I’ve long been convinced that we would eventually see a new kind of homebrew transceiver, a system comprised of low-cost, plug-in modules integrated into a single enclosure.
I first thought this after picking up a FunCube dongle a few years ago. Built like a USB stick along with some software and an antenna that permitted me to receive data from a small amateur radio satellite in low-earth orbit. That was followed by a succession of other dongles for other frequencies, some that cost as little as twenty five bucks.
Now I see an article in the March QST written by WA3TFS, Super Simple 6-Meter SDR Transceiver (pp 39-43) that describes just such a project with dongles, modular low-pass filter and an RF amplifier on a single chassis.
As this methodology and the software continues to improve, it should be possible to custom build a transceiver for any band or mode by simply selecting this specific dongle and that particular power module that when put together will become a mashup of homebrew and software integration.
That could usher in a new age of ham radio development and innovation that won’t be particularly kind to traditional radio manufacturers and retailers. On the other hand, radio enthusiasts will no longer have to beg for specific features that often go unfulfilled in the current business model.