Tagged: sdrplay

Black Friday Sales on Airspy and SDRplay Products

Black Friday is upon us again. This year we were not expecting any major sales as the component supply chain crisis has meant that many electronic products, including SDRs are very low in stock. However, there are two great sales that we have found:

Airspy

Airspy is holding a 25% off sale for this years Black Friday event. Discounts should track across most of their distributors and their main direct sales platform on iTead. On our own store we resell the YouLoop and have also discounted it there, however stock may be backordered by a few days (discount only available via direct sales, or via Aliexpress).

Airspy HF+ Discovery: $169 $126.75
Airspy Mini: $99 $74.25
Airspy R2: $169 $126.75
SpyVerter: $49 $36.75
YouLoop: $34.95 $26.21

Airspy are also holding a #Freebie promo via Twitter.

Airspy Sale Banner

SDRPlay

Direct sales from the SDRplay website appear to have no discount and the RSP1A is backordered until Jan.Feb, but Ham Radio Outlet are holding a site-wide sale including their SDRplay stock.

SDRplay RSP1A: $119.95 $99.95
SDRplay RSPdx: $239.95 $199.95
SDRplay DUO: $279.95 $239.95

Did you find any other great Black Friday sales? Please let us know in the comments. Unfortunately this year due to low stock we will not be holding our own sale for our products, but over the next year as the situation hopefully improves we hope to drop prices naturally.

Frugal Radio: Choosing a “Step Up” Software Defined Radio

In this weeks Frugal Radio episode Rob explores some low cost "Step Up" radios that for a moderately higher price, can give improved receiver performance when compared to RTL-SDRs .

In the video Rob overviews and compares the Airspy Mini ($99), SDRplay RSP1A ($119), Airspy R2 ($169) and the Airspy HF+ Discovery ($169). He discusses their differences such as the tuning ranges, bandwidths and ADC bit depths and why these parameters matter.

Choosing a "Step Up" Software Defined Radio (SDR)

SDRUno 1.41 Released: Scheduler and ADS-B Plugins Added

Last week SDRplay released version 1.41 of their SDRUno software platform. SDRuno is the official software for the SDRplay line of low cost software defined radio devices. The main new feature is the addition of the scheduler facility which allows users to easily schedule recordings. This is great if for example you wish to automatically record a shortwave programs playing overnight.

SDRuno V1.41 was fully released today. It includes the much requested full scheduler facility which allows you to set up numerous recording events for your RSP. As well as providing all the expected calendar options (time of day, date, start and stop times, repeating options and so on), you can also set the ‘profile’ for each recording – this allows you to pre-set frequencies, bandwidths, demodulator options (AM/FM/USB/LSB etc.), choice of filters and antenna port selection. Additionally you can choose the settings for connectivity to other third party software or the running of a specific plugin.

Introduction to SDRuno 1 41 - Scheduler & Profiles (VID597)

The new version also includes a finalized version of their ADS-B aircraft tracking plugin. Last month TechMinds tested the ADS-B plugin beta, noting that it worked well, but there were bugs with the built in mapping feature. In the official tutorial video the ADS-B plugin is demonstrated and shows that the mapping problem is fixed.

SDRuno ADSB Plugin (VID599)

TechMinds: Testing the SDRUno ADS-B Plugin Beta

This week on the Tech Minds YouTube channel Matthew tests out the SDRuno ADS-B aircraft tracking plugin beta. SDRuno is the official software for the SDRplay RSP line of receivers, and the beta can be downloaded from their website (note the plugin will not work for the RTL-SDR).

In the video Tech Minds shows how to set up SDRuno to work on his active ADS-B antenna by activating the bias tee, and how to load and activate the ADS-B plugin. He goes on to show how you can then use another program called Virtual Radar Server to connect to the ADS-B plugin data output, and plot local aircraft on a map.

He notes that the plugin itself will have it's own map display available via a web browser, however in the current beta the mapping output is incorrect.

SDRPLAY SDRUno ADSB Plugin - Tracking Aircraft Easy

SDRPlay SDRUno Spotted on the Skinwalker Ranch History Channel TV Series

Skinwalker Ranch is a History channel conspiracy theory reality TV series where a team of scientists and researchers are sent to look for various explanations for "otherworldly" activities supposedly occurring on the ranch. In some episodes the team have made use of an SDRplay RSP software defined radio with SDRuno software to monitor the radio spectrum.

