Check out the new web-based KiwiSDR in New Zealand

Kiwi-SDR-1

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Andrea Borgnino, who shares a link to a new web SDR in New Zealand: The KiwiSDR installation.

Andrea posted the following on Twitter:

I agree with Andrea: this WebSDR has an amazing display and user interface. It even includes both a spectrum and full-color waterfall.

I’ve enjoyed tuning around the mediumwave band in New Zealand this morning. My Internet connection is terribly slow (and unreliable) but I was still able to view the full display while streaming audio with only a few hiccups.  With a moderately robust Internet connection, I believe you’ll be pleased with the KiwiSDR.

Click here to visit the KiwiSDR online.

Many thanks, Andrea, for the tip!

Brilliant Article on RTL-SDR Dongle Uses

sdr-Mario2Frequent contributor Mario Filippi N2HUN has written a brilliant piece for the latest edition of The Spectrum Monitor entitled RTL-SDR: Your Eye To The Wireless World, February 2016. Here is a brief synopsis:

RTL-SDR Dongle: Your Eye to the Wireless World

By Mario Filippi N2HUN

The RTL-SDR dongle has garnered much popularity over the last several years as an inexpensive and effective broadband receiver for the radio enthusiast. Now Mario shows us how the RTL-SDR can be pressed into serving in other ways: as a rudimentary piece of test equipment to explore those countless wireless devices that power our world and make life convenient. You can use it when restoring vintage radios, doing frequency analysis, antenna analysis and a host of troubleshooting activities you may never have thought of.

I highly recommend buying at least the current issue ($3.00 / PDF Download – what a steal!) or better yet, subscribing for a whole year. Every issue gives far more value than the cost ($2.00/issue at the current subscription rate).

Mario’s article explores things I never would have thought of, and he explains how he uses these inexpensive dongles in place of much more expensive equipment. It is truly amazing what these little wonders can do, and Mario just keeps pushing back the envelope of what is possible.

Thanks Mario for a truly inspiring article – yet again you have given us even more rabbit trails to explore!

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

SDRplay shipping the RSP in quantities of 1,000 a month

SDPlay-RSPThis article from Electronics Weekly just popped up in my news feed:

SDRplay of Wakefield, the 18-month-old software defined radio specialist, is now shipping its $149 software defined radio (SDR) receiver in quantities of 1,000 a month

Inspired by the SDR capabilities that even a simple 8-bit TV dongle can perform, SDRplay had the idea of partnering with Mirics to take their 12-bit wideband broadcast chipset and to re-purpose it for the hobbyist market.

At the moment, the hobbyist market for SDR radios tends to be dominated by radio amateurs and ‘short-wave listeners’ and SDRplay’s initial product, the ‘Radio Spectrum Processor’ (RSP) has been well received – winning Ham Radio Science’s RSP ‘Best Bang for the Buck’ rating.

Continue reading at Electronics Weely’s website…

I’m quite proud of the folks at SDRplay as their RSP is truly one of the best receiver values on the market right now.

After (apprehensively) agreeing to review the SDRplay RSP last year, I was simply blown away by this little $149 receiver’s performance. Click here to read the review. Later, I couldn’t bring myself to return the RSP on loan for the review–so I purchased it instead.

I’m glad I bit the bullet!

In fact, last year, at the SWLing Post DXpedition, my buddy, Mark Fahey–who traveled all the way from Australia–forgot to bring the appropriate power adapter for his WinRadio Excalibur, so I let him use mine. I had planned to run the WinRadio Excalibur and Elad FDM-S2 simultaneously on my PC so that I could record spectrum in two different parts of the band at the same time.

Fortunately, I brought the SDRplay RSP, so it took the Excalibur’s place and ran alongside the FDM-S2. It worked amazingly well!

(I should note here that I also believe the FDM-S2 is a great value–at $519 US, it holds its own against receivers that cost upwards of $1,000.)

Shortly after I published my RSP review, I invited SDRplay to become a sponsor of the SWLing Post. I’m happy they accepted. Sponsorship on the SWLing Post is only open to retailers and manufacturers who produce quality goods; those who are well-known in the industry and, often, ones with which I have direct experience. I think SDRplay is a great fit.

So, Kudos to Jon Hudson and his team at SDRplay! I’m very happy to hear how popular the RSP has become.

If you’re an RSP owner, or plan to be soon, make sure you check out the official SDRplay forum and the SDRplay Facebook group: both excellent resources backed by active SDR enthusiasts!

New improved API for the SDRplay RSP

The SDRplay RSP software defined radio

The SDRplay RSP software defined radio

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

We are pleased to announce release 1.8.0 of the API for the RSP. This is a major upgrade to the API with new features and an improved gain map which should result in improved performance over a key portion of the gain control range. Currently this API is available for Windows only, but versions for Linux and Mac OS and Android will follow shortly.

The API now incorporates automatic post tuner DC offset correction and I/Q compensation. This will almost completely eliminate the DC centre spike that was previously present in zero IF mode and also correct for amplitude and phase errors in the I/Q signal paths that can lead to in-band images when strong signals are present.

