Look here for up to date information about The Softrock, testing, configuration and software. 

Index http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/home  a list of some of the pages there below.

Notes and Links below to guide you to find information on all aspects of the Softrock SDR and the Si570. Please note that I am not updating this page very regularly it is more of an archive.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/  This is where it starts, join this group, look through the Files section and pictures, a specific subject may be found by searching the messages. The information is all there but difficult to find. 

Yahoo (and other) groups. These can be amazing! People from all round the world share their particular expertise. Tom has distributed  several? thousand Si570s to members of the group who would not have even heard of it. (Tony now supplies the Si570 with his kits.) In the unlikely event of you never having joined such a group, don't be afraid. Nothing is required of you, just join and read what information others have provided.



Pages related to SDR for beginners, These pages are intended to provide more information, mainly inspired from points raised in the Softrock Yahoo! group up to April 2014. 

Index http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/home  

Basic details for a beginner with an assembled SDR. http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/configuring-a-softrock-sdr  

Initial setup showing SDR#, Rocky. Soundcard settings, testing. http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/connecting-soundcard-sdr-to-computer  

More soundcard settings showing Rocky, ground loops. http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/sdr-with-soundcard-basic-faults  

http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/setuprocky 

With HDSDR used for illustration http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/more-on-ground-loops-and-audio-settings  .

 Isolating the antenna socket http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/vhf_ensemble 

All RXTX  Softrocks require an additional LPF. Installing internally. http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/add_lpf  

Controller Installation, faults. http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/attiny_usb  

Initial USB driver installation on a Windows 7 Acer netbook. Notes about using it with SDR. A few notes about Sodira which includes a DRM decoder. http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/sdronasus 

Calibrating the USB controller with a few HDSDR installation and notes for using. http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/calibrating-the-softrock-si570-usb-controller  

Some things clarified about CFGSR. http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/extio-or-cfgsr-some-notes  = 

Reprogram the ATTiny. http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/avrhvprogrammer  

For those that feel their BS170 devices in the RXTX do not match too well. http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/matching-bs170-for-softrock  

Gives a rough idea of levels that may be expected in a RXTX. Making diode probes. http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/levels-measured-in-a-softrock-tx  

Ways I have used VAC and Virtual COM ports with PSDR. http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/softrock-wspr-psdr-and-vac  

Some soundcard tests I've made. http://g4zfq.alotspace.com/RightMarkTests/RightMark%20Soundcard%20Tests.html  

CONTENTS OF THIS PAGE Click on link OR use keyboard "Ctrl-F" to search this page for a keyword.

 1 The Si570                                                                                                                                                                
2 Getting and Making Softrocks What computer?                                                                                                                                                                
3 Building a Softrock. Or look at http://www.wb5rvz.com/sdr/                                                                                                                                      
4 For Information Surrounding the Softrock  VHF converter, MOBO, PAs, Panadapter for use with conventional rigs etc.    
5 Soundcards Setting up, USB, problems.                                                                                                                                                                    
6 PIC/PICAXE control of the  Si570, Tony's first method. switched control without a computer. Reprogramming the PIC (and PICAXE)                                            
7 Parallel Port Control of the SI570.                                   
8 USB Control of the SI570  Information, driver installation. BPF control.                                                                                                         
9 Serial (COM) Control of the Si570.                                 
10 Some Stand-alone Controller Kits Control the Si570 independently. Links to other SDR kits.                    
11 All the  SDR Software I know of.     Now at http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/soundcard_sdr_software 
12 Modes not yet Supported by these SDR Programs. Including Fldigi with PSDR/VAC   Now on the above Google Site.               
13 Audio Files to Test Software Without a SDR And a few links to some of the many SDRs on the web. Check them out without owning one.     (14) Miscellaneous 

Last opened for editing 12 April 2014 Probably only slight change. Please take these notes and links as a guide, advances are being made continuously, some things I just don't understand!  Sorry for any dead links, please let me know. 

1 The Si570, Getting One.

The Si570 has a startup frequency specified at the time of ordering. This is not a real VFO but fast changes can be made via its I2C pins that will satisfy most users. "With the help from a microcontroller, the si570 can be re-tuned within about 100s as long the frequency change is within 3500ppm. This makes it possible to increase the frequency in steps with a fast rate. For steps larger than 3500ppm, the si570 can be re-tuned within about 10ms. 73 Guido PE1NNZ" Much of the control software uses smooth tuning in a limited frequency range but large changes inevitably produce substantial clicks. There are details of control using a printer port (LPT), Serial (COM) port, USB, PIC, PICAXE, two stand-alone controllers . (Sections 6-9 on this page) Other methods are being developed.

