Showing posts from 2013

DVB-T ATV UT100C Getting there: Transmitting video files , getting constellation diagrams

I have had success with transmitting video files, both test and HDMI ones I have captured off my camcorder via a Avermedia DarkCrystal HD Capture Pro PCI-E card. It all works as intended at full frame rate.

The UT100C works well with files, even Full HD. Dongle at 1mW to rabbit's ears antenna, received off main house TV antenna.

There is new software for the UT100C at

I was using Windows 8 but swapped back to Windows 7. Not sure it makes much difference as there is now a signed Windows 8 driver.

Some receiver screenshots:

The image and channel properties at 16QAM. TV receiver software is ProgDVB. It works, its free, its been around a long time.

The 16QAM constellation diagram from Crazyscan2 with TBS 6220.  (I think this is very neat! All praise crazycat69!)

Re-transmitted at 64QAM as per Australian DVB-T standard.

The band scan showing my strong signal and the FTA stations further up the band. I should do the same with my B…

Improvised DVB-T test instrumentation

Improvised DVB-T test instrumentation

My last post was on snooping on DVB-S signals from satellites. I found some useful software to do that, Crazyscan and Blindscan. However, the author of Crazyscan also wrote Crazyscan 2 for DVB-T but needs specific TV hardware:

I ordered a TBS 6220 (DVB-T) (~$100) as well a TBS 6925 (DVB-S) (~$300), both pci-e cards, direct from the manufacturer . With courier delivery, they arrived within a week.

Setting up the TBS 6220 is straight forward and works well as a TV card with DreamTV; mainly to confirm that the device works. I put both cards in and software for both, but things got messy. Removing the TBS-6925 and its software, including auto start programs, fixed everything. I need to walk before I run.

My interest is with Crazyscan2. Setting it up is easy, just putting all the needed files in the same directory.

The result is amazing: a scan over 1 GHz at 1 MHz increments, albeit f…

Satellite TV, RX and positioning

Satellite TV, RX and positioning

Playing with satellites TV or radio is not too hard or expensive. I did a fair bit on it a few years ago (C and K band, ~4 GHz and ~12 GHz) and still have some of the gear. I could see my house in Brisbane on Google maps from the big white C band dish, ex Sky. It was a heavy fixed dish, jerry-rigged with a linear-actuator for position control.

A full new C (and usable on K) band system is around $400 on eBay.   Sometimes they are available for free, migrants and expats used them to get overseas TV. I had one, disassembled, but tossed it when we moved to Gold Coast. Should/may have kept pole, as big steel is expensive.
All satellite TV use a LNB (low noise block) to receive and down convert to a standard IF range of about 1 to 2 GHz for a TV set-top box. The coax is used to carry control signals as tones (diseqc) or DC. The coax is very high performance, but cheap because of the massive use of it.
The big dishes are controlled by linear actuators and a posi…

BladeRF on Haswell i5 running Windows 8 with SDR-Console at 935 MHz 20 MHz bandwidth

BladeRF on Haswell i5 running Windows 8 with SDR-Console at 935 MHz 20 MHz bandwidth

Screen shot of BladeRF running on Windows 8 with i5 Haswell processor.

The BladeRF windows installer uses an unsigned driver. With the extra security of Windows 8 it will not normally even give you the option of installing unsigned drivers, Windows 7 does. However Windows 8 has a special restart where the unsigned driver block can be disabled. I think I described it in earlier blogs.

Using the earlier beta of SDR-console V2 per earlier blogs, the bandwidth is 20 MHz rather than 30. I think the narrower bandwidth is more appropriate re Nyquist, about half the 38.5 MHz bandwidth of the BladeRF. At 20 MHz, the CPU is barely busy at about 4 % versus 10 times that of screen shots at 30 MHz in earlier blogs. Simon Brown, the author of SDR-Console said in his Yahoo forum that the FFT runs at 30 MHz too. Dropping the bandwidth to 20 MHz seems to calm everything down.

   Screen shot of BladeRF running on Windo…

The whole point: BladeRF receiving DVB-T test transmission from VK4ZXI 1mW at 2 m from UT-100C DVB-T usb TX

BladeRF receiving DVB-T test transmission from VK4ZXI 1mW at 2 m from UT-100C DVB-T usb TX

Well, it works. UT-100C USB DVB-T TX transmission from my laptop being received by BladeRF on 70 cm channel.

Not a bad signal with few spurious. Amplifiers will have low pass filter.

Now to do the amplifiers and antenna.

BladeRF with SDR-Console- Sceenshots (draft)

BladeRF with SDR-Console- Sceenshots (draft)

Just a quick post of some screen shots of the brilliant BladeRF running on the equally impressive SDR-Console by Simon Brown to show cababilities of both and the noy-surprising heavy load on an i5 2500K processor.

Free to air TV channel, 7 MHz wide with BladeRF running 30 MHz bandwidth

Same signal but one edge with 150 kHz bandwidth to show detail

Machine performance with 30 MHz bandwidth, CPU @ 67 C and fan whizzing. Ran like this for 20 hours, so all quite stable.

