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Software Defined Radio - A forum for general discussion of software defined radio (SDR) receiver equipment.

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Old 07-27-2009, 7:17 PM
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Default Perseus SDR

Anyone here using the Perseus Software Defined Radio? I have been reading up on it and sounds very interesting. Guess its another item to add to my long list of wants.
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Old 07-27-2009, 7:39 PM
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I don't own one but I've used one. I'm personally waiting for the next generation only because they'll be a lot better. The electronics will get better as will the software.

SDR was made for extreme Broadcast DX'ers though. It's pretty nifty to hook one up and record hours of audio. You can be sleeping or whatever.

You can then review the entire 8 hours of playback at your convenience.

I think it takes the fun out of utility DX as (at least for me) there's something about listening "live."

But yes, I agree Brandon, it's one of those nice toys to have.
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Old 07-27-2009, 8:04 PM
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I played with one a little at a recent Winterfest. I had to stop drooling all over the keyboard, hi...73 Mike
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:08 PM
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I was just watching one on ebay and wondered if anyone here picked it up.

Perseus SDR Software Defined Radio Shortwave Receiver - eBay (item 110417491913 end time Jul-27-09 16:45:23 PDT)
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Old 11-13-2010, 1:37 PM
   
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Talking Persus SDR

I have one of these radios linked to a Wellbrook 1530L and I have to say it is the best radio I have ever used. That includes the radios I would have used in the military. The supplied software (now 3.0beta) is excellent, but there are also a number of other software packages out there to offer additional features.

If anyone is interested there is an excellent forum on yahoo groups and it is very active. One of the things I do like is that through the forum you do have access to pose questions to the designer and suggest new features for the software. This is something you don't get with many other radios!

I use the recording feature, not to record big chunks of time, but to record big chunks (1600 KHz) of bandwidth at specific times. If you do like to watch the MW/LW bands then this radio is excellent as you can record the chunk of bandwidth across the hour then go back and spot all of the station identifiers.

The features are too numerous to detail but if anyone is interested in buying one and wants to ask a question or two, then I would be happy to help.
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Old 11-15-2010, 6:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sysconp1 View Post
I have one of these radios linked to a Wellbrook 1530L and I have to say it is the best radio I have ever used. That includes the radios I would have used in the military. The supplied software (now 3.0beta) is excellent, but there are also a number of other software packages out there to offer additional features.

If anyone is interested there is an excellent forum on yahoo groups and it is very active. One of the things I do like is that through the forum you do have access to pose questions to the designer and suggest new features for the software. This is something you don't get with many other radios!

I use the recording feature, not to record big chunks of time, but to record big chunks (1600 KHz) of bandwidth at specific times. If you do like to watch the MW/LW bands then this radio is excellent as you can record the chunk of bandwidth across the hour then go back and spot all of the station identifiers.

The features are too numerous to detail but if anyone is interested in buying one and wants to ask a question or two, then I would be happy to help.
Ditto here. I've had mine for about 10 months now and absolutely love it. I use mine with a cheap netbook that's dedicated to the Perseus and it's a nice compact setup.
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Old 11-15-2010, 7:58 AM
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The Perseus gets very high marks on a well known HF receiver test site, its only second down from the top at the moment. However I prefer a box with knobs like the Elecraft K3.

See: Receiver Test Data
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Old 11-15-2010, 9:48 AM
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Yes, I am using the Perseus SDR, as well as several other SDRs. I have had my Perseus for a little over two years and have been using primarily SDRs of one form or another for over three years. The current in use SDR line-up at the listening position is two RFSpace SDR-IQs, one RFSpace SDR-14, the Microtelecom Perseus, and the WinRadio Excalibur, along with conventional radios. I must admit that I tune around very little now with the conventional radios, I tend to use those to set on a freq I have found with the SDR. At the separate ham position I have the Flex-5000 for an SDR.

The Perseus is a very good receiver, but at this time my favorite is the WinRadio Excalibur. The Perseus might, or might not, have a very slight edge in performance over the WinRadio, that is debatable and has not, as far as I know, been proven. If the Perseus does have a very slight edge it is not enough to show up in my side-by-side real world usage. And the Perseus does not have several features of the Excalibur. I do believe the Perseus has a more robust front-end than the Excalibur, but that is not an issue at my location.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nickcarr View Post
SDR was made for extreme Broadcast DX'ers though. It's pretty nifty to hook one up and record hours of audio. You can be sleeping or whatever.

You can then review the entire 8 hours of playback at your convenience.

I think it takes the fun out of utility DX as (at least for me) there's something about listening "live."
The Perseus might not have been made for extreme BCB DXers, but it has turned out to be a powerful tool in their toolbox. Remember that when the Perseus was first released it only did 400 kHz of bandwidth. And then, through software updates, the ability went to 800 kHz and finally the 1600 kHz it currently supports. After it had 1600 kHz of bandwidth record capability the BCB DXers glommed onto it hard.

