DSDPlus DSDPlus is missing the signal?

ChrisBoden

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Greetings everyone. I dearly hope someone here can prove I'm an idiot in five minutes with whatever stupid thing I'm overlooking.

I'm trying to listen to a P25 system in my local area. So, this is what I've done.

I watched the set of instructional videos made by SignalsEverywhere, located here.

Starting with a brand new legal installation and a empty (zero partitions level of clean) hard drive I setup a solid working laptop (I7 class CPU with 16GB of RAM). It's running Windows 10 with every update installed. No problems, works great.

I installed an RTL-SDR V3, by the book, done it many times, the usual Zadig, etc. Perfect.

I installed SDR# just to test and make certain everything is happy.

It's connected to a large dicone scanner antenna outside on a mast with a quality feedline, getting fantastic reception.

I pulled the RadioReference page relevant to my area, and checked both the control signal and the voice channels. Yup, great, clear signals right where they should be. The control signal is as it should be and tunes in great in SDR#.

I downloaded and installed DSDPlus as instructed in the videos, and purchased the fasttrack setup, extracted that by the book.

When I ran it, it was missing a dll file (libfftw3f-3.dll), so I found the original source for the missing DLL. It's here. http://www.fftw.org/install/windows.html

I wasn't certain which version it wanted, 34 (the software is 32) or 64 (my system is 64) so I tested both. 32 works fine, 64 throws an error, so there we go and that's solved.

I followed the instructions to the letter, several times.

The control signal shows up loud and clear in SDR#, but doesn't appear at all in DSDPlus, and as a result, nothing works.

I've been at this twelve hours.

Help?
 

ChrisBoden

Scientist, Author, Weirdo
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Coopersville, MI
Well all it took was another few sleepless hours. :) I got it! Turns out (for reasons I still don't understand), it will tune one of my SDRs, but not the other. I have no idea why. It's working, and today I'm just going to be thankful for that.

Is there, perhaps, a comprehensive manual or wiki for the DSDPlus software somewhere?
 

mtindor

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Is there, perhaps, a comprehensive manual or wiki for the DSDPlus software somewhere?
No. That's what those handy .TXT files are for that came with DSDPlus :) And, also "dsdplus -h" or "fmp24 -h". Plus, if depending upon the version, you can hit ? in the DSDPlus Event Log window or in the FMP24 window (if you are running FMP24).

If you want to monitor any LSM/QPSK system (simulcast), then you'll will want to run FMP24+DSDPlus, not SDR#+VB Cable+DSDPLus. Yep, SDR# has a pretty waterfall that is easier to navigate, but DSDPlus will perform best if you use FMP24 + DSDPlus TCP-linked together (no VB cables).

Some of this depends on whether you are using the free version from the website or the latest (Fast Lane) version you get by donating.

Mike
 

ChrisBoden

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I kicked in a couple bucks for his beer fund and got the fastlane version. There's SO much to this tiny little software package, I was quietly hoping someone made a detailed writeup on it. As I learn more about the world of SDR, it seems that for everything there is either a mountain of documentation, or absolutely nothing at all, lol.
 

mtindor

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If you are using Fast Lane:

You might want to enable keyboard commands in DSDPlus (MISC --> Enable Keyboard Commands)

When using SDRSharp + VB Cable + DSDPlus

a. Set Control --> Passive Digital Monitor
b. Set Input --> (your particular input - usually a VB cable)

When using FMP24 + DSDPlus

a. Set Control --> Combined CC/VC Monitor (if using just one dongle - and you want to trunk)
b. Set Input --> Use TCP Linking

Mike
 

mtindor

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Has anyone developed a plugin for DSD+ into SDR#? Because, that seems like the greatest idea ever.
Yeah -- but i don't know if there is an up to date one that works with latest SDR# and DSDPlus. I'm sure somebody will chime in. Bottom line though is you get better performance running FMP24 + DSDPlus. Unless you absolutely have to have pretty colors on the waterfall in SDR#, using FMP24 + DSDPlus TCP-linked is better.

Mike
 

ChrisBoden

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That's how I've got it running at the moment. I don't need the pretty waterfall for this particular application, it would just be more useful as an exploration tool if it was a plugin within SDR#. It all depends on the application. For something I want to build as a mission-specific Rx for monitoring the local news, certainly, this is great. But for just scanning various random frequencies in SDR# and screwing around, it would be awesome to be able to hit a digital spike, click a thing, and start decoding it. Such a setup would be a powerful exploration tool and teaching aid.
 

DRL-XM43

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Has anyone developed a plugin for DSD+ into SDR#? Because, that seems like the greatest idea ever.
There are 2 I know of and they both suck HUGE. The are SDR# DSD+ plugins not the other way around. DSD+ simply decodes a given signal.

A huge proportion of threads on here are about SDR# folks trying to use DSD+ as their decoder (losing many of the rich features DSD+/FMPx software SUITE provide) Does it work in a very low brow way - of course. But there does seem many issues trying.

Many swear by it - the plugs I mean - go figure, anyway...

