Posts Tagged ‘SoftRock’

Show Notes #084

Introduction:

  • No music this time; just one hour jam-packed with LHS goodness!

Announcements:

  • Remember to sign up for the following LHS services:
    • The LHS SubReddit
    • The LHS Mailing List
    • The LHS Mobile app. Follow our updates via the mobile applications available for iPod, iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
    • Be an LHS Ambassador! Please join our Ambassador program. The event calendar has expanded quite a bit and we need your help. These events are now world-wide, so we could use some help outside the US as well as all over the country from California to Maine.
  • YFKtest: Yes, there really does seem to be a problem. It’s been confirmed by John, EI7IG, that the program does not log contacts for the ARRL Field Day contest. Other contests work fine. Russ plans on emailing the developer, DJ1YFK, with these observations.
  • From the “Yes, It’s an Antenna” File: Multi-band HF dipole made from horse fencing.
  • Pulling a Lunduke: Holding Source Code Hostage. Our hosts discuss this blog post by Tom Nardi about Bryan Lunduke’s recent move to open source his software. Bryan is one of the hosts of The Linux Action Show.

Topics:

  • Software Defined Radio (SDR)
    • A common topic Russ encountered at Dayton was about the available Linux options for software defined radios.
    • GNU Radio Project
      • Version 3.6.0 released in early May, 2012.
      • Version 3.2.2 is in the Debian Sid repository.
      • The latest version can be retrieved with git. (Install git with the command “apt-get install git”.) To download the software, issue the command “git clone git://gnuradio.org/gnuradio”.
      • Build instructions are available for most of the major Linux distributions.
    • SDR Hardware
      • Ettus USRP series works with the GNU Radio Project software. There are various models ranging in price from $700 to $2000, depending on the frequency range and options. Various modules allow receive and/or transmit on bands from 30kHz to 5.9GHz. Unfortunately, power output appears to be just 50-200mW, depending on the bands provided by the transmitter daughter board chosen.
      • Funcube Dongle costs £128 (~$200) and is a receiver only. The Funcube Dongle is a “radio receiver designed to allow anyone to try their hand at reception of satellites like FUNcube”. It covers 51.5MHz – 1.7GHz, less the region from 1.1GHz to 1.2GHz.
      • Perseus SDR costs $1000 and is also receive-only. It receives 10kHz to 40MHz.
      • SoftRock SDR is a kit available in various models from $20 to $90. Most are receive-only, but the Ensemble is a 1W HF transceiver. Some models are unavailable at the moment. The SoftRock RXTX Ensemble Transceiver Kit will allow you to build a 1W transceiver for one of the following bands or band groups: 160m, 80m/40m, 30m/20m/17m, or 15m/12m/10m.
      • RTL-SDR Devices range in price from $20 to $200 and are receive-only. More on the RTL-SDR project in an upcoming episode.

Feedback:

  • Stewart, VA3PID, wrote to say that Russ was the first person, possibly ever, to correctly place his Scottish accent at Hamvention. He also remarked (in reference to a discussion in episode 71) that Chirp has come a long way; it can now program his Yaesu FT-857D!
  • Jonas recently re-discovered LHS and expressed his appreciation for the show. Thanks, Jonas!
  • Stefano, IZ3NVR/KD2BGM, asks for more help getting so2sdr built on his Linux machine. Russ suggests installing the compiler with “apt-get install g++ build-essential”, installing Qt and several other packages as described in Episode 83, then try building the so2sdr program again.
  • Lastly, David Dominicki left a mostly unintelligible comment in response to Episode 78. Um, thanks… we think.

Contact Info:

Music:

  • None.

LHS Episode #084: GNU Radio

The 84th installment of your most favoritest podcast is now in the wild. As you may have noticed, we make a lot of assumptions about our listeners on this show; for example: You all love us. We have a good show in store for you today, including antennas made from electric fencing, a question about whether GPL software can be profitable, and most importantly a look at software defined radio and the GNU Radio project. Towards the end we address some feedback, solve a technical problem in Italian and try to stage an intervention for one of our more peculiar fans. ALL THIS WEEK on Linux in the Ham Shack!

Another K3 panadapter option?

Cross Country Wireless recently introduced a new product, a built, boxed and ready to use SDR receiver that is optimized to work with the bog standard sound card provided with every computer. It covers two 48kHz segments which may be on one or two bands using a switched local oscillator. At £49.95 it looks like something of a bargain.

I was looking at the product’s web page this evening and the thought occurred to me that this might make a rather good inexpensive option for a panadapter for the Elecraft K3. It would need a different crystal to cover the K3 IF output frequency which is 8.215MHz, but that shouldn’t be a problem. CCW might even offer this as a stock option if there was a demand for it.

As the receiver covers 40m and 30m everything else should work OK unmodified. The key point would be whether there is adequate isolation to prevent the local oscillator leaking into the K3 IF and desensitizing the receiver – the reason why most people use a buffer amplifier when using SoftRock boards for this purpose.

I don’t have a great urge to have a panadapter display and I already have three sound cards (well, one and two USB sound modules) in use with my shack computer so this isn’t something I’m planning on trying. But I thought it might be worth mentioning the possibility for other K3 users. Even if the idea is a non-runner, the Cross Country Wireless receiver still looks like a very nice product.


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