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Author Topic: Airspy HF+ Firmware Updates Available  (Read 748 times)

Offline RobRich

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Airspy HF+ Firmware Updates Available
« on: March 15, 2024, 1628 UTC »
Firmware updates are available for the Airspy HF+ series of SDRs.

https://airspy.com/airspy-hf-discovery/ (firmware info near bottom of page)
https://airspy.com/downloads/airspy-hf-flash-2024-03-14_4.0.8.zip (latest firmware as of this post)
https://airspy.com/downloads/hfplus_changelog.txt

Recent changes:

Quote
R4.0.0 - 2024-03-10

Updated the ST firmware. Better AGC. Faster tuning. More robust USB streaming. Replaced sample rate 256k => 228k.

R4.0.1 - 2024-03-10

Added fall-back support for legacy systems (out-of-date Linux, old libs, etc.)

R4.0.2 - 2024-03-11

Ported the firmware code from Atmel Studio to Visual Studio 2022 + VisualGDB.
Added more compatibility code for manual gain in the HF band.

R4.0.3 - 2024-03-12

Added initialization code to make the unit usable right after flashing, without a hard reset.

R4.0.4 - 2024-03-13

Added 650 ksps sample rate with Low-IF. Stop the streaming when the USB connection is closed.

R4.0.5 - 2024-03-14

Adjusted the buffering to support slow USB controllers and USB hubs.

R4.0.6 - 2024-03-14

Increased the interrupt frequency for better handling of the AGC.

R4.0.7 - 2024-03-14

Fixed the initialization of the 384k and 192k sample rates.

R4.0.8 - 2024-03-14

Faster HF AGC convergence.

I upgraded my HF+D to firmware R4.0.8 2024-03-14 with Win11 under VirtualBox. The process took some extra steps, but it worked okay for me. YMMV.

Connect to the Airspy HF+ using the VitualBox USB devices menu.

Quote
C:\temp\airspy-hf-flash>FLASH.bat
Airspy HF+ Flash Utility
Looking for a suitable flashable device...
No Instance(s) Available.
Looking for a suitable flashing driver...
This one can do the job: \WINDOWS\INF\OEM32.INF
Saving the calibration...
Rebooting the device in flash mode...
No Instance(s) Available.
Press a key to close.

Connect to the Amtel Boot device using the VitualBox USB devices menu. Select your specific HF+ model.

Quote
C:\temp\airspy-hf-flash>FLASH.bat
Airspy HF+ Flash Utility
Looking for a suitable flashable device...
Flashable device found on port COM3
Help us decide what to do. Which device are you trying to flash?
1 Airspy HF+ DUAL PORT
2 Airspy HF+ DISCOVERY BB
3 Airspy HF+ DISCOVERY CD
Enter a number: 3
Using binary file hfplus-firmware-cd.bin
Unlock all regions
Erase flash

Done in 0.017 seconds
Write 28700 bytes to flash (113 pages)
[==============================] 100% (113/113 pages)
Done in 11.739 seconds
Verify 28700 bytes of flash
[==============================] 100% (113/113 pages)
Verify successful
Done in 8.415 seconds
Set boot flash true
Rebooting the device in normal mode...
The system cannot find the file Calib.
Restoring the calibration...
Done
Press a key to close.

Connect to the Airspy HF+ using the VitualBox USB devices menu. Enjoy.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2024, 1629 UTC by RobRich »
Tampa, FL USA | US Map Grid EL88
Airspy HF+ Discovery | KiwiSDR 2 | 2x Msi2500 Msi001 | 2x RTL-SDR V3 + NE602 | 2x RTL-SDR V4
148' Loop-on-Ground | 31' Vertical | 18' End-Fed Vertical | 9' NCPL | PA0NHC MiniWhip

Offline RobRich

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Re: Airspy HF+ Firmware Updates Available
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2024, 2327 UTC »
BTW, I just noticed mine might not have restored the factory calibration. I need to check.

There is a hfplus_ppb.exe utility for manually reading and setting the calibration included in the firmware download. You can use SDR# in debug mode to find the calibration valiue.

https://gist.github.com/jj1bdx/ce9eb3bd7320eed76396669a25f27e29
https://groups.io/g/airspy/topic/airspy_hf_calibration/31910863?p=

According to the second link, Airspy.US appears to have oringal calibrations on file if purchased there.



Sure enough mine needs recalibrated. I found the value with SDR# in debug mode, but it would not write for whatever reason (maybe VirtualBox). I was able to set the value with hfplus_ppb.exe included with the firmware tools download. Now to narrow down the calibration number.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2024, 0107 UTC by RobRich »
Tampa, FL USA | US Map Grid EL88
Airspy HF+ Discovery | KiwiSDR 2 | 2x Msi2500 Msi001 | 2x RTL-SDR V3 + NE602 | 2x RTL-SDR V4
148' Loop-on-Ground | 31' Vertical | 18' End-Fed Vertical | 9' NCPL | PA0NHC MiniWhip

Offline ~SIGINT~

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Re: Airspy HF+ Firmware Updates Available
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2024, 2355 UTC »
That's a bummer. I was just looking at the github page and noticed the following:

Note well: upgrading the firmware resets the offset value -- The flash.bat provided explicitly saves the value before the upgrade and restores it after the upgrading ends.

Did the flash utility by any chance write that calibration offset into a temp file in order for it to be later retrieved and restored?

Either way, the safest advise would be to follow this direction prior to upgrading the firmware:
You can retrieve the currently memorized offset value by hfplus_ppb.exe without the argument.

