Tuesday, June 28, 2016

SDRuno Controller.

It's been a while since I made any type of SDR controller. Actually it's been a while since I made anything Arduino's related. Since I stated the beta testing of SDRuno I wanted to make another controller. Below is what I have so far. This one has to be as small and simple as possible, I'm waiting on the mini OLED screens to come in and that will be the last part I need. Should be a fun little controller when it's done.


Testing the encoder

Testing the encoder and button board

Sunday, June 26, 2016

SDRuno Basics

It has been a busy couple of weeks. I added some quick videos on the basic features of the brand new SDRuno.

SDRuno is the front end app from SDRplay. The original was just recently acquired from Sandro the sole developer of Studio1. Myself and a few others are part of the beta test team.

Personally I love the program both original and the new SDRuno but for people that might be new to SDR'S this could be intimidated by all of it's high end features. SDRuno has progressed fast since it's initial release.

I will be adding more videos on YouTube covering almost all the features SDRuno.

Another project I'm working on (along with Paul J. NN4F) is the SDRuno "Cookbook" It covers most if not all of the features of SDRuno. It is a work in progress. The PDF is available now and will always be located at NN4F.COM







Field Day 2016 1D-NLI

Field Day 2016 is officially over. This was the first time I participated in such a epic ham event. I have listened many times over the years but was not licensed to join in.

 It was a lot of fun. So many stations on 20m & 40m. I picked up a few States I needed to help with my WAS (currently at 39) award I'm currently working on.

I did not make many contact's due to the bands not being in my favor but I had a ton of fun being a 1D from the house.

Since this was my first Field Day I can't wait to do it again next year and hopefully not from the house. Hopefully by this time next year I will have passed the Extra class.


Friday, June 24, 2016

SDRuno & CSVUserlistBrowser


CSV user list browser is one of the best and actually least known about add-on programs for the SDR/SWL'ING enthusiast. This powerful app will import and display just about any of the popular online shortwave databases (AOKI, EIBI or even your own) allowing you to follow/track whatever frequency SDRuno is currently set on and give you the proper station information. Another great feature is the built in map. The popup map will show your home location and the broadcast station location. Last but not least is the built in scanner. You can have CSV User list Browser scan frequencies between a range from your own custom database. I only touched the surface...It does so much more.

My system is Windows 7 64bit. If you are using a 32bit system or a newer version of Windows please double check the download section for each of the 2 apps needed and make sure they are compatible.

Below is the way I have SDRuno talk with CSVUserlistBrowser. I will assume you have SDRuno installed and running properly.

You can click on any of the pictures to make them full screen. I also have all the pictures used in this step by step available for download. If you would like to see them up close or maybe you want to look at them along with these directions. Click Here to download the .zip file

PART A: Downloads & Installs


Step 1: Download CSVUserlistBrowser (use the latest beta release) here.

Step 2: Download com0com here (check and see if they have a 32 bit signed version)

Step 3: Install com0com using the default settings. com0com will assign your system 2 virtual com ports. Please note the com port pairs assigned by the program. It will either be a numerical pair (ie: com7 com8) or alphanumerical (ie: CNCA0 CNCB0) We will needs these pairs generated later on so please write them down.You can complete the setup by clicking next threw-out the whole install. The defaults are fine.

Step 4: Assuming all went well with Step 3: Reboot your system.

Step 5: Make a folder either on your desktop or in your Program files directory called "CSVuserlistBrowser". You can name the folder whatever you like. I have my folder located in "C:\Program Files (x86)\CSVUser\CSVUserlistBrowser".

Step 6: Double click on the CSV beta file you downloaded in Step 1: The file is called Beta.zip. You will see 2 folders and 2 txt files. Select everything from inside that beta.zip and put it in the folder you named in Step 5.
Step 7: Go into the CSV folder you created in Step 5 and double click the folder called CSVUserlistbrowser. Rename the .exe file named "G31DCC-CSVUserlistBrowser" to HDSDR-CSVUserlistBrowser

Step 8: Right click on the .exe you just renamed in step 7: and send a shortcut to your desktop by selecting Send to and Desktop (create shortcut). You can now close any folder your have open from all the above steps.


