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Beamforming Comparison – Analog versus Digital

beamforming comparison

My experimental beamforming comparison shows that both analog and digital approaches work well and provide roughly the same results. See my video. 

Over the summer, I have been experimenting with different approaches to spatial interference filtering techniques. On the analog side, my trusty ANC-4 uses phasing to reduce or eliminate nearby interference. You simply place this device between your receiver and antenna. On the digital side, my Afedri AFE822x dual channel coherent receiver should do pretty much the same thing, but using math rather than a capacitor.

Consequently, I built a switch box to enable testing of the two alternatives and also switch between four different noise antennas. I have written about this switch box before.

Take a few minutes to watch this video of the beamforming comparison between analog and digital approaches to spatial filtering. The first minute shows the ANC-4 in action, and the rest is the AFE822x coherent SDR.

What is the result? I think you will see that both methods work about the same and both work quite well.

Beamforming Comparison – Pros and Cons

My beamforming comparison shows that both alternatives work well. The benefit of the ANC-4 approach is that the device can be used with any receiver or transceiver. It extends the usefulness of your existing equipment. On the other hand, the AFE822x gives you both a receiver and beamforming for just a little more money. You will find the ANC-4 costs around US $200 while the AFE822x comes in at $309 (bare board) or $359 with a case.

Either way, you can add a lot to the enjoyment of your hobby by reducing nearby RFI from your home or neighbors.

One of my Calgary friends recently purchased the new SDRPlay RSPduo which is also a dual channel SDR. It costs under US $300, slightly less than the Afedri. I am told that SDRPlay will release a new version of SDRUno which supports beamforming. Also, rumors are that support will soon arrive from SDR Console V3.

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