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Assorted ramblings from the developer


ELAD S3 - It's Here

Yesterday I integrated SDR Console with a beta S3 receiver from ELAD. My first impression is that it's a terrific receiver and will be of great interest to SWPs, DX-ers and government origanisations. I'll make some videos later. With the front end wide-open there's no overload at all, despite a few close medium wave transmitters.

A couple of screenshots:

Manx Radio - 1368kHz

 

General Shortwave with a 20 MHz bandwidth!

 

Stay tuned for more updates.


Release: 3.0.17

Download here [Link].

External Radio

General

  • Ensure all program components start sequentially:
    • When DX Cluster is configured to starts when the program is launched it will no longer allow other processing until the cluster connection is established.
    • DX Cluster and the External Radio were starting simultaneously and this was causing the program to freeze.
  • Added sanity checks when defining filters:


     
  • Remote server: the connection window below is now much faster, especially when the remote server is hosting more than one SDR.


     
  • ANAN 10 – better (not perfect) display of output power. User calibration to come in a future kit.
  • TX Meters now work better when automatically adjusting displayed ranges.
  • TX display of ANAN PLL status changed to indicate when the PLL is stably locked.
  • Remote server web page updated: https://www.sdr-radio.com/Software/Version3/Server

LimeSDR


Release: 3.0.16

Download here [Link].

Important changes for QO-100 user, see below. What's new / changed in 3.0.16:

Display

  • DX Cluster bug fixed so the connection / non-connection can always be closed.
  • Added 'Always On Top' option when, when selected keeps SDR Console on top of all other applications.


     
  • The font used at the top of the RX and TX window has changed from non-proportional bold to proportional normal.
  • This kit correctly saves / restores the collapsed / expended state of the panes in the RX and TX DSP panels.
  • Added Program Lock.


     
  • With very high zoom levels the interpolation changes to use a cubic spline, in the image below see how round the spectrum curve is.


     

Converter Definitions

  • Now support a TX offset as well as RX.
  • The TX offset is shown at the top of the TX DSP panel.


     
  • The TX offset option has been removed.
  • Has a QO-100 button which prepares a standard QO-100 definition.
  • This affects QO-100 users - see https://www.sdr-radio.com/Console/EsHail2 and scroll down.
  • Existing definitions are kept (not lost).


     

ANAN

  • Modified forward power display for ANAN 10.
  • Changed PLL lock warning.

Hermes-Lite 2

  • PTT now supported.
  • TX Meters now display properly.
  • Added display of TX FIFO for Hermes-Lite 2, requires Gateware 68 (x44) or higher.

TX

  • Added CTCSS for Narrow FM transmission.


     

RX

  • Increased Narrow FM high-pass filter taps from 299 to 999, filter was not sharp enough.
  • Changed AM/CW/SSB squelch to use a new algorithm, works well with AM/SSB.
  • Removed redundant code from the demodulation audio output (functions that were never used).

General

  • Added checks to CW Skimmer interface to prevent serious memory leak if CW Skimmer stops working.
  • Removed program expiration.
  • Fixed a bug where file playback resulted in a memory leack which in turn caused the CPU to increase until the program ground to a halt.
  • Navigation with arrow keys, frequency entry with number pad digit keys now works properly.
  • Autostart works with network radios such as NetSDR, Afedri.
  • Fixed a bug where after dragging a VFO (RX1, RX2) a direct click to set frequency was unreliable. Similarly a click could be interpreted as dragging 0Hz.
  • Honour UTC setting when defining a Scheduled recording.
  • Fixes problem with crash while starting program on a very wide gaming console with non-default scaling.

ELAD S3 - Soon

With any luck I'll have an ELAD S3 next week. Here is V3 playing a recording made by Nils, DK8OK using his S3.

24 MHz wide recording, 19.4 MHz usable!


Hermes Lite 2

The Hermes-Lite is an outstanding low-cost direct down/up conversion software defined amateur radio HF transceiver based on a broadband modem chip and the Hermes SDR project. If you are looking for a small QRP transceiver with excellent performance for the price then consider HL2.

Below are images of the build 9 boards published on the Hermes Lite mailing list by Steve KF7O.

