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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.
Turbo, An Improved Rainbow Colormap for Visualization
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.
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.
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.
Starting with the standard digital metere:
Here are a few screenshots of the Analog S Meter.
First a tradition meter in S units.
Here's a dBm meter, same colours as above.
And here.s a Signal to Noise (SNR) meter.
I'm often asked to incorporate a Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) receiver into SDR Console. The reasons why I haven't done this are:
Brendan Wahl, WA7HL, co-Moderator, of the DRM North America Newsgroup explained the lagal minefiled recently. The text below is reproduced with his permission.
Hi all, got some background here for you. I've been following DRM since the beginning, and still admire it for its broadcast quality and capabilities.
The DRM system was originally written by the Frauenhofer Institute in Germany, with the first software for personal use requiring a license key that cost the individual listener somewhere around ~€49/$49. I've got one somewhere, but I haven't had to use it since the freeware "DReaM" came out. No key needed when using that software package, which is still available on Github IIRC. The original commercial software still works, but it's very simple and doesn't provide a lot of bells and whistles. I'm not sure it's available anymore.
What happened was that the AAC codec (and it's variants, esp. XE-AAC...) was developed some years after the receiving software was first published with older codecs already available freely. The Frauenhofer Institute in the meantime had sold its work and code already done on that codec to Dolby Inc., who didn't want to give anything away. Hobbyists went from being able to receive all codec forms of broadcast DRM with little to no cost, to technically having to remove the FAAD.DLL file and receiving nothing, period. Since all DRM broadcasters switched to the XE-AAC codec due to it's efficiencies, hobbyists got left out in the cold with that shift. That .DLL file has been known to circulate privately, since even Dolby admitted that trying to get people to delete a file that they already had was like screaming in the wind.
Currently, as I understand it and as Simon indicates, radio manufacturers and developers must pay a license fee upfront to use the now-Dolby owned codecs. The listeners no longer have to pay, but the commercial party 'pays' on their behalf. This would include Simon of course, since he is both a commercial and hobbyist software developer, working as one entity.
Simply put, DRM is a minefield for someone like Simon. It's not only a bit of a coding time-suck, the potential legal exposure is horrible. It is a big enough issue that most radio manufacturers are simply avoiding the whole issue by not making DRM capable receivers. A Chinese manufacturer, Gospell, and a couple of Indian companies have stuck their financial necks out for DRM, since it is being introduced in both countries, but actual production of quality consumer equipment has been difficult, to say the least.
I should note that SDRC works wonderfully with the DReaM software being fed via a virtual cable. Was listening to Radio New Zealand International just the other night while they were doing some DRM testing, had perfect reception using my HF+. Can't wait for my Discovery to get here!
I'll back Simon on his choice of not including DRM. I use SDRC more than any other radio software, and I appreciate all of his his hard, SOLO, work on it. No wonder he needs our beer money...and of course, the canine is always hungry. I know, I have one too.
Co-Moderator, DRM North America Newsgroup
So there you have it. Thanks Brendan. If you want to listen to DRM use Dream and a virtual audio cable.
Now that I'm spending more time on 2m (144.5 MHz) I decided to add spectrum markers as it makes beacon identiciation easier.
Here's a 2m screenshot taken today, as you can see there's not a lot happening.
A simple window for adding definitions:
And another for the appearance:
When time permits I'll add support for adding data from a CSV file.
Nils Schiffhauer dk8ok has helped me a lot in the past, so when he asked me to support the WiNRADiO Sigma aka G65DDC how could I refuse?
This is a beast of a radio, I've not encountered anything like it before. There's one problem - I don't have one, so testing could have been a nightmare. However, the API is very clear and well documented. After just two days exchanging code with Nils he has now reported that the Sigma is working, and working well with the features in SDR Console that he needs.
This is the first time I've added support without ever seeing the hardware, so kudos to the team at WiNRADiO. The SDK's API is here: https://www.winradio.com/home/g65ddc_sdk.htm .
I'm so impressed, I may add support for more WiNRADiO radios if there's demand.
Here's an example of the Sigma running with a 33.3MHz sample rate and we see the whole of HF!
Support will be in version 3.0.11 of SDR Console which at the time of writing has not been released.
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:
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.
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.