The use of the Si570 was proposed as a way of giving the Softrock SDR more frequency agility. The frequency is specified from 10MHz to 215MHz, (160MHz CMOS) some are specified to beyond 1GHz. They actually all start at 3.5MHz, but this is not specified. Read the information at www.silabs.com/ enter Si570 in the search box. The Si570 is not marketed as a radio device although it's signal purity seems good enough to satisfy many. It certainly is better than many DDS sources! It is reasonably stable and can be set very precisely. The Softrock local oscillator is four times the receive frequency so the Si570 does allow fairly low frequency reception. Of course, it can be divided further.

For Si570 [and Ensemble enclosures (and SDRKits in USA)] http://km5h.softrockradio.org/index.php?route=product/category&path=35   Tom's new store, Si570, SDRKits for USA and enclosures. http://km5h.softrockradio.org/  
 Or try SiLabs for two samples, (I'm not sure if they still offer this) but be sure of the specifications you require. The default settings are adequate but can give problems with some of the older control methods. Do not use Google/Yahoo mail, use your home ISP. Two types are relevant to the Softrock. Many favour the slightly cheaper CMOS. The LVDS is specified higher stability and goes higher in frequency. (Far higher than required for Softrock but the latest "C grade" LVDS are limited, do not work above about 280MHz. Many of the earlier LVDS "C grade" worked  much higher, but probably not within the specifications for the "A or B grades".)  Tony supplies a CMOS Si570 with his kits, now no LVDS option. Often there is a delay, SiLabs are slow to deliver "small" quantities! Also http://www.sdr-kits.net Sells them in the UK including the 810MHz Si570 BBB000141DG LVDS.

This page contains test results of the Si570, showing low phase noise. http://www.cliftonlaboratories.com/si570_kit_from_k5bcq.htm    Message regarding spurious outputs from the Si570. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/23882 Apart from harmonics (the output is square wave) spurii are low, LVDS is best. Temperature Stability. At 5MHz (divided frequency) the frequency has varied 3Hz over a week when the room has varied 5 degrees Centigrade. When one is insulated I have seen a case temperature of 50C so an oven will need to be quite hot.

My tests:- Si570 Temperature http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/45362    Another's experience:- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/45450 Incredible frequency stability! I think Paul may have been lucky, or is it achievable on all Si570s?

The Si570 in a Softrock-type SDR:-

This is supplied with a start-up frequency of nominally 56.32MHz. Divided by 4 gives an operating centre frequency of 14.08MHz +/- any calibration error.

If it is controlled by the AVR ATTiny85 microcontroller then by default  it will be set to 28.2MHz, giving a centre frequency of 7.05MHz. The operator may reset this to his own preference with CFGSR.

Accuracy:- With no compensation the factory preset start-up frequency is not particularly accurate. However the manufacturer aids calibration by setting registers inside each device that allow easy correction. CFGSR "Calibrate A" reads these registers and applies the factory calibration, probably making it something like +/- 20Hz at 10MHz.

CFGSR's "Calibrate B" enables calibration to the nearest Hz. See http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/calibrating-the-softrock-si570-usb-controller 



 

2 Getting and Making Softrocks   Computer

July 2012 Kits are now obtained from http://fivedash.com/  Now seem to be easily obtainable.
http://www.wb5rvz.org/ The best pages for Softrock beginners. A description of most recent models  "Heathkit" type building instructions. Some fault-finding. 

 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/  You may only need to look back a few days, a request on the list usually gets a reply. Beginners, this is all you need! The Yahoo group is full of related discussion, but a kit from Tony is all that is needed. (Plus a computer with a stereo soundcard.)

If you have an assembled Softrock but do not know anything about how to use it look here, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/49895  there are lots of posts but just about everything the beginner needs to know is covered. LOOK AT THIS SITE http://www.wb5rvz.org/  IT CONTAINS ESSENTIAL SETUP AND CONFIGURATION INFORMATION. Some of my pages here http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/home  are aimed at beginners.

