Earlier this year SDRplay updated their SDRuno software to have plugin functionality. This allows third party programmers to implement their own decoders and software which interfaces with SDRuno directly. Recently we've seen some new plugins become public, and in one of their recent blog posts, SDRplay highlights a few new ones.
SDRplay writes the following about three demonstration videos:
The first shows the latest version of FRAN – a FRequency ANnotation programme, developed by Eric Cottrell – it can read SWSKEDS or .s1b memory bank files and display the active stations from the files on the main spectrum window. This is an example of a Community Plugin
Quick Look at the FRAN Plugin (VID558)
FRAN complements the DX Cluster demo plugin provided by SDRplay. This programme displays DX cluster callsigns on the SDRuno spectrum display. A DX cluster is a network of computers, each running a software package dedicated to gathering, and disseminating, information on amateur radio DX activities. With this plugin you can overlay the DX cluster callsigns as they pop up. There’s a choice of how long you let them display and you can control the way in which they appear. Here we show it successfully tuning in to a US station flagged by the cluster. (The receiver was in the UK):
Quick Look at the DXcluster Plugin (VID560)
Finally there’s this new video showing the new plugin for interfacing the software suite from Black Cat Systems to SDRuno enabling DXToolbox, HF WEFAX and Slow Scan TV decodes:
In this week's Tech Minds video Matthew interviews the SDRplay team and also takes a tour of their design lab and PCB manufacturing facility. SDRplay is a manufacturer of low cost wideband software defined radios, with the cheapest starting at US$109.
The video starts with an interview with Jon Hudson from the SDRplay sales team who gives an overview of the entire SDRplay product line up, also explaining how the products have been iterated on over time. Jon also talks about the SDRuno software and team members in the company.
The next interview is with Andy Carpenter who is the head of SDRplay software development. Andy talks about SDRuno and how it came to be acquired and improved by SDRplay. They go on to discuss some recently added SDRuno features such as the plugin environment as well as the upcoming feature roadmap.
The final part of the video is a tour of the equipment used at the SDRplay design lab, and a tour of the UK based PCB manufacturing facility contracted by SDRplay.
After a short break Frugal Radio's ongoing series of SDR beginners guide videos is back, and in the latest episode Rob provides part one of a two part overview of some software available to use with software defined radios such as the RTL-SDR.
In the video he demonstrates general Windows based receiver programs like SDR#, SDRUno, SDR-Console V3, HDSDR, as well as multiplatform software such as SDR Angel, GQRX and CubicSDR. He finishes up by explaining the options available for virtual audio cable programs, which are required to pipe audio from general receiver programs to decoders.
Earlier in the month SDRplay released SDRuno V1.4 RC1. This is a beta version that amongst other changes now has the capability to run "plugins". Plugins allow developers to easily create modules that extend the functionality of the SDRUno software. For example right now there is a plugin included with V1.4 RC1 that allows users to listen to DAB audio. Up until recently plugin functionality has only been available in Airspy's SDR# software, so it's good to see SDRuno finally including this feature too.
Over on the Techminds YouTube channel Matthew has uploaded a short video where he tests out the new plugins feature. First he tests out the DAB decoder, noting that the CoreAAC codec needs to be installed first separately. Later he tests the second plugin which is an audio recorder that allows users to record audio to MP3.
SDRplay recently released news about their upcoming RSPdx software defined radio, which replaces the RSP2 as the top of the line unit in the SDRplay lineup. The RSPdx is not yet on sale, but a few YouTube reviewers have already received their units. The first review comes from Mile Kokotov who is known to have reviewed several SDRs in the past. Mile's impressions are that the receiver works very well. He writes on his video blurb:
Today i have received the new SDR receiver from SDRplay, the RSPdx and was eager to turn it on and do some tests receiving on HF and VLF. Although at the moment my mini-whip antenna is not operational, I have connected some 20 meters wire as an antenna and start listening on VLF, LW, MW and HF...
I have to say that SDRplay team did a good job with this SDR-receiver, putting better filters and redesigning front-end to improve dynamic range and enhance overall performance in relation to its predecessors RSP2 and RSP2pro. The new RSPdx is very good indeed. Especially on HF and below.
The RSPdx has new features like HDR (High Dynamic range) mode for reception within selected bands below 2 MHz. HDR mode delivers improved intermodulation performance and less spurious responses for those challenging bands.
The New SDRplay RSPdx receiver - First Impression: Excellent!
The second review is by SevenFortyOne who runs through the various features of the SDRplay and also tests it on various HF signals.
SDRplay RSPdx Overview and SDRuno V1.33 Demo
The third video isn't exactly a review, but here TechMinds shows us how to run the RSPdx as a panadapter on his FTDX-3000.
Why use this app? It makes it easy to slog through lots of recording files, looking for interesting signals. Load a file, and a waterfall for the entire file is created. You can scroll around, and if you see anything that looks interesting, you can drag select it, and then demodulate it. You can even save the demodulated audio as a WAVE file, that you can listen to later, send to someone else, or play into your digital decoding software, if it is an RTTY, SSTV, etc. transmission.
Support for other SDR recording file formats is possible, you'll need to work with me by providing sample files and details on the format. This program is presently for macOS only. Support for Windows may happen... stay tuned!
Over on our forums user qrp has released a modified ExtIO that allows the direct sampling mode to work correctly in SDRUno. SDRUno is SDRplay's official software for their RSP line of software defined radios, but SDRUno can also work with ExtIO input dlls which allow other SDRs like the RTL-SDR to be used.
The commonly found RTL-SDR ExtIO however doesn't seem to work properly with direct sampling mode in SDRUno, so HF on RTL-SDR Blog V3 or other direct sampling modified RTL-SDR dongles is inaccessible. The new ExtIO fixes the direct sampling problem, and also enables a Remove DC algorithm to remove that center spike, which isn't an option in SDRUno.
To use the ExtIO simply extract the ExtIO_RTLSDR_u8.dll and rtlsdr.dll files from the zip file into a folder on your PC. Then from the Start Menu find the SDRUno (EXTIO) shortcut and run it. When it asks you, select the ExtIO_RTLSDR_u8.dll file. Note that you will probably need to use the older v1.22 SDRUno version as V1.31 doesn't appear to have an ExtIO version.
At this years Hamvention Chris Howard from ICQ Amateur interviewed Andy at the SDRplay booth. In the interview they discuss various new features and improvements to SDRuno, the official software for SDRplay devices.
Later they also discuss the RSPduo, and the new diversity feature coming in a new version of SDRUno that is due to be released in a few weeks. The diversity feature works with the two tuners on the RSPduo to combine or subtract signals from two different antennas. Andy notes that diversity should be able to achieve a net 3dB increase in SNR, and is most useful for a moving or dynamic signal environment.
Finally Andy discusses the future development of SDRUno and notes that they're working on a plugin environment which will allow the creation of third party demod/decoders, a multiplatform server for remote SDR, and eventually cross platform drivers and SDRUno.
SDRPlay Announce Update to SDRUno and Future Plans for Software Defined Radio at Hamvention 2019