If you record 8 hours of BCB in 1600 kHz bandwidth you better have some serious hard drive space. I think the file size would be just under 40 GB per hour, or say almost a quarter TB for 8 hours. I believe most users tend to record around the top and bottom of the hour when looking for BCB IDs.

The Perseus, or any SDR, is the best utility DX tool I have found. Dont think about the bandwidth of record capability, rather think of the bandwidth of display capability. Sure, you can record that bandwidth for later review, if you want, but you can also see that bandwidth on the waterfall display, in real time.

While listening to, or monitoring, one station if you see another pop up on the waterfall on a different frequency all you have to do is double click on the display, on the pop-up signal, to be on that frequency. One word can queue you to another active freq, something you would most likely have missed with even the most diligent tuning of a traditional radio.

I was once able to easily track the conversation of what sounded to be traffickers that were using their radios in a way that would have taken pure dumb luck to find or track with a conventional radio. These guys were spending less than one minute on each freq, and jumping up 15 kHz for the next segment of conversation. Kind of a manual frequency hop mode. The pattern was clear on the waterfall display, as I lost them on one freq activity started 15 kHz up, a simple click of the mouse and I was on their new freq.

And the WinRadio Excalibur shows you its entire frequency range at one time, in real time. With the Excalibur you can select 30 MHz or 50 MHz of range. Whatever you select is shown in real time on the lower half of the display, the entire 30 or 50 MHz range. The DDC bandwidth (the bandwidth that you could record if you wanted to) is displayed in the upper left corner of the window. This DDC bandwidth is selectable, from 20 kHz to 2 MHz in about 20 size steps. The Perseus main window is rather like this DDC display, but only allows 5 selections, from 100 kHz to 1.6 MHz. The Perseus does not have the full range display. The advantage of the full range display is obvious, you can, for example, be listening to a station on 6215 kHz and be watching for activity on ANY and EVERY other frequency at the same time, not just freqs near your tuned frequency. If, for example, a signal pops up on 23027 kHz you will see it. You can place markers in the wideband display to help you keep an eye on specific freqs. The frequency resolution on this full range display of the Excalibur is not the best in the World at only 1.5 or so kHz, but it gets you very close, and if you click on a signal on the full range display you can move the DDC to that point, allowing reception and accurate frequency resolution.

If an EAM comes up and you are tuned to 6739 kHz USB you can see, at a glance and without leaving the message on 6739, ALL of the other active EAM freqs, and the synchronized pattern of the signals helps pick them out, they all come on at the same time and they all go off at the same time.

The Excalibur allows you to place three fully independent receivers inside the selected DDC window. That means I can listen in real time, and independently audio record if I want, any three frequencies, each in its own mode, in up to a 2 MHz window. Three radios in affect. Or naturally, I can record all of that range for later playback if I want.

SDR is not simply a new technology, it is a new way of using radio for the hobbyist. It brings wide bandwidth and waterfall displays to the average user, something only militaries and government agencies could afford before.

Yeah, you might say I am an SDR fan.

However, there is a down side to SDRs, I mean besides causing you to spend more money. The SDR requires a computer to run it. My 65+ year old Hallicrafters SX-28 still works as well as the day it was made. 65 years from now will you be able to find software and OS to support any of the SDRs made today? I rather doubt it. I view the SDR as a piece of hardware with maybe a 10 to 15 year life span, then you move to a newer one. While not an SDR my old computer controlled WinRadio WR-1000i is getting rather hard to find supportive hardware (needs an ISA slot) and no new OS supports the GUI (XP was the last that it functioned with). I got that radio in 1998.

T!
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Old 11-15-2010, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
If you record 8 hours of BCB in 1600 kHz bandwidth you better have some serious hard drive space. I think the file size would be just under 40 GB per hour, or say almost a quarter TB for 8 hours.
Space is nothing these days. You can get a 1TB HD for $80 ... it's slightly more complication on a laptop (USB 2.0 or 1394 ideally) for an external setup.

I am definitely looking at getting the Excalibur SDR. It looks to be the best of the bunch -- and they are updating their software quite regularly.

I doubt they would do it but if RFSpace knocked $100 off their SDR-IQ then they would probably sell a lot more of them. I'd probably get it instead - just to see how I like using a SDR. I like the fact that it runs off the USB power.

Token, do you know if the Excalibur can use WinRadio's Advanced Digital Suite for decoding signals? Their web site doesn't say specifically. If not, I'm hoping they'll update that software to support it.
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Old 11-15-2010, 3:44 PM
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Originally Posted by nickcarr View Post
Space is nothing these days. You can get a 1TB HD for $80 ... it's slightly more complication on a laptop (USB 2.0 or 1394 ideally) for an external setup.
True, and my radio server (files from each of my SDR PC's are transferred to the server daily) has over 8 TB of storage. But, it still means that if you record a few nights at 8 hours and do not have time to get around to them for review you are going to tie up a full 1 TB drive pretty quickly.

