Category: bladeRF

Lightweight Windows Software uSDR Updated to Version 1.5.0

Since 2021 we've posted about Viol Tailor's "uSDR" (microSDR) software a couple of times. uSDR is a lightweight general purpose multimode program for Windows that supports the RTL-SDR, Airspy, BladeRF, HackRF and LimeSDR radios. The software can be downloaded from SourceForce.

Viol notes that recently the project has been updated to V1.5.0 which brings the following new features and changes.

  • lock device frequency on zoom option
  • keep waterfall history – the very great option, do not lose any rare signals
  •  advanced passband IQ recorder
  • passband IQ TCP server for remote processing, C/C++ client source examples included
  • advanced audio player, auto selectable sample rate, separate left/right channels
  • CTCSS decoder
  • markers import option convenient for merge markers 
  • Ctrl+Shift+Drag Up/Down – change spectrum magnitude offset
  • Ctrl+Shift+Mouse Wheel – change spectrum magnitude range (vertical zoom)
  • Ctrl+Mouse Hover – highlight nearest marker
  • Ctrl+Double Click– tune to highlighted nearest marker
  • band plan visualization, simple text format
  • frontend interface improvements
  • GUI improvements
  • spectrum and waterfall popup menus improvements
  • a lot of bug fixes
uSDR aka microSDR. A lightweight SDR receiver program from Windows.

SDR++ Server Beta Now Available

SDR++ is a general purpose receiver program compatible with almost any software defined radio including the RTL-SDR. Recent developments have seen the author release a beta of  "SDR++ server" which is a program that allows users to access SDRs remotely, by connecting to them over a network connection. This is similar to existing server applications like rtl_tcp and Spyserver, however like SDR++ itself, SDR++ Server is compatible with almost any SDR and that is a major drawcard.

The server is still in development and the author notes that he is still working on adding new features like lossless compression techniques in order to reduce network bandwidth requirements. However, it has already seen to be running well in tests with a remote server positioned half way around the world, even without compression enabled.

We note that SDR++ author 'Ryzerth' has a Patreon. If you like seeing these SDR++ developments please consider support him.

Nils Reviews our RTL-SDR Blog L-Band Active Patch Antenna

Over on his blog Nils Schiffhauer (DK8OK) has recently uploaded a review of our RTL-SDR Blog Active L-Band Patch Antenna. This is a satellite patch antenna designed for experimenters who want to receive Inmarsat, Iridium, GPS and other GNSS signals. It covers 1525 - 1660 MHz. (Please note it does not cover GOES or other L-band weather satellites as these are much weaker signals that require a dish). The antenna comes as a set with mounting hardware and extension cable and can be purchased on our store for $49.95 including free worldwide shipping to most countries.

In his review Nils tests the patch antenna with his wideband BladeRF software defined radio showing a wide 60 MHz of bandwidth being received. He then goes on to show it being used to receive AERO, via the JAERO decoder, and STD-C via the Tekmanoid decoder.

We want to take this opportunity to pre-announce that due to rising shipping costs the price of this antenna set will be going up by $10 in early 2022. Before the price raise we will put out another post, but if you are interested in one we'd recommend picking one up soon.

Nils tests the water resistance of the antenna.

SDRAngel Features Overview: ADS-B, APT, DVB-S, DAB+, AIS, VOR, APRS, and many more built-in apps

SDRAngel is a general purpose software defined radio program that is compatible with most SDRs including the RTL-SDR. We've posted about it several times before on the blog, however we did not realize how much progress has occurred with developing various built in plugins and decoders for it.

Thanks to Jon for writing in and sharing with us a demonstration video that the SDRAngel team have released on their YouTube channel. From the video we can see that SDRAngel now comes stock with a whole host of built in decoders and apps for various radio applications making it close to an all-in-one SDR platform. The built in applications include:

  • ADS-B Decoder: Decodes aircraft ADS-B data and plots aircraft positions on a map
  • NOAA APT Decoder: Decodes NOAA weather satellite images (in black and white only)
  • DVB-S: Decodes and plays Digital TV DVB-S and DVB-S2 video
  • AIS: Decodes marine AIS data and plots vessel positions on a map
  • VOR: Decodes VOR aircraft navigational beacons, and plots bearing lines on a map, allowing you to determine your receivers position.
  • DAB+: Decodes and plays DAB digital audio signals
  • Radio Astronomy Hydrogen Line: With an appropriate radio telescope connected to the SDR, integrates and displays the Hydrogen Line FFT with various settings, and a map of the galaxy showing where your dish is pointing. Can also control a dish rotator.
  • Radio Astronomy Solar Observations: Similar to the Hydrogen line app, allows you to make solar measurements.
  • Broadcast FM: Decoding and playback. Includes RDS decoding.
  • Noise Figure Measurements: Together with a noise source you can measure the noise figure of a SDR.
  • Airband Voice: Receive multiple Airband channels simultaneously
  • Graves Radar Tracker: For Europeans, track a satellite and watch for reflections in the spectrum from the French Graves space radar. 
  • Radio Clocks: Receive and decode accurate time from radio clocks such as MSF, DCF77, TDF and WWVB.
  • APRS: Decode APRS data, and plot APRS locations and moving APRS enabled vehicles on a map with speed plot.
  • Pagers: Decode POCSAG pagers
  • APRS/AX.25 Satellite: Decode APRS messages from the ISS and NO-84 satellites, via the built in decoder and satellite tracker.
  • Channel Analyzer: Analyze signals in the frequency and time domains
  • QSO Digital and Analog Voice: Decode digital and analog voice. Digital voice handled by the built in DSD demodulator, and includes DMR, dPMR and D-Star.
  • Beacons: Monitor propagation via amateur radio beacons, and plot them on a map.