Computer and operating system:- For most  Windows is really the only choice although there are ways of using Linux and Mac. I would recommend a dedicated radio computer with XP. I find a 2-core able to run at least two SDR programs simultaneously. Vista and Windows 7 may be used but could give problems you'd rather be without. A lot of free radio software will not have been updated and unsigned drivers can be difficult. Unsigned drivers in Win 7 64 bit etc. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/38684 Note that modern computers CAN have serial (COM) and parallel (LPT) ports on their motherboards. EVEN FOUR-CORE! You will have to specify them as a special order or build one yourself. If you can build a Softrock you can build a computer! These ports are not essential for SDR but PSDR software CAN use a parallel port as well as a serial. If you start using a computer for radio eventually you will find you need one, one on the mother board is going to be reliable. These ports are also available on PCI and PCI -E cards. Proper USB/LPT adaptors are not common, most are just for printers. When a COM port is required a USB adaptor with a FTDI chip is recommended by many. Setting up a computer for best performance http://www.telepostinc.com/ look at the PDF linked at the bottom of the "Soundcard page".  Keeping it electrically quiet http://www.sm5bsz.com/linuxdsp/hware/quietpc.htm   A supplier of SDR PCs. His idea of what is needed. http://www.abrohamnealsoftware.com/Hardware.htm  



 

3 Building a Softrock.

The experienced constructor can just build it BUT MUST LOOK AT THIS SITE  http://www.wb5rvz.org/ IT CONTAINS ESSENTIAL SETUP AND CONFIGURATION INFORMATION. 

http://www.wb5rvz.org/ This site brings it all together. Soldering SMD, thinking about it is worse than doing it! http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/54409   Robby's page on surface mount components http://www.wb5rvz.com/sdr/common/Common_Component_Mounting.htm   http://www.wb5rvz.org/  Soldering, I just use fine solder and a fine tip iron. An eyeglass helps to check for solder bridges. Desoldering braid will remove excess. People develop their own techniques. A few links:_ My soldering technique http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/41109  ---------  Bob's view on soldering Softrocks http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/41161  Robby's notes.. http://wb5rvz.com/sdr/RXTX_V6_3/index.htm http://www.wb5rvz.org/ Look near the bottom. The Youtube video is rather slick but shows how simple it can be. Two more links http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/tutorials.php   http://www.solder.net/technical/tips.asp   I do not think you will need this!..Si570 removal http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/29377  

A few have soldered all the surface mounted components first, then, followed Robby's instructions. Note a voltage reading will be different from Robby's.  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/49291 Current readings will also be different, this is not documented. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/56064   A RX with SMD mounted first

Don't be put off! I have built 7 Softrocks and never used a dual channel oscilloscope or audio signal generator. (For the 8th one a dual channel scope did help, but that was actually a soundcard problem!) An RF signal generator may help but a transceiver running low power into a dummy load can be substituted (no direct connection!) A receiver can be used as a frequency counter, tune to zero beat (as best you can) on SSB to give a rough idea. As an example a short antenna wire placed close to a Softrock will detect the divided centre frequency.

There are various attempts to facilitate fault finding, but a post to the group usually gets a reply, even though the question has been asked many times before! One thing that is sometimes not expected is a "spike" in the centre of the SDR program's waterfall. This is normally obvious unless a very good soundcard is used. What should not be normal is a "mound" each side of this spike. The Softrock is very sensitive to ground loops (earth loops in UK!) and should be connected to the computer ground by just one link. Experiment, anything else that is connected to the Softrock may also ground to the computer in a way that is not obvious. For example a PSU may be grounded, in that case try just connecting the positive to the Softrock. An isolated PSU would be best. I usually find that the audio cable ground is the best, anything else connecting the Softrock to the computer has it's ground connection broken. It is best to get this right before putting the board in a case, when you do insulate any sockets put on a metal box so a ground loop is not introduced. Try to avoid making and breaking connections when power is applied. Some have got round the ground loop problem by using transformer coupling but that may cause problems and they need to be chosen with care. A thorough examination here http://www.cliftonlaboratories.com/softrock_lite_6_2.htm 

 http://golddredgervideo.com/wb5rvz/RXTX_V6_3/image_rejection_hints.htm http://www.wb5rvz.org/ Robby has now started some pages about setting up. The image is an equal distance on the opposite side of centre to the wanted frequency. Rocky, and some other software self-adjusts on receive but all need setting up manually for transmitting. Rocky is good software to start with, Tools - RX I/Q Balance and you can quickly see if image rejection is being achieved. Unfortunately this does not always easily work  with Vista/W7 and not always with XP!. One of the Winrad versions is an alternative See Section 11e below.

