Recently we posted about how SDR# was updated to the latest .NET 5 framework, and this brought with it a new plugin SDK for developers. If you're wanting to get started with plugin development, Petri-Veikko Alajärvi (OH1GIU) has uploaded a tutorial showing how to get started with the free Visual Studio 2019 Community IDE. His post shows how to create a new project, how to add references to the SDRSharp plugin files and how to set up and test a basic GUI via an RDS information display example.
The popular SDR# (SDRSharp) software has recently been updated to version 1788, and now runs on the .NET5 SDK. Most of the upgrades are behind the scenes, but generally the new version appears to be more memory efficient and loads faster. The new version also brings more theme and layout customizations and as explained further below an improved plugin SDK for developers.
In order to install the latest version you will need to download .NET5 runtime from Microsoft which may not already be on your system. For RTL-SDR users you can then run install-rtlsdr.bat then start the software as usual.
Check the latest and greatest @dotnet 5 release candidate of #sdrsharp with full support of the new and legacy plugins, themes, no themes, Windows, Linux/Wine, Mac/Wine. #airspy https://t.co/RE0CSqjpaQ pic.twitter.com/5iXrCGlfmj— prog (@lambdaprog) February 3, 2021
One of the most exciting new developments is the new .NET 5 plugin SDK that is now available. This allows third party developers to easily code up plugins for SDR#. While a plugin SDK already existed before, the new version appears to make development much simpler, and also comes with a few examples to help get developers started quickly. The result is that we should start to see more plugins appearing in the future with more features.
One plugin called Scytale-C for Inmarsat STD-C channel decoding has already been updated to the new SDK. The developer notes that the plugin now works great with the SDR# "slicer" feature, which allows users to decode multiple STD-C signals within the received bandwidth at the same time.
We've also recently seen reports of Twitter users having success with running this new SDR# version on WINE under Linux. Unfortunately direct USB still doesn't work under WINE, but it would still function via SpyServer or rtl_tcp.
Paolo Romani IZ1MLL has recently created a SDR# users guide document which comprehensively explains all the features and settings available in the program. SDR# (aka SDRSharp) from Airpsy.com is designed for Airspy SDRs, however it is one of the most popular SDR receiver programs used with RTL-SDRs as well.
Paolo's guide appears to build on our own guide at www.rtl-sdr.com/sdrsharp, providing new information and updates since many changes and new features have been released in SDR# since we wrote that guide a few years ago.
The guide can be found on the airspy.com/download page and is available in English, Italian and Spanish.
Over on YouTube a few more videos showing the new AM and FM co-channel cancelling algorithms available in recent versions of SDR# have been uploaded. In the first video YouTuber channel "Peter .DXChannel" shows an example of broadcast FM Sporadic E signals (temporary long range reception due to Tropospheric ducting) being recovered with the FM co-channel canceller.
In the second video "icholakov" shows the AM co-channel canceller recovering a weaker signal being broadcast directly on top of a stronger one (zero carrier offset).
SDR# is a very popular Windows SDR program often used with the RTL-SDR and Airspy SDR. One drawback is that it lacks native Linux compatibility. In the past it has been possible to run SDR# via WINE, however some newer updates were thought to have broken that ability. WINE is a Windows emulator that allows some Windows programs to run under Linux.
However, recently on Twitter we've seen a Tweet by @albinstigo indicating that SDR# can indeed run on Ubuntu 20.04 via WINE 5.0. In a Tweet he explains the steps which are quite simple:
- Install WINE via apt.
- Install dotNET 4.8 via winetricks.
- Install the Verdana font via winetricks.
- Enjoy SDR
One limitation is that the emulated SDR# cannot connect to the SDR natively via the USB. So you will need to use TCP server software such as rtl_tcp or SpyServer to get it to work. Basically, run the server on the native Linux environment, then connect to it in SDR# running on the emulated Windows environment.
1. Install wine via apt.— Albin 🇸🇪🇧🇷🇩🇰 (@albinstigo) November 2, 2020
2. Install dotNET 4.8 via winetricks.
3. Install the Verdana font via winertricks.
4. Enjoy SDR.
I'm using it via spyserver at the moment.
A few days ago the developer of SDR# added a very useful AM Co-Channel canceller plugin, and just today he has also added a new FM Co-Channel canceller. A Co-Channel canceller allow a user to remove an interfering station, allowing a buried station to be received cleanly. This is especially useful for DXer's where strong local and weak distant overlapping stations are likely to be received at the same time. The plugin works with all SDR# compatible SDRs including the RTL-SDR.
On a related note, we wanted to point out that recently the Airspy website and downloads have been getting flagged by some antivirus software, however we believe these detections to be false positives caused by the very frequent update schedule of SDR#.
Over on Twitter we've seen a couple of videos from @K7al_L3afta demonstrating how well the new FM Co-Channel canceller works.
Youssef, Author of the SDR# software has recently updated SDR#, now extending the Sharp Slicer functionality which we posted about earlier to RTL-SDR and other supported software defined radios. The latest version of SDR# can be obtained from the Airspy Downloads page as usual.
This feature allows SDR users to open multiple instances of SDR#, each able to tune to a seperate signal within the currently tuned frequency range of the SDR. This is somewhat similar to the old multi-VFO plugin from rtl-sdr.ru, however the advantage of Slicer is that you can have seperate spectrum and waterfall graphs for each signal.
Other recent changes include 'true dBFS' automatic scaling, where 0 dBFS now indicates that the ADC is likely saturated.
Youssef the author of SDR# has recently released an update which adds a feature called "Sharp Slicer". This feature allows Airspy SDR users to open multiple instances of SDR#, each able to tune to a seperate signal within the currently tuned frequency range of the SDR. This is somewhat similar to the old multi-VFO plugin from rtl-sdr.ru, however the advantage of Slicer is that you can have seperate spectrum and waterfall graphs for each signal. This could be especially useful for monitoring multiple narrowband HF modes with an Airspy HF+ Discovery.
To use Sharp Slicer you must have an Airspy SDR, be it an Airspy Mini/R2 or HF+/Discovery. Unfortunately it will not work with RTL-SDR or other SDRs. Once the SDR is running in SDR#, simply press the "+" button on the top left to open a new Slicer instance. It seems possible to open as many instances as you want, and probably the only limitation is your CPU. On our Intel i7-6700 we tested up to 8 instances running at the maximum bandwidth of an Airspy Mini, and the SDR# CPU utilization was only at 50%.
A nice touch is that you can also see the location of each VFO on the master SDR# instance, and the color can be changed on each Slicer instance.
Over on Twitter @ea3ibc has also been testing:
Wow it's crazy!! SDR# Sharp Slicer with a single Airspy R2 device, excellent WFM with multiple instances. Great bandwidth! pic.twitter.com/WEeLhTshgj— EA3IBC Oscar (@ea3ibc) September 16, 2020
Awesome! SDR# Sharp Slicer.— EA3IBC Oscar (@ea3ibc) September 15, 2020
The best day since the covid pandemic started. Multiple instances of SDR# running under a single Airspy device.
SDR# 17.42 + Airspy Discovery HF + Youloop inside the house.
I need a wider screen. pic.twitter.com/1mqDbZCgQe