Category: SDRplay

SDRplay Spectrum Analyzer Software Updated to V1.0a

Steve Andrew, the author of the SDRplay Spectrum Analyzer software has recently released an update which enables several new features. This software allows you to use SDRplay SDRs to scan a wide swath of bandwidth by rapidly scanning in 10 MHz (or less) chunks over the SDRplay's frequency range. The SDRplay team write:

We are pleased to announce the availability of V1.0a of the Spectrum Analyser software developed by Steve Andrew specifically for the RSP line of products. This is a very-much upgraded version of the original alpha release and includes many new features as well as removing the limitations imposed on the previous version. New features include multiple traces, a versatile marker system with maths, peak find and display functions, Zero or non-Zero IF options and an upgraded tracking generator system. Currently support are: 

RSP1
RSP2/RSP2pro
RSP1A
RSPduo (single tuner mode)

SDRplay Spectrum Analyzer
SDRplay Spectrum Analyzer

Building a Transmit/Receive Relay System for a “Boat Anchor” Transmitter and SDRplay

Over on YouTube user ElPaso TubeAmps has uploaded a video showing his transit/receiver relay system that allows a "boat anchor" (old radio) ham radio transmitter and SDRplay SDR receiver to coexist. In order to protect the SDRplay's front end from being destroyed by a ham radio transmitting on the same antenna, a relay should be used to ground the SDRplay during a ham radio transmission. He writes:

How to build a small chassis and relay system to switch the antenna from the SDR input to ground and open the speaker connection from the PC to the speakers during transmit. I use "boat anchor", i.e. separate VFO for transmitter and receiver equipment and this video is about that type of connection and is not for transceivers.

SDRPlay, RTL-SDR, Transmit-Receive , PC Speaker, T/R Switch

SDRplay Release SDRUno V1.3 – Now with Frequency Scanning Feature

SDRplay have just released a major upgrade to SDRUno, the official software for SDRplay RSP software defined radios. Along with various bug fixes, the most interesting new feature in version 1.3 is the frequency scanner. This allows SDRuno to automatically tune to active signals between a set frequency range. SDRplay writes:

Major new features include:

Frequency Scanning (for both frequency ranges and stored memory panel lists)

I/Q → Audio Output (for CW Skimmer for example)

A new configurable IF AGC scheme

For a full list of additions/changes and bug fixes, please see the release notes at: https://www.sdrplay.com/docs/SDRplay_SDRuno_Release_Notes.pdf

This release of SDRuno uses a new version of the Windows Service based API (3.02) and so users that also used other applications such as dump1090 and HDSDR with the previous version of the Windows Service based API (3.01) will need to download and install the latest versions of API, dump1090 and the ExtIO plugin from our website at https://www.sdrplay.com/downloads

We have produced two new video guides which describe the use of the Frequency Scanner and I/Q Output functions. Links to these videos along with many others can be found by going to the SDRplay Applications and support catalogue on https://www.sdrplay.com/apps-catalogue/  , and on our Youtube Channel on https://www.youtube.com/c/SDRplayRSP

However, the two new videos can be viewed directly by going to:  

https://youtu.be/ndMWIK1JLbQ (New Features in SDRuno 1.3 - Scanning and AGC)

https://youtu.be/w_pH56aOdE0   (SDRuno IQ output and CW Skimmer guide)

Using the new integrated SDRuno Frequency Scanner:   https://youtu.be/ndMWIK1JLbQ (This video also covers the new IF AGC scheme)

Using SDRuno with CW Skimmer via the I/Q Output function:  https://youtu.be/w_pH56aOdE0

The ExtIO version of SDRuno can still be downloaded from our downloads page and is included in the SDRuno 1.22 release. Make sure to install it in a different directory to 1.3 otherwise it will stop 1.3 from working.