A simple description of Softrock, sound card SDR, images. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/46573  

First test can be without a soundcard. This will apply to all soundcard SDRs. "  RX simple test for all  SDR is CONNECT PHONES to LINE IN output and have to hear signals from band. frequencies are going from almost zero to 17-20KHz how high frequencies you can hear. The signal strength depend from band and propagation but simple test with signal generator will enable you to hear signal bellow 1uV with max audio and RF preamplifier!!! VY 73 Tasa YU1LM/QRP" 

How good can image rejection be? http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GenesisRadio/message/2742  See the attachment.

Testing I could not find IQgen, here http://www.m0kgk.co.uk/sdr/download.php  is another SDR test tool. Test the TX without a full SDR program. My page here http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/levels-measured-in-a-softrock-tx  gives my measurements of TX levels.



 

4 For information surrounding the Softrock 

Robby has most of the information here. http://www.wb5rvz.org/   the first page of many! Use the Search box at the top of pages to find things. Like this page, it is getting difficult to find specific items. 

For older Softrocks http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files  Here are all the schematics and basic building instructions. Tony, KB9YIG has sections for each version.  Much information is hidden in this file section but there is index use Ctrl-F to search for a keyword.

The Yahoo search has not been too good recently, use the Google search on Robby's page http://www.wb5rvz.org/  Search Robby's site and the Yahoo group. 

 http://www.qrpradio.org/pub/softrocks/manuals/softrock%20v6.0  Some of the older versions.

http://www.qrpradio.org/pub/softrocks/manuals  There are also backup files from the Softrock Group here.

A complete 95MB backup was made on 21 January 2009 this is still available June 2010 at..... http://rapidshare.com/files/187620935/Softrock210109.zip  If this is not available I do have it. If there is something not found anywhere else I could send that part.

One of the original Softrocks http://www.amqrp.org/kits/softrock40  

September 2011. Tony is consolidating his kits. The RX "Lites" are now supplied with components so they may be built for bands between 160m and 20m. The Lite range is ideal for beginners. Find out if you can do it for about $20  from Tony. Another version of the Lite is available for connecting to the IF of a conventional receiver.

The RX Ensemble is able to be built as  LF version up to 3MHz or the HF version covering 1.8 to 30 MHZ All components are supplied in just one kit so there will be more than you need.. Another version is available to cover 6,4 or 2 metres. 

There is no all band RX/TX model the builder chooses adjacent groups of bands to suit his requirements. The "ENSEMBLE" range uses just one board, a TX/RX for a group of bands. No plug-in modules so a complete assembly is required for each group. 

VHF Ensemble:- Choose to build 6,4 or 2 metre versions. A look at the 2 metre VHF Ensemble with regard to coverage of WX satellites and weather radio. 137 and 166MHz. http://alternet.us.com/?p=1378  

 

The SR63ng clone of the retired Softrock 6.3 RX/TX http://www.yoyodyneconsulting.ca/pages/SR63ng%20Information.html  intended for the MOBO, see below in this section, but COULD be used on its own with Softrock plug-ins if you have them or can get them. Gary Stern, VK2VBB, is setting up a site similar to WB5RVZ's for build instructions. http://vk2zbb.com/index.php/sr63ng  
Ensemble RX/TX Beta pages http://www.wb5rvz.org/  

USE WITH COMMERCIAL EQUIPMENT As an IF "Panadapter" Many are using the Softrock as a panoramic adaptor in a receiver or transceiver. There is information in the Files section http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files/ , or search the messages using the rig's name as a keyword. This is strictly "do it yourself" but Tony does provide Softrock Lite kits suited for various IF frequencies.. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/31103  just one message about the Softrock as an IF. http://www.cliftonlaboratories.com/  A site full of information, some related to Softrocks including some IF applications. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/22084   8.817MHz IF 

(4)

June 2010 New ranges came out. The models mentioned below are discontinued. Look at Tony's site for updates, Robby's site for details. 

