Tagged: airspy

André shares his QO-100 Ground Station and HF/VHF/UHF Station

Thank you to RTL-SDR.com reader André for submitting and sharing with us his QO-100 ground station setup. The setup also includes antennas and equipment to receive HF and VHF/UHF. His setup can serve as an example of a well set up permanent installation.

André's set up consists of a 1.8 meter prime focus dish, Raspberry Pi 4, GPIO connected relay, Airspy R2, Ham-it-up upconverter, coaxial relay for switching between Mini-Whip and Discone Antenna, and FM bandstop filter and a power terminal rail block. The Airspy R2 is used for HF/UHF/UHF reception and the antennas and upconverter are all controlled via a web connected relay system. All equipment is enclosed in an outdoor rated box, and André notes everything has been working well from temperatures range from -10C to 35C.

Inside the satellite dish feed is housed an Adalm Pluto SDR, and a wideband LNA and a USB to LAN converter with power over Ethernet. A small log periodic Yagi serves as the feed. In order to work the wideband DATV band on Qo-100, André' swaps out this feed for a custom feed and brings the PlutoSDR indoors where it is connected to a 120W Spectran Amplifier and modulator.

For the full writeup of his setup, we have uploaded André's document here.

André's ground station setup for QO-100 and HF/VHF/UHF

OpenWebRX+ Updates: HFDL, ISM Band, FLEX, SELCALL decoders added

Back in March of this year we posted about an OpenWebRX fork called OpenWebRX+, which adds multiple built-in and ready to use decoders such as SSTV, AIS, CW and RTTY. OpenWebRX+ is a fork of the OpenWebRX project which is now officially maintained by DD5JFK.

Since our last post OpenWebRX+ has progressed in development further, and now includes a HFDL decoder via dumphfdl, various ISM band equipment decoders via rtl_433,  FLEX pager decoding via multimon-ng, and a SELCALL decoder has also been added. Many other improvements and changes to the software have also been added, and the full changelog can be viewed here.

OpenWebRX+ is software for Linux. If you want to install OpenWebRX+, an easy path is to use the ready to use Raspberry Pi 4 image available on the releases page, or to use their PPA.

SSTV Image received by the luarvique fork of OpenWebRX. Credit: Neil Howard
SSTV Image received by the luarvique fork of OpenWebRX. Credit: Neil Howard

Airspy 2023 Summer Sale: 15% Off All Airspy Products

Airspy is currently holding their annual summer sale which gives 15% off their line of products until June 25. The sale brings the price of the popular Airspy receiver products down to the following in US dollars (note that actual pricing may vary across local resellers):

  • Airspy R2: $169.00 $143.65
  • Airspy Mini: $99.00 $84.15 
  • Airspy HF+ Discovery: $169.00 $143.65
  • Airspy SpyVerter R2: $49.00 $41.65
  • YouLoop Antenna: $39.95 $33.95

The sale is active at all participating resellers, which includes our own store where we have the YouLoop on sale for US$33.95 including free shipping to most countries in the world. Please note that due to new EU VAT collection laws, EU customers must purchase the discounted YouLoop from our eBay or Aliexpress stores. 

Some good reviews of the YouLoop include the YouTube videos done by Frugal Radio where he reviews HF reception and VLF & LF reception with an Airspy HF+, and later tests it with an RTL-SDR Blog V3 using direct sampling. Techminds also has an excellent review on his YouTube channel. 

 

An OpenWebRX fork with additional built in decoders

Thank you to Stefan for letting us know about a relatively modern OpenWebRX fork by luarvique that comes with additional built in decoders and features, such as SSTV, AIS, CW, RTTY, an MP3 recorder and SSTV image browser.

OpenWebRX is an open source web based SDR receiver program that allows you or others (if you allow them to), to access your SDR over the internet. It is compatible with KiwiSDR, RTL-SDR, Airspy, SDRPlay and many other software defined radio hardware. It was originally developed by Andras Retzler, but since abandoned by him, with a semi-official fork being maintained at openwebrx.de. However, other forks like luarvique can exist that implement a new set of features.

The full set of additions and improvements reads as follows:

This is the package repository for the improved version of the OpenWebRX online SDR. The new and original features available in this version of OpenWebRX:

  • Built-in SSTV decoder with background decoding.
  • Built-in AIS decoder.
  • Built-in CW decoder.
  • Built-in RTTY decoder.
  • Built-in MP3 recorder for received audio.
  • Image browser for received SSTV images.
  • Adjustable noise filtering based on spectral subtraction.
  • Adjustable tuning step.
  • Improved touch screen operation, with panning and zooming.
  • Improved scroll wheel support, with tuning and zooming.
  • Improved tuning in CW mode.
  • Bandpass filter adjustable with scroll wheel.
  • More reliable SDRPlay devices operation.
  • Better map information, with distances.
  • Better APRS map information, with weather.
  • Configurable session timeout, with a policy page.
  • HTTPS protocol support (requires SSL certificate).

