The KiwiSDR Online Network

Online SDRs (Software Defined Radio) continue to grow in numbers and popularity.

Listening on a receiver that is running in another state, province or country can fulfill a number of functions for you, depending on your particular interest.

The network that I have explored several times and one that works nicely with most web browsers (no software to download or 'extras' required) is the SDR.HU network of Kiwi SDRs ... just choose your receiver and away you go in a matter of seconds. It's all very slick and if you have never played with an SDR before, it affords a nice introduction to this amazing technology. Although it won't work with my ancient version of Internet Explorer running on Vista, it did fine with Firefox and even worked very well on my old I-Pad! Here is a 30-second YouTube video to give you an idea of what it looks like.



There are a huge number of choices from all over the world available on the Kiwi network. As I write this, there are presently 199 receivers online! Any particular receiver can support a maximum of four users at a time so if the one you want is full, simply check back later or go to your second choice.

Although all receivers have the same appearance online, not all will offer the same performance. Although most seem to cover 0-30MHz, I see at least one that is limited to the VHF range and several that don't go all the way to the bottom of the VLF band. The antennas used seem to favor wideband loops, both large wire styles and smaller active versions as well as active e-probes.

The best way to determine any particular receiver's operating performance is to try it out using test target signals that might indicate good performance from that location. If you're interested in BCB capability, test some of the European ones to see if they can hear any TA signals around sunrise in Europe. Many SWLs will use these receivers to compare what they are hearing at home with a receiver located closer to the suspected DX target signal. I myself found the network particularly handy for listening to my Tri-Tet-Ten transmitter on 10m CW a couple of years ago when the muf was much higher than it is nowadays. I'll be trying a few of them out this winter, listening for my 630m CW signal, at various locations.

Some of the receivers appear to offer good, low noise reception on LF, MF and the BCB but the vast majority are not DX machines oriented for this part of the spectrum ... this was the opinion of one notable BCB DXer who checked many of those in eastern NA as well as western EU. The jury is still out on the westerern NA receivers and those in the Pacific / Far East ... a worthwhile listening project when there is some spare time. Even though the receivers used on these lower frequencies did not usually offer stellar performance, they may be real workhorses within the ham bands or on the international shortwave bands.

It would be worthwhile to see some form of 'performance rating' or feedback page for each individual receiver. Although there is a 'vote' tally associated with each receiver it's not clear what this actually represents as receivers that have been online for longer periods would naturally have a higher tally.

A lot of additional information about the KiwiSDR network can be found here.

No doubt you can think of your own good reason to have a remote listen to some of the network's growing list of online receivers and put them to the test ... there may be some real treasures to be found.

Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

6 Responses to “The KiwiSDR Online Network”

  • Elwood Downey, WB0OEW:

    Hadn’t heard of this one but I’ve used websdr.org for several years.

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    I have used Webster.org in the past with my Mac and I found it kept freezing, SDR.HU runs nice and smooth!!
    73
    Mike

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    SHOCK AND AMAZEMENT…I have a Samsung NOTE 5. I am using FireFox as my browser. I know in the pass that WebSdr will not work with an Android, but I figure I would give this one a try… IT WORKED. Tonight I plan test #2. I have a Verizon G3 tablet that I found at a garage sale for $15 and it has a older operating system. Some of the programs on my Note will not work one the Verizon tablet, which is used only in WiFi mode. I don’t need another bill… With some luck it just might work with this program. That would be awesome…

  • Rich, WD3C:

    I run a KiwiSDR and it will work on my wife’s Kindle Fire. On some phones or tablets it will work if you select “desktop” mode in the browser settings. My Kiwi is down right now till I get some internet issues fixed.

  • Moe K2JDM:

    Nice to hear about additional set website. One more to listen to.

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    I tired it on my Verizon 3G tablet I got at garage sale that is a much older operating system. It is now being used as a WiFi device and not a 3G data. KiwiSDR run great… Next text will be my OLD Casio Giz phone.. This is fun finding devices that can give SDR shortwave anywhere you have WiFi or in the case of my Smasung Note 5, what I have cellphone service. The one issue I had wit WebSDR was it would not work on any Android device… This one does…

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