==========================

(4)

Below in  this section 4:- Some random links and remarks about Softrocks. Much of it will be found at the two links above but a quick look below may give some idea of the add-ons, information and modifications available. Including the MOBO Add-on

V9 Lite+USB Xtall v9.0 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files/%27A1%20Lite%2BUSB%20Xtall%20v9.0%20docs/ All HF receive, Si570 and USB control on one board. Setting up the BPF selection for a v9 with the 6m option http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/43832  .

From: "Tony Parks"  kb9yig gmail com  BPF on earlier Softrocks
The sockets on both the 8.3 and the 6.3 boards were set up to be aligned with a 9 pin header, with the antenna IN on the right (2 pin) jack and the RF OUT on the left-hand (3 pin) jack. The HF-BPF board connects via the 9 pin P100, with pins 1 and 2 (on the right) handling the ANT IN and pins 7, 8, and 9 (on the left) handling the RF OUT. You just need to be careful aligning the HF-BPF board and orienting it such that, when superimposed upon the RX board, the silk screens of both boards are both right-side up. 

Switched BPFs Using the USB AVR chip.  See Section 8    Switched BPFs. Tests on the v9.0:- HF BPF Testing Rev 1.pdf at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files/KF4BQ/   

Note about BPF inductor valueshttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/30107  HF BPF Testing Rev 1.pdf at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files/KF4BQ/  AND http://golddredgervideo.com/wb5rvz/hf_bpf/images/design_plots.pdf  http://www.wb5rvz.org/ Unless you are a perfectionist just wind them to Tony's figures. They are wide enough for a turn or two difference on the larger ones to make no noticeable change in performance. Note:- unless the inductance is tested at the operating frequency measurements MAY not be accurate, effective inductance can vary with frequency.


 Also LF and VHF converters!   Tony did try a LF adaptor using dividers and the on-board Si570.This may be more frequency stable than:- [ A circuit for Jan's converter, (no Softrock kit.)   Yahoo group membership required. Converts LF to 24-26MHz.]  A useful post about using the Softrock at LF, you need to join the group. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SpectrumLab/message/1505  
My experiments with LF seem to show that more than one LPF will be required for frequencies below 1.5MHz, I think the straight Si570 division method suffers from "Subharmonic" mixing. On LF a divided frequency of , say, 400KHz would produce "Subharmonic" reception at 1200KHz.My checks with the conversion method showed problems with the crystal mixing with the Si570 frequency, it seems the product then gets tripled and mixes with strong higher frequency signals. This is with my converter, maybe Jan's does not suffer this way.

(4) 

VHF converter  Tony did supply a converter for the V9 to cover 6, 4, or 2 metres. This used the direct output from the Si570 to the converter and the divided output to receive the converted frequency, no separate conversion oscillator! The VHF Ensemble uses the same system. Robby's comprehensive pages http://www.wb5rvz.com/sdr/sr_6m_2m_converter/index.htm  http://www.wb5rvz.org/ 

VHF Ensemble. 2m version.  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/57926  http://www.alternet.us.com/?p=1378  Broadbanding the 2m VHF Ensemble Possible, but a compromise. Also see the G8VOI folder in the softrock40 group.

(4)
To set up the firmware use Fred's stand-alone configuration tool for the USB controller. http://pe0fko.nl/CFGSR/ , version 2.3 onwards has built-in configurations for all Softrocks.

Use the Softrock on 6 metres, without the converter. This was for experimenters, performance was not too good, but Tony was offering the BPF components. Look at this thread. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/27700 This technique has also has been tried on 4 metres. A good explanation of "subharmonic mixing" that is used with this method https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/softrock40/conversations/messages/77430  . http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/29210  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/43859  This thread starts with a basic accepted explanation of "subharmonic" mixing then develops to show this to be wrong.

Lite+USB Xtall v8.4 no longer available. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files/%27A3%20Lite%2BUSB%20Xtall%20v8.4/ RX only, all band options 160m to 6m. Switched BPF option. 

Version8.3 Lite   RX only with Si570, no longer produced.

RX/TX v6.3 Si570 all band options http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files/%27A2%20Lite%2BXtall%20v8.3/    Softrock 6.3 output stage:- The overall finding so far has been that the amplifier is not linear at power levels over 1/2 to 3/4 watt or so. 1 watt level is fully saturated output (cannot be operated on ssb). only good for CW..

Xtall Daughter Board, not available now,    adds the Si570 to older Softrocks http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files/%27A1%20XTALL%20daughter%20board/ Will enable the Si570 frequency to be switched without a computer. Different versions of the PIC program give 16 and 40 frequencies.  Can be used for other applications. Tony's USB board will work with this.

