Two New SDR# Plugins for Passive Radar and IF Signal Averaging

March 2019 Update: Website appears to be down now. But the DropBox download links are still active.

Passive Radar Plugin: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/tqjycu9nxdfhk0u/AAA9KSE6-mRUwV10s0F9v7Jpa?dl=0

IF Average Plugin: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/tqjycu9nxdfhk0u/AAA9KSE6-mRUwV10s0F9v7Jpa?dl=0

Recently Dr. Daniel Kaminski wrote into RTL-SDR.com to let us know about two very interesting new SDR# plugins that he has developed to use with the RTL-SDR dongle. The first plugin is called "Passive Radar". Passive Radar allows you to use an existing strong transmitter such as an FM station to detect reflections from things like aircraft and meteors. Dr. Kaminski writes about his plugin:

The first one is Passive Radar which bases on the signal from only one dongle. The ambiguity function is the same as in advanced projects with the difference that  I implemented self-correlate function instead of cross-correlate one which is used in 2 dongles projects. Such solution theoretically should works as can be found in internet. It should be noticed that for proper work of such passive radar the direct signal should be comparable in strength to the reflected  one. This plugin is still under development.

In the future he hopes to be able to support two dongle passive radar as well.

The Passive Radar plugin by Dr. Kaminski in SDR#.
The Passive Radar plugin by Dr. Kaminski in SDR#.
The Passive Radar window.
The Passive Radar window.

The second plugin is called "IF Average". This plugin allows the IF signal (the entire active bandwidth is what he seems to be referring to) to be averaged which is useful for many applications including radio astronomy projects such as detecting the Hydrogen line. He writes:

The second plugin which is finished is for IF signal averaging. It is important in case of radio-astronomical observations. It allows to cumulate signals (up to 10000 samples in real time), present them in friendly way and save for further work.

The IF Average plugin by Dr. Kaminski.
The IF Average plugin by Dr. Kaminski.

The plugins require the installation the XNA Framework Redistributable 3.1.

26 comments

  1. Mark

    hi all , does anyone have a working link to the passive radar plugins or a copy of them as it looks like the link in the plugins area to this plugin is broken. Cheers Mark

  2. Tom Walker

    Can anyone help? I’ve intalled this plugin correctl im sure yet it doesn’t appear to show up when I open SDR sharp? I copied the magic sentence into the plugins file under the correct heading and copied all the files accross to the same folder that sdr#.exe is located in

      • Tom Walker

        Thanks! Also would you happen to know where I could find instructions for this plugin? I’m trying to recreate the detection of the hydrogen line as shown above but I cant find how to display the yellow line which will easily show the ‘spike’ at 1420MHz?

  3. JohnOS

    The article says: “for proper work of such passive radar the direct signal should be comparable in strength to the reflected one”. Is this not a totally unrealistic requirement? The reflected signal strength is likely to be very weak in comparison to the direct one, right? So, you would have to attenuate the direct signal in proportion to the reflected signal strength (which will vary as the target moves). Not really practical, is it?

  4. Mike

    I saw the note that the plugin is no longer working for SDR# greater than 1400. So I’ve tried it with version 1337 (the same one he uses in the screenshots) but receive:
    “Error loading ‘SDRsharp.PassiveRadarPlugin, SDRSharp.PassiveRadar’ – could no load file or assembly ‘SDRSharp.PassiveRadar’ or one of it’s dependencies. The module was expected to contain an assembly manifest.”
    I’ve tried all the suggestions in previous comments already, anyone found a solution?

  5. Bill

    Getting error message ” Error loading “ft”. This file was compiled using wrong version of XNA framework.

    • Jessie

      Hi Bill, I’m experiencing the same error. ”Error loading “ft”. This file was compiled using wrong version of XNA framework.” Any idea how to resolve this error? Thank you.

  6. Alex1942

    I have followed the instructions and when i opened SDRSharp i got the following error: Error loading ‘SDRSharp.PassiveRadar.PassiveRadarPlugin,SDRSharp.PassiveRadar’

    Does anyone know how to fix it?