In the series the team are constantly surprised to see unexplained activity occurring on the spectrum. Are these signals just RF noise or man made activity? Or something else? You can decide from the RSP SDRUno waterfall and spectrum display which is shown clearly in the clips below. In the first clip they discover wideband spectrum noise on HF frequencies. In the second clip (from 2:40 onwards) they discover a suddenly active signal at 832 MHz when attempting to setup their drone which experiences calibration issues.

SkinwalkerRanch& SDR

Mystery Of Utah's Skinwalker Ranch Very Much Alive

Avoiding Fake SDRplay RSP Devices

We've posted about various fake clones of various brands of SDRs a few times on this blog, and recently this week SDRplay reiterated their warning noting that the fake SDRplay clones may not work with official SDRplay software. 

There are sellers of fake RSPs on the internet. They are selling counterfeit devices some of which appear cosmetically the same as the genuine SDRplay® devices. There is a high likelihood that these devices will not work – according to unsuspecting buyers* who have contacted us.

These counterfeit devices attempt to make use of:

  • Stolen IP
  • Stolen software product (SDRplay proprietary API and driver software)

In addition, the counterfeiters have no access to our rigorous production test solution and so these devices are probably untested.

* Here’s what one AliExpress customer posted:

The rest of the post goes on to highlight how you can be sure that you are not purchasing a fake clone.

Example of a fake SDRplay RSP at Walmart

Recent Podcasts on Software Defined Radio from Scanner School

Scanner School is an online resource that aims to teach subscribers all about radio scanning. They also run a weekly podcast discussing various topics in the scanning hobby. Recently they've had a bit of a focus on software defined radios, with several of the last podcasts being SDR related.

Episode 170 - SDRplay with Jon Hudson

On today’s episode, host Phil Lichtenberger interviews Jon Hudson, the co-creator of the SDRplay devices. They talk about the evolution of radio scanning software, the advantages of SDRplay and SDRuno, where they think the scanner hobby is headed, and more.

What You Need To Know

Jon Hudson is a co-creator of the SDRplay device. SDRplay manufactures both hardware and software. Before about 20 years ago, processing the radio chain was done exclusively on the hardware. Now computers are powerful enough to support doing most of this work with software. SDRplay was founded in 2014. The RSPDX has multiple antennae, which allows users to switch from one antenna to another quickly and easily. Because SDRplay makes their own software for Windows, they take a lot of time to make sure it works seamlessly out of the box. SDRplay acquired a company called Studio One that manufactured software about five years ago. SDRplay is releasing a scheduler, which will function as an audio recorder for a specific channel at a specific time. An advantage of the scheduler is that it allows users to tune in to certain frequencies at a specified time and then turn it off or move on to something else. All session notes with links to the items we talked about can be found on our website at www.scannerschool.com/session170

170 - SDRplay with Jon Hudson

Episode 169 - SDR++ with Alex Rouma

A cross platform, open source, free SDR software!

In this episode, Phil talks to Alex Rouma, author and creator of SDR++. They discuss how Alex got into SDRs, where SDR++ is now and where he hopes it can go, and how you can contribute to this open source software’s development, whether you’re a programmer or not.

What You Need To Know

SDR++ is free, open-source, cross-platform software for your SDR. Alex got into SDRs after watching a video of someone receiving weather satellites, piquing his interest in radio in general. Alex is currently building SDR++ as general purpose SDR receiver software with more modern functionality like multi-VFO and multi-platform support. SDR++ supports anything Alex has or that companies have sent him, including SDR Play, HackRF, RTLTCP, and more. Alex considers the software still in beta, but thinks he’ll have stable code with the features he wants within 3-4 months. He wants to add audio filtering features and more options for the file source. SDR++ is fully modular so you can add plugins as you need them. Alex aims to make the software as automatic as possible. All session notes with links to the items we talked about can be found on our website at www.scannerschool.com/session169

169 - SDR++ with Alex Rouma

Episode 168 - Using a SDR as Your Scanner

In this episode, Phil talks to listener Greg Weamer about his SDR setup. They get into the history of SDR development, what you can do with an SDR that you can’t do with a hardware-based scanner, and where they think the future of SDRs is heading.

