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Author Topic: Software Defined receivers (radios)  (Read 5513 times)

Offline weaksigs

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Software Defined receivers (radios)
« on: October 21, 2011, 1622 UTC »
Is there anyone using software defined radios such
as the products offered by Flexradiosystems care to
offer comments?

I see several postings that seem to indicate a graphic
of a wide bandwidth (50-90 Khz for example) so
perhaps some of these postings come from owners of
software defined radios.

if so how do you like them---???

Thanks
Central Florida
136' random wire for general HF,
Winradio Excalibur G31 & Kenwood TS-590

Peace!

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Software Defined receivers (radios)
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2011, 1816 UTC »
I have two SDRs, a netSDR and an SDR-14, both from RF Space. I love them, and could not imagine DXing without them.

I make recordings of the entire 43 meter band overnight, then go back the next morning looking for broadcasts. Basically, I never miss any pirate.

I'll be extending that to recording the 48 meter Europirate band also.

I keep meaning to finish up my SDR blog entry on http://www.hfunderpants.com/, I need to get back to that.
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
NRD 545 / netSDR / AFE822x / AirSpy HF+ / KiwiSDR / 670 ft horizontal loop / 500 ft northeast beverage / 58 ft T2FD / 300 ft south beverage / 43m / 20m / 10m  dipoles / Crossed Parallel Loop

Offline jFarley

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Re: Software Defined receivers (radios)
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2011, 1413 UTC »
I've decided that I'd like to try an SDR, and I am looking seriously at the Lazy Dog Engineering LD-1B kit which for a couple hundred bucks might be a cost effective way to try one out before plunking down some serious cash.  Has anyone tried this?

Chris, I'm fascinated by the fact that one can record a given band segment unattended; incredible power there.  I'm still a bit mystified by the process.  I'm guessing that the host software records a stream of I and Q data which is seen by the soundcard, and that this can be reviewed in a playback mode.  Is this correct?  How does one convert a particular frequency bin to an audio file?
Joe Farley, Near Chicago
SDR-IQ / R8 / R7
Remote Resonant Loops for HF and LF / ALA 1530
Active 60" Whip / PA0RDT
QSLS appreciated to:    jfarley44@att.net

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Software Defined receivers (radios)
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2011, 1517 UTC »
I've decided that I'd like to try an SDR, and I am looking seriously at the Lazy Dog Engineering LD-1B kit which for a couple hundred bucks might be a cost effective way to try one out before plunking down some serious cash.  Has anyone tried this?

I'm not familiar with that kit, but it looks like one of the sound-card interfaced SDRs. From their website, it is $285, plus then you need a decent sound card interface. And you still don't have all the issues with a sound card based SDR, vs a DDC SDR.  FWIW, you're probably 2/3 of the way there cost-wise to the SDR-IQ from RF Space, which is $525 and ready to work.


Chris, I'm fascinated by the fact that one can record a given band segment unattended; incredible power there.  I'm still a bit mystified by the process.  I'm guessing that the host software records a stream of I and Q data which is seen by the soundcard, and that this can be reviewed in a playback mode.  Is this correct?  How does one convert a particular frequency bin to an audio file?

Correct, the I and Q data is recorded to disk. In the case of the SDR-14/IQ/netSDR/etc, the interface is USB or ethernet, not a soundcard, but the principle is the same. In my case, I have some custom software I wrote that takes the recorded I/Q data, and displays a waterfall for the entire file, I can scroll up and down as needed, since the waterfall image could represent an hour or so of recorded RF.

An FFT is used to convert the sampled I/Q data into arrays of amplitude vs frequency data for drawing the waterfall. DSP demodulation routines are used to demodulate the recorded I/Q RF into audio, the same as with SDR software.

I can then drag select (with the mouse) around a signal of interest. So I can set the start and stop playback time, as well as the frequency range. Then I select the mode, and click Play.
I can also demodulate directly to a sound file, WAV or mp3.

Here's a picture of my app. It's ugly, but works for me :-) 

Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
NRD 545 / netSDR / AFE822x / AirSpy HF+ / KiwiSDR / 670 ft horizontal loop / 500 ft northeast beverage / 58 ft T2FD / 300 ft south beverage / 43m / 20m / 10m  dipoles / Crossed Parallel Loop

Offline mondomusique

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Re: Software Defined receivers (radios)
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2011, 2142 UTC »
There is a new low price SDR RX/TX coming from RF-SPACE in 2012... The TX side is very low power, like a half watt or 1 watt or something.

http://www.sdr-one.com

There are a couple of cool things about this SDR... the TX side can do ESSB (Extended Single Side Band) up to 40 khz wide.  If you can find a way to use its 1 watt to drive a linear SSB amp it could be a high quality RF source (not sure if that is enough power to drive a linear amp).