For any questions  or help regarding this new release, please contact SDRplay support via our dedicated support system at: https://www.sdrplay.com/support

For any other suggestions, please email [email protected]

Finally, we recommend that all users join our community forum where there is a wealth of knowledge and help available for using our products and software in a wide range of applications and circumstances. This forum can be found at: https://www.sdrplay.com/community

New Features in SDRuno 1.3: Scanning and AGC

Photos of the MSi.SDR Dongle: A New SDRplay RSP1 Clone

Thank you to reader Mikael for writing in and letting us know that over on Aliexpress a new clone of the SDRplay RSP1 has been starting to show up. The sellers are terming it as the "MSi.SDR" in reference to that fact that it uses the Mirics MSi chips, which are the same chips used in all SDRplay SDRs. Currently the MSi.SDR is selling for about US$65 on Aliexpress.

In the past we've seen other SDRplay clones but this is the first version in a dongle format, and the first time that it is actually priced cheaper than the original. SDRplay and Mirics are owned by the same people, and Mirics note that they have not distributed any chips in over 5 years, so it a mystery as to why there are suddenly a lot of unauthorized Mirics chips available on the Chinese market. It is unclear if SDRplay will be able to enforce their IP rights in China, but it seems unlikely.

Mikael has provided some good photos of the PCB from the version he received which we show below. It appears to be similar to the RSP1, so it is missing the new features and filtering improvements of the newer RSP1A. When connected to a PC it shows up as an RSP1, so all compatible SDRplay software including SDRuno and HDSDR with the official SDRplay EXTIO should function with it.

Mikael writes:

I have seen this sdr on various China sites for quite some time and lately on ebay as well, I was kind of sure it was a rsp1 in a new pcb layout as it claimed it to be 10khz to 2Ghz with a 10Mhz bw and 12 bit resolution and containing an msi chipset with a 0,5ppm tcxo.

I ordered one two weeks ago from aliexpress for about 67$ incl postage and got it in the mail today, it was delivered with a micro usb cable and a magnetic telescope antenna with an about 2m coax cord.

pluged it in and watched the device manager, as I have a rsp1a and a rsp2 I already had the drivers loaded for those, and sure, it was identified as an rsp1, so I did a quick test and and started hdsdr and and selected the extio.dll for the rsp1, it started up as it should and it behaves just as a rsp1, did a quick tunearound in the 3,5 and 7Mhz band and it was working well, have not done any in depth analys yest, will examine the pcb to see if there is any kind of filtering in there.

In an upcoming post we plan to compare the various SDRplay and Airspy clones available on the market with the originals.

IMG_20190305_200819
IMG_20190305_193815
IMG_20190305_193829
IMG_20190305_194128
2019-03-05-20_01_21-Window
2019-03-05-20_05_26-Window
IMG_20190305_184622
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SDRplay Spectrum Analyzer Software Updated to V1.0a

Steve Andrew, the author of the SDRplay Spectrum Analyzer software has recently released an update which enables several new features. This software allows you to use SDRplay SDRs to scan a wide swath of bandwidth by rapidly scanning in 10 MHz (or less) chunks over the SDRplay's frequency range. The SDRplay team write:

We are pleased to announce the availability of V1.0a of the Spectrum Analyser software developed by Steve Andrew specifically for the RSP line of products. This is a very-much upgraded version of the original alpha release and includes many new features as well as removing the limitations imposed on the previous version. New features include multiple traces, a versatile marker system with maths, peak find and display functions, Zero or non-Zero IF options and an upgraded tracking generator system. Currently support are: 

RSP1
RSP2/RSP2pro
RSP1A
RSPduo (single tuner mode)

SDRplay Spectrum Analyzer
SDRplay Spectrum Analyzer

Building a Transmit/Receive Relay System for a “Boat Anchor” Transmitter and SDRplay

Over on YouTube user ElPaso TubeAmps has uploaded a video showing his transit/receiver relay system that allows a "boat anchor" (old radio) ham radio transmitter and SDRplay SDR receiver to coexist. In order to protect the SDRplay's front end from being destroyed by a ham radio transmitting on the same antenna, a relay should be used to ground the SDRplay during a ham radio transmission. He writes:

How to build a small chassis and relay system to switch the antenna from the SDR input to ground and open the speaker connection from the PC to the speakers during transmit. I use "boat anchor", i.e. separate VFO for transmitter and receiver equipment and this video is about that type of connection and is not for transceivers.

