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Assorted ramblings from the developer


Free ADALM-PLUTO
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
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.

 


Release: 3.0.6

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

  • Release: 3.0.14 Posted 1 days 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 2 weeks ago
    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 3 weeks ago
    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 3 weeks ago
    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 Posted 3 weeks ago
    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.
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