We note that the video doesn't show the following additional features such as an analog TV decoder, the SDRAngel "ChirpChat" text mode, a FreeDV decoder and several other features.

Lightweight Windows Software uSDR Updated to Version 1.4.0

Back in July we posted about the release of Viol Tailor's "uSDR" software, which is a lightweight general purpose multimode program for Windows which supports the RTL-SDR, Airspy, BladeRF, HackRF and LimeSDR radios. Recently Viol has updated the software to V1.4.0. The new release brings SDRplay support, and various performance and GUI improvements listed below.

The software can be downloaded from SourceForce.

  • customizable tool panel behavior (fixed, floating, undocked)
  • SDRPlay frontend support (API v.2.13)
  • RTL-TCP streaming interface support, presets quick switch (server, port, description)
  • high precision Wav IQ file play back
  • support RIFF 8, 16, 24 and 32 bits integer, 32 bits float, FR64 file formats for playback
  • recognize Wav IQ file central frequency for play back
  • frequency offset (shift) for x-verters
  • swap IQ (invert spectrum) option
  • improved FFT spectrum calculation and visualization
  • waterfall color map range may be changed manually on the spectrum window as well as on tool panel, also included the auto scale option
  • color map palette can be customized and fast switched, palette presets are included
  • FIFO buffer size (IQ history time) may be changed on the fly, all memory allocations are under hood, no losses of previously stored history 
  • pass band may be attachment to global frequency as well as to local baseband frequency or to screen position
  • squelched threshold control and level indicator for demodulation (in addition to adjustable spectrum threshold detector)
  • stereo FM demodulator
  • low latency audio
  • frequency manager, groups and interactive markers, visualize, edit, navigate, tune the pass band
  • spectrum and waterfall popup menus
  • improved GUI controls
  • "fine tune" option: set pass band to rounded frequency (spectrum right click)
  • statistics visualization window
uSDR aka microSDR. A lightweight SDR receiver program from Windows.

uSDR: A Lightweight Multimode SDR Receiver Program for Windows

Thank you to Viol Tailor for submitting news about the release of his general purpose multimode software defined radio receiver program for Windows called "uSDR" or "microSDR". Viol writes that uSDR is designed as a lightweight binary with a simple and compact user interface and highly optimized DSP to minimize CPU, hence the "micro" part of the name.

The software is compatible with RTL-SDR, Airspy, BladeRF, HackRF and LimeSDR radios. It has features including demodulation, base band and pass band recording, playback, and spectrum and waterfall visualizations.

uSDR aka microSDR. A lightweight SDR receiver program from Windows.

DragonOS: BladeRF-wiphy Demonstration

Recently we posted about bladeRF-wiphy which is open source code that can turn a bladeRF software defined radio into a software defined WiFi access point. The bladeRF 2.0 is a relatively low cost SDR which costs $420 for the low end version. It is capable of both transmit and receive (2x2 MIMO) with a 47 MHz to 6 GHz frequency range and 61.44 MHz sampling rate.

Over on YouTube Aaron who created DragonOS has uploaded a video demonstrating bladeRF-wiphy in action. He writes:

This video demonstrates Nuand’s new open source 802.11 modem/FPGA available for the bladeRFxA9. Everything will be Pre included in DragonOS Focal to setup an open AP and hopefully whatever’s required for use within Kismet.

Minor configuration is needed for the open AP, while Kismet integration should be pretty straight forward.

This is an awesome addition to the bladeRF and I look forward to seeing what else is possible with this new open source 802.11 compatible modem!

DragonOS Focal BladeRF-wiphy w/ Open Wi-Fi AP and Splash page (bladeRFxA9)

bladeRF-wiphy: Open Source WiFi Access Point on a BladeRF

Back in August 2020 we posted about OpenWiFi , an open source implementation of the full IEEE802.11/Wi-Fi stack for FPGA and SDR combo board. Recently the team at Nuand have released their own WiFi implementation called "bladeRF-wiphy" for their bladeRF 2.0 software defined radio. The code is implemented in VHDL, which runs directly on the bladeRF's on board micro xA9 FPGA.

The bladeRF-wiphy project is an open-source IEEE 802.11 compatible software defined radio VHDL modem. The modem is able to modulate and demodulate 802.11 packets (the protocol WiFi is based on), and run directly on the bladeRF 2.0 micro xA9’s FPGA.

The bladeRF-wiphy coupled with Linux mac80211 allows the bladeRF 2.0 micro xA9 to become a software defined radio 802.11 access point! 802.11 packets (PDUs) are modulated and demodulated directly on the FPGA, so only 802.11 packets are transferred between the FPGA and libbladeRF.