SdrDx 2.17a for OS X and Windows released

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You can learn more and/or download the new SdrDx from this page.

New Features

  • 14 user-configurable, band-stacking VFOs
  • Old-time radio style station labeling
  • Dual-antenna phasing & noise reduction with AFE822 SDR
  • SwDb application to edit custom freq database
  • Deeper integration w/Dx Toolbox 4.7 and up
  • SITOR demodulator added
  • C-QUAM AM stereo demodulator added
  • Vector scope auto-set w/RTTY, SITOR
  • 10 RF notches added
  • DNR now fully configurable
  • 4 span memories added
  • 100% re-mappable keyboard commands
  • Comprehensive keyboard locking; time, codes, more
  • Integrated comprehensive key command reference
  • Two new spectrum / waterfall DSP processes
  • Stereo VU meter for stereo FM
  • Stereo Reverse added
  • Direct frequency, demodulator entry
  • Sideband demodulation extended to 20 KHz
  • FSK and CW carrier offsets
  • CB channel info for US, Euro, Down Under
  • Passband center indication
  • Auto-adjustment of waterfall
  • Bandwidth memory spread from BW1 to BW7
  • Mouse snap control
  • DGPS band added

Improvements

  • RTTY demodulator improved
  • File dialog improved
  • AFEDRI SDR handling improved
  • Memory tooltips improved
  • Bandwidth tooltips improved
  • Zone memset / drawing now optional
  • Audio waterfall improved
  • Anti-ringing improved
  • Bandwidth memories now include “-Ri”
  • Grid spacing and control improved
  • Audio scope spectrum improved
  • Audio scope vector improved
  • Various bug fixes

Goodies for the technical crowd

  • New TCP / UDP commands
  • Integrated network debugging for scripting, apps
  • Remote marker designation for scripting, apps
  • Improvements aimed at next beta test series
  • BUG button for instant bug reports
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Why Farenheit is better for people

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Scale 25º 50º 75º 100º
Celsius Cold Warm Dead Dead Dead
Fahrenheit Really Cold Cold Meh Warm Really Hot
Kelvin Dead Dead Dead Dead Dead
Rankine Dead Dead Dead Dead Dead
Réaumur Cold Warm Dead Dead Dead

Also, look. At -40ºC, it’s actually -40ºF. Isn’t that cute? Celsius trying to be reasonable, and all. Sorry, Celsius. Too low, too late. Back across the pond with you.

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The FFT definitively explained by me, a signal processing expert

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The Fourier TransformHere’s how to properly explain the fast Fourier transform, or FFT: Okay, it’s a Fourier transform, or FT, right, but while you’re doing it, you fold the buckets and the coefficients like origami, see, yes, basically like a unicorn, so you have to cut the code here, and here, and here so the head will come out right, yes, that’s it, and this code over here, it only runs if the unicorn is facing south, plus, you pull its tail so it makes little unicorn poops,uni and those have to go back into the unicorn’s little feed bin for next time around, because otherwise, the feedbin is too sweet, see, and the buckets are all funny-like and time goes back to being partially frequency. And you don’t want that.

So that’s it, yeah, and I’ll need your code example by tomorrow morning. Class dismissed.

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An Interesting AM BCB DXer’s catch

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KVCK, at 1450 AM, broadcasts a monophonic signal using the standard monophonic AM modulation scheme. The music feed to the station from its content provider, however, is stereo, and KVCK routes only one channel of that feed to its transmitter. So for any content that provides fully panned mix to the missing channel, no sound reaches the listener.

This problem has existed for decades, the station has been notified many times about it by email and in writing, yet it persists. The solution should be as simple as a stereo-to-mono cable or mixer, or, if the content is provided digitally, by a software setting or a call to the content provider.

That this has never been corrected comprises an interesting mystery with regard to KVCK, and makes it an unusual DX catch for BCB DXers.

Here’s a 20-second fragment of Marvin Gaye’s "Heard it Through the Grapevine"

First, here’s how it should sound. Pay attention to the ladies in the chorus from 13s to 20s:

Full mono, both tracks combined properly

Now, here it is from KCVK, on the afternoon of September 28th, 2016… listen again at 13s to 20s:

One track only (incorrect mixing at station or content provider.)

KVCK is like one of those double-struck pennies from the US mint. Very rare, and not a very good product — but interesting!

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Using JSON between Javascript and Python

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JavaScript can’t access local files; this makes it troublesome to work with databases and files without including someone’s “black box” and risking all manner of compatibility and security issues you have no control over. Python, on the other hand, has no such problems. It can handle files and databases directly, and you have every opportunity to keep things safe and secure. Python is readily available on your typical server; Javascript is built into most browsers.