Using SDR# instead of the correct DSD+ feed with tcp linking from FMPx is like hitching a horse to a porche LOL

(All in my humble opinion) :) I am now ducking to avoid the flames :)
 

slicerwizard

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I'm trying to listen to a P25 system in my local area. So, this is what I've done.

I watched the set of instructional videos made by SignalsEverywhere, located here.
My thoughts:

You want to monitor a P25 trunking system and you've watched a video about it; I doubt that video uses SDR#, but you want to use SDR#?

You're obviously using FMPx (specifically FMP24?), because you hit the missing FFT DLL. A DLL that you're specifically instructed to download from a specific place via instructions that are at the *top* of the *single* text/documentation file that comes with DSD+ Fast Lane...

To monitor a P25 trunking site, get the correct FFT DLL copied to your DSD+ folder and then run the FMP24-CC.bat and 1R.bat files. Tune FMP24 to the control channel by typing its frequency (in MHz) into the FMP24 spectrum window and press Enter. Adjust the RF gain with g/G keystrokes; aim for decent signal level without a raised noise floor. That's all that required to get P25 trunk tracking going.

If the video doesn't cover all that, it's no good and should be redone. Leave a comment for other newbies explaining what's what and how to do it right. Use your experience to guide you.
 

ChrisBoden

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"You want to monitor a P25 trunking system and you've watched a video about it; I doubt that video uses SDR#, but you want to use SDR#?"

I want to explore the spectrum, and at this particular stage in my education, which admittedly is frightfully early, SDR# has the easiest to use GUI with the best features for blind exploration and experimentation.

The video uses the FMP24 system, and that's what I'm doing on my mission-specific trunking monitor system. It works fine for that and it's an excellent rig. However, the FMP24 setup is entirely text based and requires manual editing of a text file for every frequency you want to explore. As a specific rig to do the one task, it's fine. But for ongoing experimentation, which runs in a much more fast-and-loose type of operation, it's clumsy and obtuse.

Tools are tools, but the application and desired user experience drives what tools we use to accomplish a given task. I can frame a house with a tack hammer, it would certainly work. However using a tack hammer to frame a house would take me a year longer than using a proper framing hammer. Form follows function. As a set-and-forget rig, using the text based system is fine. It's just not terribly well suited for happening upon something while exploring in SDR# and just dropping a decoder on it. The technology exists, and dozens of other people have build features to add in to SDR#. DSD+ is powerful, proven, and popular, so it's perfectly reasonable to assume that if someone hasn't built this yet, they're working on it somewhere. I'm just curious to know if it exists, because if it does, someone on here would most likely know of it. I don't, but they fill whole libraries with things I don't know.

"You're obviously using FMPx (specifically FMP24?), because you hit the missing FFT DLL. A DLL that you're specifically instructed to download from a specific place via instructions that are at the *top* of the *single* text/documentation file that comes with DSD+ Fast Lane..."

Yes, it's in there, buried in a text file in a folder. It's not mentioned anywhere on the actual website and I didn't bother to actually read the "notes.txt" file. Because it wasn't mentioned in the video, and it wasn't meantioned anywhere that I came across. Otherwise I would have saved myself an hour. This is the first actual time in my life that reading a Notes.txt file mattered. Given the importance in this particular instance, I would have called it a "READ THIS DAMN FILE OR YOU WILL SUFFER.txt" file. But that's just me.

"To monitor a P25 trunking site, get the correct FFT DLL copied to your DSD+ folder and then run the FMP24-CC.bat and 1R.bat files. Tune FMP24 to the control channel by typing its frequency (in MHz) into the FMP24 spectrum window and press Enter. Adjust the RF gain with g/G keystrokes; aim for decent signal level without a raised noise floor. That's all that required to get P25 trunk tracking going. "

1. I didn't know you could type the frequency into the spectrum window, that's cool.
2. I didn't know you could do the g/G hotkeys for gain control, that's cool.

Thanks for teaching me a couple new things. :) I appreciate it.

Seems if it's that simple, should be relatively trivial to code it into a drop-in for SDR# now, eh?

"If the video doesn't cover all that, it's no good and should be redone. Leave a comment for other newbies explaining what's what and how to do it right. Use your experience to guide you."

I agree his video is lacking several key elements. But the guy making the videos isn't exactly a professional. He's a nice dopey kid who likes to play with radios and has the motivation to teach people things in that particular way. I can respect that, it's what I do for a living.

Your kind and warm response to my inquiry has stirred my heart and provided me the needed muse. I shall have to make a video on setting this up and do my part to educate the inquisitive.
 

DRL-XM43

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Or just put these two lines in a single batch file and run it (put your own frequency, ppm if it is not zero and dongle number if different)

start FMP24 -i1 -o20002 -f452.2625 -b12.5 -P0 -q1 -g37.2 -_1 -wsl000.00
start DSDPlus -F1 -r1 -e -m1 -i20002 -OM NUL

That is the whole thing to decode anything/everything DSD+ will do.

What kind of scientist did you say you are? Please don't say Rocket.
 