Although the AirSpy site does mention:
Starting from June 2016, Airspy R2 units are calibrated in the factory up to ~0.05 PPM. This calibration is written in a different memory location than the one used for the firmware, so upgrading the firmware won’t delete it unless you do it by yourself.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2024, 0004 UTC by ~SIGINT~ »

Offline RobRich

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Re: Airspy HF+ Firmware Updates Available
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2024, 0256 UTC »
Yeah mine did not save it. Probably because I had to do a two pass flash due to how VirtualBox handles USB device detection.

I am narrowing down my calibration at the moment. WWV frequencies should suffice for HF reception.

I did find that NOAA VHF frequency deviations seem to vary transmitter to transmitter.

I would prefer a good ATSC pilot carrier, but that is proving elusive at the moment due to being in a fringe reception area.

Also I might email to see if the original calibration is on file as well for comparison. Kind of a "whatever" I suppose, as I figure it has drifted by now anyway.

All the above annoyance(s) aside, I probably should obtain a basic GPSDO at some point, too.



Calibration set at 222PPB now. 2500, 5000, and 15000 are so close the calibration might as well be flat. 10000 might be off a few PPB, but a few PPB is not enough to care IMHO.

20000 and 25000 have faded out tonight, but IIRC, around 220-222PPB was what I had at 25000 earlier tonight.


(click to enlarge)
Tampa, FL USA | US Map Grid EL88
Airspy HF+ Discovery | KiwiSDR 2 | 2x Msi2500 Msi001 | 2x RTL-SDR V3 + NE602 | 2x RTL-SDR V4
148' Loop-on-Ground | 31' Vertical | 18' End-Fed Vertical | 9' NCPL | PA0NHC MiniWhip

Offline ~SIGINT~

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Re: Airspy HF+ Firmware Updates Available
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2024, 1418 UTC »
A good signal generator, specially the ones with a high stability oscillator, may be of more use than a single use GPSDO.

You should always cal near the centre of the band. For an Airspy HF coverage between 9 kHz to 31 MHz, cal at 15 MHz.

I am not familiar with SDR# but in SDRuno, when I am in synchronous AM, there is an on-screen indicator showing the frequency offset. If SDR# has the same functionality, you could use that as a base value in calculating the cal offset required.

This screen shot is WWVH pounding in at S9 to my location this morning.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2024, 1423 UTC by ~SIGINT~ »

Offline RobRich

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Re: Airspy HF+ Firmware Updates Available
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2024, 1543 UTC »
You can do similar with SDRangel, which I might get around to later this weekend.

Last night I just did multiple WWV frequencies at various sample rates and very high FFT values. The 2500 screenshot happened to be where the SDR was parked.

I actually have a few devices that can do signal generation, but none are lab grade. Marginally okay for poking at analog radios. Not so much SDRs.

You can pickup a basic GPSDO for under $100 these days, assuming one feeks lucky. ;) YMMV.
Tampa, FL USA | US Map Grid EL88
Airspy HF+ Discovery | KiwiSDR 2 | 2x Msi2500 Msi001 | 2x RTL-SDR V3 + NE602 | 2x RTL-SDR V4
148' Loop-on-Ground | 31' Vertical | 18' End-Fed Vertical | 9' NCPL | PA0NHC MiniWhip

Offline ~SIGINT~

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Re: Airspy HF+ Firmware Updates Available
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2024, 1854 UTC »
If you do go the GPSDO route, see if you can get one with the Trimble engine / OCXO. The Trimble ThunderBolt is one of the best engines out there. Also check that the output is sine wave.

You can use Lady Heather ( http://www.ke5fx.com/heather/readme.htm ) ( https://www.eevblog.com/forum/metrology/lady-heather-v6-beta-for-windows-exe/msg1434005/ ) to monitor the engine and set some of the features ... but this is not for the faint of heart.

Some of the older engines also suffer from GPS rollover ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPS_week_number_rollover ). They will display / output the wrong date. In most cases, nothing can be done about this unless the manufacturer has produced a firmware update for the on-board GPS engine. This is the case with many of the GPS based NTP servers you see on eBay, even the well known brands such as Symmetricom. It is also the reason why you see so many re-purposed GPSDOs on the market. They are no longer good for date/time but still very functional as a frequency standard.

You could also get a Leo Bodnar from Airspy. The Leo Bodnar units are very good and flexible.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2024, 1905 UTC by ~SIGINT~ »

Offline RobRich

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Re: Airspy HF+ Firmware Updates Available
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2024, 1935 UTC »
Drilled down to narrow bandwidths and extremely high FFTs. 210PPM looks okay IMO. That is not far off my initial number from last night. :)

As I seem to remember experiencing previously, the AM sync algorithm in SDRangel bounces a Hertz or so with my HF+D. Even with the trivial bounce it is averaging around 1Hz deviation, which is the smallest resolution it reports, so it could very well be less than that. The HF+D specs suggest ~0.5PPM precision. Seems to be about what I am getting.

I dropped Airspy.US to see if the shipped calibration is still on file. Mostly just to compare. Might be interesting to see the components have drifted.

I know the Leo Bodnar units are popular for the price with more serious SDR enthusiasts.



That was a quick reply. Original calibration from 2020 was 75. So a little drift, but not enough for me to ever really notice.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2024, 2116 UTC by RobRich »
Tampa, FL USA | US Map Grid EL88
Airspy HF+ Discovery | KiwiSDR 2 | 2x Msi2500 Msi001 | 2x RTL-SDR V3 + NE602 | 2x RTL-SDR V4
148' Loop-on-Ground | 31' Vertical | 18' End-Fed Vertical | 9' NCPL | PA0NHC MiniWhip