Cecil has a collection of manuals here. Some older ones that may not appear in the group files. http://www.qrpradio.org/pub/softrocks/manuals/ 

USB interface  controls Si570 on older switch-tuned Softrocks. Adds CW paddle/PTT for Rocky. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files/%27A1%20USB%20I2C%20Interface%20board/  NOTE this is essentially the same unit as   http://www.sdr-kits.net/USB/USB_Description.html  This page contains ALL the links and information required but you do have too look hard! February 2010  note compatibility issues, see section 8.

Serial interface for Rocky.   Mini "Break Out Box" for M-Audio Delta 44 soundcard, see "Soundcards" below.  "I included pictures of my D 44 interface in the photos section under  EB4APL."

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Message from Jan, G0BBL:- Using the LVDS Si570 with older Softrocks. As the question whether Si570 LVDS will drive Tony's Softrock RXTX and Softrock Lite PCB's  comes up time and time again, http://www.sdr-kits.net/hiddentest/index_files/USB-Synthesizer%20Kit%20Instructions%20v10.pdf     My recommendation is to use Si570 CMOS to drive legacy Softrock boards. The difference in performance between CMOS and LVDS is very small but CMOS makes interfacing easier.

It is possible to use the Softrock as the basis for a stand-alone direct conversion receiver.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/27659  It is probably better to use an established phase-shift design, but if you have a spare Softrock and wish to experiment...

A number of group members are using various independently developed interfaces and software. This appears on the Yahoo postings, I include some references but it is difficult to keep track of them all. A search of messages may help when you see a topic. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/messages Unless you wish to experiment it is probably best to wait to see if Tony incorporates any of these in his designs................. ......... http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/29862  Starts a thread about ic2USB with 9V1AL board Subject: [softrock40] 9V1AL kits and PCB's, ordering The price of kit is $30 stateside (and $32 DX) The price of pcb is $12 Total price of parts+pcb = $42 However, you payment will be to two different PayPal accounts: $32 for parts to pay to: <mailto:artsplace1@gmail.com>artsplace1@gmail.com (artsplace1 att gmail dott comm) and $12 for pcb to pay to: <mailto:lee188@singnet.com.sg>lee188@singnet.com.sg (lee188 att singnet dott comm) The kit (parts + pcb) will be shipped to you in one package from me, Alex is having his boards shipped directly from the PCB supply house to me, so I will distribute all of them. I hope this clears things up. If you need other info, email me direct  at ky1k att verizon dott nett. Regards, Art ...  

The Softrock 6.3 can be turned into an all band transceiver using the 9V1AL Motherboard "MOBO", see the files section of the Softrock40 group. The current version of the 9V1AL Motherboard is a plug in replacement for the Softrock 6.3 PA module, providing 1W output on all bands, but you also require an additional switchable Low Pass filter bank for transmit, this is not provided on the 9V1AL Motherboard v.3.6. However, an updated version of the MB is in the brewing, including switchable LPFs.  For info on the Mobo add-on, or is the Softrock an add-on to the Mobo? December 2009 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/39024 .  One potential way of implementing an all band SR 6.3, 20W out on all bands, can be seen here: http://sites.google.com/site/lofturj  Hope this gives you some ideas, 73 de Loftur, currently HB9/TF3LJ :) :) Jan 2010 You can join this Google group and you will find all information: http://groups.google.com/group/MOBOKITS  Basically it will make your RXTX to an all band trx + other functions. 6.3ng a SMD version of the basic board, intended for the MOBO. Construction http://vk2zbb.com/ there are still some unsold June 2010, possibly the last few! http://www.yoyodyneconsulting.ca/ These are not stand-alone, either the MOBO or Tony's 6.3 plug-ins are required.

