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Old 10-11-2017, 4:56 AM
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Question AirSpy R2 reception

I have had two RTL-SDR V3s for over a month now that have been working great. Since they have been awesome I decided to get an AirSpy R2. I got the AirSpy in today and hooked it up. First, the USB cable was DOA, no problem I have plenty of micro USB cables to go around. So now I start using the AirSpy on our local Motorola 800 MHz trunked system with Unitrunker using an outdoor discone antenna, the reception is garbage compared to the RTL-SDR V3. I have tried to play with the settings in Unitrunker and the calibration tool but it may work for a minute or two then poor reception again.

The first screenshot is the AirSpy second is the RTL-SDR same system same outdoor discone antenna
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Old 10-11-2017, 3:19 PM
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I guess I forgot to ask my question. Is there anything I'm missing on the settings to make the airspy run better?
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Old 10-11-2017, 5:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kylej86 View Post
I have had two RTL-SDR V3s for over a month now that have been working great. Since they have been awesome I decided to get an AirSpy R2. I got the AirSpy in today and hooked it up. First, the USB cable was DOA, no problem I have plenty of micro USB cables to go around. So now I start using the AirSpy on our local Motorola 800 MHz trunked system with Unitrunker using an outdoor discone antenna, the reception is garbage compared to the RTL-SDR V3. I have tried to play with the settings in Unitrunker and the calibration tool but it may work for a minute or two then poor reception again.

The first screenshot is the AirSpy second is the RTL-SDR same system same outdoor discone antenna

Wow, -4.60 PPM?

This quote is from Airspy's site "Starting from June 2016, Airspy R2 units are calibrated in the factory up to ~0.05 PPM. This calibration is written in a different memory location than the one used for the firmware, so upgrading the firmware won’t delete it unless you do it by yourself.

The procedure to recalibrate a unit is as follows:

Open the calibration tool (AirspyCalibrate.exe),
Clear the correction,
Reset the device (unplug/plug again),
Inject a known and accurate signal,
Set its exact frequency in the tool,
Click on “Calibrate”,
Reset the device.
Note that this procedure requires firmware version 1.0-RC9 or better."
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Old 10-11-2017, 5:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave3825 View Post
Wow, -4.60 PPM?

This quote is from Airspy's site "Starting from June 2016, Airspy R2 units are calibrated in the factory up to ~0.05 PPM. This calibration is written in a different memory location than the one used for the firmware, so upgrading the firmware won’t delete it unless you do it by yourself.

The procedure to recalibrate a unit is as follows:

Open the calibration tool (AirspyCalibrate.exe),
Clear the correction,
Reset the device (unplug/plug again),
Inject a known and accurate signal,
Set its exact frequency in the tool,
Click on “Calibrate”,
Reset the device.
Note that this procedure requires firmware version 1.0-RC9 or better."
Ok, I'll check my firmware versions and make sure I'm inputting the correct frequency and post back tonight.

Thank you for your help.
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Old 10-12-2017, 3:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave3825 View Post
Wow, -4.60 PPM?

This quote is from Airspy's site "Starting from June 2016, Airspy R2 units are calibrated in the factory up to ~0.05 PPM. This calibration is written in a different memory location than the one used for the firmware, so upgrading the firmware won’t delete it unless you do it by yourself.

The procedure to recalibrate a unit is as follows:

Open the calibration tool (AirspyCalibrate.exe),
Clear the correction,
Reset the device (unplug/plug again),
Inject a known and accurate signal,
Set its exact frequency in the tool,
Click on “Calibrate”,
Reset the device.
Note that this procedure requires firmware version 1.0-RC9 or better."

So I made sure that the Airspy firmware was flashed to the latest version v1.0.0-rc10 and I am still having the same results after going through the calibration four different times. I used a local radio station twice and the control channel for the system I am trying to monitor twice. The results are below.

