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Jun 27th, 2022, 3:28pm
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Aliunce HS2/Radiodity Q20/Q900 SDR Transceiver (Read 86 times)
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Aliunce HS2/Radiodity Q20/Q900 SDR Transceiver
May 27th, 2022, 12:45pm
 
I am creating this thread for discussion of a family of radios known by various names, including:
 
Aliunce HS2,  Radiodity Q20, or simply unbranded "Q900".  It is probably sold (or will be sold) under other names as well.
 
The radio seems to be sold with a blue or black enclosure, and green or red LEDs for the keyboard back light.
 

SDR Transceiver.  Photo from Aliexpress Vendor Advertisement.
 
In addition to what seems to be the same radio sold under different names (and perhaps with slightly different firmwares), there does seem to be different versions of the radio itself.
 
There appears to have been an older version with separate connectors for the HF and VHF/UHF antennas.  Other rear-panel connections are re-arranged accordingly.  The older version also seems to lack the Ethernet (RJ45) connector.
 

It is my impression that versions with 2 SO-259 connectors represent an older iteration of this radio.
 
In this thread, I will provide the following:
  • A review of this radio
  • Information on using this radio with a Linux Host PC/Linux Ham Radio Software.
  • Tips, Tricks, and Hacks

 
To join in the discussion, please email John at this domain.  I am happy to create accounts for legitimate users (not bots).
 
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Re: Aliunce HS2/Radiodity Q20/Q900 SDR Transceiver
Reply #1 - May 27th, 2022, 1:17pm
 
First Impressions and Mini Review -- SDR Transceivers known as:
Aliunce HS2,  Radiodity Q20, or simply unbranded "Q900".

 
Background:
Many years ago, when I took my Ham Radio License Test, I vowed to not buy a shack full of HF equipment.  I'd stick with handhelds only.  Never the less, I've caught myself slowing down and checking prices when I would walk by one of those big, fancy Yeasu, Icom, or Kenwood HF rigs at hamfests -- Maybe someday, I thought.
 
I was pretty good at sticking to my vow.  I only bought HT's such as the HamGeek FB-8 reviewed here.  I also bought lots of SW receivers;  Including a Grundig RF 250 I recently repaired.  Lots of information is Here about the Malachite SDR Receiver.
 
But when the true "Do everything" SDR came along, I couldn't help myself.  I am now the owner of a "Q900" (No other branding) SDR Transceiver.  
 
Unboxing and First Impressions:
The radio arrived from China in about 2 weeks.  Inside a simple cardboard box, was the included carry case, and in that was the Radio, Power Cord, Microphone a good quality USB-C cable, and a USB Drive.
 
They might as well have just left out the so-called carry case.  While it does provide foam protection for shipping, it is useless otherwise -- at least for this radio.  It is too small for a Ham Radio "Go Box" or field day set-up.  Even the above included items don't really fit right, let alone other things one would want in a "Go Box", such as cables, connectors, and other accessories.  I plan to use a small backpack or shoulder pack, and set up a proper Man Pack or Go Pack.
 
The included microphone appears small and cheap, but it is actually fully adequate.  It is *not* like those tiny ones they sell to plug into an HT.  It's about half way between one of those and a proper CB or Mobile Mic.
 
Other reviewers complained about the very minimal coaxial power plug and un-fused lead that is included.  I agree that a proper power cord would be better, but when one considers that cigarette lighter plugs generally contain a fuse, I don't think that the lack of a fuse in the cable is a big deal.  If actually wiring the radio into a mobile installation, the fuse should be installed a the beginning of the run (which should start at or very near the vehicle's battery.)  The short cable included is not intended to fulfill that purpose.  What they should have done is simply include the (fused) cigarette lighter plug.  An inline fuse is absolutely essential if one is going to use the included wire to make a harness for use with a Lithium Polymer battery.  I would advise using an XT60 connector on the other end, so that the radio can be powered from standard hobby Lithium-Ion (LiPo) batteries.  In this manner the radio retains portability while transmitting at closer to it's full power.
 
The radio arrived with the internal battery charged to about 70%, which is the condition the battery should be in for shipping.
 
I also got the GPS module with mine.  It was offered for free, so this was the that closed the deal for me.  The GPS module came pre-installed, but it does not include a GPS antenna.  It turns out that I have an GPS antenna from the Android Automotive Head Unit Reviewed Here, so at least for the time-being, I can use that antenna for testing.
 
When the unit arrived and I took it out of the so-called "carry case" a small screw and a nut fell into the case.  It turns out that all of the screws that attach the So-239 antenna socket to the chassis were loose, and one was missing.  Using a pair of forceps, I was able to re-install the screw and nut in it's place, and tighten the other 3.  Yes, a drop of Loctite blue was probably called for, so I may end up doing this job again.
 
The fact that the screw fell out is unremarkable, but the fact that the nut escaped from the inside illustrates that this radio is not at all sealed from the outside environment.  Despite advertising showing the radio covered in drops of water, it is not at all environmentally sealed.  No Environmental rating (IP) is stated in the specifications.  The circuit boards are not conformal coated. In this reviewers' opinion, the pictures showing the radio being used in unprotected environments are false and misleading.  If the radio is used for field operations, it should be protected in a water proof bag or "dry bag".  As mentioned, the included box is too small to actually enclose the Q900 and need accessories, and it is also not waterproof against submersion, but I will give it credit for at least some environmental protection against minor splashing, and better than nothing against a humid environment.
 
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« Last Edit: Jun 4th, 2022, 11:54am by Administrator »  

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Re: Aliunce HS2/Radiodity Q20/Q900 SDR Transceiver
Reply #2 - Jun 4th, 2022, 1:49pm
 
What Works and What Doesn't -- SDR Transceivers known as:
Aliunce HS2,  Radiodity Q20, or simply unbranded "Q900".

 
What Doesn't Work
Call me pessimistic if you want, but I feel it is appropriate to warn potential consumers of the limitations of this device.  What works will be listed last so that we leave on a good note.  These lists are in random order for now, but I'll clean them up as I continue to work with the radio.  Check back as this review is currently a live document.
 
  • The GPS module installed in mine works, but only displays basic GPS info in extremely small text on a dedicated screen.  I thought that at the very least, there would be a way to set the radios internal time from the GPS time, but there does not seem to be any way to do that.  It also displays GPS speed, but it is so small as to be completely impractical while driving.
  • The radio copies the communications protocol from a Yaesu FT-817, but it does not work if connected to CHIRP, and Yaesu FT-817 is selected.  The Radios memories cannot be read or written.  The provided BT app does not include any way to select/edit/read/or write the radios channel memories.  In other words, I have no user friendly way to program/edit/name channel memories at this time.




 
 
What Does Work
There is some good news.  In fact, quite a bit of it.  This radio has great potential if they continue to provide firmware updates, and information for the developer community.
 
  • It is solidly constructed, and with the exception of the mentioned lack of environmental protection, it should withstand even those bad things that happen to nice radios.
  • It has good receive and is very usable out of the box at least for casual Short Wave listening without messing with dozens of SDR parameters.  It include features such as live CW decoding.



 
What works with Linux?
  • JTDX on Linux works with the same settings as shown in the manual for the Windows version.



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