PART B: SDRuno settings

Step 1: Note the two virtual ports com0com created from the Step 3 section A. Mine just so happen to be CNCA0 & CNCB0. Open SDRuno and go to your SDRuno RX CONTROL Module and click on the top left button called "SETT." A new popup window will open. Navigate to the right into the tab called CAT. Set the COM DEVICE to the first com port pair generated that was generate by com0com. In my setup I used CNCA0. You have to manually type in the assigned com port (Mine was CNCA0 that is a zero not o) and press enter. Set your BAUD RATE to 57600. Click the check box that says ENABLE & CONNECT. Your STATUS: on the bottom should now say "CONNECTED" if all went well. Leave SDRuno running and close the "SETT" popup window.

PART C: CSVUserlistBrowser settings

Step 1: Launch CSVUserlistBrowser with the shortcut we created in Step 8 section A. The very first thing we want to do is have a fresh copy of all the different databases available to CSVUserlistBrowser and have them auto update. Navigate to the top of CSVUserlistBrowser and click on "Web". Inside of Web click on "Downloaded /Converter" select all the check boxes that are underneath ASD. Click "Save details" and you can click close. Do the same thing again by clicking Web and Downloaded /Converter. It should now start to download all the databases for you. If all went well you should see progress bars next to each database available advancing. When its finished click "Close". You want to run the database update procedure about every 2 weeks. The above steps will only update your database if you go to the Web section and click on "Downloaded /Converter".

Step 2: Click on "File" "Import EIBI database". A popup will open and select "eibi". Go to the top again and select "View list". Make sure #1 shows "userlistEIBI.txt with a check and bold bullet next to it. Navigate again to the top and select "Autoload" Make sure it shows "Autoload List 1 userlistEIBI.txt" with a check next to it. We selected EIBI vs the others because EIBI will give us the distance from our location to the transmitting station.

Step 3: Click on"Control HDSDR RX1" on the top menu of CSVUserlistBrowser and make sure a check is next to Control HDSDR RX1. If you do not have a check you click Control HDSDR RX1.

Step 4: Click on "Options" on the menu and select "Set HDSDR mode when tuning". If you do not have a check we need to click on "Set HDSDR mode when tuning" to make sure a check is place.

Step 5: Click on "Options" again and select "Settings". Inside of "Settings" select the tab called "COM ports/TCP". This is the sections we will need to know our second assigned com0com port. Inside of "COM ports/TCP" goto the area label COM 1st HDSDR and in the dropdown box select the 2nd of the pair of virtual com ports created by com0com. From my virtual pair I chose CNCB0. None of the other settings need to be change. Now click the Close button.

Step 6 Final: On the main screen of CSVUserlistBrowser make sure the Now button is ticked and the next time you load CSVUserlistBrowser along with SDRuno you only have to hit the Track button on the top left. SDRuno will send frequency information to CSVUserlistBrowser and CSVUserlistBrowser will display whatever is on that frequency for that scheduled time.

If you would like to see a map like the picture shown at the top of this How-To click "Tools/Extras" and select "World Map". You can right click the inside of the map and select the options. You can add or remove options from the popup map.

Enjoy CSVUserlistBrowser it has so many great features. If you want more details about SDRuno and our free step by step cookbook check out WWW.NN4F.COM.


If you found this step by step useful throw a buck in the jar.
Click the button below. It's a fixed amount of $1.00
 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Coming Soon.

In the upcoming days, weeks or months I will be covering the following topics since the beta testing for SDRuno is over. Stick around...



* Beta testing for SDRPlay.
* Beta testing SDRuno.
* Soft66Q HF-SDR from Japan.
DX Engineering RTR-1A
* Chasing DX / Using DX Clusters.
* Yaesu SCU-17 USB Interface.
Amateur Contact Log.
* HF Digital JT-65.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

West Mountain Radio CLRdsp Noise Reduction

I have been chasing DX on HF non stop since the day I passed my Tech exam. My style is using headphones and I usually turn off the AGC and ride the RF Gain knob. I did noticed that after chasing DX for long periods my ears would start ringing really bad and nonstop . My radio does have a few features to help with noise but it's nothing special. I don't even thinks it's adaptive. What works on one station or band is not going to work on the next. I find myself constantly redoing the settings while moving up and down the dial.