The code comes packaged for Ubuntu 22.04 (amd64, arm64) and Debian 11 (amd64 arm64, armhf). There is also a ready to use Pi 4 SD card image available, linked on the GitHub readme. The original forked code can be found at https://github.com/luarvique/openwebrx.

According to discussion over on the OpenWebRX groups.io, the fork also runs on a Pi 3. In the image Neil Howard from the groups.io forum demonstrates an SSTV image he received with an SDRplay clone using the luarvique fork of OpenWebRX.

SSTV Image received by the luarvique fork of OpenWebRX. Credit: Neil Howard
SSTV Image received by the luarvique fork of OpenWebRX. Credit: Neil Howard

Stefan also notes:

The maker of OpenWebRX+ Marek and also the maker of the original version of OpenWebRX Jakob are reachable via a Telegram channel: https://t.me/openwebrx_chat

SDRSharp Big Guide Book Updated to V5.5

Paolo Romani (IZ1MLL) has recently released version 5.5 of his SDRSharp PDF Guide. The book is available for download on the Airspy downloads page, just scroll down to the title "SDR# Big Book" and choose your language. (At the time of this post only English and Italian are available for 5.5, but multiple languages are available for the older guides).

The latest version brings the book up to 214 pages in length, and adds information about the RTL-SDR Blog antenna kit, and new SDR# plugins like ListenInfo.

SDRSharp Big Book V5.5
SDRSharp Big Book V5.5

Airspy and YouLoop Black Friday Sale Now Active: 20% OFF

Airspy is holding their annual Black Friday sale, this year offering 20% off their range of products. The sale is active at all participating resellers, which includes our own store where we have the YouLoop on sale for US$31.96 including free shipping to most countries in the world, instead of the usual US$39.95. Please note that due to EU VAT collection laws, EU customers must purchase the discounted YouLoop from our eBay or Aliexpress stores. 

The YouLoop is a low cost passive loop antenna for HF and VHF. It is based on the Möbius loop design which results in a high degree of noise cancelling. However the main drawback is that it is a non-resonant design, which means that it works best when used with ultra sensitive receivers like the Airspy HF+ Discovery. 

Some good reviews include the YouTube videos done by Frugal Radio where he reviews HF reception and VLF & LF reception with an Airspy HF+, and later tests it with an RTL-SDR Blog V3 using direct sampling. Techminds also has an excellent review on his YouTube channel. We also have a product release overview on this post from March 2020.

During the sale the price of Airspy SDRs and their upconverters are:

  • Airspy R2: $160.00 $135.20
  • Airspy Mini: $99.00 $79.20
  • Airspy HF+ Discovery: $169.00 $135.20
  • Airspy SpyVerter: $49.00 $39.20

SDRSharp Big Guide Book Updated to V5.3

Paolo Romani (IZ1MLL) has recently released version 5.3 of his SDRSharp PDF Guide. The book is available for download on the Airspy downloads page, just scroll down to the title "SDR# Big Book" and choose your language.

As before the document is a detailed guide about how to use SDRSharp (SDR#), which is the software provided by Airspy. While intended for Airspy devices, SDRSharp also supports a number of third party SDRs, including the RTL-SDR, and it is the software we recommend starting with when using an RTL-SDR.

Paolo writes:

Youssef Touil hasn't rested for a moment and the SDR# releases have been moving forward in leaps and bounds with new Denoisers (NINR), CCC, Audio/Baseband records and the new menu features.

I also had to re-update my Big Book PDF to v5.3 as a result!!

I have also implemented the SpyServer section a lot in multi OS and a chapter "Ideas and Suggestions" with two paragraphs: SDR & MacOS and the other using SDR# with two multiple monitors.

SDR# Co-Channel Canceller and Micro Tuner Updates

SDRSharp (SDR#) is one of the most popular SDR programs that is used often with Airspy and RTL-SDR devices. Recently Youssef, the developer of Airspy products and the programmer behind SDR# has again been adding new enhancements to the software that allow AM DX listeners to easily receive channels that are even on top of each other in frequency.

The Co-Channel Canceller has been in SDR# since 2020, but recently enhanced for better performance and easier use, and a 'micro-tuner' feature has been added, allowing users to easily select the overlapping channel that needs to be cancelled. 

Earlier in the year the noise canceller was also improved with a 'NINR' (Natural Intelligence Noise Reduction) algorithm that appears to be one of the best noise cancellers available in SDR software today.

Youssef's twitter @lambdaprog contains several videos demonstrating the effectiveness of the updates.