There is a new gain map for the RSP which should help improve the receiver noise floor for gain reduction settings in the range of 59-78 dB. To achieve this, the IF gain control range has been increased from 59 to 78 dB. In addition, the user can now turn the LNA on or off at any point within the IF gain control range. This means that the LNA can remain on for gain reduction settings of up to 78 dB, whereas previously the maximum gain reduction that could be attained whilst the LNA was on was only 59 dB. Being able to leave the LNA on will result in improvements in the receiver noise performance for gain reductions in the range of 59 to 78 dB. The upper 19 dB of the IF gain control range have now been disabled. In practice this part of the gain control range was useless as trying to operate within this region always lead to receiver overload even when signals were very weak.

To fully exploit the features of this new API release, we have also issued release 3.5 of the ExtIO plugin. This plugin will work with HDSDR, SDR sharp (releases 1361 or earlier) and Studio 1. Automatic I/Q compensation and DC offset correction will work with later versions of SDR sharp, but we will need to update the native plugin for users of these later versions to be access the new gain map.

Similarly, users of SDR Console will gain the benefit of automatic DC offset compensation and I/Q correction, but will not yet be able to access the new gain map. We hope that a version of SDR console that unlocks this feature will become available in the near future.

Until a new release of SDR-Console is available, you can copy the API into the SDR-Console installation directory…

from C:\Program Files\MiricsSDR\API\x64\mir_sdr_api.dll to C:\Program Files\SDR-RADIO-PRO.com\mir_sdr_api.dll

The API installer has also contains an extra certificate to be more user friendly for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 users.

The new API and ExtIO plugin can be downloaded from our website at: www.sdrplay.com/windows.html

Many thanks for sharing this, John!  I’ll update my RSP today.

Click here to read the SWLing Post review of the SDRplay RSP.

Now Online: A New WebSDR in Iran

WebSDR-Iran-Waterfall

SWLing Post contributor, Mehdi, has informed me that his ham radio club (EP2C) has just put a WebSDR online in Iran–perhaps the first in this part of the world. Mehdi notes some of the details about the receiver:

[The WebSDR is] installed and operated by our amateur club: EP2C (www.ep2c.ir)

[Perhaps] the first WebSDR in the Middle East (the nearest one I know of is located at Armenia). We have a dipole antenna and an AVALA SDR receiver (going to be replaced by a SoftRock).

For the moment, it just covers 20 meter band, but we may increase the coverage to 30 and 40 meters too.

The server and antenna are all in EP2C club’s office (Karaj/Iran). Iran’s timezone is GMT+03:30.

Because of our bandwidth limitations, the total number of simultaneous users is limited to 10 (will try to increase it in the future).

Our WebSDR address: http://websdr.ir:34567

Thank you for the announcement, Mehdi! I’ve been listening to the EP2C WebSDR this morning–it’s been working flawlessly.

Please keep up informed as you improve and upgrade the EP2C WebSDR!

Click here to use to the EP2C WebSDR online.

HDTV via an SDRplay RSP

tvpic2

Check this out: a tutorial on decoding ATSC HDTV via the SDRPlay RSP software defined receiver.

(Source: coolsdrstuff.blogspot.com)

One of the main reasons I got the SDRPlay RSP was its wide bandwidth. It can show up to 8 MHz of spectrum at once. I figured it should be able to watch TV. Turns out it can, but it’s only designed to receive DVB-T.

Unfortunately, they only use that in Europe and a few other places. In North America we use ATSC.

In this article I will show how to use it to watch ATSC.

Click here to read the full tutorial…

This is one of the things I love about SDRs: in many ways, their applications are only limited by your imagination.

Click here to read our review of the SDRplay RSP.

Used Microtelecom Perseus $729.95 via Universal Radio

MicrotelecomPerseus-1

I regularly check out the used equipment list at Universal Radio. While prices are not rock-bottom, the seller (Universal) is solid. Universal backs all of their used equipment with a 60 day limited warranty and their product descriptions are accurate. Fullscreen capture 10272015 65822 PM

This Microtelecom Perseus (see ad above) appeared in Universal’s used index a few weeks ago.  I assumed it would be snatched up pretty quickly at $729.99 US. I’ve been tempted to purchase it, but since I have no less than five SDRs in my shack at the moment, it would certainly be in excess to my needs.

Why buy a Perseus?  Even though it’s been on the market for many years, the Perseus has an excellent receiver that is comparable to or better than many of the latest SDR offerings. While I’ve never been a huge fan of the Perseus application/software, it is unique in that it allows you to both share your receiver and control other Perseus receivers online. The included server software is relatively easy to implement as well; no doubt, this is why there are so many Perseus receivers online.

I’ve even heard rumors that Microtelecom may be introducing a new Perseus application before long (I certainly hope this is true).

If you’ve been looking for a used Perseus in good condition, I feel like the $729 price is fair from Universal Radio (new units sell for $999.95).

Occasionally, you can find the Perseus used on eBay as well (click here to search).

At the prompting of Mark Fahey, I’m planning to borrow a friend’s Perseus soon and try some of the online functionality. If I make the receiver available through the Perseus online network, I’ll post an update here on the SWLing Post.