Robby's MOBO Description and Build Pages http://www.wb5rvz.com/sdr/mobo43/  http://www.wb5rvz.org/ 
4

Lots of discussion about PAs for use with Softrocks  .. ...Some amplifier suggestions if you are not a true QRPer....
My experience with IRF510s is not a good one, they never managed to behave properly above 14MHz. And their IMD performance is not good since they are not RF devices.
Here are some links for QRP PAs with RD15HVF01 and RD16HHF1
1.-> http://www.kolumbus.fi/juha.niinikoski/10WLinear/10WLinear.htm 
2.-> http://www.box73.de/catalog/pdf/PLB-15.pdf German.
3.->http://www.radio-kits.co.uk/  [[Another that requires a low power input]]
4.-> http://qrpproject.de/UK/QRPPA2008UK.html  <-my favorite !!  [[For Softrocks CARE! 10mW input will need special treatment}
Numbers 1. and 3. are homebrew designs whereas 2. and 4. are offered as kits. My preferred one though is the fourth which is permanently now in the same box as my softrock and the one you hear when we have qso's on 10m 73, Christos SV1EIA

This looks like a good match https://www.tapr.org/kits_pw.html
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www.lz1aq.signacor.com  "Integrating Software Defined Radio (SDR) and a Standard Transceiver" Shows switching and CAT control of an Icom from Winrad to synchronise it's frequency with a Softrock

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A device some may find useful.....The Griffin PowerMate is a USB controller (human interface they call it) which consists of a rotary encoder (knob), with an integrated push switch when you push down on the knob. This gives six possible controls: Rotate clockwise, rotate anti-clockwise, push down and rotate either way, or a short or long push on the switch. The software provided with the controller allows the user to assign functions like key presses, mouse clicks, scrolling etc to each of the available operations. These are configured to the particular program being run at the time. I use the rotate functions to emulate the mouse scroll wheel as a means of tuning when running the various SDR programs including PSDR, Rocky and Winrad, likewise when running PowerSDR and Rocky, I have allocated the push / rotate to step up or down the frequency tuning step size. I do not believe any of the available SDR programs actually include support for the PowerMate, its up to the user to decide what functions they want. The Flex Radio website does include a document recommending a setup for the PowerMate to be used with the SDR1000. A simple Google search should give you more information. I purchased mine off eBay from a company in the States, half the price of those here in the UK. So, just to be clear, it does not provide any additions functions to the existing SDR software, just a different method of providing an interface for the human operator, i.e a conventional tuning knob rather than using up / down keys or a mouse scroll wheel. Regards, Bob G8VOI   [I looked recently and did not find such a price differential - falling pound!]

Information in GERMAN language http://dj9cs.raisdorf.org/ 

......................................................................................................................
4
Softrock performance. (My opinion) Some make remarkable claims. Considering its simplicity I think it works very well. It produces SSB audio that is better than much middle-range equipment. The audio filtering is DSP and obviously potentially as good as anything else. However, I suspect in its simple form it will fail when tested to the ultimate. In particular I feel that spurious receiver responses and transmitter emissions are likely to be an issue. Sensitivity I have a fairly quiet location (fingers crossed!) I am interested in the lower frequencies and find the 8.3 to be about good enough, but have upgraded my earlier Softrock 6.2s to use the same Op Amp as the 8.3. With a really good soundcard I am told it works well on 10 metres but with poor or mid-range cards the ultimate sensitivity may be down. I have made a rough check on 10 metres, with a Delta 44 I seem to get 2db better s/n with a low-gain preamp. If you want the ultimate in sensitivity (disregarding other factors)  a preamp MAY be needed. I have used  http://www.qrp.pops.net/preamp.asp  3rd one down, a Norton. I still this use to distribute an antenna signal to several Softrocks and other receivers. As I find a local VHF station causes a certain amount of noise on some frequencies I put a LPF in front. The preamp makes up for losses in the splitters that follow. (eg at http://www.cliftonlaboratories.com/6_db_hybrid_combiner.htm and at http://www.cliftonlaboratories.com/softrock_lite_6_2.htm are tests on a Softrock 6.2). 

A summary of things to consider if you want to improve the Softrock http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/61479 

A comparison of the theoretical limits of various receiver types http://sites.google.com/site/lofturj/comparison_of_sdr_vs_superhet Note this does not consider spurious signals, for example a Softrock really needs much better filtering to keep out unwanted signals.  

MDS, an often quoted specification, means little to me. Too good a figure means attenuation is required in the antenna in order to get the best dynamic range. Practically a receiver is sensitive enough if there is a slight rise in noise when the antenna is connected. If there is a big rise then attenuation is required.

Strong signals may overload the Softrock system. Mike, KF4BQ, says " My Ensemble RX has 1dB compression on 80M @ -3dBm and on 20M @-16dBm".  Note the difference in bands is due to the attenuator in the BPF below 8MHz. 