A good friend of mine (Mike-KC0BRA) who I chase DX with everyday was also having the same issues as me (ringing ears). He picked up a 2nd hand Heil DSP speaker. He sent some before and after video's of the DSP speaker and I was blown away by how well it worked. .I know not all DSP are the same but I needed something to knock out the noise and hiss. I spent a few hours reading reviews for all the different models on eHam and spent even more time watching YouTube videos. The model I picked up was a West Mountain Radio CLRdsp.
The CLRdsp is extremely easy to setup. You have two options to feed audio from your rig to the CLRdsp. You can use either the headphones jack or the speaker out jack on the rig. I opted to go with the speaker out to feed into the CLRdsp and plug my external speakers directly into the CLRdsp. Everything you need to be up and running is included in the box.The CLRdsp removes almost all hiss and white noise. It made a tremendous difference allowing me to dig out really weak DX stations that would otherwise be lost in the noise.
What sold me was the fact that the CLRdsp will adapt to what it hears automatically. I don't need to fiddle around with my rigs Contour and DSP settings as I did before I purchased this unit. SSB voice is a complete pleasure to listen to. It really made a huge difference in the 450d receive audio. If you have a basic HF rig like I do and you love chasing DX ....Do yourself a favor and get this DSP. You will wonder how you listened to the bands without it.



What I personally like:
Proven design (This might be v3 or v4 of the CLRdsp line)
Built like a tank.
Simple setup & very easy to use
Removes almost all the high pitched annoying hiss on HF
Adapts almost real-time to what it hears even with heavy fading.
No need to constantly dial it in.
Fantastic SSB clarity.
Really does pull out the weak stations burred in the noise.

What I don't like:
Slight delay in the audio loop if you want to monitor your audio out signal with headphones.
It's not cheap.

Brian-K6BRN posted the best way to get the CLRdsp up and running with minimal fuss. This is from his E-Ham review. I emailed Brian asking for permission to repost it here. Please follow what Brian outlined. Getting the CLRdsp "loaded" is not covered anywhere in the manual or online.

My first discovery was that it’s VERY important to properly “load” the CLRdsp input level (i.e. A/D converter).

If the input level is too low, noise reduction is less effective and DSP artifacts, i.e. “the underwater voice” effect, are pronounced. Too high and the CLRdsp begins to clip (and distort) audio, indicated by the normally green CLIP led on the front panel flickering red. In most cases, best results were obtained by:

1. Setting the noise reduction knob fully counter-clockwise (i.e. to minimum)
2. Turning up the rig’s volume control until the CLRdsp CLIP led just begins to flicker red
3. Backing the rig’s volume off slightly to eliminate the red flicker, then
4. Setting noise reduction to the desired level.

This loading adjustment is actually fast and easy, but is NOT detailed anywhere in the very short and inadequate CLRdsp manual. The loading level should be adjusted whenever the noise or signal level changes dramatically – i.e. when changing bands or when a new and powerful signal booms in. The right rig volume setting is also affected by the level of noise reduction set on the CLRdsp; lower levels of noise reduction will cause the CLIP led to light at lower rig volume levels – higher levels of noise reduction seem to allow higher levels of loading. So some “fiddling” can help optimize results.

My next discovery was how (well) the TONE control worked in combination with my rig’s IF Shift control. When the IF shift is adjusted to avoid strong adjacent signals, audio tonal balance changes, emphasizing either the bass or treble elements of speech. This can be very annoying. The CLRdsp’s TONE control really helped to restore tonal balance and I found myself using this control in combination with very slight tweaks to the TS-440SAT’s IF Shift even when there was no interference, simply to achieve improved audio quality.

