OpenWebRX was first developed by Andras Retzler and is and open source program that allows users to make RTL-SDRs, KiwiSDRs and other SDRs accessible over the internet via a web browser. Recently the OpenWebRX public directory at SDR.hu, also run by Andras, has been closed. In the past we've posted about Andras' decision to move on from OpenWebRX and how sdr.hu went from public access to requiring an amateur radio callsign to access. Now Andras has decided to take the final step and close sdr.hu for good. The sdr.hu website now reads:
The SDR.hu project has been finished
I'd like to say a big thanks to everyone who joined my journey with this project!
I hope you had a good time listening on the site, and learnt some things about SDR. The purpose of this site was to provide a technological demonstration for amateur radio operators about Software Defined Radio, and I hope this goal has been reached. As this website was a one-person hobby project, with my tasks and responsibilities growing, and my focus moving to other projects at which I hope to make a greater positive impact, I'm unable to further develop SDR.hu and protect it from abuse.
Furthermore, I think this site has some good alternatives now. Nevertheless, in my opinion amateur radio receivers should be shared with strict access control in the future.
If you have more questions, feel free to consult the FAQ.
We want to note that although KiwiSDR makes use of OpenWebRX, the KiwiSDR project is not affected by this closure as they use a custom fork of OpenWebRX, and there is an official KiwiSDR directory at kiwisdr.com/public, a map version at map.kiwisdr.com, and an SNR score directory at snr.kiwisdr.com. Unfortunately the one major drawback is that these directories do not list public RTL-SDRs or other SDRs running OpenWebRX as only sdr.hu did that.
The PineTab is an upcoming $100 open source Ubuntu Linux Tablet being created by PINE who are known for their low cost Pine64 single board computers, Pinebook Laptop and Linux based PinePhone. The PineTab is not yet for sale, and they have just announced their intention to begin taking pre-orders in late May, and that the first production run will be a limited quantity pilot production intended only for early adopters.
What's interesting about the PineTab is that they are advertising that they are working on expansion options, with one expansion module being an RTL-SDR. It seems that the expansion module will allow cards to be inserted internally, keeping everything tidy on the outside. Apart from the RTL-SDR, they will also offer LoRa, LTE (with GPS) and sata SSD add on cards.
The standard specs of the PineTab are shown below:
Allwinner A64 Quad Core SOC with Mali 400 MP2 GPU
2GB LPDDR3 RAM
10″ MiPi 720p Capacitive LCD
Bootable Micro SD Slot
64GB of eMMC
microHDMI port for external HD output
USB 2.0 A host
Micro USB 2.0 OTG
2Mpx front-facing camera
5Mpx rear camera
Optional M.2 slot
Speakers and Microphone
Volume rocker and ‘home’ button
Magnetically attached keyboard (optional)
3.5″ Barrel Power (5V 3A) Port
Multiple expansion boards for LTE, LoRa and SATA SSD
Black Hat is a yearly conference about information security related topics. Whilst not as common as in other RF focused conferences, there are often talks related to software defined radio and RF in general. For example, recently they have uploaded videos of talks from their 2018 event and one talk titled "Screaming Channels: When Electromagnetic Side Channels Meet Radio Transceivers" shows how a HackRF SDR can be used to help break the cryptography of bluetooth AES encryption via RF noise unintentionally emitted by components in the transmitter.
Due to the current global pandemic, the conference organizers have decided that the 2020 conference to be held in Las Vegas during August 1-6 will instead be held virtually. They write:
MAY 8, 2020 We have been continuously reviewing the best ways to serve the information security community over the past few months as the global health situation continues to develop. While we will not be meeting in person, we are moving forward with a plan to transform Black Hat USA into an all-virtual event in order to best serve our community.
We're inspired to adapt Black Hat USA in a virtual format that will be available to our entire global community. Our team is working hard to deliver the same level of high-quality Briefings, Trainings and Business Hall programs that Black Hat attendees have come to expect every year.
We believe in the power of gathering our community to share, inspire, and strengthen our industry and are committed to providing that opportunity in August. We look forward to sharing more information about Black Hat’s virtual event soon.
Just a note that our RTL-SDR Blog V3 units and antennas are now back in stock at Amazon.com with local US stock. There were a few manufacturing and shipping delays related to COVID-19 so they had been out of stock for a couple of months. Currently they are being fulfilled via our partners based in Chicago, and all orders will ship out within 2-business days via USPS First Class. We will look at replenishing the the Amazon Prime warehouses in a few weeks and at the moment we are only shipping to US customers from Amazon. US customers can also order directly from our store at www.rtl-sdr.com/store and this will result in the shipping fee being waived.
If you are based elsewhere in the world, please order directly from our store at www.rtl-sdr.com/store which ships non-US orders direct from our warehouse in China. Alternatively some countries might benefit from our Aliexpress store, which can now utilize the reliable Aliexpress Standard Shipping line.
Our RTL-SDR Blog V3 is an improved RTL-SDR dongle. It includes features like a TCXO, SMA port, software switchable bias tee, built in HF direct sampling mod, aluminum enclosure, improved ESD protection, improved cooling via thermal pad and many other design improvements. The kit comes with a multipurpose dipole antenna which is extremely versatile. It can be used as a standard vertical dipole for terrestrial signals, or can be mounted horizontally in a V-Dipole configuration for NOAA/Meteor LEO weather satellites. It's also easy to mount outdoors through a window for best reception with two mounting solutions included.
