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Assorted ramblings from the developer


 

Download here [link].

 

I wrote this program because I wanted to see:

  • Current Time (local, GMT)

  • Sunrise / Sunset

  • Greyline map

  • DX stations

There are commercial geo clock solutions such as the excellent Geochron, but as a programmer with spare HD monitors and computers I decided to write my own, that way I have exactly what I want.

Anyway, this weekend I finally found time to update Simon's World Map to version 1.0.8. Here's what is new:

  • Installs a 64-bit executable on 64-bit Windows, previously the 32-bit executable was used on 64-bit Windows.

  • Text colour in Clock, Sunrise / Sunset etc. is user-selectable.

  • Sunrise / sunset shown for entries in the station list.

  • Timezone markers updated

It doesn't need much CPU at all- anything running Windows 7 or higher is fine.


Listening to France Musique, a station whose output is sorely missed in the UK.

Using the latest little stunner from Airspy.


Download here [Link].

Note: The main reason for this release is the fixes to transmit with the Pluto SDR.

What's new / changed in 3.0.9:

General

  • The 8.333 kHz tuning rate wasn’t working properly as it’s really 8.333 recurring.
  • The Analyser now correctly processes the Invert Spectrum option (swap IQ from the recording file).
  • The Ribbon Bar, Home. Radio, Bandwidth dropdown now shows the currently selected bandwidth when using radios where the actual bandwidth may differ slightly from the displayed bandwidth (Perseus at 95, 96 and 192kHz).
  • The bit smoothing option in RDS processing was not being set correctly.
  • USB Relay option now also part of the general Program Options.
  • Broadcast FM audio recordings now always created in stereo (two channel) mode – previously the recording was restarted every time the audio switched between mono and stereo.
  • RDS logfile now has a delay option in the Database selection pane, this is designed to be used in situations where there is considerable latency, for example when using a remote server.

Pluto

  • Transmit data is now controlled by a high-resolution timer with an accuracy < 1 millisecond.
  • Flow control has been added to compensate for the difference between the Pluto clock and the input device (microphone, VAC, …).
  • Added offset tuning, this ensures that the spur at the transmit LO is offset from the actual transmit frequency.

Airspy HF+ Discovery

Screenshots taken with a prototype Airspy HF+ Discovery. This beauty is half the size of the Airpsy HF+ and it's as good if not better. Proper comparison data later.

If you suffer from strong signals then Discovery will not let you down.


Download here [Link].

What's new / changed in 3.0.8:

Broadcast FM

New features and changes for 88 - 108MHz FM broadcast reception and the RDS decoder.

RDS decoding has been improved by making PI code detection mor sensitive.

US Callsign logic now uses data from NRSC for callsign and location.

Spectrum window now a docking pane. Display the spectrum window by selecting Ribbon Bar, Receive, Broadcast FM. 

Logging of station from the RDS decoding has been added, this is the RDS Logfile option. To display the logfile click the Log button in the BFM Spectrum.

The logfile has all the options you need:

  • Enable / Disaply updates
  • The number of recent entries displayed
  • Detail level (brief, full)
  • Font size for ageing eyes
  • Delete entries
  • Edit an entry
  • Export as text
  • Options

Click ••• to display the options.

Airspy Options

The Airspy options have moved from the ribbon bar to the Receive DSP panel.

USB Relay

The USB relay terminology has been changed to avoid confusion.

  • ON = Turn ON a relay channel (Activate).
  • OFF = Turn OFF a relay channel (Deactivate).

Data (IQ) Recording

Playback now correctly detects ELAD recerdings and displays the format as ELAD. later the contents of the elad chunk in the WAV file will be supported.

Scheduled Recordings

  • Now can select single file in the definition, this uses WAV RF64.
  • Fixed display issues.
  • Tidied up the code.

Geostationary Beacon

  • Increased bandwidth for LNBs with very serious drift!
  • Fixed crash when bandwidth changed past the minimum / maximum supported.

Frequency Database

AOKI URL updated and new format supported.

Font size selection for ageing eyes.

Defauly field order changed, will be user-configurable in a future release.

Perseus

The sample rates 192kHz, 96kHz and 95khz are now calibrated.

Satellites

Tidying up and extending the Select Satellite option. Instead of just selecting a satellite, pressing Select in the Satellite ribbon bar now display the Select Satellite window which provides an overview of the entries in the Satellite List as well as selection of new satellites.

Footprint configuration is now consolidated into a property page.

Narrow FM

Uses the original version 3 de-emphasis and has better peak volume control.

Pluto

Problems with the transmit signal bursting reduced by redesigned inefficient code, see Pluto support page for more information.


