During the Cyberspectrum Wireless Village talks a few days ago Gavin Rozzi gave a talk about his online RTLSDR-based trunking scanner website at ocradio.live. Recently he wrote in and wanted to share a little more about his system. He writes:
[The talk focuses] on my experience implementing several open source software packages to create an online RTLSDR-based trunking scanner website, https://ocradio.live/ that serves the part of New Jersey that I live in. Using multiple RTLSDR receiving locations, the site is demodulating, recording, and timeshifting multiple talkgroups of local and state trunked radio systems to create a live streaming service and archive of past scanner calls. Data from the site is also accessible over a REST API and we allow the creation of custom scan lists. My presentation is going to center on the advantages the site has over traditional hardware scanners and some of the technical challenges that we had to overcome to get the project off the ground.
Radio manufacturer Uniden have just released news about their latest product called the SDS100 which is a handheld software defined radio scanner specifically for digital voice and trunking modes. The scanner will retail for USD699, and aims to be released in the 2nd quarter of 2018 pending FCC approval. Note that certain software decoders will require paid upgrades, but it will be capable of all the major digital voice modes such as P25 Phase I and II, DMR, NXDN and trunking modes. It doesn't seem to support TETRA since it's marketed at the American consumer, however, it seems plausible that simple software update could enable this feature in the future.
As far as we know this is the first handheld scanner to incorporate SDR and is probably one of the bigger leaps in scanner technology to date. Compared to hardware based scanners, the SDS100 should provide significantly better decoding capabilities, even in weak signal and simulcast conditions. Simulcast is when multiple overlapping base stations transmit a signal at the same frequency. This can cause multi-path distortion problems, but an IQ based radio like an SDR is able to overcome these issues.
Uniden creates another first with the SDS100 True I/Q Scanner, the first scanner to incorporate Software Defined Radio technology to provide incredible digital performance in even the most challenging RF environments. The SDS100’s digital performance is better than any other scanner in both simulcast and weak-signal environments.
The SDS100 is also the first scanner that allows you to decide what to display, where, and in what color. Custom fields put the information important to you right where you need it.
And, one more first, the SDS100 meets JIS4 (IPX4) standards for water resistance.
Over on YouTube claudio giuliani has posted a video of his RTL-SDR Wide Spectrum Analyzer software. The software is written in the basic for gambas language and uses an RTL-SDR software defined radio to plot a wide chunk of the frequency spectrum by sweeping over it. It looks to be similar to the RTL-SDR Scanner software. Currently it is only available for Linux.
The commonly used frequency manager and scanner plugin for SDRSharp has been updated to version 1.4. The new features include:
Frequency Presets – there are now 10 frequency presets you may use to store and recall favorite frequencies.
A new Signal Strength Indicator displays a real-time measure of a frequency’s signal strength compared to the Minimum Signal Strength that you set. The indicator shows the signal strength as it bounces below and above your minimum, and also shows when the “Seconds wait for transmission” and “Watchdog” timers have been triggered.
The Scanner Configuration window now has two tabs which organize scanner behavior into Rules settings and Performance settings.
Snap to next Step Size: a new checkbox lets you force the scanner to tune a scanned frequency to the SDR# step size, or instead allow it to tune to the actual detected peak signal strength of a frequency.
Update a frequency’s Date when monitored: a new checkbox that causes the scanner to record the current date for a frequency that is already in your database, when the scanner lands on that frequency.
Adjacent Frequency Rejection: a new setting that lets you define the width of the area around a tuned frequency that is used to monitor signal strength after tuning to a frequency. This reduces the influence of adjacent strong frequencies that “splatter” into the tuned frequency’s step size or bandwidth size.
Faster scanning speed: Scanning speed has been improved yet again, and is now faster than the improvements in version 1.31. On my equipment I now average 1.6 GHz scanning speed as measured with the built-in benchmark tool on a range scan.
Improvements to the busy-frequency detection process.