The availability of cheap SDR hardware created a thriving ecosystem for SDR software, but much of the hardware driving the revolution was still “cheap.” Over the last few years, we’ve seen quality equipment that replaces TV switches in many settings, and step-down converters designed to allow them to work on amateur radio tapes.
But something that is specially designed may be a better option if your target is a radio amateur, especially the shortwave part of it. First, you may want to transmit, which none of the TV switches allow. Then you may want some power. Lastly, if you’re serious about shortwave, you care more about the sound quality than the huge bandwidth, so you’ll want some good filters on the receiving side to help you get the signal out of all the noise.
IN RS-HFIQ 5 W SDR transceiver it could be for you. It is up on Kickstarter right now and worth a look if you want completely open source (schemes, firmware, and software) shortwave SDR platform. It is also compatible with various open fronts.
One-way radio is not really a complete SDR in our minds – it demodulates the radio signal and sends 96 kHz IQ signal to the sound card of your computer, where it is tested and fully decoded. The advantage of this is that specially designed audio speed DACs have a relatively high resolution for money, but the disadvantage is that you are limited to 96 kHz spectrum in the computer. This is great for voice and code transmission, but won’t cut it for high speed data or frequency hopping applications. But this is a reasonable trade-off for shortwave design.
However, such an SDR is far from it how simple shortwave radio can be. But if you want to build your own SDR-based shortwave setup and want to hack the controls more than the radio itself, this seems like a good start.