Band II DXing

If you want to take a break from DX on the ham bands, why not try Band II DX?

Version 3.0.8 (coming soon) has an automatic log of received stations.

More information is available here.


Download here [Link].

What's new / changed in 3.0.7:

Data Recording

The WAV file format upgraded to WAV RF64 is only used if the file size if set to a value greater than 2GB or unlimited. File szes of 2GB or lower use the original WAV format and will be compatible (should be compatible) with other 3rd-praty programs.

Es'Hail 2 Beacon

Added Beacon synchronisation: https://www.sdr-radio.com/Console/EsHail2#TelemetryBeacon . This is an option to using a TCXO or GPSDO and is used to compensate for LNBs which are not stable.

LimeSDR Calibration

All Lime-relation calibration options are now user-configurable. The option of changing the offset frequency has been added. Some brief tests on 2m show that offset tuning may not be needed.

TX calibration should ideally be run when the drive level is changed, this affects the Lime internals, so maybe the option of running TX Calibration automatically when the drive level is changed should be added?

Note: you cannot properly monitor your own signal using the same device that is transmitting.

General

Improved performance when scrolling the receivers – there was unnecessary processing when scrolling in a receiver window.

Serial Port (CAT Control)

WSJT was not working correctly, the serial port (CAT control) has been updated software and tested with WSJT.


Free ADALM-PLUTO

Just saw a tweet from @robinlgetz - this is an excellent offer.

2019 Hands-on workshop using Software Defined Radio, across the US and Canada. Take home a #plutosdr , “Software Defined Radio for Engineers” text (pdf) and trial of MATLAB. For more information, check out : https://secure.effreg.com/r/sdrworkshop19?1

Enjoy!


Es'Hail 2 Beacon

There's a big problem with consumer LNBs - they drift, and drift badly! One way of correcting this drift is to monitor the telemetry beacon, determine the actual received frequecy of the beacon and hey presto - we have the offset!

Quite a bit of coding involved, but when you decode BPSK you actually have the offset if you pay attention to the code. Add a nice waterfall so the user can select the beacon, add a bit of funk and we're more than half-way there. Here I'm plotting drift versus time. 

Also it's nice to see Es'Hail 2 being used more as people get their systems together.

Code will be in 3.0.7 - within a week I hope.

 


Download here [Link].

Note: 3.0.6 fixes / enhances the support for Lime and PlutoSDR.

What's new / changed in 3.0.6:

Data Recording

The WAV file format upgraded to WAV RF64 which supports an unlimited filesize, previously the maximum filesize was 2GB.

  • No more XML files being created.
  • Analyser updated and tested, seems to be OK with these big single-file recordings.
  • Tested with 3rd-party recordings: Perseus, ELAD S2.
  • Redesigned the Playback Select window (below). If you have a lot of recordings this is should be better to use.

When you make a new recording the individual filesize is now optional, if not enabled then a single file is created.

General

  • Fixed a bug which had been in the code since day 1 (about 4 years ago). As this was thread-related the crash happened rarely, depended on CPU speed and other factors. Restarting a radio/recording could cause a crash due to bad thread synchronisation:
    • Changing radio bandwidth,
    • Starting recording after the radio was running,
    • Starting radio after playing the radio.
  • Default stack size now 2MB (was 1MB)
  • Added a Mute option – when enabled mutes RX audio during TX (see below).

Lime

  • Sample rates have changed, lowest is now 750kHz (TX), designed for the ‘less powerful’ computer.
  • The settings shown in the radio panel now saved on a per-radio (serial #) basis.
  • Antennas now set correctly for the Lime USB (very stupid error).
  • Simplex / Duplex works for Mini and USB in all combinations below.
  • Power out now better *and* mirror image rejection better after TX Calib. pressed.
  • If TX Calibration fails (which it can) then a popup is shown
  • Now using offset tuning in TX, offset is 250kHz so the signal is sent 250kHz below the center and the TX LO is shifted up 250kHz.
  • GPIO band detection implemented

Pluto

  • Improved the Pluto support, options are now in the radio pane of the Receive DSP.
  • Timeouts have been disabled in the Pluto USB I/O library, as a result I’m getting much better throughput at 5MHz and can use short 50ms buffers, something I couldn’t do before. It seems that the timeout values in the Pluto support library were causing problems on receive at least.
  • On transmit the buffers used are now a power of 2 * 1k, for example 1 x 1024, 2 x 1024, 4 x 1024 etc. Some PC USB hardware drivers prefer buffers set like this. With any luck this buffer size logic and disabling timeouts will help with the transmit problems. I can send a steady transmission with the smallest buffer size.
  • New: RIT / XIT.
  • New: Half-/Full-duplex option.
  • Added oscillator calibration (correction):

USB Relay support

  • The relays are initialised when the program starts, updated as you switched between RX and TX.
  • If you have a unit not supported here let me know.