What You Need To Know

Today, Greg does not have a hardware scanner at all, but only a SDR. His area has simulcast problems that the SDR solves. Greg currently uses about 8 RTL-SDR dongles, including 3 on a Raspberry Pi, some on another Raspberry Pi, an old laptop, and more. Greg also uses Trunk Recorder, which is one of the most difficult things he’s ever configured, but he loves that it monitors every voice channel at the same time. RDIO Scanner is a web interface that takes the feeds from the virtual recorders Greg has going and cues up calls on every voice channel so you don’t miss anything. Because it’s a web interface, he can bring it up on his phone or tablet from anywhere. Greg thinks the next major SDR development will eliminate the need for any fully hardware based radios entirely. An SDR can do things that not a single hardware-based scanner out there is capable of. Greg has used his SDR to tune into his utilities smart meters for his water and gas to track his usage. One of Greg’s favorite things about SDR is that you can see the signals and whether they’re strong or not, whether they’re digital or analog, etc. The ability to visualize the signal lets you find a lot more new stuff to listen to. The flexibility of an SDR and ability to do so many things at once with it means you get the equivalent of several premium subscriptions to other services. All session notes with links to the items we talked about an be found on our website at www.scannerschool.com/session168

168 - Using a SDR as Your Scanner

Episode 165 - This is Why You Need an SDR

In this episode, Phil walks through the basics of what an SDR is, its history, and how you can get set up with one. The perfect introduction to his upcoming SDR webinar and course.

What you will take away from this week's podcast:

An SDR means that anything normally handled by the hardware of the radio is now handled by the computer, and the physical hardware serves as an interface. The only limitation on the SDR hardware you buy is the frequency range and the amount of RF it can digest. SDR receivers have come a long way since they were first hacked into existence. SDRs used to be difficult to set up, but that’s no longer true. You don’t need advanced computer skills to run SDR software. SDR software can run on PC, Linux, Mac, Raspberry PI, and even Android. An SDR is more flexible and less expensive than a traditional radio. You can turn a $30 USB stick into something as powerful as an SDS200 in an afternoon. All you need to get started is an SDR USB stick, a computer, and the free starter software SDR Sharp. Once you get set up with FM broadcast stations, aviation, and other analog systems, Phil’s SDR course will go into how to set up digital reception. If you download DSD+ Fast Lane or Unitrunker you can monitor trunking systems. All session notes with links to the items we talked about an be found on our website at www.scannerschool.com/session165

165 - This is Why You Need an SDR

Episode 164 - Raspberry PI and SDR w/ Fuzz the Pi Guy

In this episode, Phil talks to "Fuzz the Pi Guy".

Fuzz has a large YouTube channel and has a ton of SDR and Raspberry Pi Videos.

Fuzz and I discuss how he uses his Software Defined Radios and how he keeps costs down by using a Raspberry Pi as as his computer for many of these projects.

What you will take away from this week's podcast:

SDR stands for Software Defined Radio, where you plug your hardware into power on one end and your computer on the other end so the computer software can interpret the signal. The Raspberry Pi is essentially a low-cost computer to help teach computer science in schools, and is now used for things like hosting Minecraft servers, learning Linux, and running SDR programs. Fuzz has a YouTube channel where he primarily demonstrates Raspberry Pi projects and tips, as well as a wide variety of small electronics content. He’s using a new setup that involves a Raspberry Pi 3 with an RTL-SDR dongle, connected to a 2m 70cm homemade antenna to receive his local Phase 2 frequencies, uploaded to Broadcastify using the new free software OP25. Using this setup, Fuzz essentially created a Phase 2 scanner for under $100. The FlightAware website gives a good introduction to using the Raspberry Pi with an SDR that can get you set up in under 15 minutes. The Raspberry Pi has the best support system out there for any Pi hardware, but Fuzz has been working with the Atomic Pi lately. This setup provides an inexpensive alternative to buying a pricey scanner if you don’t mind troubleshooting and problem solving to get going. All session notes with links to the items we talked about an be found on our website at www.scannerschool.com/session164

164 - Raspberry PI and SDR w/ Fuzz the Pi Guy

TechMinds: Testing a DC-160 MHz Panadapter Switch

Over on his YouTube channel Tech Minds has uploaded a video where he tests out a cheap US$90 automatic antenna switch with DC-160 MHz range that he purchased from Chinese goods retailer Banggood. An automatic antenna switch like this is required when wanting to use an SDR such as an RTL-SDR as a panadapter with a transmit capable radio. The switch will automatically switch the SDR to ground when transmitting, so that high power does not enter the SDR via the shared antenna and destroy it.

In the video Tech Minds shows how to set the switch connections up and then demonstrates the switch in action with a Yaesu FT-991A and SDRplay SDR. He notes that this cheap Chinese version is actually built better than the MFJ-1708 antenna switch which until recently was the only commercial option available. It is also half the price.

PANADAPTER For Any Radio DC - 160 MHz SDR Antenna Switch