Oddly, only the SpectraVue software that ships with the SDR-IQ/-14 has a wav editor (actually a separate program, WaveVue) that allows you to trim out and save pieces of a spectrum recording. Because of this I use the RFSpace devices for recording most of the time. When you record an hours worth of spectrum for 8 minutes of interesting RF it is nice to trim and throw away the other 52 minutes, freeing up HD space.

I have written to WinRadio about the need for a wav (they call their files .ddc) editing addition, but so far no joy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nickcarr View Post
I doubt they would do it but if RFSpace knocked $100 off their SDR-IQ then they would probably sell a lot more of them. I'd probably get it instead - just to see how I like using a SDR. I like the fact that it runs off the USB power.
Everybody always wants everything to be a little less expensive, no doubt, but the SDR-IQ is already the best deal on the market. It consistently performs as well or better than the Icom R-75 in most ways and has the advantages of an SDR, while still being over $100 less. Now, if I lived in a high RF environment I might not be so happy with it, it does have a bit wide open front end, but for me that has never been an issue. The R-75 is the better radio on paper, but I find that in use the SDR-IQ is more functional and makes up for its shortcomings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nickcarr View Post
Token, do you know if the Excalibur can use WinRadio's Advanced Digital Suite for decoding signals? Their web site doesn't say specifically. If not, I'm hoping they'll update that software to support it.
Yes, WinRadio updated the ADS so that it works with the Excalibur, in fact I think they had it patched within a couple of weeks of the Excalibur release date. You apply the update to the ADS software, not the Excalibur software. From ADS version 1.35 on it is compatible with the Excalibur. That update looks like it can be applied to any former version of ADS, I know it updated mine just fine.

However, unless you already have ADS I cannot really recommend it. Do not get me wrong, it is a good package and nicely integrated, but pretty much all of its features can be had for free in other software if you are willing to run a different applications for each need. If it did more in the line of digital modes, say STANAG and the like, I think it would be more valuable. I already had it (have 4 other WinRadio RX's here) so I have used it with the Excalibur, but several of the ADS features are more aimed at scanner usage, the DTMF and CTCSS decoders for example, I am not sure I have ever wanted to use one of those in the HF spectrum. The Audio Scope I use all the time though.

On the other hand, if you really want one well-integrated package that does everything the ADS does, and are willing to accept the fact that you might have to have other software to fill in the gaps, ADS is very well integrated and very smooth in operation.

T!
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Old 11-15-2010, 5:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Token View Post
And the WinRadio Excalibur shows you its entire frequency range at one time, in real time. With the Excalibur you can select 30 MHz or 50 MHz of range. Whatever you select is shown in real time on the lower half of the display, the entire 30 or 50 MHz range. The DDC bandwidth (the bandwidth that you could record if you wanted to) is displayed in the upper left corner of the window. This DDC bandwidth is selectable, from 20 kHz to 2 MHz in about 20 size steps. The Perseus main window is rather like this DDC display, but only allows 5 selections, from 100 kHz to 1.6 MHz. The Perseus does not have the full range display. The advantage of the full range display is obvious, you can, for example, be listening to a station on 6215 kHz and be watching for activity on ANY and EVERY other frequency at the same time, not just freqs near your tuned frequency. If, for example, a signal pops up on 23027 kHz you will see it. You can place markers in the wideband display to help you keep an eye on specific freqs. The frequency resolution on this full range display of the Excalibur is not the best in the World at only 1.5 or so kHz, but it gets you very close, and if you click on a signal on the full range display you can move the DDC to that point, allowing reception and accurate frequency resolution.

If an EAM comes up and you are tuned to 6739 kHz USB you can see, at a glance and without leaving the message on 6739, ALL of the other active EAM freqs, and the synchronized pattern of the signals helps pick them out, they all come on at the same time and they all go off at the same time.
The exact example of what I was talking about is in the following images.

Image 1 is the full spectrum from 10 Hz to 30 MHz. This is a large file, over 8 MB, so only click it if you really want to see it. The original was over 23 MB before I converted it to greyscale.
http://www.pbase.com/token/image/130373088/original.jpg

Image 2 is four EAMs as in my example, trimmed out and shown 100% size.
http://www.pbase.com/token/image/130373085/original.jpg

As I said, the full display is extremely useful, and you can zoom in on it in real time, scrolling back and forth across it as needed.

If the Perseus had this feature the decision for me would be much more dfficult. But, as it is, I am probably going to buy another Excalibur in the next month or two.

