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Author Topic: A few observations about SDRconnect preview  (Read 1523 times)

Offline MDK2

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A few observations about SDRconnect preview
« on: August 11, 2023, 1627 UTC »
Yesterday (8/10) SDRplay released their new software for their "RSP" line of SDR's, which has been in development for years. I want to say that they first teased SDRuno 2.0 (as they originally were planning a major upgrade, not an entirely new app) way back in 2018, but that's just going by memory, but the thing I remember for sure was that they promised it would be cross platform and not just for Windows based PC's. So this has been a long time coming.

As is usual with SDRplay, they aren't saying much about where they're going with this or what an official SDRconnect 1.0 is going to have (and not have). But the preview edition is there to install and play with and I've been running it for about a day with my RSPdx SDR.

When you first launch it, you might be forgiven if its appearance reminds you a great deal of SDRsharp. It has a similar dark color scheme, a similar layout, and a similar way of having sidebars and control windows appear and disappear. Right now they seem to have made things very simple so gone are a lot of seemingly hundreds of settings you can play with in SDRuno. I for one didn't use many of them, and really am enjoying the relative simplicity where it seems like they focused on including the most used controls. However, one thing that currently seems to be gone are the adjustable notch filters. That's a huge thing, especially for someone like me who lives in the city and has all kinds of little annoying spikes all over the band. It's one thing I'm pretty certain will be in the full version when that's ready.

I'll briefly touch on the layout. It's quite intuitive with buttons that have labels that make sense (e.g. the gearwheel for settings) but will also have popups telling you what they are when you hover the mouse over them. There's a button that toggles a sidebar, which contains four rows of controls which then can expand or contract with a click. This is where most of the controls live. One thing of note is something labeled only as audio limiter with only on or off as the possible settings - if there's a way to adjust it I haven't found that yet. I find it must be on, otherwise it outputs an enormous roar of noise that's just intolerable.

One of the positives is that it can run a very wide spectrum (up to 10 MHz) with ease. SDRuno always struggled with that, and in general I got used to going with a maximum of 2 MHz at any time. But, as with SDRuno, the wider the setting, the harder it is to pick out individual signals. You can just click on them though and adjust the frequency if you're slightly off. But that leads to two major criticisms that I hope will be changed.

One is that the display colors are very dark, and right now you have fewer settings to adjust them. There's no contrast setting, for example, just visual gain. The other is that there's no way to key in a frequency. You have to hover your mouse over the numerals and scroll. Even the up and down buttons on your keyboard do nothing. Good luck to those who only have a trackpad to work with.

When you first launch it, it defaults to AGC and there another setting engaged which locked IF gain after you turned off AGC. I can't remember what it was, but those are things I like to control myself. It can overload and give you spurs galore all over the band if you're not careful (though again I'm in the city and not terribly far from a couple of different 10k AM transmitters), but they're easily adjusted. I think this is a big improvement over SDRuno.

Right now, there's a bug where if you close the app and relaunch it later, it won't be on the same frequency as the one you left. It's usually not far off but it's a bit annoying. The app has to be properly closed for settings to be remembered - if it crashes then it will be whatever it was the last time it closed properly. But that's to be expected.

Right now none of the SDRuno plugins work with SDRconnect, but they have a plan to get those working. I don't know how that affects third party plugins though, as they advise anyone with questions about those contact those developers rather than SDRplay.

I've got a lot more to do but thought I'd share some first impressions.
Denver, CO.
SDRPlay RSPdx & RSP2pro, Airspy Discovery HF+, Icom IC-7100, Grundig Satellit 750, Realistic DX-300, Tecsun PL-600.
MLA-30 active loop, G5RV dipole.
eQSLs appreciated wickerjennie at gmail

Offline ~SIGINT~

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Re: A few observations about SDRconnect preview
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2023, 1909 UTC »
Thank you for the write-up. I looked at the videos and to be honest, when I saw the interface I was not all that impressed so I decided to keep the old faithful classic SDRuno running for now. That's a shame, I am a big fan of the product.

Your write-up has some positive aspects so maybe some day I will switch over. As mentioned, the software is in its early stage of development.

Offline mbott

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Re: A few observations about SDRconnect preview
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2023, 2316 UTC »
I was hoping for a bit more from the "preview" release.  But as soon as I image my Linux SSD, I'll install it and play with it there. Linux has always been my preferred OS and until SDR++ was available, there wasn't a simple way to make use of my SDRplay hardware. 

I just have to keep in mind that this is just a preview.

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Mike

Offline MDK2

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Re: A few observations about SDRconnect preview
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2023, 1441 UTC »
Thanks ~SIGINT~ and Mike for your comments.

I've had a rather disturbing thing occur, of which I don't yet know is just a coincidence and I need to test more. But I have found that I can't get SDRuno or HDSDR to work with my RSPdx at this time, and all that's changed recently is using SDRconnect. I have to emphasize that I haven't done any real digging on this yet, such as going to their Facebook page to see if people are reporting that they're having the same thing happen as well (I've pretty much given up on FB at this point, but I really need to get on there and see what others are saying). I uninstalled SDRconnect and restarted my laptop a few times, but both those older apps say there's no available RSP when I launch. I reinstalled SDRconnect and had the interesting experience that all the settings were as they were before I uninstalled it, so clearly their uninstall app isn't getting rid of everything. Again, it could be a coincidence but it would be a heck of a coincidence if that's all it is.

