Help setting up SDR# & other things

bobruzzo

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Got my dongle today and was able to get it working according to the "Quick start guide". I got as far as being able to tune in to a couple FM broadcasts. Then typed in a few PD freqs to listen to. I adjusted GAIN to about 40db. Audio was a little low. Turned on "filter audio" to get rid of white noise. The PD transmissions came in pretty good. So I tried running "DSD Plus" but it doesnt do anything and there's no way to configure it. I noticed in the DSD Plus folder there is an SDR#.dll file. So apparently these 2 programs work together. But when I start DSD a few screens come on but there is no way to do anything. Attached is a screen shot of the windows that come on when I open DSD plus. But none of it makes any sense to me. How do I go further with this and listen to other modes like DMR and NXDN?
 

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Hung

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you need SDR sharp to use Dsd plus like that. Or Dsd Fastlane. might be other programs, but only the one i know of.
 

bobruzzo

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The problem I am having is there is a few things missing...there is supposed to be a dsd tab in SDR# but there isnt. I must have not installed something right. SDR# keeps crashing when I try to set output audio to that Virtual cable. So things are a total mess. Need clear step by step instructions.
 

Wackyracer

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The problem I am having is there is a few things missing...there is supposed to be a dsd tab in SDR# but there isnt. I must have not installed something right. SDR# keeps crashing when I try to set output audio to that Virtual cable. So things are a total mess. Need clear step by step instructions.
Install the SDR# community package as it has many of the plugins already installed or you can pick and choose the ones you want. then manually update the scanner app.
 

bobruzzo

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Install the SDR# community package as it has many of the plugins already installed or you can pick and choose the ones you want. then manually update the scanner app.
OK I installed the SDR# community package but I am still having trouble with audio. Do I really need to use the "VB audio cable?" It installed ok but SDR# will not give me audio if I select it. I can only get audio if I select the onboard computer speaker option. And there is no way to get DSD Plus to work because there is some kind of DSD tab (option) missing in the SDR# menu. I am chasing my tail. SDR# installed OK....but I still have a few things NOT working and dont understand the technology enough to troubleshoot myself. I cant use the "VB audio cable" because if I choose it in the menu of SDR# I can still see the signals on scope but NO AUDIO. I can only get audio if I choose the default sound device or PC speakers. And there is no way I can get DSD plus working. The command line screen does nothing when I try to enter "-h" for help....it just cycles through a bunch of display settings. There seems to be a link between SDR# and DSD plus MISSING cause there is no way to get those 2 programs to communicate with each other. What is the actual purpose of the VB audio cable anyway? Do I need it?
 

Wackyracer

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You need VB audio cable installed and working then dsd+ will work, you will get sound in the left speaker and different audio in the right speaker. follow any of the youtube videos to get it working, the audio input/output combination is the trickiest part of the setup, as every computer is different, so you have to figure out what works for the audio hardware in your pc.
 

bobruzzo

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You need VB audio cable installed and working then dsd+ will work, you will get sound in the left speaker and different audio in the right speaker. follow any of the youtube videos to get it working, the audio input/output combination is the trickiest part of the setup, as every computer is different, so you have to figure out what works for the audio hardware in your pc.
OK I did finally get something working. Here is a screen shot but I am not sure there is much value to it. I have tuned in an NXDN control channel....just messing with setting till I got something to work. Maybe you can tell from pic if I am heading in the right direction.
 

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Hung

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Yes Sir. Now for NXDN I'm Not sure the proper bandwidth. make sure you set the sample rate, and make sure there's no clipping on the Wave form Audio Signals. You can tell if it's to much by the amount of errors you start receiving. If I'm wrong, i apologize in advance. Just my own Experience.
 

morfis

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I'd ditch the installation with all the plugins and start from a basic version.
With that working correctly you can learn how to add plugins and only add the ones you need.
Some plugins require other resources - the plugin just acts as an interface/conduit between software.

For VBcable you need to download and install VBCable and not just a plugin - Install VBCable and verify that it is working....then install the sdrsharp plugin and again verify that it works.

Another plugin that is very useful is the milti-VFO one.

There is an abundance of information about sdrsharp on RR as well as on the rtl-sdr.com blog and goontube. Blindly jumping in and downloading something and expecting it to work is a recipe for disappointment and frustration. Likewise expecting people to be able to explain every nuance and step for ALL the plugins in a couple of requests on here is unlikley to get you the actual help you need.
It's not hard to get sdrsharp working with other things as long as you take it one step at a time (and the crappy community plugin download version doesn't really help people learn)
 

bobruzzo

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I'd ditch the installation with all the plugins and start from a basic version.
With that working correctly you can learn how to add plugins and only add the ones you need.
Some plugins require other resources - the plugin just acts as an interface/conduit between software.

For VBcable you need to download and install VBCable and not just a plugin - Install VBCable and verify that it is working....then install the sdrsharp plugin and again verify that it works.

Another plugin that is very useful is the milti-VFO one.

There is an abundance of information about sdrsharp on RR as well as on the rtl-sdr.com blog and goontube. Blindly jumping in and downloading something and expecting it to work is a recipe for disappointment and frustration. Likewise expecting people to be able to explain every nuance and step for ALL the plugins in a couple of requests on here is unlikley to get you the actual help you need.
It's not hard to get sdrsharp working with other things as long as you take it one step at a time (and the crappy community plugin download version doesn't really help people learn)
I think I am starting to see your point. I did download the community version and nothing in there I really need or want. I tried to get the scan option to work but it didnt. Well so far all I have been able to do is monitor a few 800 mhz voice freqs from the Mass state police using an 800 mhz mag mount connected to dongle. Apparently the VB Cable is fine and working. This is all done only using SDR# and nothing else. I tried using DSD Plus and finally got that communicating with SDR#. I tuned in to some NXDN and DMR freqs on 450mhz but they are control channels and all I could see on the black screen was a ton of CC date scrolling by. So not sure this is what I want. I wanted to DECODE the NXDN and DMR but I didnt know if its voice or data channels I had on there. And I was also able to hook up my Omni X antenna and hear regular scanner stuff. So I got that far. I did search Youtube and google but many things are not what I want to do and the videos are hard to see where people are showing their desktops...too small and blurry. There should be a step by step tutorial which shows every single step which would help me a lot. Most of the help files etc are way too vague. I also tried "Unitrunk" but it was crap. I really wanted to be able to monitor the local P25 system but I later found you need 2 dongles and some "Y" connector to connect the 2 dongles to antenna. So I am not sure how far I am going to go with this.
 

bobruzzo

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I had to re install EVERYTHING cause too many problems. How do I get the DSD plus interface to come up in SDR sharp? There is NO WAY for the 2 programs to talk to each other! VERY FRUSTRATING!!!!
 

cmjonesinc

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Since you say you are wanting to monitor a p25 system I'll make a couple recommendations. If you just have the one dongle and don't have plans of getting another one I would highly recommend getting the paid DSD+ Fastlane edition. It definitely has a learning curve but you'll be able to monitor a system with just one dongle and DSD+ by itself. You won't have to bother with vb cable, sdr#, and dsd+. It works great once you get everything up and running and is actively supported and updated. DSDPlus Fast Lane Program – DSDPlus

Now if you have plans to get another dongle you can make even more use of DSD+ Fastlane and monitor more of the traffic on the system. If you don't want to purchase the Fastlane upgrade but still get a second dongle, I would suggest dropping sdr# and use Unitrunker and the free version of DSD+. For monitoring trunked systems Unitrunker gives you a lot more features and is easy to get rolling. It also supports many radios and usb dongles. Plus with unitrunker you can monitor system traffic and see everything on the tower which is nice. You can take unitrunker for a spin with just one dongle but you will only be able to watch tower traffic and not listen to anything. Unitrunker (download button is at the top right).

Now for just general band monitoring or exploring around sdr# works great. But for something dedicated for listening to a trunked system, there are better purpose built programs.
 
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bobruzzo

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Since you say you are wanting to monitor a p25 system I'll make a couple recommendations. If you just have the one dongle and don't have plans of getting another one I would highly recommend getting the paid DSD+ Fastlane edition. It definitely has a learning curve but you'll be able to monitor a system with just one dongle and DSD+ by itself. You won't have to bother with vb cable, sdr#, and dsd+. It works great once you get everything up and running and is actively supported and updated. DSDPlus Fast Lane Program – DSDPlus

Now if you have plans to get another dongle you can make even more use of DSD+ Fastlane and monitor more of the traffic on the system. If you don't want to purchase the Fastlane upgrade but still get a second dongle, I would suggest dropping sdr# and use Unitrunker and the free version of DSD+. For monitoring trunked systems Unitrunker gives you a lot more features and is easy to get rolling. It also supports many radios and usb dongles. Plus with unitrunker you can monitor system traffic and see everything on the tower which is nice. You can take unitrunker for a spin with just one dongle but you will only be able to watch tower traffic and not listen to anything. Unitrunker (download button is at the top right).

