(TR)uSDX Under Attack

Seems the (TR)uSDX QRP, and open source ham radio community are under attack again. Normally don’t share drama, but thought it was important.

Summary & thoughts

In response to Chinese companies making clones of the uSDX, the dev team made it impossible for the clones to make use of the official firmware, released by the project team. This is why we now have the (TR)uSDX. The (TR)uSDX made it possible to differentiate the official hardware, from Chinese clones. This seems fair enough since the project team doesn’t profit from the sales of (TR)uSDX. Still, they support it!

Now, some guy (Rob) comes along, trying to profit from the project, circumventing license protections with his own firmware release. The result is that Chinese clones can now get updated firmware, while the project team gets stuck with all the support requests, from clones not attached to the project.

For those of you who may not understand what the problem actually is. This is how the mcHF was utterly destroyed. Greedy Chinese copycats not honoring the license, and cheap ham radio operators, not supporting the original developer. Perhaps this is why development in ham radio, is practically stagnant! Food for thought anyway.

73 de Julian

Spread the love


  1. Just a nit though that the firmware for the (TR)uSDX isn’t open source as far as I can tell. The developers forked and close-sourced it when they forked away from the uSDX. They also implemented a DRM-like bootloader that only accepts signed firmware images. I’m not saying they didn’t have good reasons for doing so, like those you mention in your article, but it’s kind of a disappointing situation that it’s no longer open source. The hardware still is, though.

    • Indeed, and I agree. I suppose the question is how to keep something open source, while protecting it from commercial parasites, who don’tcare about licensingrestrictions!?
      Tough 😪

  2. I did not see anything about this on the DL2MAN forum or the FB site. What is the source of your info? I do know about the black clone.

    Anyway it’s a damn shame. And I have a second one I’d like to sell (AliEx sent me two!).

  3. Thank you for this info, Julian.
    I’ve made it my personal policy to never buy any Chinese made radio equipment – full stop.
    Your article is just another of the many reasons I don’t buy Chinese products (if I have any choice about it).

  4. The chicoms 100% don’t care, they’ll grab anything they can, even from large corporations. I’m glad I bought a real one from the real source. Looking forward to the build!

  5. Interestingly, the author of the complained-about code states that he forked the open source code that was posted before later code was issued under a more restrictive licence.

    As an open source author, one must be prepared for one’s earlier code to be forked at any time after it has been published. That is what the four freedoms mean. Those four freedoms are exactly why open source is so attractive to experimenters and makers. One can take what someone else has developed, and then, oneself, develop it further. That is precisely what an open source licence permits, no matter how much any original author might grit their teeth and/or scream in despair. The open source licence lets the genie out of the bottle, or, if you prefer, opens Pandora’s box.

    As for sharp business practice, one offers no apology for it. Such practices have bitten more than a few of us.

    • Isn’t it creative commons rather than open source? That’s what Manuel is saying. Still, no arguments. Open hardware/software can be a double-edged sword.
      Julian oh8stn

  6. It’s not just Chinese compabies taking Open Sourcr code and then profiting by puting it in their own products.

    The MicroSoft “network code” is a direct rip off of the original BSD code with a few Changs to “comandline flags” to MS-Drossify it As,far as major US Corps are concernedd they will steal abything they want theb if you object use every legal tactic they can against you.

    Are people realy supprised that only one or three developers said ebough is ebough, and took measure… That so out rageed US Corporates they put preasure on the US Government via large quantities of brobes that is calked “70million dollars of lobbying” by some.

    So lets be honest about this why should any other nation do any differebtly than the US Government alows or more correctly encorrages,it’s corporates to do?

    It’s not right, ethical, moral, and to be quite honest trustworrhy. But it is fully in line with US Gov policy, and the perverted twist they,put via the Great American Dream to all US children before they even get to school age.

    Open Source or FOSS,is bot the way to go if you wabt to develop a product that you wish to earn a living buy.

    You just have to accept that what you do should be treated as a hole in the water into wgich you pour money, for your vanity or hobby.

    The best you can do is have “A product” that is “Open – but not supported” and becomes slowly behind the “B Product which is supported for a price” which in turn is not “C products” that are new and not open source but sell because your B and A products give you a reputation for delivering what people want. A paet way on this is the selective use of Gopyright. You make the circuit Open but not the layout or case design etc, and “embed a unique crypto token” in each copyrighted version you sell so the built version of your software is tied to each system you,supply. If people want to fork etc then they have to put the work,in. In the past I’ve found convoluted assemvler that uses rhree different tool chains to be sufficcient to keep most out. Yes they used individual subroutiens from the source, but they did not try doing their own full builds.

Comments are closed.