PlutoSDR operation and some microwave beacon

Below i add some short videos i made. The first two show transmit and receive operation of the PlutoSDR in the 6cm amateur band. I used the great sdrangel software. The opposite side is my normal 6cm rig consisting of a FT-817 and a DB6NT transverter.

The third video shows 3 of the DM0TUD microwave beacons that are located close to my home. It is from right to left: 13cm (FT-290), 3cm (FT-790R2), 9cm (FT-817).

Odroid U3 WebSDR

I want to run a temporary 4m WebSDR. The software comes from PA3FWM and there is a binary for raspberry pie computers. The binary can run on any ARM CPU. I purchased a Odroid U3 which has a lot more CPU power. The picture shows the Odroid as well as the rtlsdr connected and a wifi stick used for connecting to my network. Running the WebSDR with 1MHz bandwith gives about 50% CPU load.

The board runs Lubuntu 14.04.2. I did not measure the current consumption on the 5V supply.

My aim is to put it in a box to the balkony.


Today i heard my first station on 4m with that setup. SV2JAO.


HiQSDR repaired…

A while ago i destroyed the RX input amplifier of my HiQSDR. Last weekend i replaced the two hittide switches and the differential amplifier of that circuit. Now its fully operational again. On the photo you see the backside of the HiQSDR enclosure as well as my antenna tuner and the SWR/Power meter. The transceiver itself does not have any human interface. It just has inputs for power, RF, key and PTT and outputs for RF, PTT and some control signals.
The digital baseband goes via UDP connection to the SDR PC. Usually i use my Laptop connected via Wifi.

Low cost 10GHz reception

Some days ago i found a nice video clip from an italian guy who used a cheap DVB-T stick (RTLSDR) in combination with a crystal stabilized sat-TV LNB for some 10GHz hamradio experiments.
A short search brought up a nice paper about some investigations of G4JNT who investigated the frequency stability and phase noise of one of such LNBs and found that it could be used for narrow band reception in amateur service. It can be found here: Since i already have some experience with the RTLSDR stuff and currently experimenting with 10GHz as well i decided to give this ultracheap setup a chance. I purchased a LNB (which was told to have crystal stabilization) for about 7 Euro and made a phantom feed for that. With just the 12V applied to the coaxial cable it works in the lower band and the polarization is in the direction of the antenna connector. 10386MHz falls to about 618MHz since there are no sharp filters inside the LNB it is possible to receive some ham signals.
The picture shows the reception of the local beacon DM0TUD. Its not very strong here since it comes in via reflection at the other side of the city. With my 60cm dish its about S8. The LNB i use without any dish just placing it onto the cupboard.

LNB + RTLSDR receiving DM0TUD on 10GHz

LNB + RTLSDR receiving DM0TUD on 10GHz

crystal stabilized sat-LNB

crystal stabilized sat-LNB

Find here a short video that give an impression how it sounds like.

The signal sounds a bit ugly because of the LNBs oscillator phase noise. The frequency of the LNB was quite stable after half an hour of operation. The LNB was just lying on the cupboard and used as it is without any dish. I have no direct line of sight to the beacon and i receive the signal just via reflection at the other end of the city. Therefore you can notice some fading.

Edit: When opening the LNB i found that it has DROs and not as advertized on the package a crystal stabilized oscillator. For DROs its working quite well but since its stated even on the package that it should be “crystal controlled” its obviously a fake.

Edit 2: Today i received another LNB. Its a Octagon Optima model OTLSO as measured by G4JNT. I made a new video of the reception of the DM0TUD 10GHz beacon under the same conditions as before. The sound is perfectly fine now.

SDR# and RTL-SDR under Xubuntu 12.10

In the CQDL edition of Nov. 2012 there was an article about a SDR software called SDR# (SDRSharp). This tool can work with the cheap so called RTLSDR sticks (for example Noxon DAB sticks and others) and runs under windows and because its written in C# under linux within the mono framework as well.
Because its not that easy to get the stuff running i try to document it here. Just give me a hint if something is missing or wrong.
Thats the status of today…

The versions:
sdrsharp SVN revision 995
Xubuntu 12.10 64bit
RTLSDR from git repository Nov. 1st, 2012
Noxon DAB stick Rev1

Getting SDR# working:

First you need some required packages:
sudo apt-get install mono-complete
sudo apt-get install libportaudio2

Get sdrsharp sources (and the tool to get it):
sudo apt-get install subversion
svn co
cd sdrsharp/trunk

Build on command line:
xbuild /t:Rebuild /p:Configuration=Release SDRSharp.sln
You will most probably get a warning but no errors.

Try to run the binary with mono:
cd Release
mono SDRSharp.exe

If you get some errors about Portaudio then try the line:
ln -s /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/
in the directory were your binary of SDRSharp is located. Then try again running the binary.
If the GUI comes up quit it.
Download the release package from the SDRSharp page:
Unpack into a folder of your choice
Go to the binary Release path were your self-compiled binaries are and overwrite all files from the downloaded package by the self compiled. Also copy the symlink you created eventually.
Try to run SDRSharp from the new directory.
In the left top edge of the window there should be a button named „Play“. Right of this there s a selection list. There should be an entry RTL-SDR/TCP. If not download the RTLSDR files from the SDRSharp page and copy into your SDRSharp folder. After restart of the GUI the entry should be visible.