Using Es’Hail 2

  1. Define a Down converter, select it when starting the radio.
  2. Select radio, Definitions, [X] Converter selection. Add a Down-converter definition for your LNB, for example 9750 MHz.
  3. Define a TX offset, enable it.
  4. Transmit options, Frequency Offset, enter 8089.5 MHz (converts display of 2400.050 to 10489.550MHz). So with the TX tuned to 2410 MHz the display is shown as 2410 + 8089.5 = 10499.5 MHz
  5. Enable Sync RX for Frequency, as you tune either RX or TX both stay in sync.
  6. Use RIT / XIT (Lime) as needed, either to compensate for LNB drift or the other station drifting.
  • If working correctly RX & TX will stay in sync.
  • Known bug: With Sync RX enabled, if you scroll the RX frequency the TX frequency change is not applied until you next start TX, so scrolling RX while transmitting does not change the TX frequency. I can’t remember whether this is by design or a bug.

Look at the screenshot:

Here you see the down converter setting for a LNB:

Here you see the TX offset:

Here you see Sync RX:




Recent Posts

  • Simon's World Map 1.0.8 Posted 9 hours ago
      Download here [link].   I wrote this program because I wanted to see: Current Time (local, GMT) Sunrise / Sunset Greyline map DX stations There are commercial geo clock solutions such as the excellent Geochron, but as a programmer with spare HD monitors and computers I decided to write my own, that way I have exactly what I want. Anyway, this weekend I finally found time to update Simon's World Map to version 1.0.8. Here's what is new: Installs a 64-bit executable on 64-bit Windows, previously the 32-bit executable was used on 64-bit Windows. Text colour in Clock, Sunrise / Sunset etc. is user-selectable. Sunrise / sunset shown for entries in the station list. Timezone markers updated It doesn't need much CPU at all- anything running Windows 7 or higher is fine.
  • Airspy HF+ Discovery Posted last week
    Listening to France Musique, a station whose output is sorely missed in the UK. Using the latest little stunner from Airspy.
  • Release: 3.0.9 Posted last week
    Download here [Link]. Note: The main reason for this release is the fixes to transmit with the Pluto SDR. What's new / changed in 3.0.9: General The 8.333 kHz tuning rate wasn’t working properly as it’s really 8.333 recurring. The Analyser now correctly processes the Invert Spectrum option (swap IQ from the recording file). The Ribbon Bar, Home. Radio, Bandwidth dropdown now shows the currently selected bandwidth when using radios where the actual bandwidth may differ slightly from the displayed bandwidth (Perseus at 95, 96 and 192kHz). The bit smoothing option in RDS processing was not being set correctly. USB Relay option now also part of the general Program Options. Broadcast FM audio recordings now always created in stereo (two channel) mode – previously the recording was restarted every time the audio switched between mono and stereo. RDS logfile now has a delay option in the Database selection pane, this is designed to be used in situations where there is considerable latency, for example when using a remote server. Pluto Transmit data is now controlled by a high-resolution timer with an accuracy ...
  • Airspy HF+ Discovery Posted last week
    Screenshots taken with a prototype Airspy HF+ Discovery. This beauty is half the size of the Airpsy HF+ and it's as good if not better. Proper comparison data later. If you suffer from strong signals then Discovery will not let you down.
  • Release: 3.0.8 Posted 2 weeks ago
    Download here [Link]. What's new / changed in 3.0.8: Broadcast FM New features and changes for 88 - 108MHz FM broadcast reception and the RDS decoder. RDS decoding has been improved by making PI code detection mor sensitive. US Callsign logic now uses data from NRSC for callsign and location. Spectrum window now a docking pane. Display the spectrum window by selecting Ribbon Bar, Receive, Broadcast FM.  Logging of station from the RDS decoding has been added, this is the RDS Logfile option. To display the logfile click the Log button in the BFM Spectrum. The logfile has all the options you need: Enable / Disaply updates The number of recent entries displayed Detail level (brief, full) Font size for ageing eyes Delete entries Edit an entry Export as text Options Click ••• to display the options. Airspy Options The Airspy options have moved from the ribbon bar to the Receive DSP panel. USB Relay The USB relay terminology has been changed to avoid confusion. ON = Turn ON a relay channel (Activate). OFF = Turn OFF a relay channel (Deactivate). Data (IQ) Recording Playback now correctly detects ELAD recerdings and displays the format as ...
Read More »