For more information visit the Hermes Lite page.


Release: 3.0.15

Download here [Link].

What's new / changed in 3.0.15:

General

  • Added AM, SAM  and BFM independent sideband tuning (asymmetrical filtering)
    • Filter low and high sides are optionally independent, the default is (and was) that the filter is symmetrical.
    • In the Filter window added a new button, when highlighted Independent tuning is enabled.
    • The text in this button will change when I have a better idea!
    • When switching from ISB to Symmetrical filters take the greater of low & high and apply to both sides.
       
  • Markers now support alternate colours for DX spots.
  • Memories Organiser now correctly processes ^ and v buttons when more than one entry is selected.

  • Updated the Serial port PTT:

    • Should have anti-bounce logic, bounces < 100ms should not affect TX
    • More diagnostics available using DebugView.
       
  • Added 40, 50 and 60 minutes to the DX Cluster options.
  • Fix problem with scheduled recordings and WAV / RF64 setting (multiple  / single files).
  • Added MIDI support for some TX features as below:

     
  • The PSK beacon on QO-100 may change frequency at some point in the future, so I have updated the Geo Beacon window […] allowing the user to select the new frequency.

Radios

  • Fixed problem setting offset tuning option for RTL E4000 dongles.

  • FUNcube dongles – correctly support opening via bus/address. Please Search again for your dongles as the USB Bus and Address is now part of the dongle’s own address definition.

  • Hermes-Lite 2 (HL2) added Tx support.

  • Pluto – catch crash during device search (autodetect) when the ad9361 doesn’t start – happens with modified Pluto boards if a LO signal is missing.


Release: 3.0.14

Download here [Link].

What's new / changed in 3.0.14:

General

  • Closing threads (and the program) now much faster if the thread had not been started, also System Debugger diagnostics have been enabled to find any other issues when closing the program if the ‘Not Responding’ text was seen in the title bar.
  • Fixed bug where a high-pass filter could be incorrectly applied to broadcast FM demodulation.
  • RDS logfile now supports UTC as set in the … Options window.
  • Geostationary beacon window now applies the current contrast when floating.
  • Receive audio equaliser now correctly initialised when started from either:
    • Audio dropdown,
    • Ribbon bar.
  • FM Squelch: big change on the FM squelch front:
    • Now suing power suqelch instead of noise squelch, the squelch threshold/level values will be different, sorry about that.
    • The original code was over nine years old and was a cheap and cheerful solution. In the kit the whole concept has changed, now it’s an advanced squelch based on signal power.
  • Synchronous AM, ECSS Lock Range: ribbon bar entrry added.


Display

  • Analog S Meter peak value is now optional
  • Markers
    • Display of memory markers now works properly, previously DX Cluster spots had to be enabled.
    • You can now select exactly what you want to display, for example just DX Cluster spots



       
  • Redrawing the waterfall after shifting the frequency with the main slider at the bottom now shown correctly (ie consistently).
  • Removed tootips from TX, Tone, Tune and … in the Transmit windows.
  • Basic change to default settings for pane windows such as Signal History, DX Cluster, BFM Spectrum. Previously, non-visible panes were affecting the restored size of visible panes.

Signal History

  • Added horizontal axis.
  • Added noise (optional).


     
  • Added extra options to Export (include comments, show frequency).


     

Recording

  • Audio
    • Recordings made during playback of an IQ data file:
      • Correctly show the frequency
      • Show time in local or UTC – depends on the UTC setting when selecting the IQ file.
    • ISO 8601, UTC option added to Audio Recording window.


       
  • Data
    • Fixed bug with chained Data recordings made by Perseus software.
    • Added data recording Power option. When the data recording is finished the program can be closed or the computer shut down. See Ribbon Bar, Rec/Playback, Data::Recording, Power.


       

Lime

  • Updated the Lime support library to the very latest version. One thing now working is the temperature display – at last! The status of the library is here: https://github.com/myriadrf/LimeSuite . Anyway, all fixes made by lime are now in this kit.