Connecting the RTLSDR:
I have a Noxon DAB Stick Rev1. This one can be tuned between 22MHz and 1100MHz.
The frequency accuracy is relatively poor. I have -51ppm offset from nominal frequency.

Noxon DAB Stick inside...

Noxon DAB Stick inside...

Check how it connects:
Plug the stick to the USB port, wait a few seconds, then type dmesg.
[ 7013.844041] usb 1-1: >new high-speed USB device number 2 using ehci_hcd[ 7013.987872] usb 1-1: >New USB device found, idVendor=0ccd, idProduct=00b3[ 7013.987882] usb 1-1: >New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3[ 7013.987888] usb 1-1: >Product: DAB Stick[ 7013.987892] usb 1-1: >Manufacturer: NOXON[ 7013.987897] usb 1-1: >SerialNumber: 0
On my other (Ubuntu based) PC i there get the information that some DVB-T driver get loaded automatically.
dmesg gives then:
[ 7116.475304] usb 2-1.1: Product: DAB Stick
[ 7116.475306] usb 2-1.1: Manufacturer: NOXON
[ 7116.475309] usb 2-1.1: SerialNumber: 0
[ 7116.679026] dvb-usb: found a ‚NOXON DAB/DAB+ USB dongle‘ in warm state.
[ 7116.704932] dvb-usb: will pass the complete MPEG2 transport stream to the software demuxer.
[ 7116.706616] DVB: registering new adapter (NOXON DAB/DAB+ USB dongle)
[ 7116.720596] rtl28xxu: rtl2832u_frontend_attach: FC0013 tuner found
[ 7116.729442] DVB: registering adapter 0 frontend 0 (Realtek RTL2832 (DVB-T))...
[ 7116.759431] fc0013: Fitipower FC0013 successfully attached.
[ 7116.759439] Registered IR keymap rc-empty
[ 7116.759545] input: IR-receiver inside an USB DVB receiver as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.0/usb2/2-1/2-1.1/rc/rc0/input14
[ 7116.759946] rc0: IR-receiver inside an USB DVB receiver as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.0/usb2/2-1/2-1.1/rc/rc0
[ 7116.759951] dvb-usb: schedule remote query interval to 400 msecs.
[ 7116.769919] dvb-usb: NOXON DAB/DAB+ USB dongle successfully initialized and connected.
[ 7116.776795] usbcore: registered new interface driver dvb_usb_rtl28xxu

lsmod shows:
dvb_usb_rtl28xxu 26619 0
rtl2830 18340 1 dvb_usb_rtl28xxu
dvb_usb 24540 1 dvb_usb_rtl28xxu
dvb_core 111077 2 rtl2830,dvb_usb

If thats the case at yours you need to remove the drivers by typing:
sudo rmmod dvb_usb_rtl28xxu
sudo rmmod rtl2830

This needs to be done everytime you plug the stick to the PC in case the driver is loaded automatically.

Get the binaries for the RTLSDR:
this is the project page:
you need to use git for checkout
sudo apt-get install git
Then get the code:
git clone git://
cd rtl-sdr
sudo apt-get install autoconf2.13
sudo apt-get install libtool
sudo apt-get install libusb-1.0-0-dev

follow the instructions for building with autotools:
autoreconf -i
sudo make install
sudo ldconfig

If you do not want to access the dongle as root user you need to install udev rules:
sudo make install-udev-rules

Run the whole thing:

You need to reconnect the RTLSDR stick to the usb before you are able to run the server application.
You can start it with:
If that does not work start it with sudo.
Then you can start SDRSharp again.
In the GUI press configure and type localhost in the field „Hostname“.
Keep the other settings for the moment. Press update and close the configuration window.
Then you can start the reception pressing the „Play“ button.
The waterfall window migh look strange. This seems to be a bug. If you rescale the window it should work (at least for a while) afterwards.
The tune frequency can be entered in the field „Center“. Attention: If you invalid frequencies the stick may hook up and you cannot tune anymore. Then you have to replug the stick and start all applications again.
Unfortunately the processor load is extremely high under linux-mono. I get 100% CPU usage on a 2.4GHz AMD64 CPU. This leads to audio stutters. On my I7-2600 i get around 180% load compared to one of the 3GHz cores when decoding FM-stereo with 2MSpl/s and IQ correction switched on.
You could reduce the datarate by starting the rtl_tcp server with option -s 1024000. 512kSpl/s did not work correctly at my side. You need to set the correct rate also in the sdrsharp configuration. If it still stutters switch IQ correction and FM Stereo off to reduce the CPU load.
This screenshot shows SDRSharp receiving a wideband FM broadcast signal. It also features a RDS decoder.



Thats it. Probably it runs smoother under windows. There the installation should be also a bit easier. Unfortunately i do not have any windows system available.


Since today the HiQSDR or the original N2ADR frontend might be used as a vector network analyzer for the shortwave range.
Jim wrote a simple tool that displays amplitude and phase between TX port and RX port and can handle some calibration.
Currently it is quite simple and i do not have provisions to measure reflections yet, so i can just measure S21 at the moment.
But for the future it will be a nice feature to have the antenna analyzer built into the transceiver itself.
The picture below shows a simple ugly-style lowpass filter.