FUNcube Dongle PRO is an USB stick, containing a great SDR at a low price of around 200 Euros. It makes a fine choice if you are seeking a serious start into the world of HF & SDRs.
I had much fun in gettingout the most of it regarding the HF bands. My enthusiastic experience resulted in this paper: 16 pages with 43 figures showing how to use this great little SDR in receiving, decoding and analyzing. Many aspects are covered, with broadcast, Amateur Radio and Utility DXing only some of them.
The key success factor in the congested HF bands is shifting the quite limited dynamic range to it’s proper place (see Illustration from the paper on top). This simple technique results in stunning reception of even Decoding delicate digital signals of 2.400 baud out of Tahiti in Germany!
This paper explains in detail on how to get the most out of this receiver.
ELAD’s FDM-S2 provides the output of three different channels within a given HF bandwidth of up to nearly 5 MHz. Hence, you may decode these channels in parallel. ARINC’s reporting system of ground and airborne stations is an excellent candidate to show this feature.
This paper is a step-by-step introduction in how to set up the receiver, the virtual audio cables (VAC), decoder, documenting software and Google Earth to show the results on the globe.
You may then easily configure hard&soft for other applications, e.g. the monitoring of GMDSS channels with communications from ship and shore.
With “Signals Analyzer”, the late Russian expert Sergey developed an excellent software to analyze digital signals. There still is no better software around to do this job at a budget price.
Signals Analyzer – Step by Step provides a short introduction in using this software with audio recordings.
It is a basic version of a German paper of 28 pages which you will find here. Thanks to its 65 and mostly self-explaining screenshots, it will make an interesting reading also for people who don’t speak “The Awful German Language” (Mark Twain, 1880). Click here to download this enlarged Version.
Google Translate also offers a great help in reading it.
[Deutschsprachige Leser finden eine mit 28 Seiten und 65 Abbildungen ausführlichere Version dieser Einführung in die Analyse-Software “Signals Analyzer” hier.]
Here you find a link to the software and to additional information.
Antonio is one of the most avid users of this software and provides many examples on how to use it on this page.
Monitoring of wide frequency ranges can be an art. And hard work, too. The technique ot the “Living Sonagram” makes this task easy:
- record a frequency range of up to 10 MHz, for e.g. 24 hours or less or more
- define a range of time ad frequency you want to analyze offline
- build up the “Living Sonagram”
- tune. demodulate, and decode in this whole range just with your mouse (see screenshot on top)
You must see this to believe it!
The Software has been developed by Simon Brown.
I wrote this paper as a step-by-step introduction into this technique.
You may also look this video on this topic.
If you don’t have much place, an active antenna is a fine alternative. You have to concentrate just on the signal-to-noise ratio, not so much on the S-Meter.
A recent test of some pre-production and (semi-)professional active antennas did not only had stunning results, but also draw my attention to noise coming from the switching power supplies of SDRs.
I did some investigations on both the performance of two active antenna vs. a quad loop of 20 m circumference and the noise coming from switched power supplies vs. two linear regulated power supplies. Read more
In the last time, I had been fascinated by Russian lady’s voices. First, I bumped into some very short, disciplined radio checks on the cis-Caucasian net on 5.568 kHz. I spent many hours until I got all identifications of these coded airports. Then I was absorbed by exotic destinations as Samarkand, Turkmenbashi, Vorkuta, Astana … onother frequencies. What a fascinating continent of DX! Read more
SDRs give us the chance to receive, record, play and analyze wide frequency ranges. The width is a trade-off of resolution (in bit) and transfer rates via the SDR’s interface and/or writing to hard disk.
Recently, I connected the ELAD’s FDM-S2 to one PC to achieve a combined bandwidth of 18,3 MHz, of which nearly 15 MHz are alias-free / at 16 bit resolution. All went smoothly. Read more
This transmission of 21 seconds length consists of:
16 “channels” with carriers measured at [kHz]: Read more