Thank you to RTL-SDR.COM reader Aaron, who recently found a Kraken-to-TAK converter made by "SignalMedic" and "dngrssgnls" which converts the KrakenSDR bearing output data to "Cursor on Target" (COT) or XML format, allowing common TAK interfaces to read and display the data. Currently the converter allows a line of bearing to be displayed in a TAK app, with arbitrary length. The converter consists of a single json file for Node Red. The GitHub readme reads:
Convert data from a Kraken SDR to TAK endpoints
The software will parse information collected by Kraken, convert to COT and XML and send to common TAK interfaces. The length of the line is arbitrary. The line is 6km long, but has no correlation besides bearing to the transmitter. Intersecting bearing lines are necessary for determining the geolocation of a transmitter.
Planned improvements include:
Button for persisting the current line and generating a new UID
Work on filtering out by DOA Angle node
Dashboard for easier updating of Kraken and TAK endpoints
We note that most TAK apps may be a little limited for direction finding purposes as they cannot calculate bearing intersections over time, or calculate a bearing grid like the KrakenSDR Android app, and KrakenSDR online web mapper does. However, often a single line of bearing is enough information, especially if there are multiple distributed units contributing bearing data.
If you weren't already aware, KrakenSDR is our 5-channel coherent radio based on RTL-SDRs, and it can be used for applications like radio direction finding. It can be purchased on Crowd Supply.
TAK (Tactical Assault Kit) is software used by the military and other organizations for visualizing geospatial information such as enemy and friendly positions. Civilian versions of TAK also exist, such as ATAK for Android. Previously we posted about how ATAK has the ability to plot aircraft positions via an RTL-SDR receiving ADS-B.
Thank you to SDR++ developer Ryzerth who has let us know that RTL-SDR Blog V4 support has recently been added to the nightly build of the APK. With this release, Android is now fully supported by the RTL-SDR Blog V4 via Martin Marinov's SDR Driver app (which many SDR applications connect to), SDRAngel and now SDR++.
A reminder: With SDR++ you may find that you will need to close (using the task manager on Android) and reopen the app a couple of times before it will detect an RTL-SDR dongle.
In our last post we mentioned that a 'pre-release' public version of SDR++ for Android was recently released. Now over on the SignalsEverywhere YouTube channel Sarah has uploaded a new video where she reviews and demonstrates the new SDR++ Android App.
In the video Sarah demonstrates how to connect and start a SDR, shows SDR++ in action, then tests listening to NOAA weather audio reports, Inmarsat reception via the bias tee support, P25 and broadcast FM. She also shows how it's possible to use the split screen multitasking feature on Android to send audio from SDR++ into APRSdroid for APRS decoding.
She goes on to show how to fine tune the screen PPI resolution for different sized devices, and how to set up multi-VFO listening on the HF bands. Next, she compares the audio decoding quality between SDR++, SDRTouch and RFAnalyzer. Finally she shows that a HackRF running at a wideband 20 MHz of bandwidth can run smoothly.
SDR++ is an open source program compatible with most software defined radios including the RTL-SDR that has been going through rapid development making it now one of the top software choices.
Yesterday a public 'pre-release' Android version of SDR++ was made available for download. The release is announced as a 'pre-release' due to various bugs still existing. However, we note that we have been testing a private release for the past few weeks, and we can say that it is working great most of the time. The Android App replicates most of the desktop experience perfectly, and it operates very smoothly on most modern devices.
The author Alexandre Rouma writes:
I'm happy to release the first public pre-release of SDR++ for android. It's still quite early and has a few bugs and quirks that you might run into:
SDR MUST be plugged in before starting SDR++ and you MUST press refresh in the SDR source you're using before pressing play if you first plugged in the SDR or unplugged/replugged, otherwise expect a crash. The USB handling still needs some work.
There are still a few UI glitches
There is no easy way to select a path for recording or file for playback
The audio sink on Android may have higher latency
All menus sometimes close when app goes in the background.
Resizing the menu and/or waterfall is kinda fiddly, be precise when trying to grab the resize bar!!!
At some size menu sizes, the app crashes. If this happens, start in landscape
On Samsung devices, the keyboard doesn't always work for some obscure reason...
Since phones usually have a high screen resolution, set the DPI scaling in the Display menu or you'll have a hard time using the app.
Current Device/Protocol Support:
PlutoSDR (network only)
In any case, I'd love to get some feedback on it, so feel free to try it out and let me know!
On the Google Play store developer Knowle Consultants have recently released a new free application called "FM Radio (RTL-SDR)". This is a simple app that allows you to use a connected or remotely networked RTL-SDR to tune into preset broadcast FM stations. People wishing to use an Android enabled head unit in their car may be interested in the app as it makes tuning into broadcast FM stations easy just like it is on a standard radio.
They also have a similar app called "Airband Radio (RTL-SDR)" which provides a similar simple interface for tuning into airband presets.
The company ebcTech who makes AIS Share for Android has recently come out with a new app which is an Android App version of Dump1090. Dump1090 is a popular command line based ADS-B decoder for RTL-SDR dongles which allows you to receive and plot the locations of nearby aircraft on a map.
The app directly accesses the RTL-SDR via a USB OTG connection and provides a list of aircraft with planespotters.net image lookup, and a Google map display. The app is free however there is a message limit on received aircraft which can be unlocked via a low cost in-app purchase.
The author also wrote in and wanted to make a note about a special feature "In the app you can add Airport layers – This consist now 4480 Airports – most of them with corresponding homepage address / or Wikipedia link."
We recently came across the LibreCellular project which is aiming to make it easy to implement 4G cellular networks with open source software and low cost SDRs. The project appears to be in the early stages, and seems to be focusing on deploying and modifying existing open source 4G basestation software known as srsRAN which will be used with a particular combination of hardware in order to create a reliable and easy to set up 4G basestation solution.
Thank you to José Carlos Rueda for submitting his project called "a-radio: a web virtual reality radio power spectrum analyzer". The idea behind the project is to first use an RTL-SDR together with rtl_power and heatmap.py to generate a heatmap image of the RF spectrum. This image is then projected into a 3D 360 degree view and hosted on a web server via José's script for the a-frame VR web framework, allowing the heatmap to be viewed with a virtual reality (VR) smartphone headset. José' recommends using a cheap VR headset like Google Cardboard which can be used with your Android smartphone.
José notes that the project is just a proof of concept, but he hopes to inspire future work around the combination of RF and VR.