It has been interesting hearing from various people who have logged into the test setup of the KiwiSDR I've got running here at my home QTH.
I've just finished configuring it all and bolting it into it's permanent enclosure etc. and will be writing a whole series of articles on the process from start to finish. I'm really encouraged so far by the positive reception (no pun intended) it's received, so that's all good stuff.
You'll all just have to be a little bit patient on that front though, as well as on the results of testing various receive antennas, as my focus is now on preparations for this weekend's festivities at St. Johns' Park. As a quick aside, several of us had a very good Zoom meeting last night to finalise practicalities for the Burgess Hill Summer Fair, and I can promise you that it's going to be impressive. Massive thanks to Peter, Merv, Chris and Phil without whom this would not be happening.
Anyway, returning to the subject in hand, the SDR required much problem solving and head-scratching, and entailed a long session working with the KiwiSDR developers to resolve some show-stopping technical issues. I'd like to say at this point that they were astonishingly helpful and it was actually really good fun. I love it when tech doesn't work, and if that makes me weird, then so be it!
After getting over the software build issues (the Kiwi software, based on Debian 8, is dynamically built on the device rather than just installing binaries, which is interesting and I'm glad they've stuck with this method) everything went very smoothly. The KiwiSDR community is one of the best I've come across. It's supposed to be a proper hardware/software project after all, and not just something that you pick up in town with your bread and milk.
It took some quite extensive back-end configuration once built, and I'll be covering all that in a future article too, but I'd like to thank Chris M7VJE who has been doing a little bit of beta testing for me. More tuning will be required over time, no doubt.
I've 'branded' all this as MSARS, because that's obviously what I want to achieve, but at the moment it's all self-funded and set up at home. To facilitate testing, I have it connected to my main EFHW antenna, and so I've been sitting in the comfort of my lounge and monitoring the bands - MSARS nets in particular. For that reason, and also because I now have no transmit antenna, I wasn't able to reply to Ken when he was calling me earlier today!
I definitely agree with Dick G0LFF though, that we ultimately want to locate a receive antenna in a new very RF-quiet location with mains power and good (10mbps uplink) broadband. Anyone got any ideas or contacts? Get your thinking caps on, because that's where radio reception is going to have to happen in the near future. Peter tells me that there are often S9 noise levels in the club shack.
Anyway, lots more to come from me soon, but for now, see you all on Sunday!