The CLRdsp put out plenty of audio into every 8 and 4 ohm speaker I tried, and its own integrated volume control is very convenient. It had significantly more “punch” than the TS-440SAT had by itself. I finally settled on a very old Bose 201 speaker I saved from the scrap heap – it was not a very good AV speaker, but it made a great match to the CLRdsp as a rig speaker. I also used the CLRdsp with headphones with very good results. The CLRdsp has a separate headphone output jack that mutes the speaker output when in use and it can be set to accept either stereo of mono headphones, using an internal jumper.

The CLRdsp requires from five to 30 seconds to fully adapt to the noise and interference environment – and it continues to adapt as long as it is on. Each time the level of DSP noise reduction is manually adjusted, its best to pause for a while to see how the DSP filters settle in to the new level. During the settling period, the noise/interference level may be higher and there may be more voice distortion than when it reaches a (somewhat) “steady state”.

Once the CLRdsp was connected and adjusted as described above, I used it on 20, 40 and 80 meter SSB with great results. Background static was usually heavily suppressed (sometimes eliminated) with minimal impact on voice quality, and interfering tones were simply gone. My noisy TS-440SAT receiver became very quiet and pleasant to listen to – remarkable. Most interesting, the CLRdsp sometimes helped me pull SSB voice signals out of the noise, when I could not do so by (my) ear alone. In these cases, correct input level setting to the CLRdsp unit seemed more critical – I had to “fiddle” with it a bit.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The assembly line

I could watch videos like this one all day long. Very interesting to see how it's done.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Wouxun KG-UV9D


The UV9D just landed in the shack today. I was itching for a new radio and I really didn't know what to buy. I spent a good month or two looking for something better than the usual Baofengs and I remembered when the 8D came out I wanted one but couldn't afford it. I have heard and read a lot of positive things about the 9D. I figured this is the one I want.

I did the usual E-bay/Amazon. I saw powerwerx.com has them for $150 and figured I would check DX Engineering and Gigapart. Both sites had nothing. For the hell of it I checked HRO. To be honest I avoid HRO like the plague. When I saw the price at $129 shipped I ordered it right away. HRO had it at my door within 3 days.



The radio comes locked with the follow TX ranges (144-148 / 420-450 MHz) but receives on 7 different bands. The RX ranges are 76-108 (FM )-108-136 (AM)-136-180 (FM)-230-250 (FM)-350-400 (FM)- 400-512 (FM)-700-985 (FM). It took about 20 min for me to find the official 9D unlocking software which worked without any issues. I don't plan on ever RX'ing out of the ham bands but I guess if S.H.T.F. I'm good to go.





The audio reports on the repeater I use (19 Miles away) have all been very good. One of the big pluses is the full duplex dual VFO'S. I can TX on the upper VFO and monitor and or TX on the lower VFO independently with a secondary smaller PTT button.

CHRIP support hopefully will be added down the road. The OEM software is not that bad but if you have a lot of repeaters to program into the radio the stock software will seem a little limited compared to CHIRPS internet based repeater import feature.

I have only had the radio for a little under 8 hours and I'm extremely happy with it so far. It's rock solid and built like a tank. It feels good in the hand like my Baofeng UV-82 and the color screen looks fantastic.

What I personally like:
Big clear color screen.
Built very well.
Feels great in the hand. Not to thick and not to thin.
Real battery indicator.
Real signal strength bar.
Full duplex dual VFO'S.
AM air-band receive.
Proper SMA connection

What I don't like:
Does not have Cross-band repeat.
Gets a tiny bit warm on extended QSO'S.
Screen slightly hard to see in direct sunlight.

This will be my new daily HT. Let's see how well it hold up. Would I recommend this radio. 1000% without a doubt yes. I also uploaded a text searchable PDF at the follow link.
CLICK HERE. Credit goes to Rick Sterling who did the manual conversion.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Ebook

I added a new section to the blog called Ebooks . I'm trying to collect as much open source information as possible and share it with everyone on the internet. New stuff will be added as I find it. All the files will be in PDF format