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Amateur Radio Projects and Software Defined Radio

Alinco DJ-X11 Update

Ham Radio Science has had the DJ-X11 for about 5 days now. Preliminary testing looks very good at this point. However, the wideband antenna provided with the DJ- X11 was left out of the box. A replacement is being sent that should arrive this week. This has slowed down the review a bit. However, on first blush it appears that Alinco could have a hit on their hands. The feature set is excellent and the DJ-X11 sensitivity seems to be very could. The price point is very agressive for an all mode wideband receiver. The nearest competitors are the Icom R20 which costs about $225 more or the AOR8200 Mark III B at about $575 more. Of course the DJ-X11 cannot match the AOR8200 Mark III B and the Icom R-20 in frequency coverage. The DJ-X11 has a frequency coverage of 50 kHz to 1299.995 MHz (less cellular) while the AOR covers 500 kHz to 3000 MHz (less cellular) and the Icom covers 150 kHz to 3304.999. The Icom and AOR may be better receivers, Ham Radio Science does not have access to these receivers so no direct comparisons can be made. However, for the cost difference, they need to …

FUNcube SDR Dongle Overview and First Impressions

I finally got to spend about six hours playing with the FUNcube SDR dongle and feel like I only scratched the tip of the iceberg. The FUCcube dongle is an all mode VHF / UHF SDR radio that covers 64 MHz to 1700 MHz (with a small gap between 1100 MHz and 1270 MHz). With the proper firmware installed it will even go down to 51.5 MHz and beyond 2000 MHZ. The FUNcube Dongle is completely housed in a USB dongle that is a bit smaller than an usb TV tuner dongle. The FUNcube Dongle also has a SMA antenna connector on the other end. The quadrature sampling rate is at  96 kHz with 80 kHz useable. Sensitivity is rated at 0.15uV for 12dB SINAD NBFM at 145MHz and 435MHz. The center frequency of the FUNcube dongle can be set by software.

At this time I would have to say that the FUNcube dongle (FCD) is more of an experimenters  SDR radio than a finished product. Don’t expect to get a packaged system that includes custom software or a fancy manual. The firmware and other programs are undergoing fairly regular updates and tweaks. You pretty much just get the FDC …

DSP based Radio Direction Finding Project

PA3BNX ,Lodewijk Baars sent in an interesting project that he is working on. It involves using Digital Signal Processing techniques applied to Radio Direction Finding. He provides the plans, PCB layouts and software for the project. Looks very interesting! Further information can be found here if your interested in taking a closer look at the project.…

QuickSilver QS1R Receiver user Photos and Video

Ken N9VV , graciously sent in some of his photos and a video of his SDR Radio setup. He is using the QS1R Receiver that covers 10Khz to 62.5 Mhz. The QS1R is a direct sampling SDR receiver that connects to your PC through a USB 2.0 port. Ken uses an inexpensive mITX Atom 330 PC to act as a server to the QS1R Receivers software. That way he can access it from a remote location in his shack from another PC. Thanks Ken!…

WoodBoxRadio Fxpad for PowerSDR

WoodBoxRadio has just recently  released their Fxpad touchscreen software for PowerSDR. This is a program that allows you to use an off the shelf 7 inch usb touchscreen  as a very nice looking external controller for PowerSDR. Fxpad provides you with a gorgeous multi purpose meter as well as buttons for commonly used functions within PowerSDR. The idea behind Fxpad is to allow your main PC screen to display your logging software or PSK31 software, while displaying information from PowerSDR on separate touch screen. This as would provide quick touch screen control over your SDR radio. Fxpad also a has a set of macro buttons to allow you to define your own commands sent to PowerSDR. Fxpad uses CAT commands to send and receive data from PowerSDR. You will have to setup and define a CAT port for PowerSDR using VSPmanager or com0com. If you are already using CAT for PowerSDR to control PTT for another program, you will have to use something like VSPE to split the serial port. Fxpad is primarily designed to be used in conjunction with WoodBoxSoftwares Tmate tuning control in mind. Even though WoodBoxRadio states that the software needs the Tmate controller to function properly, …

Using the iPad to Control Your Rig

The iPad is indeed a magical device. There are many applications the iPad can be used for, but did you know that you can use it as a Touch Controller for controlling your radio or other digital software? Therefore, freeing up your main computer screen for displaying data you need to see, while the iPad delivers touch control or remote control capabilities. If you don’t already own an iPad, this may be a great excuse to get one! You will find several uses for the iPad as a Touch Controller for your Amateur Radio software or even a Remote Monitor for your radio. For example the Touch Controller setup can come in very handy when you want to leave your PSK31 decoding software on your main computer screen while controlling your rig with the touch screen on the iPad. This could also come in handy during a contest where you need fast and easy control of your rig. It is also possible to use the iPad as a Remote Monitor for your radio. The Remote Monitor would allow you to pick up the iPad and go to another location in your home and control and monitor your radio, or even …

3D Connexion Devices Revisited

You know we are fond here at Ham Radio Science of the 3D Connexion controllers for controlling PowerSDR and other Amateur Radio software. The first article covered using the 3D Connexion Space Pilot to control the tuning function in PowerSDR. A small hack was discussed that would allow you to map the devices buttons to other functions of PowerSDR. Main tuning is accomplished by manipulating the knob on the 3D Connexion device. However, this only works because the developers of PowerSDR included a plugin that talks to the 3D connection device. As a matter of fact, any program that can use the 3D Connexion device has to have this plugin built in. Unfortunately, this makes the device only usable with very few programs. In the previous article, we could get the 3D Connexion device buttons to trigger keyboard commands in other programs, but the knob was useless in all other Amateur Radio Software but PowerSDR.…