Beta release of SDRplay ADS-B for Windows

SDPlay-RSP

Many thanks to Jon Hudson with SDRplay who noted that, yesterday, the beta Windows version of ADS-B for SDRplay was released:

“We now have an updated beta version of ADS-B for Windows. 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. Go to http://www.sdrplay.com/windows.html – as with the recent update on Raspberry Pi, it supports both 2MHz and 8MHz demodulator modes. We recommend you uninstall the previous version (if you had it) before installing this one. Performance should be better than before. This is still in beta so any feedback or comments to software@sdrplay.com is welcomed.”

Thanks for the info, Jon!

The new LNR Precision LD-11 transceiver is essentially general coverage

LNR-Precision-LD-11

A couple weeks ago, LNR Precision sent me their new LD-11 Digital Direct Conversion QRP transceiver on loan for review.

The LD-11 is basically a small, tabletop SDR transceiver. It’s like a miniature, simplified version of the Icom IC-7100 I’ve also been evaluating.

The LD-11 is an all-mode and all-band transceiver–meaning, it includes SSB, CW, CW-R, Digi, AM and FM modes on all amateur radio bands (160 – 10 meters).

Though the LD-11 isn’t advertised as having a general coverage receiver, it will indeed tune the entire HF band.

You do this by entering the LD-11’s administration mode. LNR describes this in the LD-11 product manual, but suggests you contact them for help the first time you do this. In the admin panel, you’ll find functions that allow you to set the band edges on each amateur radio band.

For a preliminary test of broadcast reception, I moved the lower band edge of the 30 meter ham radio band to 8.2 MHz.

LNR-Precision-LD-11-front panel

After saving the settings and re-starting the LD-11 in normal operation mode, I could then tune the entire 31 meter broadcast band on the LD-11.

Hypothetically, you could either widen each amateur radio band to include adjacent broadcast bands, or you could simply set one of the ham bands to include the entire HF spectrum. To make it easier to navigate and tune through the bands, I’m choosing the former method over the latter.

Since the LD-11 has a proper AM mode, broadcasts sound great–especially via headphones!

Proper AM filters for broadcast reception!

Better yet?  The AM filter width can be widened to an impressive 9.6 kHz! Woo hoo!

LNR-LD-11-Shortwave-AM

The LD-11 has four filter slots: F1, F2, F3 and F4.

The F1-F3 slots can be set to a fixed user-defined widths (common widths are default).

F4 can be altered to any available filter width without having to enter the admin mode of the transceiver. Simply press the “F” (blue function button) and the FILTER button simultaneously and use the encoder/tuning knob to specify the filter width in .1 kHz steps. Pressing the F and FILTER button simultaneously again, will save your filter width for the F4 position.

I’ve been using the F4 filter position for widths between about 8.2 and 9.6 kHz in AM.

It’s still early days with the LD-11, but I’m enjoying this little transceiver immensely. It reminds me of one of my favorite QRP transceivers of yesteryear: the Index Labs QRP Plus (though the LD-11 is much smaller, more versatile and has a much better front end than the QRP Plus!).

LNR Precision sold out all of their first run LD-11 units within moments of having announced availability. I’m willing to bet they’ll bring a few LD-11s to the upcoming Dayton Hamvention, though.

Check inventory status and view LD-11 details on LNR Precision’s website. 

Remembering the 5th anniversary of Radio Havana Cuba

HalliDial

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Jake, who writes:

Just passing along this scan of an Associated Press story about the 5th anniversary of Radio Havana Cuba. It ran in The Virginian-Pilot on May 8, 1966.

Fun read considering so many of us have listened to the station over the years.

Keep up your good work!

RHC Virginian-Pilot 5_8_1966

Wow–as of May 2016, RHC has been on the air for 55 years. Thanks, Jake, for sharing this bit of radio history!

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!

South Sudan: Eye Radio reaches new audience via shortwave

EyeRadio

You might recall a post from Robert Gulley earlier this week about Eye Radio. Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Andrea Borgnino who shares a link to the following article from the BBC about Eye Radio’s broadcasts over shortwave:

(Source: BBC)

A radio station in South Sudan is using older, but tried and tested technology to reach new audiences.

Radio is a crucial medium in South Sudan, where illiteracy is high and many areas lack an electricity supply.

But many people living in remote villages are out of range of existing FM and mediumwave (AM) broadcasts.

Huge distances

To reach these potential listeners, Eye Radio, which is based in the capital Juba and can be heard in regional capitals, has just started broadcasting on shortwave.

The new service covers “the whole of South Sudan, including remote areas in which communities are not able to access FM radio”, says Eye Media head Stephen Omiri.

[…]The station is thought to be renting airtime on a transmitter based outside South Sudan.

Funding for the shortwave service comes from USAID, the international development arm of the US government.

[…]Eye Radio broadcasts in English, standard Arabic, and local languages Dinka, Nuer, Juba Arabic, Bari, Shilluk, Zande and Moro.

The shortwave broadcasts are on the air from 7-8 a.m. local time on 11730 kHz, and 7-8 p.m. on 17730 kHz.

