New user....

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G0XAR
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2015 3:45 pm

New user....

Postby G0XAR » Wed Sep 30, 2015 4:04 pm

Hi Everyone,

I just ordered an SDRPlay mostly to use as a travel companion whilst I am away from home. As I am mostly an Apple user nowadays and only take an IPad I'll probably have to pack some sort of Windows computer with me unless some bright spark has come up with an IOS application. I was wondering if anyone here uses one of the less expensive Windows or Android tablets, if so what one?

Best wishes,

Steve G0XAR
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wd9ewk
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Re: New user....

Postby wd9ewk » Wed Sep 30, 2015 8:02 pm

G0XAR wrote:Hi Everyone,

I just ordered an SDRPlay mostly to use as a travel companion whilst I am away from home. As I am mostly an Apple user nowadays and only take an IPad I'll probably have to pack some sort of Windows computer with me unless some bright spark has come up with an IOS application. I was wondering if anyone here uses one of the less expensive Windows or Android tablets, if so what one?


There are several that have been repored to work well with devices like the SDRplay. In the UK, several friends of mine have liked the Linx line of tablets - especially when they are on sale. Others are available from recognizable computer manufacturers like HP, Dell, etc. - and other brands that nobody recognizes, except for the low prices. Basically, almost all of the less expensive Windows 8.1/10 tablets have similar hardware...

  1. Intel quad-core Atom Z3735 CPU (there are a few variants of this CPU, with a letter following the Z3735)
  2. 1 or 2 GB RAM
  3. 16 GB to 64 GB Internal storage (C: drive)
  4. Micro-SD card slot (32 GB to 128 GB capacity - this becomes the tablet's D: drive)
  5. 7- to 10-inch screens, typically at 1280x800 resolution (some lower, a couple may approach 1920x1080)
  6. Micro-USB socket (used for charging the tablet, or with other USB devices )
  7. WiFi (usually only at 2.4 GHz)
  8. Bluetooth

Some tablets add to this items like a full-size USB socket, a separate coaxial socket for charging the tablet's battery pack, a mini- or micro-HDMI socket for video output, and (usually with many of the 10-inch tablets) provision for a keyboard that attaches to the bottom of the tablet. Some of these tablets are now coming with Windows 10 installed, but many still have Windows 8.1 but with upgrade privileges for Windows 10.

I have been using my SDRplay for the past month or so with a couple of Windows 10 tablets - an 8-inch tablet with 1 GB RAM, 32 GB internal storage, and only a micro-USB socket; or a 10-inch tablet with 2 GB RAM, 32 GB internal storage, and the additional full-size USB and micro-HDMI sockets, along with a case that includes a keyboard and touchpad. I use the 8-inch tablet more with the SDRplay and HDSDR, as that seems to be a good compromise between size and functionality. The 1 GB RAM in that tablet has not been a problem with HDSDR. I did find that I need to write any recordings from HDSDR to the tablet's C: drive, as the micro-SD card slow is a lot slower for Windows 10 to access than the tablet's C: drive - even with a decent high-speed micro-SD card. The SDRplay has worked very well receiving signals from amateur satellites, once I changed the Gain Reduction settings in the SDRplay's ExtIO Controller in HDSDR (need more gain for the weaker signals, not less). And I use a Bluetooth mouse when running HDSDR - most of these apps were not designed with a touch screen in mind, and the mouse wheel can be used like a VFO knob in HDSDR.

I have not tried my SDRplay with my Nexus 7 tablet, mainly because I prefer the SDR software selections for Windows PCs. I have run older versions of SDR# before its recent update to use .NET 4.6, and have even run SDR-Console on my tablets, but HDSDR doesn't appear to use as much of the tablet's CPU and memory resources compared to those other two programs. With any of these software packages, I have to limit the bandwidth from SDR device - I have RTL-SDR dongles, FUNcube Dongle Pro+, HackRF, along with the SDRplay - to no more than 2 MHz. Anything much more than that, and the tablet can't handle it. For my uses, I am fine with that bandwidth when using the tablets. For amateur satellites, I'm usually at 200 to 600 kHz bandwidth, which is enough for my needs.

Between the SDRplay Windows API fixing past issues related to Windows tablets and removing the 380-420 MHz frequency gap, I have been very happy with the SDRplay, and have considered purchasing another one that would permanently stay at home. The other one would travel with me.

Good luck!
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Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK
http://www.wd9ewk.net/ - Twitter: @WD9EWK

G0XAR
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2015 3:45 pm

Re: New user....

Postby G0XAR » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:37 pm

Patrick,

Thanks very much for the time and effort you took in producing such a helpful and lengthly reply. At the moment I have connected the SDRPlay up to a Windows 10 laptop I use for software development - I fool around with micro controllers - but as a Mac user I find Windows somewhat clumsy. Anyway the good news is that I have received signals on both the ham and broadcast bands and what I have to do is learn to drive the software in more detail. I use a 40 meter doublet so there are lots of signals on the HF bands, too many in fact so I think I'll need to play with the LNA settings to stop the overload. Later I'll fire up my Rb frequency standard to see how far out the frequency is. But so far I am mighty impressed with the little box!

Thanks again,

Steve G0XAR
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wd9ewk
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Re: New user....

Postby wd9ewk » Fri Oct 02, 2015 6:07 pm

G0XAR wrote:Patrick,

Thanks very much for the time and effort you took in producing such a helpful and lengthly reply.


I type fast, so no worries. :) Satellite operators (among others) have been asking me a lot about what I've been doing with the SDRplay, and what I've been posting in other web forums and e-mail lists as I use it (with HDSDR) as my amateur satellite downlink receiver.

G0XAR wrote:At the moment I have connected the SDRPlay up to a Windows 10 laptop I use for software development - I fool around with micro controllers - but as a Mac user I find Windows somewhat clumsy. Anyway the good news is that I have received signals on both the ham and broadcast bands and what I have to do is learn to drive the software in more detail. I use a 40 meter doublet so there are lots of signals on the HF bands, too many in fact so I think I'll need to play with the LNA settings to stop the overload. Later I'll fire up my Rb frequency standard to see how far out the frequency is. But so far I am mighty impressed with the little box!


I had to get familiar with the SDRplay ExtIO controller's concept of gain reduction. It made sense, once I realized the LNA was in play for VHF/UHF reception, and that I didn't want to reduce the gain for the weak signals I've been working with from amateur satellites. This was a change from the other SDR devices I have used before purchasing the SDRplay.

Even though the SDRplay is a physically larger device than my FUNcube Dongle Pro+ and RTL-SDR dongles, it doesn't draw more power than my Windows 10 tablets are capable of supplying. I have not tried running this combination to the point the tablet's battery pack is completely discharged, but for satellite operating I don't have to worry about supplying power to the tablet while connected to the SDRplay. If I needed a tablet to run more than a few hours at a time, I'd choose another tablet that has multiple USB ports or a separate charging/power port that doesn't tie up a USB port.

73!
Last edited by wd9ewk on Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am, edited 0 times in total.
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Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK
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rons
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Re: New user....

Postby rons » Tue Dec 15, 2015 10:05 pm

Would anyone be willing to update us on their tablet models being used with the SDRPLay. I have found the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 to have undependable USB ports.

Thanks, Ron
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