Also, its RX output is via SPDIF or I2S connection up to 192 khz receive bandwidth so can hook digitally to a suitable digital sound card input.  I'm looking at VIA's upcoming sound processing chip VT1731 which will be cheap as chips and can handle 192 khz input via SPDIF or I2S connection.  Also apparently a 3 year old Mac Book Pro can handle 192khz over SPDIF.

Quote from SDR-one Yahoo group:

Quote
The SDR-ONE project is 3 weeks old. Boards were received. They were built in 4
hours. Receiver is working at all sample rates and S/PDIF is working at 48, 96
and 192 KHz. Amazing that my old MacPro that is 3 years old works at 192 KHz
over S/PDIF under Windows 7.

Here is a short video of the SDR-ONE in action using PSDR software.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LO-htuuBl6I

Pieter

Okay, enough from me on SDR-ONE.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2011, 1900 UTC by mondomusique »
Afedri sdr, Palstar radio, Wellbrook antenna
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
eQSLs: djprincehifi@yahoo.ca

Offline mapleleaf

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Re: Software Defined receivers (radios)
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2011, 1103 UTC »
I am using an SDR-IQ from RF Space. It runs just fine on a little. inexpensive Compaq netbook using an 1.6 GHz Atom CPU and XP.

I was dubious considering the sort of audio chipset one would expect in a product like this but it works just fine.

I am limited to sampling 190 kHz at a time but I'm very happy with it.

The SpectraVue interface isn't as fancy as some others I've seen. (Perseus)

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Software Defined receivers (radios)
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2011, 1121 UTC »
The SpectraVue interface isn't as fancy as some others I've seen. (Perseus)

A lot of folks are using the SDR-Radio package http://sdr-radio.com/. There seems to be some sort of tie-in between them and RF Space, and I suspect as a result SpectraVue will probably remain feature-poor. I tried SDR-Radio under vmware years ago, I haven't tried it since.

There is also the Cute SDR http://sourceforge.net/search/?q=CuteSDR open sores program.
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
NRD 545 / netSDR / AFE822x / AirSpy HF+ / KiwiSDR / 670 ft horizontal loop / 500 ft northeast beverage / 58 ft T2FD / 300 ft south beverage / 43m / 20m / 10m  dipoles / Crossed Parallel Loop

Offline UNID QRP

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Re: Software Defined receivers (radios)
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2011, 1720 UTC »
Chris, is that waterfall spec-an you've got a screenshot of above downloadable?  I could really use that as it would substantially cut down on trips into VMWare land.

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: Software Defined receivers (radios)
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2011, 1733 UTC »
Chris, is that waterfall spec-an you've got a screenshot of above downloadable?  I could really use that as it would substantially cut down on trips into VMWare land.

Yes, that's a waterfall. The app reads recording files generated by SV. It does not record from the SDR, however. Maybe someone could get recording added to cuteSDR? 

I've ventured into it, but the C++ nature of Qt gives me hives. I actually ported quite a bit of it over to cocoa/obj-c, but it is not finished, and only reads from the netSDR.

Any fellow Mac programmers here? Maybe together we could get it finished?
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
NRD 545 / netSDR / AFE822x / AirSpy HF+ / KiwiSDR / 670 ft horizontal loop / 500 ft northeast beverage / 58 ft T2FD / 300 ft south beverage / 43m / 20m / 10m  dipoles / Crossed Parallel Loop

Offline The Hokie

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Re: Software Defined receivers (radios)
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2011, 1803 UTC »
Salivating over here about the Elecraft KX3 (the guts of which is an SDR, with a "regular" interface)  :P
The machine does not isolate us from the great problems of nature but plunges us more deeply into them. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Offline UNID QRP

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Re: Software Defined receivers (radios)
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2011, 1926 UTC »
Yes, that's a waterfall. The app reads recording files generated by SV. It does not record from the SDR, however.

Got it.  Makes more sense now; I was trying to reconcile the X-axis being calibrated in kHz against the .wav files it appeared to be displaying.  Now I see how it was deriving that.  Unfortunately, I'm still a good way off from being able to afford an SDR, so it looks like the application would be of fairly limited utility for me until I can.  Bummer, but you've got at least one person interested in it for the day UPS brings that particular toy to the doorstep  ;)

Quote
Any fellow Mac programmers here? Maybe together we could get it finished?

Unfortunately, that's not me - this is something I'd love to see.  My background's multiplatform Windows/*nix/OS X, but I'm by no means a programmer - at best I can tweak someone else's code a little, but I know what my limitations are in that department.