Sunday, May 6, 2012

Softrock SDR Kit - Final Test

It's been one busy week for sure. It included a 12-hour trip to San José and Turrialba with my neighbor and his grandson, dealing with the start of the rainy season, and cleaning and fertilizing our small coffee "plantation". Among other things.

So, I was glad to get a break in the chores to get back to the Softrock kit. Today it was just a matter of making connections for the antenna and the audio output. Then downloading and configuring Rocky, the software for displaying the receiver's output

I found a kit box that is the perfect size for the kit (lucky!) and started making the connections such that I can plop the kit inside without much further ado now that the testing is done. 


I managed to scrounge a BNC jack from the junk box, and cut a stereo cable that had the 1/8" plug on one end for the output line to the PC's Mic jack. I used the Ten Tec Scout to tune the antenna circuit to 1:1 SWR on 10.125 MHz, the center frequency of the SoftRock. Those steps accomplished, I applied power using my recently completed variable PS, setting it for 10VDC.  

At first, nothing. I hadn't configured something in Rocky, so had to find some help in the instructions, which weren't for quite the version I had but close enough. A moderate amount of fiddling and I had a spectrum!



It's pretty easy moving around inside this spectrum and adjusting bandwidth is a snap. I went back and forth between the Softrock and the Scout to confirm what was going on in the spikes (all "birdies") and that big noisy hump. All seemed to match up and I have all but the lower 1 and upper 2 KHz available with that sound card. Unfortunately, today at noon the band was dead, so I haven't been able to further test its abilities and some of the program settings. 

Once I get it all boxed up I will bring the kit up to the house shack where I supposedly can get 96 KHz processing out of this laptop, though it really doesn't help me for 30 meters. Eventually, I hope to get it hooked up with the WebSDR software and put it online, though more as an experiment, since I don't have the bandwidth to support more than 1, maybe 2, connections from outside.

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Thanks very much for your comment! 73, Casey

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