Posts Tagged radio

Review: E-Flite Blade 350 QX Quadcopter

The Blade 350 QX quadcopter is an almost-perfect example of its class. Three flight modes provide almost the perfect range from well behaved and safe to crazily agreeable to any insane set of control inputs you supply.

Blade 350 QX

Blade 350 QX

It is light, provides a reasonable flight time with the supplied battery, and you’re pretty well guaranteed to have more fun than you expect fooling around with it.

But that’s not all. The 350 is powerful enough, and stable enough, to carry a Go Pro camera and take awesome HD movies and stills from the air. You can spin the quadcopter in place and create a fabulous pan, or fly right up to something you otherwise can’t get to and take a closeup. Or just fly around and take a look at the countryside.

Everything you need is supplied in the package; the quadcopter, the hand controller, batteries, a charger (12 vdc… meant to hook to your car’s electrical system so you can recharge in the field), and you even get a set of extra blades. Which you are unlikely to need if you are even just a little bit careful. The manual is a little dense, and because of that you’ll have to read it carefully, but everything you need to know is actually in there within twelve pages.
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New OSX and Windows version of SdrDx – 2.11

SdrDx 2.11 adds visible memory markers, an enhanced internal database, better panning window width by window width, a number of fixes and performance improvements, and additional documentation.

  Screen shot:

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New version of SdrDx – 1.10

Please see this post for the latest details on v1.10.

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SWLs: WLO RTTY news feed on 8472 KHz

So there I am, minding my own business at 2am or so my time, tuning across 8 MHz with SdrDx using my 20 meter inverted vee, and I see a RTTY signal. Ever the optimist, I fire up the Jack server (this connects the audio output of one application on the Mac to the input of another application), then an old version of fldigi I have lying around, “jack” them together, and lo and behold, the signal is unencrypted, 45 baud 170 Hz shift RTTY. That was startling enough, but the signal turns out to be a news feed, something I haven’t seen on the shortwave bands in at least ten, perhaps as much as twenty, years.
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SdrDx –OS X and Windows SDR Software

SdrDx2.13gI’ve been working on developing OSX/Mac and Windows versions of SdrDx. At this time, SdrDx for OSX and Windows supports RFSPACE, FunCube Pro, Andrus MK1.5, AFEDRI, FunCube Pro Plus, Peaberry, and Softrock SDR receivers.

In addition, SdrDx can be made to support any SDR with a sound card interface, including I/Q input via your native or auxiliary sound card, with a little scripting work; the Peaberry and Softrock support demonstrate this mechanism using Python.

SdrDx (running on the Mac) is shown to the right. SdrDx is a closed-source, free application.

SdrDx, in combination with your SDR, is an extremely powerful receiver. Reception, recording, playback, analysis, processing — it’s all there, and it’s all been made as easy to use as possible. Extensive documentation covers every aspect of operating the software, as well as providing numerous examples and images to help you along. If you’re an expert radio user, you’re sure to settle right in. If you’re still learning, you can look forward to software that lets your capabilities grow with your knowledge.

SDR-IQ users only: You can download the executable application(s) appropriate to your OS (OSX or Windows) and the SDR-IQ TCP server for your OS (if you have an SDR-IQ and don’t already have a server) below. Remember, you MUST have a network server application installed to support the SDR-IQ. These are available in the list of downloads below. Other SDR types do not require a server application.

The main application zip file will un-compress to a folder, inside which you will find the SdrDx application, and some other files. Please read the documentation carefully. Use the extensive index. If you can’t find something in there, please let me know. I try very hard to keep the documentation up to date. It’s no trouble at all to add index entries, and generally speaking, I’m willing to expand the docs if you find something I have not covered yet.

The VFO Suite application is an accessory for SdrDx that provides many independent VFOs that each track frequency, mode, waterfall and spectrum state, and more. Each VFO may optionally be limited so that it will not track outside a band, so you can, for instance, set up a VFO that lets you tune the 20m amateur band, but not outside it. VFO Suite connects to SdrDx via TCP, so it can run on any machine with a TCP connection to the machine running SdrDx, including, of course, on the same machine.

Note to PC users: Run SdrDx and VFO Suite out of the folders I supply them in. Don’t stick the executables somewhere else. That way lies madness. MaDnEsS!

Current Version and related downloads

  • Demo Videos:
  • For Everyone:
    • Online Documentation
    • Wideband RF Recordings — these are useful if you’d like to try out SdrDx but you don’t have an SDR yet. You can start SdrDx, press the “play button” (looks like this:  >  and is located at the bottom left) and then enjoy receiving the described band, event, etc. You can tune within the bandwidth of the recording. So for instance, if you play the 6100 kHz recording, which is 200 kHz wide, you can tune from 6000 kHz to 6200 kHz — most of the 49 meter band! Just download and install SdrDx, then the file of interest, start SdrDx, press  >  and select the file (if it’s zipped, you have to unzip it first.)

