SDRplay: Updated ADS-B for Raspberry Pi 2 and Pi3

Image Source: FAA.gov

Image Source: FAA.gov

Many thanks to Jon Hudson with SDRplay who shares the following announcement:

We now have an updated beta version of ADS-B for both the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3. This is based upon the 16bit Mutability version of dump1090 developed by Oliver Jowett and unlocks the full 12 bit performance of the RSP1. People should see a significant performance improvement over the dump1090_sdrplus version, which was based upon 8 bit code. The latest beta version can be downloaded in binary form from http://www.sdrplay.com/rpi_adsb.html .

Should anyone have questions or feedback, please contact software@SDRplay.com

Section 1 is how to load a brand new image onto an SD card

Section 2 should be straightforward – 2 commands – one to get the software and another one to run it. 

Though I don’t live in a metro area with a lot of air traffic, I am often in the flight path of a couple major airports. I’ve been looking for a simple way to try ADS-B (and ACARS). As soon as I locate a dedicated monitor and keyboard for my Raspberry Pi 3–and a little dedicated time–I will give the ADS-B app a go. Thanks again, Jon!

The Icom IC-7300 vs. Elecraft KX3: Which do you prefer for CW/SSB?

IMG_20160424_105444629

[UPDATE: Read the full review of the IC-7300, along with listener survey results, by clicking here.]

Many thanks to all of you who participated in our last survey comparing the new Icom IC-7300 with the WinRadio Excalibur SDR. We had over 100 responses (!!!)–the results will be posted in the forthcoming IC-7300 review.

Before completing my review, I thought I might fit in one more quick comparison–this time, comparing the Icom IC-7300 to my Elecraft KX3 and focusing on SSB and CW reception.

Recording notes and disclaimers

The Icom IC-7300 offers native digital audio recording, which means that it records both transmitted and received audio to an inserted SD card.

IC-7300The Elecraft KX3 does not have a built-in recorder (indeed, most transceivers do not) thus I made in-line recordings using my Zoom H2N digital recorder.

I did no post-processing of the audio other than converting .wav files to .mp3.

Both receivers shared my large outdoor omni-directional horizontal delta loop antenna for each test.

The Elad ASA15 Antenna Splitter Amplifier

The Elad ASA15 Antenna Splitter Amplifier

To keep the comparison on as equal footing as possible, the receivers shared the same antenna through my Elad ASA15 antenna splitter amplifier. Though the ASA15 has both 12dB amplification and –15dB attenuation, I employed neither.

The ASA15 allowed me to make the following recordings simultaneously.

In each case, I tried to set up both radios using the same filter widths, AGC settings, and (as much as possible), audio level. I didn’t engage a noise-reduction feature on either rig.

I also didn’t employ any type of audio equalization on either rig–still, you’ll note that one radio produces a more “flat” response than the other.

Please vote!

At the end of this post, I have an embedded a survey in which you can vote for the sample recordings you like best. Each recording is clearly labeled to denote that it’s either from “Radio A” or “Radio B” (chosen at random).

And now…here are the recordings:


Audio Clip 1: CW (20 meter band)

Radio A

Radio B


Audio Clip 2: Weak Signal CW (20 meter band)

Radio A

Rado B


Audio Clip 3: Weak/Strong SSB
(Sable Island working Asia/Pacific on 20 meter band)

Radio A

Radio B


We want to hear from you!

Use the form below to vote for the recordings you prefer in each section.

I’ll close voting at 12:00 UTC on Wednesday April 27, 2016. Thank you in advance for your participation in this survey!

Video: SDR Touch demo on Android device using SDRplay RSP

Fullscreen capture 4242016 10946 PM

(Source: SDRplay via YouTube)

Click here to view on YouTube.

This demonstrates turning an Android Tablet (or Android Phone) into a highly portable comms receiver or spectrum analyzer operating from Long Wave to Microwave (10kHz to 2GHz) – using SDR Touch and the SDRplay RSP www.sdrplay.com

To be a beta tester simply go to https://play.google.com/apps/testing/ and follow the instructions – the SDR Touch author welcomes feedback on https://www.facebook.com/SdrTouch/ – your chance to influence the way this amazing software can get better and better.

SDR Touch now supports the SDRplay RSP in Beta release

sdrtouch

(Source: SDRplay Blog)

Good news for Android users – SDR Touch have released a beta version of their software with SDRplay RSp functionality – go to https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.sdrtouch.sdrplay to sign up as a beta tester.

SDR Touch works on most recent Android Phone or Tablet devices.

The Icom IC-7300 vs. WinRadio Excalibur: Which do you prefer?

Icom-IC-7300-Front

[UPDATE: Read the full IC-7300 review–along with listener survey results–by clicking here.]

In the past, receiver shoot-outs in which I’ve provided sample audio for “blind” comparison––meaning, the listener does not know which audio sample is associated with which radio––have produced particularly positive feedback from Post readers.

The WinRadio Excalibur

The WinRadio Excalibur

So I’ve decided to do this for the new Icom IC-7300 transceiver. I’ve pitted the ‘7300 against a benchmark receiver: the WinRadio Excalibur.

I have a number of SDRs (software defined radios) in the shack at the moment, but I picked the Excalibur because it’s the closest in price ($900 US) to the IC-7300 ($1500) as compared to my Elad FDM-S2 ($520) or the TitanSDR Pro ($2500).

