Tagged: sdrsharp

CalicoCAT: New Serial CAT Control Plugin for SDR#

CalicoCAT: CAT Control Plugin for SDR#
CalicoCAT: CAT Control Plugin for SDR#

Thanks to Stephen 'Tag' Loomis (N0TTL) for submitting news about his new plugin called 'CalicoCAT' which is a serial CAT control plugin for SDR#. The plugin emulates the Kenwood TS-2000 CAT control command set, and is used to allow SDR# to communicate with other software running on the PC via a virtual serial port. To create a virtual serial port you can use free software like com0com.

Stephen notes that the plugin could be used to allow software like WSJT-X to control SDR#. For example you could use it to automatically change bands at certain times.

SDR# TETRA Decoder Plugin Updated

The TETRA plugin for SDR# has been updated a few times since our last post on it back in March. The latest version can be downloaded directly here, and the original link comes from the Russian scanner forums.

In the new version the 'Net Info' button is now functioning and it is possible to see the current calls, groups, and meta information on the current cell and neighbour cell. It also appears that it has been updated to allow for multiple SDR# TETRA decoder instances to be opened simultaneously now for wider band monitoring.

SDR# TETRA Plugin Net Info Window
SDR# TETRA Plugin Net Info Window

New SDR# Plugin Manager and Colorizer Available

SDR# plugin developer Eddie Mac has again released a new plugin for SDR# called "SDR# Plugin Manager". This plugin is designed to make it easy to install, remove and re-order other SDR# plugins. Also included is a repository browser. This is a repository of many known SDR# plugin links which can be used to download and install a plugin with a simple click of a button.

Eddie has also recently released another plugin called "Spectrum Colorizer". This simply changes the background color of the spectrum analyzer window.

SDRSharp Plugin Manager
SDRSharp Plugin Manager
SDR# Plugin Repository
SDR# Plugin Repository

If you are interested in programming your own plugins, Eddie also offers the following advice which he posted in our forum:

A good place to get started programming plugins is to download the express version of .NET (free for personal use) and install at least the C# pack. Then go to the Airspy website and download Youssef's zipped examples on coding plugins. 
While they are not documented you can use them as an example of the steps involved.

If you know a bit of c++ that is great it should be a good spring board to learn C#. In fact, you can even program simple plugins (like my tuner knob) in Visual Basic. Both C# and VB.NET compile to Common Language Run time anyway so to SDR# it's not much difference. The only caveat is that if you want to create any plugins to do processing on signals of any sort you MUST use C# as it supports the data types SDR# uses and VB does not. As well, VB does not allow unsafe code which C# can be instructed to allow. 

Another great resource for learning to program plugins for SDR# is GitHUb and another great place is Andrej Mohar's website where he actually has a tutorial and an good explanation of the plugin coding process. You can find it here http://www.andrej-mohar.com/plugin-basics-for-sdr 

If you would like an example of a "stencil" as you call it - a template, I would be happy to share a template in both VB and C# for you to use to start to learn. However, I would suggest begginning with C# from the start.

The basics of it is that the "plugin" is actually in interface that is called while SDR# loads. The "Plugins.xml" file tells SDR# what your dll is called and what the name of the plugin is. Once it has initialized your plugin, SDR# sharp asks the plugin for a "panel" control which contains the controls for your plugin. In also returns to you a "control" object interface that allows you to receive notifications of program value changes or to set program values. There are more complex things you can do but the basics are simple.

SDRSharp Users Guide

This is an excerpt from our book on RTL-SDR which we've decided to post given that many new users struggle to understand all the settings in SDR#.

SDR# is currently the most popular SDR program used with the RTL-SDR. It's easy to set up and use. To install SDR#, go through our Quickstart Guide. Below we explain some of the settings and displays in SDR#.

