Wednesday, March 10, 2021

БЕЛКА-DX

Codewheel not included!
 

The Belka-DX arrived here about three weeks ago from Minsk, Belarus. It is an updated version of the Belka-DSP, both of which were designed by Aleksandr Buevkiy EU1ME. The photo above was inspired by the "spy radio" theme of a review of the older Belka-DSP (link below).

About the price: if you want one of these diminutive and highly capable receivers, you'll have to decide which of three prices you want to pay. At the time of this posting:

All three options include shipping.

I chose Door Number 3, the Belrig option.

Evidently, some people are uncomfortable using their VISA card for international transactions. I have confidence that my bank will support me and therefore had no such worries. My opinion of PayPal (which isn't available in Belarus) is such that I much prefer using my credit card over using PP anyway.

I received my Belka-DX in 11 days. A tracking number was provided one day after I placed the order and I was able to track it from Minsk to New York to Houston.


During those 11 days, I read all I could find about this radio (including the owner's manual) and its -DSP predecessor. Most of what's out there is about Alex's prior receiver, the Belka-DSP. The most comprehensive review of that radio is here and an audio comparison of the -DSP and -DX version is here.

Some of the questions about this radio on various forums have to do with its performance with antennas other than its included telescoping whip since the website mentions that "the radio front-end is optimized for using telescopic antenna (800mm) in the range 1.5 - 31MHz."

In several operating sessions yesterday and today I made numerous comparisons of the same signals as received on the Belka-DX and the Icom IC-705 on SSB, CW and AM. Antennas were a triband Yagi or a 160m dipole (fed with ladder line and tunable for resonance on any freq between 1.8 and 30 MHz) up 110 feet/33m.

I will post a video of these comparisons early next week - when I do, any concerns about overloading with external antennas will be put to rest. This radio is amazing throughout its range on all modes and the proof will be on YouTube as soon as I can find time to combine the individual videos together for posting.

My Belka-DX does not have an internal speaker (I have one on the way) so I'm using an external powered speaker to provide audio for the comparison.

And earlier today, as I was preparing this posting, I received an email from Boris LZ2JR . Boris (RGO One designer) mentions that he will soon be offering a back panel speaker kit with foldable click-into-place legs. I have a speaker on order from EU1ME but his version doesn't include the legs.

The significance of the legs is that, not only will they prop the radio up for better viewing on a desktop, they will also raise the rear-panel speaker from the surface of the table for better audio.

Photos from Boris LZ2JR:




More later.....

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10 comments:

  1. Very nice radio John. Have been looking at it several times. Unfortunately it is too much money for my hobby budget right now. But looking forward to your reviews of this little gem. 73, Bas

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    1. It's so small I worry I'm going to lose it! I'm working on the video & hope to have it posted this weekend.

      73,
      John

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  2. Could this be used to track QRM/RFI/EMC sources in the neighborhood?
    I don't see myself strolling down the street with my RSP1A and a laptop.
    It does have a headphones output, right? Interesting...
    Franki ON5ZO

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    1. No, I doubt I'll take many evening bike rides listening to SW as I pedal along lazily. I'm a radio geek, but there comes a point where one must put such things on the back burner!

      On another note: I did take it outside a few evening ago to see if I could hear a Macedonian station on 40m SSB. He was generating quite the pile-up; I was able to hear both him and the NA/EU pile-up quite clearly with the little whip.

      For QRM detection, I'd choose something with a pan display - maybe the TinySA with its new audio feature:
      https://tinyurl.com/sewx8vr7

      73,
      John

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  3. This is a brilliant little radio and with a short included whip I have no problems listening to ham and short-wave stations. I use ear buds, or a BT dongle on my wireless headset.

    When I am on covert missions waiting to receive secure coded comms with my one time pad I succeed every time. To bypass security I have hidden this in a pineapple

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    1. Pineapples? One-time pads? Wasn't that a Gilligan's Island episode?!

      I've found the radio to be quite a nice performer and a nice conversation piece as well. I haven't shown it to Dipole Girl or Sushi Girl yet, but I'm sure they'll be impressed.

      On a more serious note, although the ordering process was 5 star, the same hasn't been so for the "back panel with speaker" option. No tracking number, no confirmation of being sent and my emails go unanswered.

      Knowing what I know now, I should have ordered this from the Mobimax store. At the time I placed the order I didn't know this was LZ2JR's outfit. He has always been responsive to emails. Live and learn.

      73,
      John

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  4. I now have a tracking number for the external speaker option for this receiver - it should be here in a week or so. I'll test both batteries with a Belka-equivalent current draw and will then open the Belka and install the new back/speaker/battery.

    A wealth of Belka info is contained on this page and the links provided there:

    https://tinyurl.com/72m5zspa

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  5. John,

    What's the URL for ordering the Belka DX and backpack speaker/nattery?
    TNx
    Dave KK7S

    ReplyDelete