Recording notes and disclaimers

Both the WinRadio Excalibur and the Icom IC-7300 offer native digital audio recording (nice touch, Icom!). The Excalibur simply records the AF to a file on my PC’s hard drive, while the IC-7300 records the audio to an SD card which I can later transfer to my PC.

IC-7300

I’ve been using the Excalibur since 2012, so I’m very familiar with its recording feature. I was not, however, familiar with the IC-7300’s digital recorder, so prior to making recordings, I checked to make sure its recorded audio was a fair representation of its live audio. To my ear, the IC-7300 recorded audio was nearly identical to that of the live audio, so I used the 7300’s internal recorder rather than one of my external recorders.

Both receivers shared my large outdoor omni-directional horizontal delta loop antenna for each test.

The Elad ASA15 Antenna Splitter Amplifier

The Elad ASA15 Antenna Splitter Amplifier

To keep the comparison on as equal footing as possible, the receivers shared the same antenna through my Elad ASA15 antenna splitter amplifier. Though the ASA15 has both 12dB amplification and –15dB attenuation, I employed neither.

The ASA15 allowed me to make the following recordings simultaneously.

In each case, I tried to set up both radios using the same filter widths, gain, AGC settings, and (as much as possible), audio level. I didn’t engage a noise-reduction feature on either rig.

Note:  the only exception to the radios’ equal treatment was in the AM mode recordings, in which I used the WinRadio’s AM Sync (AMS) mode. Why? Frankly speaking, 99% of the time during which I use the Excalibur, I do employ its AMS mode as its AM mode often sounds “hot” and over-driven when band conditions are as noisy, as they were last night.

The IC-7300 does not have AM synchronous detection (AMS mode), but I felt it compared very favorably to the Excalibur in AMS mode.  The IC-7300 would have easily beat the Excalibur in this test had I only used the Excalibur’s AM mode. In the end, as a shortwave listener, the goal is to compare the total capabilities of broadcast performance between the two receivers (thus using sync mode if available, to maximize broadcast listening performance).

Please vote!

At the end of this post, I have an embedded a survey in which you can vote for the sample recordings you like best. Each recording is clearly labeled to denote that it’s either from “Radio A” or “Radio B” (I had my wife draw names from a hat to determine which radio would be labeled as A or B).

Since there are quite a few recordings, I’d suggest jotting down your notes separately before completing the survey.

Or, alternately, you can open the survey in a separate window by clicking here.

And now…here’s the recordings.

Ham Radio Band recordings

The following recordings were made on the 40 meter ham radio band yesterday evening. Both radios have the same filter width: 250 Hz in CW, 3 kHz in SSB.

Weak Signal CW (40 meter band)

Radio A

Radio B

Weak/Strong SSB QSO (40 meter band)

Radio A

Radio B


Shortwave Broadcast recordings

The following recordings were made on the 31 meter broadcast band yesterday evening. Both radios have the same filter width: 9 kHz and 8.2 kHz.

Weak Shortwave AM (Radio Bandeirantes 31 meter band)

Radio A

Radio B

Strong Shortwave AM (Radio Romania International, French 31 Meter Band)

Radio A 

Radio B


Mediumwave Broadcast recordings

Note that the following mediumwave recordings were made during the morning hours (grayline). The strong station is the closest AM broadcaster to my home; it’s not a blow-torch “Class A” type station, merely the closest local broadcaster.

In the “weak” sample, I tuned to 630 kHz, where multiple broadcasters could be heard on frequency––but one was dominant.

Both radios are set to a filter width of 9.0 kHz.

Strong Mediumwave AM (1010 kHz)

Radio A

Radio B

Weak Mediumwave AM (630 kHz)

Radio A

Radio B


We want to hear from you!

Use the form below to vote for the recordings you prefer in each section.

I’ll close voting at 12:00 UTC on Thursday April 21, 2016. Thank you in advance for your participation in this survey!

A QS1R replacement in the works?

qs1r_front_sm1

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ken McKenzie, who noticed the following message from Phil Covington (of Software Radio Laboratory LLC) on the QS1R Yahoo group:

I am working on a replacement for the QS1R that will be less expensive, yet
use updated components. I am hoping to have them in production by the end of March.

Regards,

Philip A Covington
Software Radio Laboratory LLC
Columbus, Ohio
http://www.srl-llc.com

Ken noticed that the message was originally dated about one month ago, so I’ll follow-up with Phil and see how much progress has been made. The QS1R was a well-respected SDR that had been on the market for several years. It would be great to see an updated version on the market.

Look what just landed on my desk: the new Icom IC-7300 direct sampling transceiver

Icom-IC-7300-Front-2

[UPDATE: Read the full IC-7300 review–along with listener survey results–by clicking here.]

I have a new toy in the shack: the Icom IC-7300.

Last night, a good friend handed over his brand-spanking-new IC-7300 and is allowing me to evaluate it over the next week or so.

The IC-7300 is Icom’s first “entry level” RF, Direct Sampling System HF transceiver.

I’ve only had the IC-7300 on the air for a few minutes, so can’t comment about performance. I can say that it has one of the most intuitive interfaces I’ve seen on a transceiver with so many functions. I also love the spectrum display–small, but large enough to see all of the pertinent information:

Icom-IC-7300-Front-Display

It’s a slick machine, indeed!

Time permitting, I plan to post a few audio clips and get reader reactions much like I did for in the portable shoot-out.

I’ll compare the IC-7300 to my Elecraft KX3 and a few SDRs as well. Of course, I’m evaluating this during one of the busiest times in my life, so we’ll see how quickly I progress–!

Simply follow this tag for updates: IC-7300.