  7. John

    Got that all mixed up and wrong.
    Important notes:

    1. If you installed previous version of this plugin in SDR# you have to delete following file: Microsoft.Xna.Framework.dll. I could not find these files but If you re-run the original ver. 3. installation, you have the oportunity to uninstall it.
    2. Install XNA 4.0 redistributable from: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=23714
    3. Copy Plugin SDRSharp.Average.dll, ft.xnb to the SDR# directory. I also copied the license.
    4. Add the magic sentence to the Plugins.xml file.
    5. Enjoy

    And, once again it works.
    This has the makings of a very good plug in.
    Some points to note though are that the output screen runs from high frequency on the LHS to low frequency on the RHS, althoug the frequency scale runs correctly from left to right.
    some verticle scaling would also be helpful.
    Also the ‘Gain’ and ‘Averaging From’ sliders are far too sensitive.
    I assume that this is a program under construction and things will get fixed in the future releases.

    Thank you to the programmer.

    John.

  8. John

    I have got it to work in Win 7 using the following instructions.
    Instalation
    Important notes:
    The new version of PassiveRadar plugin is buid in NET 4.6 with XNA 4.0 both redistributables should be installed if they are not in the system.

    1. If you installed previous version of this plugin in SDR# you have to delete following file: Microsoft.Xna.Framework.dll
    2. Install XNA 4.0 redistributable from: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=23714
    3. Copy Plugin SDRSharp.Average.dll, ft.xnb to the SDR# directory
    4. Add the magic sentence to the Plugins.xml file.
    5. Enjoy

    ###########################################
    # Passive Radar – a plugin for sdrsharp
    ###########################################
    to get the plugin running
    – copy SDRSharp.Average.dll and ft.xnb into the SDRSharp direcotry
    – edit Plugins.xml
    – goto section and add one line as described below

    Start sdrsharp join the new plugn.
    Very well done and thank you.
    Looking at the 21cm line now.
    Regards, John.

  9. sirapat

    I have followed the installation instructions of all (PassiveRadar Plugin) but I cannot see the plugin passiveradar like it wasn’t change.But I can install others plugin.

    Please help me.
    I not sure file PassiveRadar.dll is correct.

    I buyed 2 rtl-sdr doungle but I try to fail.

  10. sirapat

    I have followed the installation instructions of all (PassiveRadar Plugin) but I cannot see the plugin passiveradar like it wasn’t change.But I can install others plugin.

    Please help me.
    I not sure file PassiveRadar.dll is correct.

    I buyed a 2 rtl-sdr doungle but I try to fail.

  11. Alex

    Hi, I have followed the installation instructions but when I execute SDRSharp, I got this error message:
    Error loading ‘SDRSharp.PassiveRadar.PassiveRadarPlugin,SDRSharp,SDRSharp.PassiveRadar’ is not a win32 valid application
    Any Idea to fix it?

  12. rick

    Got it working (I think), but I haven’t seen any signs of a radar reflection off any local aircraft yet, let-alone distant aircraft or meteor pings.

    Waiting eagerly for others to report success, or otherwise.

  13. rick

    Do we have to install the full version (9Gb+) of Visual Studio first?
    It seems only Visual Studio recognizes .vsix files.

    • admin

      You shouldn’t need Visual Studio, just the XNA Redistributable. You don’t need to install the vsix file. I see that he recently updated his page to mention that you need to install The XNA Redistributible V3.1, not 4.0. That might be what is wrong with your install.

  14. rick

    I have downloaded the 2013 version but still having the same problem.

    The problem is that when you follow these instructions,

    1. Install DirectX
    2. Install XNA Framework 4.0 Redistribution
    3. Install XNA Game Studio 4.0 Platform Tools
    4. Install XNA Game Studio 4.0 Shared
    5. Install XNA Game Studio 4.0.vsix

    The first four steps are all fine but there is no obvious installer for step 5 ‘Install XNA Game Studio 4.0.vsix’.
    Windows has no idea what to do with a .vsix file. It appears that the above vsix file is an archive file, but even after decompressing using winrar or similar, there is still no executable file inside.

    How do you ‘install’ the .vsix files?

    What are we doing wrong?

  15. rick

    I should clarify the previous comment.
    I was able to install all software components except the last :
    XNA Game Studio 4.0 (2012).vsix
    Would not install on my Windows 8.1 machine.

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