I have an older RSP2pro which I haven't yet tested on this. I'll need to do so.

I'm glad I have my Airspy Discovery still because I use HDSDR extensively to record, and I would have been dead in the water if I couldn't use that instead for my overnight RNZ Saturday Night request recording. SDRconnect's recording abilities appear to be very limited at this time, and don't include any ability to schedule a future recording. Basically it's just press record (and get an enormous file of everything your RSP is receiving, whether that's what you want or not) and stop. The only settings are "pre roll time" (on or off, and duration), source (if using more than one VRX - I forgot to mention that you can use multiple VRX's in SDRconnect which is cool, especially for us pirate chasers) and squelch (on or off).
Denver, CO.
SDRPlay RSPdx & RSP2pro, Airspy Discovery HF+, Icom IC-7100, Grundig Satellit 750, Realistic DX-300, Tecsun PL-600.
MLA-30 active loop, G5RV dipole.
eQSLs appreciated wickerjennie at gmail

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: A few observations about SDRconnect preview
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2023, 1449 UTC »
Right now none of the SDRuno plugins work with SDRconnect, but they have a plan to get those working. I don't know how that affects third party plugins though, as they advise anyone with questions about those contact those developers rather than SDRplay.

We (third party developers) have not received any information yet from SDRPlay regarding the changes we'll need to make (yet again). So contacting us developers won't help, we know as little as you do  ;D

I received an email from SDRPlay yesterday that they will be sending us the necessary information, but no date given. So expect a delay for updated plugins as developers will need to get that information, digest it, start making changes to our code, test those changes, find the bugs, fix those, repeat the process a bunch of times, and then (maybe) eventually release new plugins for SDRconnect.
Chris Smolinski
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Re: A few observations about SDRconnect preview
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2023, 0001 UTC »
SDRuno keeps all of its settings in a .ini file (SDRuno.ini) located at: C:\Users\<user_name>\AppData\Roaming\SDRplay\. This does not get deleted when uninstalling the software.

My guess is that you are having issues with the API/HW Driver. There is a warning in the download section for SDRuno API/HW Driver - v3.11 (05-Sep-2022) which reads: *WARNING on Windows10/11 breaks API 2 functionality*.

You might want to try installing the API only from the download section. Make sure that the API is fully uninstalled first, reboot the PC and then install the stand-alone API/HW driver. Don't forget, when uninstalling and installing the API/HW driver you should not have any RSPs connected to the USB port. The installer prompts you about that and when to plug it in.

Hope that gets your RSP back in service.

Offline MDK2

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Re: A few observations about SDRconnect preview
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2023, 1448 UTC »
SDRuno keeps all of its settings in a .ini file (SDRuno.ini) located at: C:\Users\<user_name>\AppData\Roaming\SDRplay\. This does not get deleted when uninstalling the software.

My guess is that you are having issues with the API/HW Driver. There is a warning in the download section for SDRuno API/HW Driver - v3.11 (05-Sep-2022) which reads: *WARNING on Windows10/11 breaks API 2 functionality*.

You might want to try installing the API only from the download section. Make sure that the API is fully uninstalled first, reboot the PC and then install the stand-alone API/HW driver. Don't forget, when uninstalling and installing the API/HW driver you should not have any RSPs connected to the USB port. The installer prompts you about that and when to plug it in.

Hope that gets your RSP back in service.

Thank you very much! I will give this a try later on.
Denver, CO.
SDRPlay RSPdx & RSP2pro, Airspy Discovery HF+, Icom IC-7100, Grundig Satellit 750, Realistic DX-300, Tecsun PL-600.
MLA-30 active loop, G5RV dipole.
eQSLs appreciated wickerjennie at gmail

Offline mbott

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Re: A few observations about SDRconnect preview
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2023, 0314 UTC »
<snip>

I've had a rather disturbing thing occur, of which I don't yet know is just a coincidence and I need to test more. But I have found that I can't get SDRuno or HDSDR to work with my RSPdx at this time, and all that's changed recently is using SDRconnect. I have to emphasize that I haven't done any real digging on this yet, such as going to their Facebook page to see if people are reporting that they're having the same thing happen as well (I've pretty much given up on FB at this point, but I really need to get on there and see what others are saying). I uninstalled SDRconnect and restarted my laptop a few times, but both those older apps say there's no available RSP when I launch. I reinstalled SDRconnect and had the interesting experience that all the settings were as they were before I uninstalled it, so clearly their uninstall app isn't getting rid of everything. Again, it could be a coincidence but it would be a heck of a coincidence if that's all it is.

<snip>

I've had no issues with SCRconnect impacting any other piece of SDR software, mainly SDRuno, SDR Console and SDR++. (knock on wood)  I have a RSPduo connected to the one Win11 system that I installed SDRconnect on.  I have had an issue with SDRconnect itself where the display will freeze, yet it is still receiving and processing a signal from the RSPdou.

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Mike
« Last Edit: August 16, 2023, 0317 UTC by mbott »

 

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