The yearly GNU Radio Conference (GRCon) is a conference all about the development of GNU Radio and projects based on GNU Radio. GNU Radio is an open source digital signal processing (DSP) toolkit which is often used in cutting edge radio applications and research to implement decoders, demodulators and various other SDR algorithms.
This years 2020 GNU Conference is to be the 10th one ever held and was supposed to take place in Charlotte, NC. However due to the ongoing pandemic the organizers have now decided that it will be held entirely online this year. The starting date is September 14 and the talks and events will probably run for several days. All talks will be streamed for free, however, registering for US$50 will get you access to the live workshops and other events.
There is a great line up of keynote speakers, and if you have a talk that you'd like to submit, submissions are now open. For ideas on what GNU Radio talks are like, you can see full recordings from previous GNU Radio conferences on their YouTube channel playlists.
GNU Radio Conference (GRCon) is the annual conference for the GNU Radio project & community, and has established itself as one of the premier industry events for Software Radio. It is a week-long conference that includes high-quality technical content and valuable networking opportunities. GRCon is a venue that highlights design, implementation, and theory that has been practically applied in a useful way. GRCon attendees come from a large variety of backgrounds, including industry, academia, government, and hobbyists.
GRCon20 will be held starting September 14, 2020 online as a virtual event. The organizing team is hard at work to create a fun and interactive experience.
Our keynote speakers include: Becky Schoenfeld W1BXY, managing editor of QST magazine, Oona Räisänen [ windytan ] hacker of signals and computer programmer, and Jim St. Leger, Director Open Source, Intel.
With an annual program that has broad appeal, GRCon attracts people new to Software Radio just looking to learn more, experts that want to keep their finger on the pulse & direction of the industry, and seasoned developers ready to show off their latest work.
We've received a few notices that the NanoVNA V2 design that we've been following since last year is now available for sale on eBay and Tindie (or Taobao if you live in China). The original official sales appear to have been from Tindie, where it is priced at $58.25 + shipping, although it is now out of stock. On eBay resellers are selling it for up to $150. If you're interested in purchasing the V2 we recommend entering your email into the Tindie form as they will notify you when it's back in stock. Initial reviews posted on the Tindie store indicate that the unit has excellent performance for the price so we expect that it will be popular enough to manufacture many more in the future.
The original NanoVNA brought expensive Vector Network Analyzer (VNA) capabilities to the masses with it's low $40 pricing. A VNA is an extremely useful tool for radio hobbyists as it allows you to tune antennas, filters and measure cable loss among other applications. However, the original design was limited to only a frequency of 900 MHz maximum. The new design pushes this up to 3 GHz official, and unofficially up to 4.4 GHz whilst also improving dynamic range and maintaining the low price point.
The description and specs of the NanoVNA V2 are shown below:
3GHz second generation NanoVNA vector network analyzer, designed in collaboration with OwOComm.
Note: Micro USB cable not included. Fully assembled, without enclosure. Ships within 5 business days.
AFEDRI have recently begun shipping their new software defined radio called the "LAN-IQ". The LAN-IQ is a full standalone SDR with good advertised specifications and a very decent price of only US$339. The advertised specs from the Afedri LAN-IQ website are pasted below:
Ordering of the LAN-IQ is done via email only, and the email address can be obtained at the end of their ordering page. They accept PayPal, and shipping costs anywhere from $18 - $32 depending on the country. Also regarding shipping they note that deliveries may be delayed due to COVID-19 which is of course the case for every global delivery right now.
From the SWLing Post blog post we've also learned of a short demonstration video created by Fenu-Radio which is shown below. We are also awaiting his full review which will be posted on fenu-radio.ch.
In a second video Fenu-Radio compares the LAN-IQ against the Malahit-DSP which is another similar low cost standalone SDR which we posted about back in November 2019.
SDRplay have recently released an update on how the Coronavirus is impacting their supply lines. In short, they note that their fulfillment is currently normal, but there may be delays in the logistics distribution network. In terms of stock levels, they have enough to cover a few more weeks of normal buying, but beyond that the supply chain is not certain and there may be restocking delays.
We have been fortunate that our suppliers have been able to source the components needed to fulfil our current backlog commitments. In particular the demand for the new RSPdx exceeded our expectations, and that has caused shortages up until now.
However we now have enough product available to continue supply of all three SDRplay production RSPs for a few more weeks at traditional buying levels. Beyond that, we will be dependent on our subcontract manufacturing partners’ ability to source components. As the coronavirus situation unfolds it is likely that restocking will take significantly longer than usual and we are working with both suppliers and our distributors to do our best to plan for the uncertain future.
Meanwhile, regarding orders placed in the next week or so, SDRplay and its fulfilment centres are currently working as normal, BUT please be aware that logistical delays in the distribution network are likely – so please be patient if your shipment takes longer than expected.
We’d also like to take the opportunity to send our best wishes to all our customers and their friends and families as this emergency situation develops.