N3ZI has a very plausible explanation for the low price (about 9 bucks!):
My guess is that this is a liquidation due to a design build error, since they are being sold for a price of about 1/2 the price of the DDS chip alone. The modules are assembled and tested. The design error I noticed is that the wrong output filter is used. These boards use the 9850 running at 125MHz. A 125MHz DDS should have a 50MHz LPF, but it seems that these modules have the 75MHz LPF the chip maker recommends for the AD9851 running at 180MHz. My guess is, someone just copied the wrong filter from the wrong data sheet, and it wasn't caught until they went into production.
But for amateur radio applications they work fine up to about 40MHz. You can push them to 50MHz by adding a correcting filter, which is included in my controller PCB, but the output level is low in the 40-50MHz range.
N3ZI continues to offer some really interesting microcontroller products. He has a controller board that allows you to simultaneously control TWO AD9850 boards. This might be exactly what we need when we have a separate receiver and transmitter with different intermediate frequencies: Set up one board with the VFO freq for the receiver and the other for the transmitter with the resulting operating freq displayed on the LCD. Viola! No more "Spot" or "net" and zero-beat by ear! (But I may be one of the last people on the planet still doing this!)
N3ZI's site: http://www.pongrance.com/
Our book: "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" http://soldersmoke.com/book.htm Our coffee mugs, T-Shirts, bumper stickers: http://www.cafepress.com/SolderSmoke Our Book Store: http://astore.amazon.com/contracross-20