Upon opening SDR# you'll be greeted with the screen shown below. Here we have highlighted the main parts of SDR#

After opening SDR# for the first time, we suggest that you immediately remember to perform the following steps (if you don’t know what some of these steps are, continue reading further below for more information):

  1. Increase the RF gain from zero to a higher value in the configure menu.
  2. Reduce the range slider on the right of the SDR# window to about -70 (for RTL-SDR dongles).
  3. Enable the “Correct IQ” setting to remove the center spike if using an R820T/R820T2, or enable “Offset Tuning” in the configure menu if using an E4000/FC0012/13.
  4. Turn off the “Snap to grid” setting, or adjust the PPM offset accordingly.
  5. Set the 'Mode' to the correct setting for the signal that you are listing to.

Continue reading

New SDR# Plugin: Toolbar Menu Plugin

Eddie Mac has just released another useful plugin for SDR# called "Toolbar Plugin". This is an accessibility improvement plugin that simply puts many of the plugin controls on the SDR# toolbar. This eliminates the need to constantly open and close plugin panels on the left.

The plugin includes controls for setting the demodulation mode, changing the FFT display settings, a direct frequency entry text box, frequency stepper buttons, an SNR level meter, squelch controls, analog/digital preset buttons, screen grabber controls, and time slot selectors for the TETRA decoder plugin. The analog/digital preset buttons are quite interesting as they allow you to set presets for either analog or digital signals. For example for a digital signal you could set the preset to use NFM demodulation, and to launch the DSD+ application automatically.

More information about this and Eddie's other plugins can be found on his site, and on this forum post.

Some toolbar plugin selections.
Some toolbar plugin selections.
Analog/Digital Preset Settings
Analog/Digital Preset Settings

SDR# GPredict Satellite Tracking Plugin

Thanks to Alex for submitting news about his new SDR# plugin called "SDRSharp.GpredictConnector". This plugin allows SDR# to interface with GPredict which is a tool used for tracking the orbit of satellites. Just like with the DDE Tracking plugin and the Orbitron satellite tracking program this plugin could be used to automatically tune SDR# to the frequency of a passing satellite using GPredict. It should also be able to compensate for any doppler shift frequency offset.

To use with SDR# simply download the zip file and move the .dll file into the SDR# folder. Then add the 'magicline' to the plugins.xml file using a text editor. In GPredict you can then add a radio interface from the preferences, and then use the 'Radio Connect' interface to connect to the plugin.

Connecting to GPredict using the GPredictConnector SDR# Plugin
Connecting to GPredict using the GPredictConnector SDR# Plugin

SDR# Tuner Knob, Night Mode and FFT Grabber Plugins have a new home

Recently we've posted about Eddie MacDonald's several releases of new plugins for the popular SDR# software. Recently he's released a tuner knob plugin which provides a visual frequency tuning knob that is useful for those running on touchscreen hardware, a 'dark mode' plugin which reduces the brightness of SDR# and compresses the UI a little, and an FFT grabber plugin which allows for easy screenshots of the FFT and waterfall spectrum's to be taken.

Eddie notes that all his plugins now have an actual home website at https://sdrplugins.com. This is where he will release updates and new plugins from now on.

If you are interested in discovering more SDR# plugins, we have a large list available here.

Tuner Knob Plugin for SDR#
Tuner Knob Plugin for SDR#

SDR# Plugin: FFT Window Screen Grabber

Recently Eddie MacDonald has been pumping out simple but useful plugins for SDR# including the SDR# Dark Mode and Visual Tuner Knob plugins. Recently he released a new plugin called "FFT Window Screen Grabber". This plugin simply helps you to easily take a screenshot of the FFT and waterfall displays in SDR#. It could be a useful plugin if you are constantly finding interesting signals that you want to document, or upload to sigidwiki.com.

The plugin can be downloaded from his thread in our forums. Note: Updated plugins now available at https://sdrplugins.com.

FFT Window Screen Grabber example screenshot
FFT Window Screen Grabber example screenshot