So here is a skeletal example of how to get data from JavaScript to Python and back again that doesn’t require any extra JavaScript components, and therefore puts you in complete control of whatever risks you face, including resolving any bugs without having to depend on anyone else. You can use this to build your own communications, adding all the security and reliability tweaks you desire, or none, for private, off-net use.
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On Civil Disobedience

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Today, the Guardian published remarks by Michael Hayden, former director of the US National Security Agency, with regard to Edward Snowden’s actions in revealing our government’s immoral actions against its own citizens. Here’s what Hayden said:

If Snowden really claims that his actions amounted to genuine civil disobedience, he should go to some English language bookstore in Moscow and get a copy of Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience. Thoreau points out clearly that civil disobedience gets its moral authority by the willingness to suffer the penalties from disobeying a law, even if you think that law is unjust.

Here’s the problem with the whole “it’s the law and must be obeyed or suffered” paradigm:

The law said slavery was okay and provided for punishment for trying to escape slavery. The law said repressing women’s right to vote was okay, and provided punishment for women who tried to vote. The law said informed, consensual personal choice of sexuality was not okay, and punished people for such choices in the bedroom and elsewhere.

First, none of those things are actually okay. Those laws were (and remain) immoral and wrong; and more to the point, anyone who charged anyone under those laws was immoral and wrong, anyone who advocated punishment under those laws was immoral and wrong, and of course, anyone who applied punishment under those laws was immoral and wrong.

Second, with regard to Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience, which (essentially) says that the moral authority for civil disobedience comes only from being willing to suffer the slings and arrows of an unjust law’s unjust punishment, not only no, but hell no.

The moral authority for civil disobedience comes directly and inevitably from the fact that the law is morally wrong.

There is no moral authority in advocating, creating, obeying or enforcing a law that is wrong, nor in simply declaring “it’s the law.” Only moral failure.

For instance, when you make a law that says (or supports the idea that) slavery is ok, there is nothing that can make that law moral. There is nothing that can make obeying that law moral. There is nothing that can make disobeying that law immoral. The only moral path available to you is to outright disobey the law. Anything else is immoral.

If you want the law to have moral authority, the only way you can achieve that is to create moral laws.

Our central problem in this regard is that our politicians and a very large number of the people they have appointed are, in fact, immoral individuals acting contrary to the interest of the public at large and every individual they are supposed to be working in service of. Not to mention breakers of the oaths they took that give them the moral right to hold the offices they sit. They don’t deserve to be supported in any such undertaking. They deserve to be kicked in the shin. Hard.

Now, yes, it is true that in fighting immoral government acts, you may indeed suffer at its hands. That is the core nature of immorality; it does others wrong. But that is a far cry from any legitimacy for the conception that says you should so suffer. Thoreau was flat-out wrong. So is Hayden, acting as an echo chamber for Thoreau. And just so we’re perfectly clear on the issue of the day: Snowden was, and remains, right.

If you would like to take away a money quote about law that is moral in its characterization of law, rather than the sophist nonsense Thoreau was (and Hayden is) peddling, I’m delighted to oblige (emphasis within the quote mine):

…in so far as [law] deviates from right reason it is called an unjust law; in such case it is no law at all, but rather a species of violence.

Thomas Aquinas

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Real Change is Coming

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We are facing a brand-new set of oncoming challenges. There’s never been a situation previously where a significant (and likely unlimited and continuously, and rapidly, growing) wave of higher-qualified workers who did not require wages entered the workforce.

LDNLS vs. AI


I discuss LDNLS vs. AI over in this other post. These things are affecting the job market now. There’s no remaining time to feel or act complacent.

Increasingly sophisticated LDNLS Workers that never cheat, never steal, are never late, very rarely “sick”, have no unions, no wages, no insurance, no internecine or even trivial conflict, don’t get pregnant, who never have to stay home with sick kids or spouse, don’t need or want a cafeteria, a gym, breaks, a lunch hour, tips, or stock options; are unfailingly polite, even sympathetic, immune to office romance, gossip, corporate espionage, complaints of mistreatment; have no interest in and do not require promotion, will never misuse company time, and are replaceable the very moment something more effective is available without any consequences to social security charges, unemployment tithing, legal costs, or need for security personnel to walk the previous “employee” to the door.
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GAP 20m Monogap Vertical Dipole Review

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I’ve been setting up a small trailer for use as a mobile, independently powered radio station for use at HF and VHF. To that end, it has its own deployable solar panels, internal power storage, and dedicated power conversion electronics. There are quite a few 12.6 VDC VHF and HF radios out there, and I own several, so the radios are less of a problem than a situation where I have to make some kind of fun decision between multiple good options.

VHF antennas are no problem. But the HF antenna… There’s the rub. If it’s to be truly portable, that means it cannot be large, and it will not be high in the air. Those are very significant drawbacks for most antenna systems; they directly impact both receive and transmit performace. So I went hunting. Eventually, I happened upon the Monogap 20 meter antenna, which is a vertical dipole; easily portable within the frame of reference of what can be safely transported in the bed of my pickup, light, easily mounted and unmounted, inexpensive, and — as it turns out — a surprisingly good performer.
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