CPU load with some interesting signals. Reported stuttering is probably not a fast enough CPU. 30 MHz at 12 bit resolution would push anything. 
Plan to try it on Windows 8 machine. Reported problems may be due to Windows  8 not accepting (or telling you) unsigned drivers. Such can be loaded in special restart mode.

It lives! BladeRF SDR on Windows using SDR Console V2: 30 MHz bandwidth, 300-3.8GHz

Summary of BladeRF SDR TRX
BladeRF is a high performance SDR transceiver made by a small start-up company, Nuand
Currently only mainboard is available for US$420, with a HF/VHF transverter due late November to give coverage down to 10 MHz. For receive only, an up-converter for RTL-SDR dongles could be used to go lower.
Technical Specifications:
•Fully bus-powered USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Software Defined Radio
•Portable, handheld form factor: 5" by 3.5"
•Extensible gold plated RF SMA connectors
•300MHz - 3.8GHz RF frequency range
•Independent RX/TX 12-bit 40MSPS quadrature sampling:  LMS6002D is a field programmable RF  transceiver
•Capable of achieving full-duplex 28MHz channels
•16-bit DAC factory calibrated 38.4MHz +/-1ppm VCTCXO
•On-board 200MHz ARM9 SOC with 512KB embedded SRAM (JTAG port available)
•On-board 15KLE or 115KLE Altera Cyclone 4 E FPGA (JTAG port available)
•2x2 MIMO configurable with SMB …

SDRs at the first IF of IC-7410 TRX as a panadator: More detail

Note: I take no responsibility for any attempts at doing what is described here. I am not an expert with these radios and am following my own interpretation of how this is done. It is shared on the basis of the philosophy of amateur radio.

The main advantage of a 1st IF tap is avoiding the problem of sharing one antenna with a RTX and SDR; not simple. As mentioned in an earlier post, I have installed a tap into the 1st IF of my IC-7410. The tap is made into the TRX’s first IF (64,455 kHz), above the roofing filters (the key to a good RX). The ICOM even have a socketed test point to do it (some hesitation playing inside a new $2000 TRX! Much reading of circuit diagrams). With the plug (hard to get but only $1.50 and are used on all main brands of RTX), isolation amplifier- (gives details of how it is done), preferably through a bandpass filter (obtained but not installed) then to Funcube. I have it running, but not permanently inst…

Software Defined Radio- SDR

Software Defined Radio (SDR), mainly receivers are what really got me back into amateur radio earlier this year, after a 40 year absence. I had a brief revisit to radio 10 years ago, when I was medically retired, but was disappointed that so little seemed to have changed.
So I went and played (when I was able) with computers, audio, video, home cinema and satellite TV (and sport cars) instead. But once I had done about all I could do there, I was after something new.
Then I re-discovered radio starting with the TV dongle software defined radio, rtlsdr.
While I am still annoyed that mainstream transceivers (that I could afford; or justify) are still little changed, SDRs really are a hoot; you can see what is out there- lots of really weird stuff and no dial twirling hoping to find anything of interest.
I started with the TV dongles; they are not to be dismissed lightly, a couple of MHz bandwidth, 60 MHz-1200GHz range, all for $20. I bought a discone antenna and put it up as high as I could…

Low-cost Amateur Digital Television- DVB-T ATV using UT-100C transmitter USB dongle

I am setting up a DVB-T tx on the atv channel on 70 cm. I am using a UT-100c USB dongle It is only US$169 and produces 1 mW of DVB-T output. The software is at There are some pdfs of the device and how the software works. To use the dongle, only the windows driver and PC2TV are needed. With PC2TV, only the video works at the moment. PC2TV takes a deal of setting up but will work with a PC/laptop webcam.
Only the UT-100C dongle is needed to start. Some ordinary domestic DVB-T receivers can be used. The DVB-T channels in Australia are 7 MHz wide, the same as free to air TV.
As such, the standard Australian DVB-TV settings can be used. At 1 mW, it is possible to xmit on a free commercial channel and tune a TV to it, without causing any dramas. However, to work on the 70 cm channel, a TV dongle or set top box tha…
Hi all.

The purpose of this blog is to share some of my activities and ideas on amateur radio and related areas, including home theatre.

Currently, my main radio interests are Software-Defined Radios (SDR), smart/active antenna and computers in radio in general; more on that later.

First, my journey around radio, electronics and computers; my path to my current interests.

My interested in electronics and audio started in my early teens, playing with valve radios and loud speakers. However, the main kick-start was when my father, Wattie Wollin, bought me the September 1969 issue of electronics Australia. Dad was interested in radio and gave me some books on "wireless" dating from the mid-1930s when he was a lad. While very capable, his isolation from education, the 1930s depression and WWII lead him into a meat industry trade at 13 and away from radio.

I first became interested in amateur radio when at Echuca High School in the early 1970s and obtained my limited certificate …