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ChrisBoden

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Coopersville, MI
"Or just put these two lines in a single batch file and run it (put your own frequency, ppm if it is not zero and dongle number if different)

start FMP24 -i1 -o20002 -f452.2625 -b12.5 -P0 -q1 -g37.2 -_1 -wsl000.00
start DSDPlus -F1 -r1 -e -m1 -i20002 -OM NUL

That is the whole thing to decode anything/everything DSD+ will do. "

While I appreciate the sentiment in that, if it were that simple then the majority of those flags would be hardcoded in the software. Radio is as much art as it is science and the overwhelming amount of variables in decoding a digital signal from a random RF source is staggering. It's practically a miracle that this **** works at all and the delicate, fussy nature of the daisy chain of technology that our modern world rests so heavily upon should bring a moment of pause to anyone who glimpses the underlying technology. Our entire world is based on twitchy technology that the majority of people don't even know exist, and those that do typically don't begin to understand.

There are very rarely simple solutions to complex problems. Such is the nature of engineering.

"What kind of scientist did you say you are? Please don't say Rocket."

No, I'm not a rocket scientist. I've spent the majority of my life working in High Voltage/High Energy Physics. I play with lighting and explosions for fun and profit. Some of those crackles and pops you've heard in the HV band over the years have actually, on occasion, been the team and I working in the lab doing things that would amaze you. I've also built a couple companies over the years, invented a few things, made a couple videos on the internet, and I spend a fair bit of time making fun toys for interesting people.

I'm not a rocket scientist, but I know what 144MW feels like when you discharge the array and the shockwave makes your teeth rattle. The 1.8GW toy in the basement bunker can be felt 3 blocks away when it goes off, and the people at the geological survey office on the other side of the state giggled every time I pushed that button. I do things with stacks of 400lb capacitors that would rock your world.

Just because someone isn't brilliant in your particular field of expertise doesn't mean they're an idiot. I've spent a couple decades dealing with many thousands of people, and I've never met a single one who didn't have something valuable to teach me.
 

DRL-XM43

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I am sorry you did not find my help - helpful.

Passing variables to a program on a command line is very standard, many of us appreciate the flexibility that offers for different purposes- if that is a challenge then just run the program and set the variables from the provided menu bar.

Good luck with your project.
 

ChrisBoden

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Certainly, the use of CLI flags and such is common practice. But it's also a level of technology that dates back over 40 years now. It's not wrong, it's not bad, it's just that we can do, and expect, better in the world of a functional user interface.

Now I get it, amateur radio is the world of engineers, and Form Follows Function is the hallmark of generations.

But we live in the future now. We have edible women's underwear, spray cheese in a can, and "Space Age Aluminum" is over half a century old.

Computers don't use timesharing anymore, and for the vast majority of people the CLI is an archaic user interface. Yes, it still exists on every platform out there. Yes, it's fast and powerful for the priesthood of power users who have those skills. I use it myself from time to time, but only when I absolutely have to.

Even Gentoo, the most obtuse and painful operating system in the modern world, has a Graphical User Interface. I haven't had to do a Stage-1 Tarball installation on that, and set use flags and such in a CLI, in nearly a decade.

Now if this was some super crufty alpha bit of hackery that only a dozen people used, I get it. I have bodges like that, we all do.

But this is DSD+, and with the fastlane setup, the developer has proven that they have a solid audience and a good product and a substantial number of people are using it. It's a damn good bit of programming, and it serves its niche well.

There's no reason to still be using this as a standalone package, having to manually tweak batch files in a CLI.

Yeah, it works, we CAN do it this way, but.....we don't have to. We can, and should, do better.

This is at the "functioning prototype" phase, and for that, it's rockstar.

But after that, after you make the project work as intended, then you take the time to make it pretty. Because while Form Follows Function, that doesn't mean that Form isn't important. Form matters. User experience matters. Just making something work, that's engineering.

But making it pretty, that's Craftsmanship.
 

DRL-XM43

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Many prefer to use the built in menu system - I get that, but having both command line or built in menu system like DSD+ is useful.

If everyone had the same radio equipment and OS configuration it would be easier for sure.

Many stick with a single purpose hardware platform like a scanner - it is a comfortable place for them.

Many of us use the SDR as a hobby within itself since it lends itself to a very broad range of application and the SDR is a perfect hobby for some folks, especially with limited mobility and resource.

I monitor/track aircraft, ships, railways, high altitude balloons audio communications of all types and more.... all with a pittance of investment

I am EXTREMELY grateful for all the individuals who have dedicated their time to develop these many SDR based software's for free or almost free, who made them easily available to use and provide ongoing enhancement and support. That to me is amazing..

My hat is off to those folks in a big way. Even if the end product simply works with or without resource gobbling bloat and aesthetics.

KUDOS to all amateur developers!!!!

That's just me though. I speak for no one else.
 
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radioopperator

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Anyone using DSD-2268 ? I am looking at some 900mhz its showing DPMR but that's all! No data at all nothing?
 
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