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Mac or Windows?

Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:48 pm
by Joevano
Getting my RSP-1A today and working on my setup. I have a choice of using Mac with CubicSDR, or windows laptop with SDRUno. Which way would be best? Easiest for a new user? Very newbie here, taking my Tech exam tomorrow...

Re: Mac or Windows?

Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:47 pm
by Roger
I would use Windows software because you have a lot of choices: SDRuno, HDSDR and SDR-Console V3. All three are free and very good. You can use the one that has the user interface and features that work for you. I find that I use all three depending on what I want to listen to or record.

If you want to stick with a Mac you can use Cubic SDR - some folks like it. Or you can run Virtual Machine software like VMWare that allows you to run Windows on top of the Mac software.

Re: Mac or Windows?

Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:03 pm
by fotoralf
I've been a happy Mac user for the last 25 years for everything from word processing to photography and professional audio.

BUT...

Try anything that has to do with radio, ham radio, or SDR and you'll feel like the proverbial poor relative. Lots of fun stuff that isn't available for the Mac and whatever is, is second-rate at best.

My RSP2 used to be recognised by gqrx on my Macbook Pro on some days and not on others. No discernible pattern. Sometimes it would help to disconnect and reconnect the receiver a good dozen times until it would eventually be found. Now, both programs (Cubic SDR and gqrx) crash reliably each time I try to start them. At least some predictable behaviour for a change....

On my Mac Mini, gqrx used to work albeit with the occasional stutter until, quite out of the blue, it decided not to recognise the RSP2 any longer. Nothing changed on the computer, no apparent reason. Cubic SDR works but is very prone to crashing and it doesn't include a number of features that make SDR interesting (e.g. spectrum recording).

Running the SDR in a virtualised Windoze on the Mac puts enormous strain on the CPU. Feel the case get hot and hear the CPU fan spin and you'll quickly decide you don't want to fry your expensive Mac just for some fun with a radio.

I hate to say so, but if you really want to get into SDR you'll be better off with Windoze. As they say: 70 billion flies can't be wrong...

Do I sound frustrated? Indeed I am. Can't be bothered with Windoze. My RSP2 will go up on ebay, shortly. Hardly used, one careful owner. :(

Ralf
DL9KCG

Re: Mac or Windows?

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:02 am
by Roger
fotoralf wrote:Running the SDR in a virtualised Windoze on the Mac puts enormous strain on the CPU. Feel the case get hot and hear the CPU fan spin and you'll quickly decide you don't want to fry your expensive Mac just for some fun with a radio.

Ralf
DL9KCG


I am surprise you found the VM was putting so much strain on your Mac. I use VMware running Windows XP, 8.1 or 10 on top of Windows 8.1 and it runs SDRuno in the VM at around 25% CPU load and I only have a medium performance laptop. I use VM's a lot for testing ham software because it is a good sandbox and protects the underlying OS from viruses, registry bloat and program crashes. A VM is also a good way to try out some of the Linux ham software.

Re: Mac or Windows?

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:09 am
by Paul
Boot Camp?

Re: Mac or Windows?

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:25 am
by fotoralf
It isn't actually VMWare, here, but Parallels.

Ralf

Re: Mac or Windows?

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:54 am
by franko
I'd say it depends on which operating system you're most comfortable with. Currently I'm using macOS as my ham radio computer (running WSJT-X for transmit/receive, keeping my log files, etc), while I use a Windows PC as my shortwave listening computer (running SDRUno). I also use Linux for other radio projects.

If there isn't a factor drawing you in another direction, I'd probably go with SDRUno on a Windows system to use with your new RSP-1A. As others have noted, you can run Windows virtually on a Mac if you prefer having a Mac for other purposes.

Re: Mac or Windows?

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:21 pm
by Stella365
In my opinion, Windows is definitely better.

Re: Mac or Windows?

Posted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:26 am
by AussieSusan
My 2c
It is really comes down to what you are used to.
Also, legally you can run Windows in a VM on a Mac (as you can buy a copy of Windows on its own) but you can't *legally* run MacOS on a Windows VM (there are ways to run MacOS under a VM hosted by MacOS).
Technically, you can run Windows on hardware that has a BIOS or EFI, but MacOS requires EFI. Again I'm sure there are ways to get around this if your hardware only has a BIOS. Also you can get Windows machines these days that have EFI.
Susan

Re: Mac or Windows?

Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:51 am
by someYguy
I would choose Windows. Many more SDR software choices, much easier to install said software, much more stable, mainstream support.