So do I have a defective unit that I need to exchange?
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Old 10-12-2017, 12:35 PM
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Hi Kyle

I've found Airspy performance issues can be caused by not enough USB bandwidth.

Airspy provides a tool/procedure to check your USB throughput.

Goto the bottom of this page, to the "Troubleshooting PC performance problems" section.
http://airspy.com/quickstart/

Basically, download the Airspy Tools and run the command "airspy_rx -r NUL -t 0" in a command prompt window.

If you aren't getting a solid 10 MSPS, then the Airspy won't work right.

On my older HP Workstations, I needed to install a USB-3 PCIe card to utilize the Airspy.

Even though the Airspy is only a USB-2 device, some USB-2 ports don't provide the necessary bandwidth for the Airspy's 10MSPS speed.

Let us know the results of that test.

Regards,
Josh
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Old 10-12-2017, 8:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbeen View Post
Hi Kyle

I've found Airspy performance issues can be caused by not enough USB bandwidth.

Airspy provides a tool/procedure to check your USB throughput.

Goto the bottom of this page, to the "Troubleshooting PC performance problems" section.
Quick start guide | airspy.com

Basically, download the Airspy Tools and run the command "airspy_rx -r NUL -t 0" in a command prompt window.

If you aren't getting a solid 10 MSPS, then the Airspy won't work right.

On my older HP Workstations, I needed to install a USB-3 PCIe card to utilize the Airspy.

Even though the Airspy is only a USB-2 device, some USB-2 ports don't provide the necessary bandwidth for the Airspy's 10MSPS speed.

Let us know the results of that test.

Regards,
Josh
Ok got it. Here are the results

Streaming at 10.038 MSPS
Streaming at 10.022 MSPS
Streaming at 10.008 MSPS
Streaming at 10.008 MSPS
Streaming at 10.005 MSPS
Streaming at 10.000 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 10.000 MSPS
Streaming at 10.000 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 9.997 MSPS
Streaming at 10.003 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 10.000 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 10.000 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 9.997 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 9.997 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 10.000 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 10.000 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 9.997 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 10.000 MSPS
Streaming at 10.000 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 10.000 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 10.000 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
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Last edited by kylej86; 10-12-2017 at 9:16 PM..
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Old 10-12-2017, 9:18 PM
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deleted as op figured it out
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Old 10-12-2017, 9:19 PM
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@jbeen I tested a second 3.0 usb port to be sure as well.

Streaming at 10.004 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 10.000 MSPS
Streaming at 10.003 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 9.997 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
Streaming at 9.997 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 9.997 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 10.000 MSPS
Streaming at 10.003 MSPS
Streaming at 9.997 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 9.997 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 9.996 MSPS
Streaming at 9.997 MSPS
Streaming at 10.000 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
Streaming at 10.000 MSPS
Streaming at 10.002 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 10.003 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 10.000 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
Streaming at 9.999 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 10.001 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
Streaming at 9.998 MSPS
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Old 10-12-2017, 9:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave3825 View Post
In the folder the tools are in, select x86 or x64 and go in that folder. Make a batch file with only airspy_rx -r NUL -t 0
Name it whatever you want and run it. At least that's how I did mine

If you don't know how to make a .bat, create a new text document. paste airspy_rx -r NUL -t 0 into it and save it. Then highlight it, right click and choose rename. give it what ever name you want followed .bat ( .bat replaces .txt. Now you have a batch file.
I had to type it as .\airspy_rx -r NUL -t 0 for some reason results are above.

