Tag Archives: Decoder

20 MHz HF: “HackRF One” on Shortwave

world Kopie

The world is full of software-defined radio (SDR), but HackRF One has a rather unique position – thanks to its vast maximum bandwidth of 20 MHz. With an up-converter, this combination covers more than 70 percent of the whole HF range from 3 to 30 MHz. Even better: with proper software you can record and play this enormous band!

However, this stunning bandwidth is achieved by a moderate resolution of 8 bit, resulting in a dynamic range of just nearly 50 dB. Or the half of SDRs like Elad’s FDM-S2.

Anyway. I wanted to know in practice what you can actually do with such a set at a budget price plus mostly free software. The results surprised even me: Properly used, this combination convinced as a quite decent performer on HF! The world map above shows some of the stations received with the set (see insert bottom left) to test its performance.

I laid down my experiences and recommendations for best reception in a paper of 17 multi-media pages full of examples – including 55 screenshots, 21 audio clips and one video. The PDF shows how to optimize reception of broadcast, utility and amateur radio stations. It covers many examples on how to analyze recordings, to decode data transmission with free software plus live decoding of 14 channels in parallel. It also gives some examples of combining HF reception with the internet, e.g. regarding the reception of signals from airplanes (ARINC, HFDL) and vessels (GMDSS).

My experiences really left me enthusiastic about this set.

You may share this enthusiasm and download the PDF of 43 MB here. Save it on your hard disk or USB stick, and open it with a most recent Adobe Reader. Otherwise, the multimedia content will not work.
[Einen deutschsprachigen Test  habe ich jeweils als Titelgeschichte in der April- Ausgabe 2017 der Fachzeitschrift  Radio-Kurier – weltweit hören und in der Mai-Ausgabe der Fachzeitschrift Funktelegramm veröffentlicht.]

Multi-Channel Monitoring


In recent posts, I already wrote about my experiences with Simon Brown’s software SDR Console V3.0. It matches most SDRs, delivers now up to 24 virtual receivers and is capable to run multi instances, i.e. you may run several SDRs on one PC in parallel.

That’s exactly what I did when I connected three SDRs FDM-S2 to a PC, running 35 different ARINC-635 channels in parallel resulting in 68.000 decoded messages. It worked brillantly.

And there is much more, e.g. recording and playing 24 audio channels from broadcasters throughout 20 MHz (the whole FM band!) with hardware RFHack One.

This paper provides a hands-on and step-by-step guide for some vital monitoring tasks like:

  • using up to three receivers on one antenna and one PC
  • working with multi instances of GUIs
  • working with multi instances of software decoders like PC-HFDL and MultiPSK
  • carefully planning a monitoring session
  • analyzing  the decoded results and apply some basic statistics on 68.000+ messages
  • record and play 24 channels incl. RDS data within a bandwidth of 20 MHz on the FM broadcast band plus on HF with RFHack One (see screenshot on top of this page, “Matrix” mode)
  • … and much more

24 channel in parallel: Simon did it again

24 virtual channels in sizeable windows of 24 kHz width each - also zoomable.

24 virtual channels in sizeable windows of 24 kHz width each – also zoomable.

In a sneak preview of his SDR software “SDR Console”, Simon Brown again presented all SDR enthusiasts with again another major achievement: up to 24 independent virtual receivers!

Called “Matrix”, and beautifully layouted, each virtual receiver can be placed within the bandwidth of an SDR, i.e. about 5 MHz using an FDM-S2 by ELAD. Each virtual receiver may carry it’s whole individual settings of e.g. mode, bandwidth and AGC.

I also tried out three instances of this software in parallel with three FDM-S2 to cover 15 MHz with 72 indvidual virtual receivers. Their output may be fed to recorders and/or decoders via virtual audio card.

See this introductory paper for a first view. It shows in praxi how to use this stunning feature to tune into 24 broadcasters in parallel, record and play their transmissions. More to come, e.g. examples with of monitoring with decoders.

R&S EB500: The Über-SDR


It’s easy to look into the future of hobby receivers: just look on what the professionals are doing! Since the days of AEG-Telefunken’s E-1800, I do follow this advice. Where are the professionals yet better, and what may the amateur world see at their receivers the coming years? Hence, I was glad to test Rohde & Schwarz’ EB500 for some weeks; plus their professional decoder GX430. Even more, as I visited them in Munich and talked with some of their engineers.

Alas, the resulting paper with 15 screenshots is written in German. But surely Google Translator will be your friend.

Wie sieht die Zukunft der Hobby-Empfänger aus? Diese Frage interessiert mich seit den frühen 1980er-Jahren, als ich den damaligen weltbesten Receiver testete, den E-1800 von AEG-Telefunken. In welchen Punkten sind die Profis besser, und was können wir in der Hobbypraxis damit anfangen? Schließlich: Was kommt auf uns in den nächsten Jahren zu? Deshalb freute es mich, den EB500 von Rohde & Schwarz für ein paar Wochen zum Test gehabt zu haben – zusammen mit dem Profi-Decoder GX430. Mehr noch, denn ich konnte einige der Entwickler in München sprechen und so auch einige Hintergründe erfahren.

Das deutschsprachige Manuskript des Tests: hier klicken.

Code3-32P: A truly professional Decoder – Tested in the real World

Abbildung 12

HOKA’s Code3-32P is a truly professional decoder in a price class which will fit into most hobby budgets. Together with Roland Proesch’s Frequency Manager it makes an even stronger companion (with your Perseus SDR) in decoding and analyzing many digimodes.

This paper is an introduction into this decoder. It’s written in German, but 17 illustrations plus Google’s Translator will help you.

Nach wie vor ist der Code3-32P von HOKA ein starker Decoder und ein zuverlässiges Analysewerkzeug für Digimodes zu einem verhältnismäßig kleinen Preis. Zusammen mit dem Frequency Manager von Roland Proesch bildet er ein nochmals stärkeres Gespann (dann gemeinsam mit dem Perseus SDR).

Dieses deutschsprachige PDF bietet auf 18 Seiten eine reich illustrierte Einführung in den Code3-32P – mit Beispielen aus der wirklichen Welt, jenseits des Deutschen Wetterdienstes …

Recent Entries »