The two Chinese Malahit SDR clones
Not that long ago, I had the opportunity to benefit from a Chinese clone titled “Fire Brothers”. There was another one called HFDY. I thought it would be nice to pinpoint the differences between the two. Keep in mind that both of them are using the Malahit 1.10c firmware.
Before you start commenting, I would like to say that I am mostly a HF listener and my comparisons will not be covering any frequencies that go above 30 MHz. If you are more interested in higher frequencies, I suggest you taking a look at the Malahit Facebook group or check out the https://dxnews.com/forum/forum where you can find more information and guidance on the matter.
So first, I put my hands on the Fire Brothers. I’ll be honest – I did have my hopes up for this one. I have seen these clones on eBay but for the most part with a single top-mounted antenna jack. It had the encoder knobs on the right side. You can find this one under numerous seller names including but not limited to HFDY.
To a certain extent, especially if you are trying to switch frequency STEP as well as rapid tuning, this encoder option is much more convenient than those that are front or side mounted. However, I will say one more time – the Fire Brothers version of the receiver looks like a much better fir with all five main controls situated on the top of it.
If we are talking about performance, I did have certain hopes that the all-metal body of this receiver will help with the touch-sensitivity. Well, I was wrong. You will experience certain signal drop off if you are leaving the receiver standing as opposed to holding it in your hands.
The next HFDY clone, on the other hand, was much better. The noise that it was generating internally was much lower and the impact of the environmental noise coming from different areas of my house was reduced as well. To give you a better understanding of how it works, in one location that was far away from the incoming broadband, the HFDY heard all the necessary stations and the Fire Brothers couldn’t.
If you were to use the PRE-AMP, it could improve the reception on shortwave frequencies, but was not as critical as it was in the case of the Fire Brothers. Furthermore, the noise levels I observed on the HFDY display were also significantly lower.