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Assorted ramblings from the developer


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.


S-Meters

After much pestering by users, I finally added an Analog S-meter to SDR Console. These will be available in 3.0.13, coming to a desktop near you soon.

Background

A few weeks previously a reasonable logic was implemented for measuring the noise floor. Purists will not be happy, but they rarely are, but it works for me.

Take the output from the SDR radio, ignore 15% of the bandwidth at the high and low end of the output to avoid the ant-alias filtering, and we're left with a healthy 70% of the signal. Now sort the FFT bins by value, take the mean of the lowest 10% and that's the noise floor.

Digital

Starting with the standard digital metere:

Analog

Here are a few screenshots of the Analog S Meter.

First a tradition meter in S units.

  • Red = peak signal
  • Yellow = current signal
  • Grey = noise floor

 

Here's a dBm meter, same colours as above.

 

And here.s a Signal to Noise (SNR) meter.


Pluto on Es'Hail 2

Here's a screenshot of my Pluto SDR on Es'Hail 2, this screenshot shows the suggested settings for pluto(bottom left-hand side).

Note the RX Gain is set to Slow Attack (Manual value is ignored) and the Visual is set to -40dB.


Windows Upgrade

Yesterday I powered on a small ATOM 330 server which was last started five years ago. Well, up came Windows 7 Professional and of course the normal zillions of updates appeared. Anyway, I wondered whether the now officially expired free update from Windows 7 to Windows 10 was still available. Google brought me to this link on www.zdnet.com .

In https://www.zdnet.com/article/heres-how-you-can-still-get-a-free-windows-10-upgrade/ the suggestion is to  go to the Download Windows 10 webpage whioch I did. then I clicked the Download too now button. Thereafter I just followed my nose and two hours later my little server was proudly running a licemced version of Windows 10.

So the free upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is till available!

Toodles


Release: 3.0.12

Download here [Link].

What's new / changed in 3.0.12:

General

  • CW Skimmer bugs resolved, confirmed as working by Kurt, DF4XX.
  • Data recorder supports Range values of 48kHz and 96kHz.
  • Frequency display overflow error fixed.
  • Memory definitions > 2 GHz could crash the console – fixed.
  • Radio Calibration window changed to avoid confusion, now shows 0 PPM instead of None when no calibration is in effect.
  • Rare hang situation during program start found and fixed.

DX Cluster

See https://www.sdr-radio.com/Console/DXCluster.

  • Ribbon Bar, View, Spectrum, DX Cluster.
  •  Markers must be enabled: Ribbon Bar, View, Spectrum, Markers.
  • Comes with a list of suggested nodes.
  • Autostart option.
  • Can be docked anywhere.
  • Runs even when window is closed.
  • Cluster implements a timeout / reconnect logic:
    • If no messages are received for 60 seconds an ‘echo # keepalive’ command is sent, this will reset the reconnect timer if the cluster node is running.
    • If no messages are received for a further 30 seconds:
      1. The connection is closed,
      2. The connection is restarted.


Release: 3.0.11

Download here [Link].

What's new / changed in 3.0.11:

General

  • CW Skimmer interface updated, minor bugs fixed. [Link]
  • Audio - minor change in WASAPI feed/output logic, buffers padded with zeros.
  • More intelligent buffering of unprocessed data in the FFT threads, improves resillience when main thread is interrupted.
  • Installation kit appearance updated.
  • Very minor enhancements to the processing behind the matrix display. I spent some time working out how I would get 48 receivers running smoothly – I haven’t done this, but at least I now know what I would have to do (multi-threaded Direct2D). I was running 20 receivers at once to test the above audio driver logic and wasn’t 100% happy with the performance.
  • NR3 – slight increase in sensitivity.

CTCSS squelch

  • CTCSS is an addition to the normal squelch.
  • Signal level is measured for each CTCSS frequency using Goertzel’s algorithm (the standard for this sort of thing).
  • Selected frequency level must be 5dB or more that the average measured across CTCSS tone range.
  • Once CTCSS frequency is detected the squelch stays open until the signal is lost. This will change in a future kit, CTCSS must be detected at least every two seconds (an over modulated transmission can affect the CTCSS tone).

Data Recording

As I use this a lot I attacked a few features which I didn’t like very much:

  • Recording Selection
    • Added [_] Reload on open which reloads the current folder when the Select Recording window is opened, rather than displaying the previous values which are stored in an XML file. As I use SSDs for the recordings the reload is fast, but an aged HDD may not be, hence the default which is to restore the previous values from a cache.
  • Playback
    • Added Gain (main toolbar only).
    • Slight change to the logic used to determine the display bandwidth when a file is opened.
    • Change to the layout of the Navigator window.
    • Added Show/Hide time button.
    • Dynamic positioning of the navigation grid based on available room in the window.

Display/UI

  • Fixed error displaying waterfall, spectrum and receiver markers where the radio was tuned close to 0 Hz.
  • Corrected redraw issues if the spectrum high value is automatic (Ribbon Bar, View,  Spectrum Scale, High) and the colour scale (right of display) is adjusted.
  • Tuning Bar
    o    Clicking the mouse in the unused area to the side of the tuning bar (bottom of display) now centres the tuning indicator at the click position, previously there was no action.
    o    Clicking << or >> at either end of the tuning bar now increments the offset by the zoom factor – 1 (was just zoom factor).
  • The new smoothing algorithm (One Euro Filter) now made symmetric.

Favourites

  • Updated Favourites Organiser:
    • Tree is collapsed by default,
    • Added Expand and Collapse buttons.
  • When a Favourite is added a default title is suggested.
  • Tooltips now show the frequency and mode for the first three receivers.

Radio

  • Airspy HF+ update API library. Recommended that the latest firmware is installed, this is 3.0.0 or newer.
  • Airspy R2 small change in decimation processing.
  • Added initial support for WiNRADiO Sigma.
  • Lime:
    • Calibration updated:
      • Rx Calibration and TX Calibration buttons have icons which show whether the RX / TX is calibrated.
      • TX Calibration prompts to disable any PA before the calibration proceeds. Calibration must use the current TX antenna at a relatively high gain.
      • Calibration values are stored in XML files for each band.
      • Calibration always performed at the recommended internal gain of 64dB.
    • Logfile optionally sent to the system debugger (DebugView).

Spectrum Markers

  • Initial implementation: Ribbon Bar, View, Spectrum, Markers.
  • Intergration with DX Clusters will be the main focus of 3.0.12.

Servers

  • Only one definition per server.
    • When you select the server a list of available radios is displayed.
    • If the remote server is using this kit you will see ‘ X In use’ if the SDR is in use. Earlier servers will always assume it is available.
    • Your list of server definitions should upgrade automatically.
    • Test with my server: 81.174.138.141 port 50101 .

Startup

  • When starting the console / applying a favourite only one receiver opens the audio output device at a time. Although there shouldn’t be a problem with multiple threads simultaneously opening an audio output at the same time it’s just better to do it this way, it’s cleaner and places less stress on the Windows mixer / driver logic.
  • Sanity improved when starting the program:
    • Ensure any floating panes are actually visible and not off the screen.
    • Rewrote some of the code for easier maintenance in the future (replaced fixed tables with dynamic logic).

Recent Posts

  • Release: 3.0.15 Posted 3 days ago
    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 ...
  • Release: 3.0.14 Posted 3 weeks ago
    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. ...
  • Transparent S Meter Posted last month
    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 Posted last month
    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 ...
  • Google Turbo Posted last month
    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.
Read More »

 

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