Another station using shortwave to reach South Sudan is Radio Tamazuj, which is based in the Netherlands.

Click here to read the full article at the BBC Monitoring website.

Edward R. Murrow Shortwave Transmitting Station: wallpaper images

VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-MainBuilding2

On April 1st, I spent the bulk of the day at the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station outside of Greenville, North Carolina. Prior to my visit, I asked if SWLing Post readers had any requests or questions I could address while there.

I printed all of your inquiries and made sure they were addressed during my visit. I also took a lot of photos!

I had hoped to have a post published the following week with all of the photos and responses properly curated, but frankly, I haven’t had the spare time to do it yet. I’ve simply had too much travel and too many projects on my plate since that site visit (not to mention cramming for the Extra exam!).

I’m working on a draft of the post now and Macon Dail (WB4PMQ), the transmitting station’s Chief Engineer, is helping me with captions and responding to your questions.

Wallpaper

One reader asked if I could snap some photos that could be used as wallpaper on his computer. This morning, I selected eleven images and cropped them to fit a widescreen monitor.

I tried to pick images that would work well as a background/wallpaper–meaning, they’re not too busy (visually). Some are abstract close-ups.

Click on any of the images on this page to enlarge–then simply save the image to your computer to use it as you see fit.

I hope you enjoy!

VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-MainBuilding VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-HighVoltage VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-Curtain-Closeup VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-Curtain-Antenna VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-Continental-Transmitter VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-BluePrints VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-AntennaFarm VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-Antenna VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-1 VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-TX-Mimic-Panel

LimeSDR is now in the crowdfunding stage

Lime-SDR-Aluminium-Case

There’s a new SDR under development–one that is promoted as a “Flexible, Next-generation, Open Source Software Defined Radio.”

The LimeSDR‘s goal, essentially, is to democratize what I call the “RF of things.”

My friend, Bernie S, told me about the LimeSDR a couple months ago and I’ve been following progress since then.  It’s a fascinating concept and one that is being supported by the likes of Canonical Ltd.

Earlier today, LimeSDR launched a crowdfunding campaign on CrowdSupply. If early activity is any indication, I expect the team will easily exceed their goal of $500,000 (already 10% funded at time of posting).

limesdr-8_jpg_project-body

Here’s information from LimeSDR’s CrowdSupply page:

A Software Defined Radio for Everyone

LimeSDR is a low cost, open source, apps-enabled (more on that later) software defined radio (SDR) platform that can be used to support just about any type of wireless communication standard, including UMTS, LTE, GSM, LoRa, Bluetooth, Zigbee, RFID, and Digital Broadcasting, to name but a few.

While most SDRs have remained the domain of RF and protocol experts, LimeSDR is usable by anyone familiar with the idea of an app store – LimeSDR is the first SDR to integrate with Snappy Ubuntu Core. This means you can easily download new LimeSDR apps from developers around the world. If you’re a developer yourself, then you can share and/or sell your LimeSDR apps through Snappy Ubuntu Core as well.

The LimeSDR platform gives students, inventors, and developers an intelligent and flexible device for manipulating wireless signals, so they can learn, experiment, and develop with freedom from limited functionality and proprietary devices.

From Radio Astronomy to Personal Telcos

Here are just some of the applications that are possible with the LimeSDR:

  • Radio astronomy
  • RADAR
  • 2G to 4G cellular basestation
  • Media streaming
  • IoT gateway
  • HAM radio
  • Wireless keyboard and mice emulation and detection
  • Tire pressure monitoring systems
  • Aviation transponders
  • Utility meters
  • Drone command and control
  • Test and measurement
  • Many more…

With state-of-the-art technical specs, a fully open hardware and toolchain, and integration with Snappy Ubuntu Core’s app distribution platform, LimeSDR is limited only by our collective imagination.

Features & Specifications

  • RF Transceiver: Lime Microsystems LMS7002M MIMO FPRF (Datasheet)
  • FPGA: Altera Cyclone IV EP4CE40F23 – also compatible with EP4CE30F23
  • Memory: 256 MBytes DDR2 SDRAM
  • USB 3.0 controller: Cypress USB 3.0 CYUSB3014-BZXC
  • Oscillator: Rakon RPT7050A @30.72MHz (Datasheet)
  • Continuous frequency range: 100 kHz – 3.8 GHz
  • Bandwidth: 61.44 MHz
  • RF connection: 10 U.FL connectors (6 RX, 4 TX)
  • Power Output (CW): up to 10 dBm
  • Multiplexing: 2×2 MIMO
  • Power: micro USB connector or optional external power supply
  • Status indicators: programmable LEDs
  • Dimensions: 100 mm x 60 mm

Bernie has encouraged me to evaluate the LimeSDR. I may very well attempt to do so, but frankly, I don’t have the experience to truly unlock this device. I am curious if it would make for an amazingly useful little all-in-one HF/VHF/UHF digital decoding device. In fact, I’m pretty sure it would be an easy task for the LimeSDR.

Any Post readers out there plan to back the LimeSDR project? If so, please comment and tell us how you plan to use the LimeSDR.