Tag Archives: panadapter

My Contest Software Setup

I installed the RA0SMS Mini-whip just in time to use it during the CQ WPX SSB contest this weekend. I use the N1MM Logger+ software during contests. This is a great piece of software with many many features useful in contesting. I am particularly fond of its “memory” and in alerting me to dupes. It connects to my rig via serial port which is ok but it has prevented me from using the panadapter at least until now. I am using a piece of software called VSPE (virtual serial port emulator) that allows multiple applications share the same serial port. In my case my rig is on COM11. The software creates a port called COM21 which can be used with multiple applications. This is useful as the HDSDR software is controlled using Ham Radio Deluxe to control my rig when using it as a panadapter.With this setup I can open HRD and HDSDR as I do during normal HF operations. This gives me the panadapter functionality. Then I can open N1MM Logger plus which links to the radio for frequency information during logging. Her is what the whole thing looks like while running:

Photo Mar 25, 6 41 31 PM

The panadapter display is on top allowing me to see activity across the whole band and select with a click what I want to hear. The contest logger is running at the bottom. Ham radio deluxe is running but minimized as I don’t need its functionality other than rig control. The lower left shows HamCAP propagation prediction tool which is also useful in contests to see what directions I can expect to receive from.

Really happy with the way this worked out! I am a casual contester and generally use the opportunities to evaluate antennas. I made over 70 QSO’s during this contest over 30 prefixes on 40m, 20, 15m and 10m using the end fed vertical antenna.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone out there and thanks for keeping up with my humble Ham Radio blog. Santa delivered a few radio goodies this year that I have been playing with since the 25th. First up was an SDRplay receiver:

blog-post1I have replaced the RTL-SDR dongle with this unit and am using it now for my new panadapter. This unit covers 100kHz thru 2Ghz in a single package powered by the USB port. This unit has simplified my wiring considerably. Performance-wise I have not noted a lot of difference between the RTL-SDR dongle and this unit. All in all I’d say its pretty equal. At first I wasn’t happy with the display I was getting with HDSDR. I had played with the setting some much they got messed up. I reinstalled HDSDR and the defaults worked a lot better

Aside from the SDRplay I also received two SOTAbeams 10m travel poles. These will be handy for portable ops as well as experimenting with wire antennas. Last up was a Ultimax 100 end fed antenna. This is an end fed wire with 24 feet of wire. Plan to try this out in various orientations.

More Noise…Sigh….

Now that the RTL-SDR songle is working again as my panadapter…I noticed a lot of noise spikes on my HF spectrum. Tracked it down to the 12V 15A supply I was using for the FT-2900R. I tried to suppress the noise using ferrites but it didn’t have an effect so I am figuring the supply itself is radiating. I moved the FT-2900R to the Samlex supply and it is now sharing with the Yaesu FT-450D. Not a problem running both as long as I don’t try to transmit with both at the same time. I’ll keep the noisy supply when I try and operate the FT-2900R on the 2m Moxon when I get the mast up and running.

Otherwise, the rig is running real smooth now and playing very nicely with all my computer and USB peripherals.

RTL-SDR as a Panadapter

My Yaesu FT-450D is connected to my PC via a serial to USB cable I pulled off of Amazon. I am using Ham Radio Deluxe ver to interface the Radio with the PC. So far this is working well. I like the log capability built into HRD.

What I was really hoping to pull off was to use a RTL-SDR dongle to provide panadapter/SDR like features to operating the FT-450D. What I did not want to do was open up my brand new FT-450D and tap into the IF output. That would have been the highest performance method but would have voided my warranty. So I can’t:

  1. Access my Radio’s IF output directly
  2. Use the same antenna that I am using on the FT-450D as I have no way to switch for transmit using the dongle.

What I do have is the broadband discone antenna that I plan to share between an RTL-SDR setup and with my Baofeng HT as a 2m Base station (more on that later). The discone antenna is wired through a manual switch and uses an adapter to go from SO-239 to an f-connectors. I then use a three way splitter to feed three individual dongles.

One dongle is connected to an upconverter and provides DC-25Mhz reception. The other two are 25Mhz to 1.8Ghz reception. I plan to use two ultimately with Unitruncker to use as a scanner. For now I just have the one hooked up to test.

I am using HDSDR software with the HF dongle. HDSDR has a DDE feature which allows it to be controlled by Ham Radio Deluxe software. The result is that when I change frequency or mode on the radio it updates HDSR to match. Now when I see a signal on the waterfall I can click on it and it changes the radio frequency to match. This seems to work well down to the 20m band.

UPDATE: Works well down to 40m and takes some adjustment to the display to see anything on 80m.

I am running SDR# on the other dongle. This one tuned manually and lets me monitor VHF/UHF bands while using the HF radio. Here is a screen shot of the whole thing running:


Unfortunately, the wiring is a mess: