force Mono
      • Defeat the rig going into HD mode automatically


      All and all this is a great little rig for the price. Finally, the engineering necessity for DSP filtering to receive the HD channels created a positive side effect... great DSP filtering for analog channels. I guess good things do come in small packages.

      Steve
      K3PHL
      http://home.comcast.net/~k3phl

      Comment


      • #4
        Here's another test comparing the received signals of the Denon TU1500RD to the Onkyo T450RDS. Same antenna, fed to both tuners through a splitter.
        The Denon is just slightly more sensitive.
        Randy KW4RZ Goldfield, Nevada DM17

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm getting 2-3 signal bars on empty channels that are adjacent to other stations. Is this the IBOC slop?

          On my Yamaha t-85 (modified with five 150khz filters), I'd sometimes get a little interference from a strong adjacent station, but you could tell that it was music/talk - whereas in this case, with the Sony, it's just white noise.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm running a T-80 ( 4 filters ) about 7 miles NNW of the main antenna farm in Roxborough. I get more than 3 bars on most - it's usually 5 or 6 if I'm aimed anywhere near them.

            In many cases strong Es will come through. I don't see strong tropo often enough here to generalize on it but that cuts through at least some of them as well.

            I'm working from memory at this point but the vast majority of Philadelphia stations are now running IBOC. 100.3 may be the only big one not currently doing so.
            Russ Edmunds
            15 mi NW Philadelphia, PA
            WB2BJH -- Grid FN20id

            2 ) SDRPlay RSP1a SDRs, Onkyo T450RDS,
            Yamaha T-80 & Conrad RDS Manager;
            Yamaha T-85 & Conrad RDS Manager;
            all w APS9B @ 15'
            Insignia NSHDRAD2 w/ whip.

            Comment


            • #7
              The T-85 gets a "0" on adjacent channels to IBOC (out of 12 bars, or a "100" total). Whereas the Sony's meter only goes up to 3 bars - and it is getting 2-3 of them on adjacent channels.

              This doesn't make sense unless the two signal meters are configured very differently. Eg. if the "0" level on the T-85 is equal to 2.5 signal bars on the Sony. (Note: I adjusted my signal meter on the T-85 just a little, it's set to be "100" on my two strongest stations - 93.3 and 94.1).

              On both, the adjacent channels just sound like white noise.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm about 3-4 miles from 93.3, and 7 miles from 94.1

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by akreider View Post
                  I'm getting 2-3 signal bars on empty channels that are adjacent to other stations. Is this the IBOC slop?

                  On my Yamaha t-85 (modified with five 150khz filters), I'd sometimes get a little interference from a strong adjacent station, but you could tell that it was music/talk - whereas in this case, with the Sony, it's just white noise.
                  You said "empty channels" but those channels are anything but empty. Those adjacent channels contain the digital sidebands that house the digital information. Those register 3 bars on my XDR-F1HD tuner. On my older analog Sony 5130 tuner with an analog meter, you can clearly see signals almost as strong as the main signal. So don't let the white noise fool you...those freqs aren't empty. I wish they were.
                  Mike B.
                  Enfield, CT
                  -72° 30' W/41° 59' N
                  FN31RX


                  Online since 1999 and still going at

                  mikesdx.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    the Sony XDR-F1HD tuner

                    Mike is right. There are so many stations around here in Philadelphia running IBOC that nearly every channel takes up the 200 KHz on each side. You can tell the difference in that the IBOC "white" noise, which is the digital signal, is a bit higher pitched in its tone quality than your typical open channel white noise where the pitch is a little lower.

                    When Es tries to get through, there's extremely rapid flutter between the digital IBOC and analog trying to cut through where it almost sounds like someone has a hair dryer running on the same AC line circuit I noticed it this week when Key West on 92.7 was trying to come over a local's HD-2 from 92.5.

                    I'm pretty positive that there are complex DSP filtering algorithms running inside the Sony in both digital and analog modes. That's why its adjacent channel rejection is so darn good.

                    My only gripe with the Sony again is with the soft muting of weak signals. I know there were some weak ones out so far this year there I just couldn't pull out. Sometimes I have to boost the audio level some 500% on the MP3 playback to hear any of it.

                    I wish there was a way to lower the threshold for the soft muting or remove it altogether. Unfortunately I think it's part of the design and can't be defeated.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Here's a graphic example. The attached displays what happens when you're on a first adjacent channel and the IBOC is switched off. What's left after it is off is what's actually left on that channel.
                      Russ Edmunds
                      15 mi NW Philadelphia, PA
                      WB2BJH -- Grid FN20id

                      2 ) SDRPlay RSP1a SDRs, Onkyo T450RDS,
                      Yamaha T-80 & Conrad RDS Manager;
                      Yamaha T-85 & Conrad RDS Manager;
                      all w APS9B @ 15'
                      Insignia NSHDRAD2 w/ whip.

                      Comment

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