T!
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Old 02-18-2011, 1:40 PM
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Ditto here. I've had mine for about 10 months now and absolutely love it. I use mine with a cheap netbook that's dedicated to the Perseus and it's a nice compact setup.
Thanks for posting your files. Perseus WAV Files Kilokat7 DX

I downloaded the trial software and have been playing with it. I must say, it's pretty cool!

I can definitely see using it on a camping DXpedition up north. String up some huge beverages, and record away! No need to suffer through the bugs or the cold. Just take it all home and DX it in comfort!
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Old 02-18-2011, 4:41 PM
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Thanks for posting your files. Perseus WAV Files Kilokat7 DX

I downloaded the trial software and have been playing with it. I must say, it's pretty cool!

I can definitely see using it on a camping DXpedition up north. String up some huge beverages, and record away! No need to suffer through the bugs or the cold. Just take it all home and DX it in comfort!
Yes, it has definitely changed the hobby for me. I find the recording feature most useful when there are propagation events going on, or capturing the whole medium-wave band during sunrise/sunset times.

Perseus now supports server/client networking capabilities too. Think of this like "Global Tuners" but using your familiar Perseus software to tune other Perseus receivers across the world (called Perseus servers). Not only is the audio transferred to your client in real-time, but also real-time waterfall data. It's just like tuning and controlling your own Perseus, but the actual receiver could be anywhere in the world. Here's a world map showing which Perseus servers are online at any given time:

Perseus Servers Map - Microtelecom s.r.l.

How to do this if you don't own a Perseus? Go to this link and download the Version 4 software and I think it's good for 60 days:

http://microtelecom.it/perseus/Perseusv40a.zip

Version 4 will give you the networking capability. And finally, here's a nice guide on how to setup the networking (requires opening a couple of ports up on your NAT router):

Perseus Client Server How To - IW0HDV

Once you get it going it's really awesome. It's fun to compare signal strengths of various DX targets in real-time against one or more other Perseus servers like I did in the screenshot below. I usually have my server running overnight for others to use, and on weekends during the day when I'm not using it locally.
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Old 02-18-2011, 7:38 PM
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Yeah, I'm getting seriously hooked on this radio. Right now I'm going through your 49 meter band recording and having a blast! I'm seeing lots of positive aspects of the Perseus, but are there any downfalls? I mean, I've been in this hobby since 1973 and can appreciate a box with lots of knobs, and I like that. However, the functionality of this is just outstanding!
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Old 02-18-2011, 8:13 PM
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Okay, I've got the version 4 software, found the maps, says I'm connected ... but radio is dead.

Seems to be a learning curve here. Where's the "on" button?

"The connection is established but you have neither audio nor spectrum

If the server you are using is reported working well and is able to pass the previous tests, check your router configuration, pay attention to the udp port you have configured into the port forwarding rule. If the rule sounds right, double check that the IP address you specified for you PC is yet the same: the DHCP could have changed it under the cover. "

What? Unfortunately, that means nothing to me. :^/
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Old 02-18-2011, 9:07 PM
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There is no "ON" button, once you connect it is going if everything is right.

Have you opened port 8014 (both TCP and UDP) in your router (assuming you are on a router) to the IP address of the PC you are using?

Have you allowed access in the Windows software Firewall of the PC youa re using?

T!

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Old 02-18-2011, 9:11 PM
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Whoa! Lets break this down ...

"Have you opened port 8014 (both TCP and UDP) in your router (assuming you are on a router) ... "

You lost me right there with port 8014.

That's Greek to me. WHat's port 8014, where is it, how do I find it, etc. :^] (as you roll your eyes)

Yes, I have my firewalls turned off.
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Old 02-18-2011, 9:15 PM
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Are you behind a hardware firewall. Possibly built into your modem or might be a sperate unit that is between your modem and your PC?

T!
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Old 02-18-2011, 9:25 PM
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I connected my DSL modem straight to my laptop, and I think I'm in business now.

I was reading the FAQs on this - outer router, inner router, NAT router. WHat?

Simple surfer dude here. K.I.S.S ! :^]

I think I'm good to go. Will report back.
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Old 02-18-2011, 9:33 PM
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Whoa! Lets break this down ...

"Have you opened port 8014 (both TCP and UDP) in your router (assuming you are on a router) ... "

You lost me right there with port 8014.

That's Greek to me. WHat's port 8014, where is it, how do I find it, etc. :^] (as you roll your eyes)

Yes, I have my firewalls turned off.
More info needed on what you're running. What kind of firewall are you running - Windows firewall, some other software firewall, or? Are you using a network router between your computer and cable/dsl modem?

If you're not using a NAT router then by all means don't turn off your software firewall! Your vulnerable Windows computer will be worm infected within minutes if connected directly to the interweb without some kind of protection.

Feel free to PM me or email directly, I'll be up for a bit tonight DXing and I can try and walk you through it. Not sure if this thread is the proper place to get into this discussion :-)
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