Pluto

  • TX Gain

    While working on these issues I’ve been testing by transmitting on 144.320 MHz and listening with a second computer using an Airspy HF+ Discovery. Robin Getz (AD support) suggested that the reason for low TX output was the digital filter design I used, he suggested using a library from Analog Devices. After a lot of work I found that my own filters were just as good, but for now this kit uses the AD filter design.

    ​As part of the new filter implementation:
    • Removed sample rates below 1.2 MHz as the AD filters are bad (very bad) with that much decimation, but good otherwise.
    • Removed the RX analogue filter selection – this is now set automatically as part of the RX filter setting (which calculates both analogue and digital at the same time).
    • Changed the digital (FIR) filter algorithm to use the library supplied by AD instead of my own. RX gain is different, but TX gain – not much difference.
    • At the bottom of the Radio pane I now show the peak transmit data  – in fact I should how far the peak is below the absolute maximum. In the example below the transmitted signal is 0.8dB below the maximum that can be sent to the Pluto.


       
    • In the … Options I added a new page FIR Filter. This shows the FIR filter design and has a Boost TX gain option which increases the filter taps values as much as possible (they are 16-bit signed integers), increasing the tap values increases the gain. The typical boost factor is ~1.275 which is only ~2dB in practice and should be used with care.


       
  • TX Buffering
    • Reworked the logic where the transmit data is buffered and sent to Pluto. The previous code was not great – I can now select a 20ms I/O buffer (send data to Pluto in 20ms chunks) without any breaks in transmission, in fact it also works with a 10ms setting.
    • At the bottom of the Radio pane you see the unsent buffer size in ms. We can probably fine tune this later, but it needs some testing first.


    • In the Buffers window I show the buffer settings, this will help with diagnostics.​

RTLSDR

  • Code now compiled with libusb-1.0.20
  • Support enhanced.

SDRplay

  • Fixed bug with SDRplay Duo. The Hi-Z antenna selection was incorrect when starting the radio.

Remote Server (Funcube)

  • Fixed problem with Remote Server when a soundcard must be selected.

Transparent S Meter

Version 3.0.13 introduced analog S meters and resulted in requests for transparency. One of the big features of SDR Console is the use of Direct2D graphics which is a lot more complicated than the GDI/GDI+ used in many other ham radio programs such as Ham Radio Deluxe.

Working out transparency wasn't easy, finally a Microsoft example showed me how to do this. A day when you don't learn something is a day wasted.

Here's an example of transparency. This will be part of 3.0.14.


Release: 3.0.13

Download here [Link].

What's new / changed in 3.0.13:

General

  • Fixed frequency display problem in the RDS display. 100.05 was displayed as 100.5.
  • Minor change to logic when closing the Matrix window, linked to a memory leak.
  • Reduced background thread start-up time.
  • Added Equaliser… option to the Playback device selection.


     
  • The Radio Selection windows displays Connect when a V3 Server is selected, otherwise Start.
  • New option to replace 0 with O in the main frequency display.


     
  • Added Google Turbo and Inferno colour schemes.


     

Markers

  • Memory definitions can now be shown as markers: new option in Markers dropdown and on the memories pane of the ribbon bar.
  • Display of markers more efficient.
  • Enhanced the marker display logic, allowed more room when markers overlap.

Recordings

  • Audio recordings made while playing an IQ recording are now timestamped with the time from the playback, not the current time.
  • Added Status option to Playback pane in the ribbon bar. When selected the playback status is shown in the waterfall (the default). If not selected then playback status is not shown.

Ribbon Bar

  • Fixed Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) customise keyboard problem (Accelerator table was missing)
  • View, Spectrum, Peaks – new option to show either symbol or value.

RTL Dongle

  • Now dynamically linked to libusb 1.0.22
  • Added:
    • Bias-T
    • Offset Tuning for zero IF tuners (Radio Configuration)
    • HF Mode = Direct Sampling for frequencies < 28.8 MHz. (Radio Configuration)
  • EEPROM update of serial no. now implemented fully, so if you have two or more dongles you can select by serial no. If you only have one then it is always opened, serial no. is ignored.
  • Fixed the startup problem where the filter selection was not restored, instead it reverted to the default filter for the current mode. Note: this was a design issue which goes back 3 ½ years. I now have time to look at this sort of situation as the underlying code structure is robust and importantly stable.

