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!
The Ham FM Radio app allows the user to quickly tune and listen in to the 144-148, 150-174 and 420-450 MHz ham radio communications via presets. For the second ADS-B app, James notes that it's an early release for feedback. It allows the user to receive ADS-B data and plot it on a radar like display.
Libre Space Foundation ( Greece) and the Institute of Reconfigurable & Embedded Digital Systems(REDS) of the Haute Ecole d’Ingénierie et de Gestion du Canton de Vaud – HEIG-VD (Switzerland) have been implementing a number of smaller projects as part of an Software Defined Radio MakerSpace of the European Space Agency.
This activity is part of the ARTES programme of ESA that supports innovation in satellite communications.
The findings were presented in three 2-hour slots in the afternoon at 15:00 CEST (for which you are requested to register separately) on Mon 6, Tue 7 and Wed 8 September 2021.
Monday 6 Sep was focused on the evaluation of various SDR boards and FPGA tools chains. High-rate direct sampling by SDR’s and SDR on Android will also be presented.
Tuesday 7 Sep was dedicated to building blocks that have been implemented as open source developments for Gnuradio, such as gr-leo, gr-ccsds, gr-soapy etc.
Wednesday 8 Sep was mainly about the combination of SDR and AI/ML to do signal detection and classification. In addition, an SDR testbed and spectrum monitoring will be presented.
The talks cover various SDR topics related to satellite observing. Some talks we were interested in are highlighted below, but the full list can be found on the SDRMakerspace website, or the SDRMakerspace playlist on the Libre Space Foundation YouTube channel.
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."
Over on Reddit Ian Grody (u/DutchOfBurdock) has posted about his success in using a modded Android smartphone to run an RTL-SDR Blog V3 and NOAA decoder software all within the phone itself.
In the past we posted about Ian's work in getting rtl_power scans to work in conjunction with the Tasker app, in order to generate automated frequency scans on his phone on the go. His more recent work from the past year includes showing us how it's possible to install Debian chroot on an Android phone, and run Linux software like GQRX, GNU Radio, DSD, rtl_433, multimon-ng and dump1090 directly on the phone with an RTL-SDR.
His latest Reddit post shows that the NOAA-APT decoder also runs well on the Debian chroot, leading to a truly portable NOAA decoding setup. He notes that he is now working on the possibility of Meteor M2 decoding on the phone.
Below is his video from last year demonstrating SDR GQRX and GNU Radio running on the Debain chrooted phone.
Unlike Android devices, Apple iOS devices can't run RTL-SDRs directly through their USB ports. However, they can still connect to another networked device such as a PC or Raspberry Pi running an rtl_tcp server. In the past we've seen two rtl_tcp clients for iOS released [1 , 2].
MagicSDR makes it possible to interactively explore RF spectrum using panadapter and waterfall visualization, demodulate and play AM, SSB, CW, NFM, WFM signals, collect frequencies. Built on the principle of plug-in architecture, MagicSDR - powerful and flexible next-generation SDR (software-defined radio) application. Typical applications are dx-ing, ham radio, radio astronomy, and spectrum analysis. Explore the spectrum everywhere!
MagicSDR processes signals that are streamed over the local network from the rtl_tcp server, which is running on the host computer. The smartphone itself, on which MagicSDR is running, can act as a host computer.
To start playing with MagicSDR, you need to set up a server on a host computer to which SDR peripherals (rtl-sdr dongle) will be connected or connect SDR peripherals directly to a smartphone via a USB OTG cable. To try application without SDR peripherals, MagicSDR can emulate a virtual radio device.
A new RTL-SDR compatible DRM decoding Android app called "STARWAVES DRM SoftRadio" has recently been released on the Google Play store for US$5.49, and on Amazon DE for EUR4.49. The author notes that a Windows version will also be published soon. Digital Radio Monodial (DRM) is a type of digital audio shortwave radio signal that is used by some international shortwave radio broadcasters.
The STARWAVES DRM SoftRadio allows you to conveniently enjoy any DRM live radio broadcast on your Android smartphone or tablet. No Internet connection required. All you need is an SDR RF dongle or receiver connected to your device via USB.
DRM or Digital Radio Mondiale is the global digital radio standard used for all digital international transmissions as well as for national and local services in many countries. To learn more about DRM and its features visit www.drm.org.
The STARWAVES DRM SoftRadio is designed for ease-of-use and supports all core features of the DRM standard:
Listener-centric and easy to navigate app design and user interface
Multiple user interface languages. Currently supported: English, German, Simplified Chinese
Convenient frequency tuning and DRM Service selection
DRM Service labels and graphical service logos
Full service metadata: programme/app type, language, country of origin, etc.
All standardized DRM audio codecs incl. xHE-AAC with optimized tune-in performance for a quick start of audio playback
Journaline, DRM’s advanced text application, allows to interactively browse through latest news, sports and weather updates, programme background information and schedules, distance learning/RadioSchooling text books, travel information, and much more
Full Journaline feature set including hot-button interactivity, geo-references and embedded/linked images
Convenient and fast Journaline information access with update notifications for page-content (and automatic updates for menus), as well as persistent caching for instant content access when switching between DRM services
DRM text messages incl. DL+ support
Unicode support for all textual elements: service labels, text messages, Journaline
DRM EWF – Emergency Warning Functionality within the DRM transmission: in case of an emergency alarm signal, automatically re-tunes from the current service to the emergency programme; presents the emergency audio along with multi-lingual Journaline content to provide in-depth instructions with interactive access and to serve non-native speakers or hearing impaired users
In addition, STARWAVES DRM SoftRadio is designed for maximum tuning flexibility and performance:
Free tuning to any DRM broadcast frequency
Supports all DRM frequency bands – from the former AM bands (LW/MW/SW) to the VHF bands (including the FM band), depending only on RF dongle functionality
Supports all DRM robustness modes (A-E), modulation parameters and on-air signal bandwidths
Optimized frequency tuning and re-sync performance
Graphical spectrum view to check the signal on the tuned frequency
For live reception, an SDR RF dongle must be connected to the device’s USB port (with USB host functionality). The following SDR RF dongle families are currently supported, along with a range of specifically tested models:
Airspy HF+ family: Airspy HF Discovery, Airspy HF+ (Dual Port). (Note: Airspy Mini and R2 are NOT supported.)
SDRplay family: SDRPlay RSP1A, SDRPlay RSPdx, SDRPlay RSPduo, SDRPlay RSP1, SDRPlay RSP2, SDRPlay RSP2pro, MSI.SDR Panadapter (Note: SDRPlay family support on Android is currently limited to the 32-bit version of this app.)
RTL-SDR family: The experimental support for RTL-SDR based RF dongles requires that you manually start the following separate tool before opening this app (on standard port '14423'): The app 'SDR driver' can be installed from the Google Play Store and other Android app stores.