Now for just general band monitoring or exploring around sdr# works great. But for something dedicated for listening to a trunked system, there are better purpose built programs.
I think I like the idea of getting the paid DSD + Fastlane option. I really dont want to make things more complicated than they already are by adding an extra dongle. And it is a hassle with SDR# cause every time I want to use it with DSD plus, I have to keep turning vb cable on and after a while SDR# crashes for no reason. So I need more information. The PAID version you mention includes BOTH DSD PLus and Fastlane? They are 2 separate programs? I tried Unitrunker but it didn't work. I had no way to set things and the interface looked like something from the DOS/Win 3.1 days. Maybe I had the wrong version or something. The biggest hassle for me is setting the AUDIO. And VB cable just complicates things. Too many programs to load just to monitor. Also most of the videos on Youtube are not much help. I have bad eyes and cant see the tiny screen captures they use. I'd rather get step by step help so I dont miss anything. Plus unseen variables that cause things not to work. Sorry for complaining but I am older and dont understand this new technology. I went on the website to download DSD plus + Fastlane but cant find the link. There is no link to Fastlane, only the same copy of DSD plus I already have.
 

cmjonesinc

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Think of DSD+ Fastlane as an upgraded version of DSD+. It's a version with more features. One of those features is the ability to follow trunked systems with just one dongle. DSD has a learning curve but a one dongle setup is easy. You won't need VB Cable or anything special if you go that route. Just DSD+ Fastlane and your one dongle.

If you don't want to upgrade to fastlane you can use just one dongle with unitrunker as well but it will also require the use of vb cable and the free version of dsd+.

I only use sdr# when i'm trying to find new things on the bands as the spectrum waterfall is nice. I never use it to monitor public safety systems.

With any route you choose to go having 2 dongles would be better but not required. The advantage to having 2 is that one monitors the control channel constantly while the other navigates to the voice channel. So you can set priorities so you don't miss a specific talkgroup. For the casual listener this usually doesn't matter. Give me just a little bit and I'll get you a guide written up with some screenshots you can actually see and hopefully you can get to listening.
 

bobruzzo

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Think of DSD+ Fastlane as an upgraded version of DSD+. It's a version with more features. One of those features is the ability to follow trunked systems with just one dongle. DSD has a learning curve but a one dongle setup is easy. You won't need VB Cable or anything special if you go that route. Just DSD+ Fastlane and your one dongle.

If you don't want to upgrade to fastlane you can use just one dongle with unitrunker as well but it will also require the use of vb cable and the free version of dsd+.

I only use sdr# when i'm trying to find new things on the bands as the spectrum waterfall is nice. I never use it to monitor public safety systems.

With any route you choose to go having 2 dongles would be better but not required. The advantage to having 2 is that one monitors the control channel constantly while the other navigates to the voice channel. So you can set priorities so you don't miss a specific talkgroup. For the casual listener this usually doesn't matter. Give me just a little bit and I'll get you a guide written up with some screenshots you can actually see and hopefully you can get to listening.
OK thank you very much for the help. I went to the DSD plus/Fastlane site but the download choices are too vague...no mention of Fastlane and the version of DSD Plus is the same free version I have. I'd rather pay for the full version but cant find link to it. Once I can get the paid version of DSD Plus/Fastlane I can hopefully start learning it all.
 

BM82557

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OK thank you very much for the help. I went to the DSD plus/Fastlane site but the download choices are too vague...no mention of Fastlane and the version of DSD Plus is the same free version I have. I'd rather pay for the full version but cant find link to it. Once I can get the paid version of DSD Plus/Fastlane I can hopefully start learning it all.
From DSDPlus.txt file --


DSD+ Fast Lane
--------------

Early access to features is being offered through the DSD+ Fast Lane program.

Fast Lane updates are expected to be released about once per month.

Some Fast Lane updates WILL have issues/bugs. That is the nature of alpha software.

Fully tested public releases will continue to be released, approximately every 6 months.


In light of the extra workload the Fast Lane program will create,
the DSD+ team is asking Fast Laners for:

US$10 for one year of Fast Lane updates

US$25 for unlimited Fast Lane updates

Donations above these amounts are welcomed, but it's up to you.
We're not looking to get rich here. Funds will be used for things like
needed hardware upgrades.

Funds can be sent our Paypal account (dsdplusfastlane@gmail.com)

Please include a comment that specifies the email address that
your Fast Lane updates should be sent to.

NOTE: IF YOU DO NOT INCLUDE A COMMENT, PAYPAL DOES NOT SEND US A NOTIFICATION.
THIS *WILL* DELAY YOUR FIRST FAST LANE UPDATE.
 

OldRabbit

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DSD Plus is a very versatile application - but severely demaning in configuration.

For a start, get hold of the OpenEar decoder - which has both the receiver (SDR#) and decoder (DSD+) in one package. It will decode DMR, dPMR and others with little effort.

Then, when you get the hang of it, get VBCable working and re-visit DSD+
 

air-scan

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DSD Plus is a very versatile application - but severely demaning in configuration.

For a start, get hold of the OpenEar decoder - which has both the receiver (SDR#) and decoder (DSD+) in one package. It will decode DMR, dPMR and others with little effort.
I know you meant to reply to the OP but thanks for mentioning OpenEar. I didn't know about it. It's DMR decoder sounds sweet!
 
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