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Windows Software more impressive than SDR#


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I am grateful to the Hak5 crew for bringing these to my attention, and having me salivating over the idea for over a year now, since the badges were given away at various cons.

In any case, in the interest of sharing, I came across _Legal_ software, which is always nifty.

And this one appears to be quite a power house as far as controlling the dongles and getting something useful out.

I haven't tapped all of its potential yet, but you will need sdr_tcp for windows, available here:

http://sdr.osmocom.org/trac/attachment/wiki/rtl-sdr/RelWithDebInfo.zip

And SDRRadio, available here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/b1kqas6o5ofpdy0/SDR-RADIO-Pro_v2.1b1640.exe

(More info at: http://v2.sdr-radio.com/Home.aspx )

In any case, get the rtl_tcp running from the first link, and then configure the radio you install from the second link to point to localhost port 1234 ( 127.0.0.1:1234 ). Don't worry about the serial number of the rtl dongle, it isn't needed. Yes, you can use the network connectivity to connect to one hanging off of a pi, beagle bone, whatever, or your friend in Angola, if he has the server running on an open port.

Then, you will have fun setting up the software so you get something more than static and a pretty waterfall.

In the Frequency section on the left, click on the direct tab. I used 200khz. This only affects the display, but for some reason seemed to allow me to adjust the radio to 192 khz, in the FM broadcast dialog above it. You can also crank it up to 2 mhz, if you want. 2mhz is probably more useful.

Then, on the FM tab, choose fm broadcast, ( stereo if you want ) and click on 192 khz under the options for fm broadcast.

At the bottom of your screen, the very bottom, is a freq slider. Slide it to an FM station with a good signal strength (SNR ratio), and you should be in business!

The software is licensed in the link I gave you for something like 1 year. After that, who knows what will be happening?

In any case, I thought I would share, because I know not everybody loves linux, a lot of people like things to just work, and frequently this means windows ( sorry ).

I hope some of you have found this helpful. I think this software really rocks. Literally. Finally something polished to use that I don't have to spend two days compiling. ( I love you GnuRadio, I think. I just haven't learned all of your "features".... )

-Fuzzy Bunny

Edited by fuzzy_bunny
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According to sdr_tcp, which is running in a terminal/console, the gain mode is set to 0 ( either really 0, or mode 0 means agc automatic gain control? ).

When I defined the radio in version two of the software, I just accepted the options for the gain options, which started at 0 and continued with about 15 or so values after that.

In order to get intelligible sound, the first task in reviewing an application, I had more of a problem with the bandwidth of the signal it was decoding. That was what I was addressing in the second part of my instructions.

Documentation on v2 is a bit on the spotty side.

The web site assures me that the info is all here:

http://v2.sdr-radio.com/Support/Settings.aspx

Somewhere. Probably in the definition of the radio, you can set the gain manually (my best guess) and to get back to that value, you have to stop the software (v2, not rtl_tcp), and then click on select under favorites on the menu bar (positionally it is visually under favorites, you don't click favorites to get there, ie. it isn't a submenu of favorites). There you will see the definition of your rtl_tcp radio, and to the right, are the gain values. Highlight it and select edit to edit your radio definition, and here it appears you can set the gain.

There may be another menu/slider to get to it, but that is the best answer I can come up with, having just installed this and gotten this running this evening.

Hope that helps, best of luck.

Cheers!

-Fuzzy Bunny

Edited by fuzzy_bunny
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Oh, found the rf gain control in the gui, it is under the [Home] tab of the menu bar at the top. RF Gain is set to AGC ( Automatic Gain Control ) by default, but you can change it to any value your dongle supports. It is an icon that looks like a knob, third in from the right, in the box labeled Options ( in the grey bar at the bottom of the box ).

Hope that helps.

-Fuzzy Bunny

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I have found the software to be a little buggy, but it seems we are on the bleeding edge of the development of support for the rtl DVB dongles.

In any case, I have found that the definitions in sdr radio version 2 to be a little temperamental.

If you have any problems, like with your rfgain knob not working, or no sound at all, go into the radio definitions and delete them, and then recreate them with the scan option (rtl_tcp option), making sure you correct the frequencies, as I get a default of 0-30Mhz quite often, and this is not really all that accurate for the rtl 2383 radios or the 820 tuner. So select better values, double check the port to make sure it is 1234, and then you should be back in business.

I expect, as drivers and software evolves for these, that some of the bugginess will be going away, and error recovery should be more prevalent.

-FB

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