Friday, August 13, 2010

Fun With SDR

OK, so I am still new to Software Defined Radio (SDR) and the Softrock Ensemble Kit - I am still learning things that maybe I should have known? But, the following are things that I have found interesting:
  • On my PC I can run multiple copies of the I/Q Decoders and listen to multiple QSOs at the same time. I have room for three Decoders on the screen at the same time. I use; one to follow a conversation or net,  a second for waiting for a fading QSO to return, and the third to explore pop-up signals that I may want to listen to later. The only requirement is that the stations must be within 40kHz of each other, with a more expensive sound card that can be increased. Note: the multiple decoders can be all the same program, ran multiple times, or yet another program for other purposes. 
  • We all have had to listened to that annoying station just up the band from our intended QSO, and other than filters we could do nothing about it. With SDR you have very sharp built-in filters, and you can listen to multiple "selected" conversation at the same time - a new multi-tasking mode. Each Decoder can be set to mute (stop mode) if desired. I know, it sounds complex, but it is much more useful than you might think.
  • I checked the stability of the SDR, it is good enough for a QRSS Grabber. The ARGO Grabber program is just another I/Q decoder. The Ensemble is cheep enough that it could be dedicated to the task. I think it could also be used for Receive Only WSPR - more investigation needed.
More SDR to learn!



  1. Just starting with SDR myself, I am finding your progress reports a good complement.
    I did not know that the ARGO could do I/Q, so that was a new piece of information to me . I have been using SpectrumLab for my grabbers, and that one certainly does I/Q processing, it can essentially be used as a complete sound card SDR - with some limitations and a quirky user interface, but never the less - it is doable.
    For WSPR I think you may have to channel the output of one of the SDR programs to WSPR - if WSPR supports that.

    Here is to some more fun..

  2. Jan,

    I am not sure ARGO actually decodes from both of the I/Q channels but it does display one or the other (if not both).