Thank all of you very much for your help. I hope I can get this thing working right.
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Old 10-12-2017, 9:33 PM
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So far I have done everything suggested, also I deleted all software and USB drivers to start fresh. I am still getting around -4.85 PPM when calibrating to the local control channel and still having the same problem as in the original post. I am still thinking the AirSpy is defective but I am going to make sure I do everything you guys suggest before I try to send it back.
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:02 PM
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Default Try SDR#

As a test fire up SDR# and compare reception with the cheap dongle vs your airspy, just in case something is amiss with your unitrunker configuration.
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb5udf View Post
As a test fire up SDR# and compare reception with the cheap dongle vs your airspy, just in case something is amiss with your unitrunker configuration.
Looks like the Airspy is off center of the freq a bit. This is after it has been calibrated too

AirSpy Top
RTL-SDR Bottom
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:30 PM
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To get the AirSpy on center of the 853.3875MHz control channel in SDR# I have to shift it -2,240

The SDR-RTL is almost perfect with no shift
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Old 10-12-2017, 11:00 PM
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Default s/n peak

how does the s/n meter all the way on the right peak with your airspy vs the rtl?
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Old 10-13-2017, 4:12 AM
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That's great that the USB speed isn't an issue.

You might try bumping the "Mixer Gain" value up higher, towards 15 and see if that changes anything.

Also, as a test, if you change the "Sample Rate" to 2.5 msps, do you get any different results?

You may be interested in joining the Unitrunker Preview group, where version 2 is being tested, which contains some Airspy improvements.
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/unitrunker

From the factory, I don't believe R2 models should need calibration, so if you do end up getting a replacement, I'd postpone doing any calibration procedures unless suggested by Airspy.

Regards,
Josh
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Old 10-13-2017, 9:23 AM
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i'll second OPs post --- mine is a total, complete POS. It is nowhere even close to on-freq as compared to a $30 RTL-SDR.... mine is usually at least 125-300khz off center freq on a trunking control channel.... so it's not just him.

i bought the thing for it's ability to see ~8 MHz of spectrum - and it's completely worthless when it's so far off-frequency.

i've sent airspy.us a message.... will see what they have to say.


doug
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Old 10-13-2017, 9:59 AM
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I think we confuse frequency accuracy and frequency drift with differing conclusions.

Several months and versions of SDR# back the accuracy from the factory was very tight. At some point it's my understanding that factory adjustments were not what they should have been and SDR# did not have adjustment functions for the AirSpy in SDR#. I was caught in that situation. My FunCubePro+ with its PPM adjustment I could easily dial-in with much better functionally in that regards.

After much complaining in the AirSpy community an adjustment path outside of the normal SDR# application was added. Over a few version of SDR# that path has gotten much better. This is really not an adjustment, but dumping whatever was stored and starting over from scratch.

So the correction my be larger that expected, but if the end result is on frequency with no drifting in frequency from day to day and week to week after a short warm-up period I don't believe there is a problem other than perceived expectation.

If the factory had gotten it right and kept it that way we would have never know what the correction factor would have been and would have only been interested in the frequency drift.

Just my take on events over the last 3 years with a FunCubePro+, AirSpy R2 and SDRPlay RSP 2.

Everyone's mileage will vary...

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Old 10-14-2017, 2:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb5udf View Post
how does the s/n meter all the way on the right peak with your airspy vs the rtl?
Airspy around 40
RTL around 30
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Old 10-14-2017, 2:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbeen View Post
That's great that the USB speed isn't an issue.

You might try bumping the "Mixer Gain" value up higher, towards 15 and see if that changes anything.

Also, as a test, if you change the "Sample Rate" to 2.5 msps, do you get any different results?

You may be interested in joining the Unitrunker Preview group, where version 2 is being tested, which contains some Airspy improvements.
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/unitrunker

From the factory, I don't believe R2 models should need calibration, so if you do end up getting a replacement, I'd postpone doing any calibration procedures unless suggested by Airspy.

Regards,
Josh
I have tried playing with the settings on 10msps, I'm on 2.5msps right now and it seems to be running fine. I originally thought 2.5msps did not work because I wasn't getting any audio then realized the RSSI lowered so I had to adjust the squelch. If it keeps running fine on 2.5msps does that point to a problem with my USB data?
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