SDRPlay, RTL-SDR, Transmit-Receive , PC Speaker, T/R Switch

SDRplay Release SDRUno V1.3 – Now with Frequency Scanning Feature

SDRplay have just released a major upgrade to SDRUno, the official software for SDRplay RSP software defined radios. Along with various bug fixes, the most interesting new feature in version 1.3 is the frequency scanner. This allows SDRuno to automatically tune to active signals between a set frequency range. SDRplay writes:

Major new features include:

Frequency Scanning (for both frequency ranges and stored memory panel lists)

I/Q → Audio Output (for CW Skimmer for example)

A new configurable IF AGC scheme

For a full list of additions/changes and bug fixes, please see the release notes at: https://www.sdrplay.com/docs/SDRplay_SDRuno_Release_Notes.pdf

This release of SDRuno uses a new version of the Windows Service based API (3.02) and so users that also used other applications such as dump1090 and HDSDR with the previous version of the Windows Service based API (3.01) will need to download and install the latest versions of API, dump1090 and the ExtIO plugin from our website at https://www.sdrplay.com/downloads

We have produced two new video guides which describe the use of the Frequency Scanner and I/Q Output functions. Links to these videos along with many others can be found by going to the SDRplay Applications and support catalogue on https://www.sdrplay.com/apps-catalogue/  , and on our Youtube Channel on https://www.youtube.com/c/SDRplayRSP

However, the two new videos can be viewed directly by going to:  

https://youtu.be/ndMWIK1JLbQ (New Features in SDRuno 1.3 - Scanning and AGC)

https://youtu.be/w_pH56aOdE0   (SDRuno IQ output and CW Skimmer guide)

Using the new integrated SDRuno Frequency Scanner:   https://youtu.be/ndMWIK1JLbQ (This video also covers the new IF AGC scheme)

Using SDRuno with CW Skimmer via the I/Q Output function:  https://youtu.be/w_pH56aOdE0

The ExtIO version of SDRuno can still be downloaded from our downloads page and is included in the SDRuno 1.22 release. Make sure to install it in a different directory to 1.3 otherwise it will stop 1.3 from working.

For any questions  or help regarding this new release, please contact SDRplay support via our dedicated support system at: https://www.sdrplay.com/support

For any other suggestions, please email [email protected]

Finally, we recommend that all users join our community forum where there is a wealth of knowledge and help available for using our products and software in a wide range of applications and circumstances. This forum can be found at: https://www.sdrplay.com/community

New Features in SDRuno 1.3: Scanning and AGC

Photos of the MSi.SDR Dongle: A New SDRplay RSP1 Clone

Thank you to reader Mikael for writing in and letting us know that over on Aliexpress a new clone of the SDRplay RSP1 has been starting to show up. The sellers are terming it as the "MSi.SDR" in reference to that fact that it uses the Mirics MSi chips, which are the same chips used in all SDRplay SDRs. Currently the MSi.SDR is selling for about US$65 on Aliexpress.

In the past we've seen other SDRplay clones but this is the first version in a dongle format, and the first time that it is actually priced cheaper than the original. SDRplay and Mirics are owned by the same people, and Mirics note that they have not distributed any chips in over 5 years, so it a mystery as to why there are suddenly a lot of unauthorized Mirics chips available on the Chinese market. It is unclear if SDRplay will be able to enforce their IP rights in China, but it seems unlikely.

