Tag Archives: Ivan Cholakov (NO2CW)

Aeronautical RDS: Ivan’s impressive collection of in-flight FM stations

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ivan Cholakov (NO2CW), who writes:

Last week I took an Eton Satellit with me on a flight from Tampa, Florida to Washington DC. The radio is very light, portable and packed with features. I have used an SDR radio before for inlight FM reception where I recorded audio, but this time I decided to only count stations with an RDS lock. With so many signals battling RDS is tricky to catch as every 10 seconds or so one station comes on top of another. The flight was just short of 2 hours and I divided my logs into three 30 minute segments. Not suprisingly looking into the technicalities I noticed RDS is commonly received from stations 50 -100 kW of power and tall towers.

Interestingly signals seem to be stronger a lower altitudes. My theory is that FM broadcast antennas heavily favor gain on the horizontal plane parallel to the terrain and send as little signal as possible out into space. I overlaid my logs onto three maps and also a video:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Impressive Ivan! I’m taking a flight later this month and might even try this with the FM radio built into my Moto G6 smart phone which also includes RDS (although I doubt reception can match that of the Satellit.

This is fascinating, Ivan! Thank you for sharing.

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Thomas (N1SPY): How to chase Cubesats with an RTL-SDR dongle and some wire

Many thanks to Ivan (NO2CW) who writes:

Thomas, N1SPY used equipment worth $25 to chase mini satellites. Includes instructions for making a simple circularly polarized antenna. Did it work? Check for yourself!

Click here to view on YouTube.

Thanks, Ivan, for passing along another excellent project by Thomas (N1SPY). I love how simple this project is to put together and the fact that most SWLing Post readers, for example, likely have all of the components already! Great job, Thomas!

Click here to check out other projects by N1SPY.

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Ivan performs two tests with the AirSpy HF+

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ivan Cholakov (NO2CW), who shares the following:

Thomas, there has been a lot of discussions regarding Airspy HF+ ever since it came out – heated exchanges regarding comparisons with peers, modifications and firmware updates.

I took my Airspy HF+ and conducted two tests with it:

Airspy HF+ vs. SDRPlay RSP-1A on HF and Medium Wave

Click here to view on YouTube.

Since I could not completely equalize the audio levels, I think it’s good to look at the peak to valley ratios on the display rather than the audio volume.

Airspy HF+ with the R3 mod on and off:

Click here to view on YouTube.

This comparison used SDR #. It may be helpful to run the same comparison on SDR Console V3. I may do that at a later time.

Both tests used W6LVP’s portable amplified receiving loop antenna in a noisy suburban backyard in Florida.

Many thanks, Ivan, for sharing these comparison tests! I agree with you that it’s most helpful to look closely at the peak to valley ratios on the spectrum display rather than using the audio levels as a measure.

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SDR Console Version 3: A Holy Grail SDR application for the radio archivist

Encouraged by SWLing Post contributors Guy Atkins and Ivan Cholakov, I recently installed the latest version of SDR Console on my PC.

I had not tried SDR Console in many, many years, but after Guy announced that SDR Console had moved from preview to Beta, I decided it was time to try it once again.

All I can say is: WOW!

As someone who evaluates a number of software defined receivers and who regularly makes off-air audio and spectrum recordings, I’m simply amazed by SDR Console’s versatility.

The recording functionality, as Guy previously stated, is phenomenal–perhaps the best of any SDR application I’ve used to date save, perhaps, that of the Titan SDR Pro (which is proprietary).

Though I still haven’t logged a lot of hours on SDR Console, I can already mention several powerful features that I love:

Virtual receivers

So few SDR applications allow you to run multiple virtual receivers and–especially–make independent recordings from them simultaneously.

When I started writing this post last night, I was listening to and recording the Voice of Greece on virtual receiver #1,  Radio Guinea on #2, and WRMI on #3 using the brilliant little AirSpy HF+.

Audio recording options

When you start a recording of an active virtual receiver, a dialog box pops up allowing you to make a custom file title–it pre-populates the date, start time, frequency and mode. This is a simple but time-saving feature as most SDR applications save files according to global application settings–not for each individual recording. With the SDR Console dialog box, I can insert the name of the broadcaster in the file title which makes organizing recordings later a breeze.

Additionally, you can choose between MP3, WAV or WMA file types for each recording. I know of no other SDR app that gives you this flexibility.

Scheduled recordings

I’ve yet to use the scheduler feature, but based on Guy Atkins’ feedback, I know this will be an invaluable resource for collecting off-air recordings while I’m away from home.

So many features to discover…

As both Guy and Ivan have shown us in past posts, SDR Console allows for multiple application “instances”–meaning, you can run two independent SDRs simultaneously. This is a fantastic feature for those of us who make multiple spectrum recordings. Of course, it’s an ideal platform to compare SDR hardware as settings can be easily matched between both units (something very difficult to do when using different SDR applications).

I’ve so much to learn about SDR Console, but I can tell I’ll be spending a great deal of time with the application this year, attempting to learn every nuance.

I took Guy Atkins’ suggestion for new users of SDR Console and downloaded Paul Jones’ (NN4F) PDF manual.

I sent a donation to Simon (G4ELI) last night after having only used SDR Console for a few minutes. SDR Console is totally free, but I’m a firm believer in supporting creators who are doing amazing things! If you use SDR Console, consider sending Simon a donation as well.

I’ve a little free time this morning and plan to set up SDR Console to run my Elad FDM-S2, RTL-SDR dongle, SDR Play RSP1A and RSP2. It’ll be a bit revolutionary to have one SDR application to unite them all!

Post readers: Any other SDR Console fans out there?  What are your favorite features?

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Video: Comparing the SDRplay RSP1A and Airspy HF+ on HF & MW

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ivan Cholakov, who shares the following video where he compares the SDRplay RSP1A and the AirSpy HF+ software defined radios on shortwave and mediumwave:

Click here to watch on YouTube.

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