Spectrum Window

  • Added Analog S Meters https://www.sdr-radio.com/Console/SMeter 
  • Added Scale… to the buttons shown in the main spectrum window:
  • The spectrum will now show a lower noise floor while the peaks are preserved, This is the data averaging – this is nothing to do with Smoothing; it’s processing of the FFT data before the data is smoothed.
  • Added sanity checks to prevent a negative frequency when clicking to the left of a signal.
  • Mouse cursors drawn correctly in CW-L.

Website


Google Turbo

Turbo, An Improved Rainbow Colormap for Visualization 

https://ai.googleblog.com/2019/08/turbo-improved-rainbow-colormap-for.html

On Tuesday, August 20, 2019 Google posted an interesting colour scheme which they named 'Turbo'. Read more about this in the blog entry (link is above). Below is the colour map in action on the 25m shortwave broadcast band. As of 3.0.13 this is a standard colourmap[ in SDR Console.

Also of interest is the use of a SNR (Signam to Noise) S Meter option.


Recent Posts

  • ELAD S3 - It's Here Posted 3 days ago
    Yesterday I integrated SDR Console with a beta S3 receiver from ELAD. My first impression is that it's a terrific receiver and will be of great interest to SWPs, DX-ers and government origanisations. I'll make some videos later. With the front end wide-open there's no overload at all, despite a few close medium wave transmitters. A couple of screenshots: Manx Radio - 1368kHz   General Shortwave with a 20 MHz bandwidth!   Stay tuned for more updates.
  • Release: 3.0.17 Posted last week
    Download here [Link]. External Radio Added Up-converter offset support, used with Es'Hail-2 (QO-100). See: https://www.sdr-radio.com/Console/EsHail2   External radio window displays “Starting” while OmniRig is initialising. General Ensure all program components start sequentially: When DX Cluster is configured to starts when the program is launched it will no longer allow other processing until the cluster connection is established. DX Cluster and the External Radio were starting simultaneously and this was causing the program to freeze. Added sanity checks when defining filters:   Remote server: the connection window below is now much faster, especially when the remote server is hosting more than one SDR.   ANAN 10 – better (not perfect) display of output power. User calibration to come in a future kit. TX Meters now work better when automatically adjusting displayed ranges. TX display of ANAN PLL status changed to indicate when the PLL is stably locked. Remote server web page updated: https://www.sdr-radio.com/Software/Version3/Server LimeSDR Updated support library to latest Github code.
  • Release: 3.0.16 Posted 2 weeks ago
    Download here [Link]. Important changes for QO-100 user, see below. What's new / changed in 3.0.16: Display DX Cluster bug fixed so the connection / non-connection can always be closed. Added 'Always On Top' option when, when selected keeps SDR Console on top of all other applications.   The font used at the top of the RX and TX window has changed from non-proportional bold to proportional normal. This kit correctly saves / restores the collapsed / expended state of the panes in the RX and TX DSP panels. Added Program Lock.   With very high zoom levels the interpolation changes to use a cubic spline, in the image below see how round the spectrum curve is.   Converter Definitions Now support a TX offset as well as RX. The TX offset is shown at the top of the TX DSP panel.   The TX offset option has been removed. Has a QO-100 button which prepares a standard QO-100 definition. This affects QO-100 users - see https://www.sdr-radio.com/Console/EsHail2 and scroll down. Existing definitions are kept (not lost). ...
  • ELAD S3 - Soon Posted last month
    With any luck I'll have an ELAD S3 next week. Here is V3 playing a recording made by Nils, DK8OK using his S3. 24 MHz wide recording, 19.4 MHz usable!
  • Hermes Lite 2 Posted last month
    The Hermes-Lite is an outstanding low-cost direct down/up conversion software defined amateur radio HF transceiver based on a broadband modem chip and the Hermes SDR project. If you are looking for a small QRP transceiver with excellent performance for the price then consider HL2. Below are images of the build 9 boards published on the Hermes Lite mailing list by Steve KF7O. For more information visit the Hermes Lite page.
Read More »

 

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