Mikael has provided some good photos of the PCB from the version he received which we show below. It appears to be similar to the RSP1, so it is missing the new features and filtering improvements of the newer RSP1A. When connected to a PC it shows up as an RSP1, so all compatible SDRplay software including SDRuno and HDSDR with the official SDRplay EXTIO should function with it.

Mikael writes:

I have seen this sdr on various China sites for quite some time and lately on ebay as well, I was kind of sure it was a rsp1 in a new pcb layout as it claimed it to be 10khz to 2Ghz with a 10Mhz bw and 12 bit resolution and containing an msi chipset with a 0,5ppm tcxo.

I ordered one two weeks ago from aliexpress for about 67$ incl postage and got it in the mail today, it was delivered with a micro usb cable and a magnetic telescope antenna with an about 2m coax cord.

pluged it in and watched the device manager, as I have a rsp1a and a rsp2 I already had the drivers loaded for those, and sure, it was identified as an rsp1, so I did a quick test and and started hdsdr and and selected the extio.dll for the rsp1, it started up as it should and it behaves just as a rsp1, did a quick tunearound in the 3,5 and 7Mhz band and it was working well, have not done any in depth analys yest, will examine the pcb to see if there is any kind of filtering in there.

In an upcoming post we plan to compare the various SDRplay and Airspy clones available on the market with the originals.

IMG_20190305_200819
IMG_20190305_193815
IMG_20190305_193829
IMG_20190305_194128
2019-03-05-20_01_21-Window
2019-03-05-20_05_26-Window
IMG_20190305_184622
Loading image... Loading image... Loading image... Loading image... Loading image... Loading image... Loading image...

Testing an SDRplay RSPduo with Bonito Active Loop Antennas

Bonito is a company that sells various active dipole and loop antennas for ham radio and DX applications. Recently they decided to test their MegaLoop FX and MegaDipol MD3000DX antennas on an SDRplay RSPduo, and compare it against a higher end WinRadio. Bonito found that the RSPduo performed well on the weaker longwave stations, but the Winradio outperformed it on the stronger ones. The differences were due to the better dynamic range of the Winradio.

The article goes on to make some recommendations for using their antennas on the RSPduo. They write that if intermodulation due to very strong signals occurs, there are some fixes that can be applied on their antennas to desensitize them and prevent overload. With the loop, a smaller loop size should be used, and the gain selector should be set to medium or min. With the dipole, they note that shortening the elements, and using it in an L-configuration with the lower radiator pointing towards the interfering signals can be used to attenuate them out. This works because a dipole configured in a L shape provides a bit of directionality.

The article also notes how grounding, very good coax shielding, good quality USB cables and galvanic isolation are all very important for reducing noise.

Bonito RSPduo Antenna Test Setup
Bonito RSPduo Antenna Test Setup

rsp_tcp: An rtl_tcp compatible IQ Server for SDRplay SDRs

The SDRplay team have released an updated version of a program called "rsp_tcp" (originally written by F4FHH Nicholas). This is a streaming IQ server for SDRplay devices, which is directly ported from the original rtl_tcp code that was designed for RTL-SDRs. The rsp_tcp code is fully compatible with the rtl_tcp protocol, so this should allow almost any software that accepts an rtl_tcp stream as an input to use an SDRplay device as the SDR hardware instead of an RTL-SDR.

The downside to using this server is that in order to be compatible with the standard rtl_tcp protocol, the software will downgrade the RSP data stream from 14-bits to 8-bits only, thus forfeiting the RSP's greater dynamic range. However, if a custom ExtIO plugin is used on the client software, then the full 14-bits can be restored.

