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Going Forward: VHF and Above Software Choices

Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 4:14 pm
by ScottSNE

As I observe usage of the SDRPlay at this website, Radio Reference, the Facebook page, etc., it appears to me that there is a distinct majority using the RSP for HF and not as concerned about VHF/UHF use. Maybe I'm mistaken but please read on.

As I primarily use my RSP for VHF and above, and as I speculate that the RSP and SDR# are likely not ever to "play nice", I wonder if there are any plans going forward to develop a software package that includes the things VHF and above users need the most, to include but surely not limited to:

1. CTCSS/DCS decode built into the software to identify unknown signals and/or apply such squelch to a known signal.
2. A means of sending discriminator type audio to outboard programs such as DSD+ without sacrificing primary audio.
3. A fast scanning module.
4. Search and store capability.
5. Audio recording.

Currently, and in my opinion, with the exception of SDR#, there are no software packages that are favorable for VHF use. SDR-Console is outstanding for HF. I have not tried HDSDR on HF. Beyond basics, neither work well for VHF and above, again in my opinion. I don't seem to be able to find any other software conducive to VHF use, and while the aforementioned can obviously be used for such reception, trying to add in the listed tasks via third party software is at least problematic and often impossible. I have asked the developer of SDR-Console several times over the last few years if it would be possible to add CTCSS/DCS decoding, and if that's coming in V3 it would be great, but he was not sure exactly what I thought the need for it was, so I'm not holding my breath.

While I suppose I can continue to use the last version of SDR# that fully supported the RSP, at some point due to a Windows update or something else, it too will break. The point of this post is not to start yet another SDR# bashing thread as there's no point to it. I am not a programmer or I'd try to do it myself. Given that the RSP is a wideband device it should, again in my opinion, work to full capacity across the entirety of its coverage area. I define"full capacity" as having items 1-5 above functioning. I would pay for such software gladly.

Thanks in advance for any constructive comments and/or insight.


Re: Going Forward: VHF and Above Software Choices

Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 4:56 pm
by saint
Yea I am Having a heck of a time trying to get a good signal out of SDR Console using LNA Gain, Gain Reduction, and Visual Gain, I have been trying for several hours to find a good setting and just can not, my reception is terrible and I spend more time trying to tweak the gain settings then anything else, I will download other software and see if it's easier to get a good signal.

Re: Going Forward: VHF and Above Software Choices

Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 12:24 am
by Alastair_BKA
I have given up trying to learn SDR Console. I run an old version of SDRSharp, HDSDR and Studio1(which I paid for) I use SDRPlay as a frequency monitor most of the time and then transfer the frequency into my Uniden Scanner. None of the software packages were written with SDRPlay in mind. Big thanks go out to our SDRPlay team. I monitor frequencies above 138 mHz and if you know how to read the waterfall then your all set.
So in a ideal world we would like a bunch of coders to write a program in Windows and Mac OS etc for the SDRPlay.

Re: Going Forward: VHF and Above Software Choices

Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 10:57 am
by Rebel

May you try to give some inputs to the developer of CubicSDR, this program is still under development and
I have the feeling that the author is quite open for any ideas.


Re: Going Forward: VHF and Above Software Choices

Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 2:41 pm
by ScottSNE
CubicSDR looks interesting. Apparently the support currently is limited to the RTL dongles. I've never tried it but I'm going to give it a look.

As far as reaching out to would-be software developers, I think it would be best to leave that in the hands of the SDRPlay developers and let them decide how to proceed, as it is ultimately their responsibility to ensure that their device works as best possible across the range it's capable of receiving. I would hope that going forward they would work with software developers to provide the best solution.

Regarding SDR-Console, I find it complex but not difficult once the learning curve is achieved. Simon has done/is doing fantastic things with it. I use it exclusively for HF monitoring with my RFSpace NetSDR and it is an absolutely superb experience. I'd be thrilled to see more VHF support develop for it, especially with the aforementioned list.

Re: Going Forward: VHF and Above Software Choices

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 1:12 am
by edmscan
I am a VHF/UHF user as well .. and I have noticed the same thing. It is like VHF and above was an after thought.

Me .. honestly I use my scanners. The SDR fails in comparison other than in sensitivity. And it is not the fault of the hardware. ;)

You can however notch bad signals which is handy .. but scanning about 3 ch/sec in SDR# is painful. Even my R7000 from the 1980's is 400% faster.

For HF I think that the SDR's are a great thing, but above ... really there is a lot of work to do and even the simple things like tone squelch is needed along with fast .. I mean fast scanning of frequencies. I have been using SDR#, but it has issues with false out of band errors. So .. it is really not very useful as a scanner.

My thoughts .. it is not the hardware, but .. totally software. The hardware in these SDR"s is only as good as the software. I am software guy .. and I found that out really quick once I got my SDRPlay. Sadly the software for VHF and above is pretty poor.

Re: Going Forward: VHF and Above Software Choices

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 8:20 am
by Fones
Do you think that you could handle created a new application, as a serious project?

Re: Going Forward: VHF and Above Software Choices

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 6:59 pm
by F1BJB
I don't agree . :)
Having the waterfall and the possibility to record a wide band is more useful than a scanner.
With a scanner you can only receive one frequency at a time.
Here identifying frequencies in use close to an airport is easy.
The water fall allows me to identify morse code of various NAVAIDS like VOR and localizers.
Finding the frequency of an unknown remote control or other devices like DECT phones is easy too.
There are other tricky uses :
On a DVBT COFDM UHF signal in SSB mode find one reference frequency
Get say a 1 Khz tone from it.
Store the frequency in memory
Recall the frequency then by adding or substracting exactly 8 MHz to it you can scan quickly the whole UHF TV band
and detect a lot of very weak and distant TV transmitters.