Tagged: d-star

A Tutorial on using SDRAngel for DMR, D-Star and Fusion Reception with an RTL-SDR

At the end of last month we uploaded a post highlighting the SDRAngel software, which is a general purpose SDR program with some interesting features such as built in digital speech decoders for DMR, D-Star and Fusion. This avoids the need to pipe audio into a separate digital speech decoder program such as DSD+. SDRAngel also has transmit capabilities which makes it useful for SDRs such as the HackRF, PlutoSDR, LimeSDR etc.

Now over on YouTube and his blog K2GOG has uploaded a video tutorial about using SDRAngel. The tutorial starts with installing SDRAngel and explaining that you'll need a 64-bit system and OS to run it. He then goes on to show how to do FM reception and finally how to do digital speech decoding.

DSD+ Version 1.5 Released

Version 1.5 of Digital Speech Decoder Plus (DSD+) has been released. DSD+ is a popular Windows software tool used for decoding digital speech such as P25 with the RTL-SDR. The latest version comes with a simple GUI interface that has an event log that shows call target and source ID history and an audio waveform plot which can help determine if DSD+ is receiving audio correctly. This version of DSD+ has the ability to decode the following protocols.

  • D-STAR
  • NXDN4800
  • NXDN9600
  • DMR/MotoTRBO
  • P25 Phase 1
  • X2-TDMA
  • ProVoice

In addition to the above, the new version comes with an LRRP decoder and display program which should allow you to see on a map the GPS location of broadcasting radios.

DSD+ V1.51 can be downloaded from this link. The forum thread on RadioReference where the developer releases and discusses the DSD+ software can be found here.

This version of DSD+ comes with all the files needed to make it run already. To use DSD+ V1.5 simply extract the zip file into a folder and double click on DSDPlus.EXE. DSD+ will listen to your default audio device that is set in the Windows sound recording properties. Simply tune to a digital voice signal in SDR# or any other SDR receiver and set the output audio settings accordingly. To start the LRRP display program simply open LRRP.exe.

DSD+ V1.5 LRRP GPS Display
DSD+ V1.5 LRRP GPS Display

Receiving D-STAR Voice with DSD 1.7 on Windows

Recently we posted about PU2VLW’s project where he was able to decode and listen to D-STAR voice using an RTL-SDR and SDR# running on Windows connected via physical audio cable to a second Linux machine running DSD 1.7.

Now a RTL-SDR.com reader by the name of “Skywatcher” has written in to tell us how he was able to compile DSD 1.7 on a Windows PC using Cygwin. This allows him to decode D-STAR audio on a single Windows PC. Skywatcher kindly sent us the steps he used to compile DSD 1.7 on Windows.

1. Download the zip archive for dsd-1.7.0 from here: https://github.com/szechyjs/dsd and then unzip the archive, so that you get the folder dsd-master, which includes all the source files.

2. Download the zip archive for mbelib-1.2.5 from here: https://github.com/szechyjs/mbelib and then unzip the archive, so that you get the folder mbelib-master, which includes all the source files.

3. Download and install the Cygwin environment. It is important to use the 32 bit version. It will not work with the 64 bit version. In the installation process, you also have to make sure that you choose gcc (the compiler) for installation.

4. Within the Cygwin command window, use gcc, to compile every .c file within the folders mbelib-master and dsd-master (subfolders can be ignored), so that you will get an .o file (object file) for each source file.

5. Copy all the resulting .o files from mbelib-master to dsd-master and use gcc again to link all the object files, so that you will get the final executable dsd.exe. This final step also has to include the sndfile library from Cygwin being mentioned in the call of gcc, otherwise it will not work.

6. In order to start dsd.exe, it is necessary to copy cygwin1.dll to the same folder, where your built dsd.exe is. It is very important that the version number of the dll is being lower than 1.7.26, otherwise dsd.exe will crash. If this is not the case for your dll, you have to find an alternative version from the internet. Additionally, it may be necessary to copy more dlls, needed by the sndfile library, next to your dsd.exe. This may depend on your environment variables of your system.

7. For decoding D-Star, you should call DSD like following: dsd -i /dev/dsp -o /dev/dsp -fd

8. For best results, make sure that all your SDR# and VAC sample rates are set to 48kHz and that you have disabled “Filter Audio” in SDR#. Also, the audio volume of SDR# should not be set to high.

With DSD 1.7 running on Windows, Skywatcher was able to get these results shown in the video links below.



EDIT: Reader Kotelnikov007 from the comments section has been kind enough to upload a pre-compiled windows version. https://mega.co.nz/#!Ft9WFbgQ!sOhsUeMC83Xi5Wxjr4eEPoc0WuM0cJOM2bq9DnE4dWE

EDIT 2 (30/12/2016): The above link seems dead. Reader Adrian wrote in to submit his compilation which is available at https://mega.nz/#!jJZRALrb!NylT4jmZIBwCyZqU05EaX8wqObxuaqeTzCD8hHP5gO8.

Adrian also writes

– The list of the required DLLs to make it work are these:
– It is needed to load sndfile library (already prebuilt in Cygwin).
– It needs MBE, but also the ITPP libraries.

Listening to D-STAR Digital Voice with DSD 1.7

D-STAR or (Digital Smart Technologies for Amateur Radio) is a Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA) Gaussian Minimum Shift Keying (GMSK) digital voice and data protocol used in amateur radio.

Up until recently it was possible to decode D-STAR headers using either DSD 1.6 or dstar.exe and an RTL-SDR, but it was not possible to decode voice. Now amateur radio hobbyist PU2VLW has brought to our attention that the latest DSD development version 1.7 is capable of decoding D-STAR audio (his post is in Portuguese so we suggest using Google translate). He shows a video of some example D-STAR decoding which we show at the end of this post.

DSD 1.7 can currently be downloaded as source from it’s GitHub respository. Instructions for installing DSD 1.7 on Linux can be found on the post by PU2VLW and the GitHub readme. PU2VLW built DSD 1.7 in Ubuntu 10.04, noting that newer versions of Ubuntu have removed OSS (Open Sound System) support which DSD requires. He then runs SDR# on a Windows PC, tuned to a D-STAR signal, and uses an audio out cable to connect the Windows PC’s audio out to the Ubuntu PC running DSD 1.7.

Update: See this post for installing DSD 1.7 on Windows.

EDIT: There is now a version of DSD+ that can decode D-STAR. https://www.rtl-sdr.com/dsd-version-1-5-released/

Decoding D-STAR Headers with the RTL-SDR

D-STAR or Digital Smart Technologies for Amateur Radio is a digital voice and data protocol used in amateur radio. I was tweeted a link earlier which shows how the RTL-SDR can decode D-STAR text messages and headers (link is in Italian but Google translate can help, and the pictures show more than enough information). By using SDRSharp and stereo mix you can tune to a D-STAR signal, and pass the audio to a command line based decoding program (dstar.exe) which can be downloaded from the above link, which will then decode D-STAR text messages.


Here is also an older video showing D-STAR decoding with HDSDR in action.