On their forums the SDRplay team write:

This software is based on a fork of F4FHH’s version of RTL TCP Server. It has been updated to support the RSP features, but also contains an extended mode. The extended mode allows the client (via a compatible interface) to fully control all aspects of the RSPs, including notch filters, Bias-T enable and switching ports (where applicable)

The user guide for the server software can be found on our downloads page and also here: https://www.sdrplay.com/docs/SDRplay_RS ... _Guide.pdf

We have provided binaries for Windows, Mac and RPi on our downloads page and the source code for all platforms can be found on our GitHub repository: https://github.com/SDRplay/RSPTCPServer

To utilise the extended mode, extra commands need to be sent from the client. We have provided an example of this in the form of an ExtIO plugin. You can find the Windows dll on our downloads page and the source code for the plugin on our GitHub repository: https://github.com/SDRplay/ExtIO_RSP_TCP

In standard mode, the server will be compatible with any RTL server client.

The team also note that they have updated their Raspberry Pi SD card to include the server.

XRIT Decoder Updated: Improved Image Quality and IR Enhancements

USA-Satcom is the programmer of XRIT Decoder, which is a popular (paid) Windows decoding application for GOES weather satellites. With a WiFi grid dish antenna, LNA and SDRplay, Airspy or even an RTL-SDR, high resolution full disk images of the earth can be downloaded from these geosynchronous satellites. Browse through our previous GOES posts for ideas and various tutorials about setting up a receiver.

Recently, XRIT decoder has been updated and now has improved image quality and an antenna alignment helper tool. A further update also adds improved processing for IR images. Over on the SDRplay forums RSP2user has been testing the updates and writes:

USA- Satcom has just released version 1.4.6985 of the XRIT Decoder software package. New features include:

1) Improved image clarity.

2) An antenna Align Mode feature.
3) And a Viterbi and Eb/No (Energy per Bit to Noise Power Spectral Density Ratio akanormalized SNR) graph over time feature. 

The improved image clarity reduces image artifacts at the Earth-space boundary of the image and improves the overall aesthetics of the colorization of the full disk images. The images are quite amazing. The resolution is far better than what can be shown here due to image size limitations for this site. Below is a full disk GOES 16 image from February 17, 2019 and a corresponding zoomed in portion to get an idea of the resolution and clarity (the actual full disk images are approximately 40MB PNG images each which are much greater resolution than the below image)

The antenna Align Mode is a great new feature that allows users to view the Signal Quality, Viterbi FEC, and Eb/No from a distance using large numeric values. This mode enables users to better view these values when fine tuning adjustments to GOES receiving antennas. The Eb/No and Viterbi graphing enables users to see how well their receiving system is doing throughout the day (e.g., over temperature and while the sun is in alignment with the receiving path).

GOES 16 Received by RSP2User
GOES 16 Received by RSP2User

More updates from USA-Satcom to the XRIT Decoder software with a new patch from today. The XRIT file manager now provides IR image enhancements for GOES Bands 8 and 13. Here are some examples:

G16 CH13 & G16 Band8 Enhancements . Images received by RSP2user.
G16 CH13 & G16 Band8 Enhancements . Images received by RSP2user.

See the post on the SDRplay forums for further details, higher res images and the full update history.

Video Showing How to Decode Meteor M2 with an SDRPlay in Windows

Thanks to "Lolo sdr" for submitting his videos that show his process for receiving and decoding Meteor M2 weather satellite images in Windows with an SDRplay and SDR-Console V3. Since the SDRplay is not supported by SDR#, it is not possible to use Vasilli's excellent Meteor Demodulator plugin (site in Russian, please use the Google Translate option) which is only available for SDR#.

Lolo's method gets around this limitation by initially recording an IQ file of the satellite pass in SDR-Console V3, then opening that IQ file in SDR# via the Fileplayer plugin, which is also by Vasilli and available here. The process is a bit of extra work, and the image isn't live, but the image comes out clearly in the end.

The videos are shown below, and subtitles are available in English, French and Italian via the YouTube player options.

Recibir y decodificar Satélite Meteor M2 con SDRplay, parte 1 de 2, grabar el pase, con subtitulos.

Recibir y decodificar Satélite Meteor M2 con SDRplay, parte 2 de 2, decodificar imagen y corrección.