    • Timed player / recorder v1.05
      This is a Python script that lets you set timers to start and stop SdrDx receiving and/or recording at time(s) of your choosing. Independent control over center frequency, demodulator frequency, demodulator mode, start time, record on/off, stop time. Everything you need to receive and/or record on any schedule you find convenient.
      instructions inside file.

  • Mac (Stable Version)

  • Mac (Beta Version)***
    • SdrDx 2.13v beta for the Mac
      Note that within the beta archive are some other files, such as palette files, you can try.
    • Beta documentation*** (technical types only): First, you need to edit your /etc/hosts file (will require use of sudo command or otherwise one-time special access to this admin-only file) to add this line:

      Then you can get to the beta documentation at this URL
      *** The beta changes without notice, as do the beta docs, furthermore they may not match. Not for the faint of heart. All beta work is done on the Mac platform. Feedback is welcome.

  • Windows

  • Support for Andrus MK1.5 SDR
    1. Connect Andrus MK1.5 to your LAN Ethernet
    2. Start SdrDx 2.12p (or later)
    3. Open NET dialog and use auto-find to locate Andrus
    4. Close NET dialog
    5. Open SDR dialog and set bandwidth as desired
    6. Close SDR dialog
    7. Press RUN
  • Support for Peaberry and (possibly) Softrock
    1. Download this .zip of Python script
    2. Unzip and copy .py file from within the .zip to your home directory
    3. Download and install PyUSB library
    4. Start SdrDx 2.12p (or later)
    5. Open a shell at your home directory and type ./
    6. In SdrDx, left-click SND button, select “Peaberry Radio” as input sound card, OK
    7. In SdrDx, right-click FCD button, check ON and AUDIO IQ, set OSX rate to 50000, or Windows rate to 48000, OK
    8. In SdrDx, left-click SDR button, set sample rate to 50000, OK
    9. In SdrDx, left-click FCD button — Peaberry should be running now
  • Acknowledgements and Notices


Please refer to this page for the release version documentation.

System Requirements

SdrDx for the Mac requires an Intel CPU, running Leopard 10.5.8 or later.

So far, I have numerous third-party reports of SdrDx working under 10.5, 10.6, 10.7, 10.8, and 10.9.

There are two tricks required for 10.9, first, you need to turn the “App Nap” feature off or when SdrDx is not the front window, OSX will put it to sleep, which will break it. Right click on the SdrDx app, select “info”, turn off App Nap, and close the info window. If you’ve got an SDR-IQ where the server runs under 10.9, you’ll need to do the same thing to the server application. Note: I suggest the very first thing you do with any application you install is turn off App Nap — it’s one of Apple’s worst ideas ever. That’s all there is to that.

Also under 10.9 for users of the SDR-IQ, Apple thoroughly broke the USB driver. In order to use the USB driver in the server application instead (so the USB to Net server will work), you need to enter the following in a shell right after you boot your machine…

sudo kextunload -b

…it’s not sticky, so you’ll have to do this any time you reboot your Mac.

I suspect that the above tips apply under 10.10, though I have no feedback on that as yet (November 22nd, 2014)

And of course SdrDx requires an SDR as well if you want to receive live, although it can play back pre-recorded files without an SDR; in the specific case of the SDR-IQ, you’ll need a server application that puts the SDR-IQ on the network. SdrDx’s support of RFSPACE SDRs is only via network connections, it does not directly interface with the USB connection of the SDR-IQ.

For the Mac, I am presently designing and testing and compiling under OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard.)

SdrDx Beta for the PC requires an Intel CPU, running Windows XP or (possibly) a later version of the OS. It requires an RFSPACE SDR, AFEDRI, Andrus MK1.5, FUNcube Dongle, Soundcard-based SDR, or pre-recorded RF files as well; in the specific case of the SDR-IQ, you’ll need a server application that puts the SDR-IQ on the network. SdrDx handles the RFSPACE SDRs via the network, it does not directly interface with them via USB.

For Windows, I am presently designing, testing, and compiling under Windows XP (in a VM.)

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SWL tips for the Yaesu FT-2000


The FT-2000 is a superb radio, one of its key features being a general-coverage receiver suitable for shortwave listening.

Unfortunately, just “out of the box”, it isn’t really set up to make this convenient. Following are some suggestions or tips that make the radio a lot more enjoyable to use for SWL purposes.
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