Tagged: soft66IP

Soft66IP: An OpenWebRX RTL-SDR Internet Server now Crowd Funding on Kickstarter

Over on Kickstarter a retrofit PCB for RTL-SDRs called Soft66IP has appeared for crowd funding. The PCB includes a 50 MHz upconverter and RF amplifier on board and incorporates space to plug in an Orange Pi Zero single board computer, and an RTL-SDR.

The project is by Kazunori Miura who is the creator of the Soft66 range of RTL-SDR retrofit products. The kickstarter appears to be for the "Soft66IP", which has been around since early 2017. The main difference appears to be that now OpenWebRX is preloaded on the SDCard, and that there is a custom script running on the Orange Pi Zero which allows you to choose between OpenWebRX and HDSDR. Presumably clicking on HDSDR runs an rtl_tcp server, which can then be connected over the network.

The idea is that this system will be used together with software like OpenWebRX, which would enable the RTL-SDR and radio stream to be accessed online from anywhere in the world via an Ethernet connection. Examples of OpenWebRX receivers can be found on sdr.hu, just search for "RTL-SDR" on the page to find relevant examples.

There are several support options, with the main board (without Orange Pi Zero or RTL-SDR) starting at US$22, and US$88 for the main board including RTL-SDR, Orange Pi Zero, enclosure and SD card. The system could probably be home built for much cheaper, but there is a convenience in purchasing a ready to use system. Although if you're interested in HF and want an internet connected SDR, then you might be better off shelling out for a $299 KiwiSDR instead, which is also an OpenWebRX based SDR.

Soft66IP: Main board + RTL-SDR + Orange Pi Zero.
Soft66IP: Main board + RTL-SDR + Orange Pi Zero.

YouTube Tutorial on Setting up a Soft66IP RTL-SDR

Over on YouTube user Danny Shortwave And Radio DX has uploaded a video showing an overview and tutorial about setting up the Soft66IP RTL-SDR. The Soft66IP is a custom RTL-SDR that is made in Japan by JA7TDO. It is an RTL-SDR with upconverter and LNA built into a box together with an embedded computing platform. We’re not sure what the computing platform is, but it is likely to be something similar to a Raspberry Pi. The computing platform is then used to run an rtl_tcp server, and so via a network cable or WiFi connection the device can be accessed by a remote PC.

On the video Danny gives an overview on what the Soft66IP is, and what features it has. Then later in the tutorial he shows how to SSH into the Linux server on the Soft66IP, set it up for your local network, and then later how to connect to it from a remote PC.

How to setup Soft66IP for your Local Area Network with SDRSharper

Soft66IP: Network Connected RTL-SDR with rtl_tcp

Previously from JA7TDO who is a RTL-SDR builder in Japan we’d seen the Soft66RTL and Soft66Q which are both modified RTL-SDR units that are capable of receiving HF as well. To receive HF the Soft66RTL used an upconverter circuit and the newer Soft66Q uses an implementation of the direct sampling mod. Both units come with a preselection filter for the HF bands.

Now JA7TDO has managed to come out with a new modified RTL-SDR which he calls the Soft66IP. The Soft66IP appears to have the same specifications at the Soft66Q except without the additional preselection filter. Instead, its defining feature is that it is built together which what we assume is a Linux enabled wireless router, or some other networked single board PC. This allows you to easily get set up with rtl_tcp for streaming the radio over your network, or the internet. It seems that the unit comes preloaded with the rtl_tcp software installed, making it almost plug and play. JA7TDO advertises the features as:

  • RTL-SDR based
  • 3kHz to 1.7GHz (15MHz to 24MHz is over sampling)
  • 10/100Mbps Ethernet
  • DHCP
  • Wifi(option)
  • cheap price

Streaming the radio over a network might be advantageous as it allows you to place the unit near the antenna, avoiding long coax or USB cable runs. But rtl_tcp is quite bandwidth heavy, so it can have trouble streaming at higher sample rates. However, whatever single board PC is used on the Soft66IP may also be capable of running other more efficient streaming software such as OpenWebRX, or more specialized applications such as networked ADS-B decoders as well.

JA7TDO is selling the Soft66IP for a pre-order price of $80 USD which includes worldwide shipping. Shipping starts on March 1. After the pre-order phase the price may rise to $96 USD.

The Soft66IP, networked RTL-SDR.
The Soft66IP, networked RTL-SDR.