Please help: Can't get Panadapter mode to work. (RSP2 Pro with AOR AR5000+3)

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Please help: Can't get Panadapter mode to work. (RSP2 Pro with AOR AR5000+3)

Postby JPLabs » Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:43 pm

Hi folks. First post here, hoping for some community help to get my RSP2 Pro working as a panadapter with my AOR AR5000. I think it's preferred to ask here, before writing a support ticket?

Short Version: Can anybody PLEASE tell me how to get the Panadapter mode working?


Long Version: See below for setup background, testing, and a few more details; hopefully someone will spot something I'm doing wrong.

I've had dongle SDRs before, but was never satisfied with the available bandwidth, or receive capabilities. So, I was excited to learn of the RSP2 10Mhz bandwidth, and have had my eye on them. Once SDRUno added Panadapter support via Omnirig in the latest release, it became a very desirable package with the RSP2, and a radio with 10 Mhz IF out. Great! Now the SDRPlay RSP2 + RSPUno system is to a point where I can build my dream setup! So, I finally bought one.

I also picked up a hardware radio with 10Mhz wide IF out, an AOR AR5000+3. Let me tell you, that was the hard part. Finding a capable receiver with UNFILTERED 10 Mhz IF out to take advantage of the RSP capability was NOT easy; this AR5000 is one of the only options. In fact, it was THE only option, that I could find.

I expect we will see a lot more AR5000 owners invest in RSP2s, if SDRUno + RSP2's panadapter feature matures into a robust interface for it.

I've had both radios running together for about a week now, via Omnirig, through a hardware serial port. Unfortunately, I can't get the RSP2/SDRUno to function properly in Panadapter mode. I'm not 'giving up easy'; I have around 40 hours into it on my own, including reading everything on this forum related to Panadapters. I have read and re-read the manual, and Phil's cookbook. And tried every configuration I can think of.

Omnirig is working. My AR5000 radio works great. RSP2 works pretty well, too - better than my dongles ever did, but it can't hold a candle to that AOR for reception, if using the same antenna. Still, that's not what I got the RSP2 for, so that's fine. I got it specifically for panadapter use. This statement is not meant to defame the RSP2 for reception, not at all - the AR5000 is a really hot receiver. Hard to beat. I'm just providing background, as to why using IF out is necessary. Please don't suggest just running antenna to RSP2 instead. That's not good enough, and not a panadapter. Already tried it and ruled it out.

I am running IF out unfiltered 10MHz wide into RSP2 (AR5000 IF OUT mode 1 ). I have tried all antenna ports. If my RSP2 is NOT in Panadapter mode, nor synched with my radio, then I can tune the RSP2 manually and listen within the IF out signal from the AOR just fine. There are signals, I see them, I hear them. I can see 10 Mhz bandwidth of my IF. This proves that the IF out is working OK. The frequencies are all wrong in SDRUno and the devices won't tune together, but I think this demonstrates that the basic RF signal infrastructure is working as it should.

Conversely, if I turn off the IF output on the AR5000, then the RSP2 signal goes away, showing this isn't just 'leakage' into the RP2. It is receiving and decoding the IF out, not stray signals.

So, I think the hardware at the radio end, and my cabling, and the RSP2 tuner, are all working fine. SDRUno in Panadapter Mode, not so much.

AR5000 IF out is 10.7 Mhz. That is set in SDRUno with 'panadapter' selected. (10700000)

I've set 'Swap I & Q' and 'Invert' as suggested a few places online. I've tries without these settings, too.

If I feed the IF out into RSP2 in Panadapter mode, but I do NOT Synch LO, sometimes I can hear things on the SDRUNo just by tuning around the IF signal from my AOR. But, not where I see signals, nor on the right frequency. I can tune to strong local 950 khz AM on the AOR, and hear it fine. But tuning to 950 on RSP2 gets static. I see signals on RSP2, but if I click them, they move, and nothing is there. But I can hear things where no signal shows on the panadapter display, too.

Seems like the Panadapter is 'lost' in the spectrum, and the display is out of synch with the signals, somehow?

If I check the boxes to synch the radios in RSP VR control (both ways, or either single option), a couple of things happen. First, incremental tuning becomes almost impossible, even from the radio end. Frequency keeps snapping back to the SDRUno setting. And vice versa, incremental tuning on the RSP snaps back to the prior setting. If you tune REALLY slow, it catches up. If you tune fast on the RSP2, it can take several MINUTES for the AOR to catch up, as it incrementally steps through every single tuning step in between. Certainly not usable like that!

Click tuning works OK from RSP, in that the radio immediately switches to the same frequency, but I can't work the radio controls in general, with the devices synched in any way. Cant change settings on the AOR when synched to RSP2, regardless of if 'synch receiver mode' is checked. None of the AOR receiver controls work when synched to the RSP2, just the tuning, volume, and squelch/gain control knobs. Can't switch modes, filters, step, enter freq, it's all locked out. What good is a panadapter that prevents operation of the radio?

No matter how I set up in panadapter mode, I can't hear anything from the RSP2 but static, most of the time. Example: I can tune AOR to 950 AM - strong & local. Tune RSP2 to 950 AM. I can hear it fine on the AOR, but static on RSP2, no signal spike. Often I'll see strong signals on the RSP, but they aren't listenable, nothing there, and they move when clicked. Even with gain low.

A few times, right after turning the Panadapter check box off then on with the panadapter running, the displayed frequencies change, and I get clear signal spikes on the spectrum. But the frequencies are all wrong, and the signals I hear aren't where I see them. Try to alter settings, RSP switches to static again and stops showing signals. The RSP2 does not respond consistently. Sometimes, turning Panadapter off/on, or closing/opening SDRUno, changes static into sound, but it's inconsistent and starts with the VT at my IF frequency. If I tune VT away from that, it all goes to heck again. Clue?

Noise floor is real low on the RSP2, -90 to -100 ish as I recall, but goes UP as I reduce gain. Probably as LNA turns on or something. Maybe not relevant....nice to see such a low noise floor, in any case.

I've tried general frequency offset in SDRUno of 10700000 and -10700000, too, just in case. No help.

Using 'synch local oscillator to IF' as recommended a few places causes the radio to be out-of-step with the RSP, and doesn't seem to help. I can never see signals where they should be if I check this box.

Lock IF doesn't seem to help either.

It seems to me like the SDRUno IF software isn't working right, since SOMETIMES if I turn IF mode off then on again, I start to hear and see things, like flipping a switch. But as soon as I start experimenting with other settings to make the frequencies align (Swap IQ, offset, etc) the RSP2 goes back to static, and the display loses all the signals.

I have tried many poll rates and timeouts for the Serial Port, too. 100/100 mS seems as good/bad as the default 500, 4000 settings. 100 is the least slow to respond, so that's what I'm using for poll and timeout values.

Can anybody please offer advice as to what else I can try, before I pull the rest of my hair out? :)

This is complicated, and I've tried to share all I have tried, but I may have made errors in my recollection, above. If anybody wants to suggest tests or things to double-check, bring it on!

Thanks sincerely for any help,

Jeff (JPLabs).
Last edited by JPLabs on Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am, edited 0 times in total.
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Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:18 pm

Re: Please help: Can't get Panadapter mode to work. (RSP2 Pro with AOR AR5000+3)

Postby JPLabs » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:42 am


I submitted a trouble ticket for help. I'll note it here if we get this worked out.

Support seems prompt and eager so far! :)

Thanks to any who read this, even if you couldn't help.
Last edited by JPLabs on Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am, edited 0 times in total.
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