Several users have commented that their RXTX works well on the band lower than that it was designed. For example 7MHz seems to work well with an Ensemble built for 10 to    18MHz. Mike, KF4BQ, says " without a proper QSE filter ( less than 2:1 freq range ) the harmonic products from the QSE will mix and generate in band spurious emissions.  These products are really bad since it is nearly impossible to filter them since they are close to the transmit freq." So do not use outside the designed range!



 

5 Soundcards Try what you have! Many do not see the need for an expensive, specialised card. Note some cards need a "Sample delay" in the SDR software in order to achieve image rejection.

My page showing various fault conditions associated with SDR. http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/sdr-with-soundcard-basic-faults Using  Rocky to show  ground loops, image rejection. 
The Softrock SDR requires a stereo input. Mic inputs are usually mono, older laptops may only have mono inputs.
Most cards will work, many are satisfied with what they have. Better cards may have a lower noise and wider dynamic range, lower level of spurii and show a much smaller "spike" at the centre of an SDR display. Note this spike is zero frequency at the soundcard. It is located ay the centre frequency, reception is +/- around this centre frequency. Ordinary cards sample at 48KHz, giving +/- 24KHz each side of the centre frequency of an SDR. For a wide panoramic view cards that sample at 96 or 192KHz are available. Many threads have discussed this, eg. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/27500  

If you are not too familiar with Windows sound settings be prepared for problems! Most do not have trouble but some systems can be very frustrating. Signals heard but do not tune:- How to check and avoid an unwanted bypass between the soundcard's Line-In and Line-Out http://www.qsl.net/dl4yhf/speclab/startins.htm#unwanted_audio_bypass   Input to output feedback on Audigy 2 http://www.qsl.net/dl4yhf/speclab/startins.htm#audigy_2   "Be sure to check for updated drivers for any of your sound interface devices if you are having trouble with them. The new drivers might just solve the problem."

See bottom of Section 3, test a SDR before connecting to a soundcard. 

Soundcard settings. Bruce KF1Z
In Windows volume control settings (Properties).
First, you must use Line-input to the soundcard. Not microphone input.....
Make sure that in windows volume controls for input, the ONLY thing that is checked is LINE-IN...
If there is a "Stereo-MIX" make sure it's muted.
In OUTPUT settings (still windows volume controls)
Make sure the only things checked is WAVE .... (and "master volume" if there is one..)
Make SURE that LINE-IN is MUTED in playback (output) settings. 
Then you need to make sure the proper card, and line in and out are selected in the SDR software as well. In GSDR...... [Or any version of PSDR]
Go to :
Setup>Audio>SoundCard
In the driver box, select MME
In the Input Box select your soundcard input
In the Output Box Select your soundcard output
Start with Sample Rate set to 48000
Line-In Gain 5
Sound Card Selection = Unsupported Card [If you do have a supported card PSDR should set it up automatically]
Don't change anything else... Bruce KF1Z

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Some remarks about setting up Audigy cards http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/4359   

Using the E-MU 0202 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/soft_radio/message/4416 

Using the Creative SB 24 PCI, this also applies to some other Creative cards. The USB version is used by some, it works reasonably at 48KHz, but may not at 96KHz. SB0410 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/59890  

 Many use the mid-price M-Audio Delta 44, It is effectively two ca rds in one, four inputs, four outputs that can be used as two stereo pairs. It has low noise, 24 bit 96KHZ. Tony sells a cheap kit to replace the large "Breakout Box" It is much smaller, has 1/8 inch stereo jacks and RF filtering. Delta 44 settings for the earlier drivers, Drivers obtainable on the M-Audio site and preferred by most are Delta DM5.10.00.5052v3.exe for XP etc, but the latest one will be needed for Vista.. I have found that using the "Monitor/Mixer introduces 90 phase shift in one of the 1/2 outputs making it unsuitable for SDR TX. Always use the "Patchbay/Router" set to "Wav Out" on 1/2.
Using the M-Audio Delta 1010LT sound cards for Softrocks. This has the equivalent of 4 stereo inputs. This post also gives details of phased antenna system used with Linux. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/33683  M-Audio FAQ Knowledge Base http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=support&tab=faqs  It seems later software is giving problems "Drivers v. 5.10.00.5057 work for me. All subsequent versions failed to install or work with Rocky 3.6 at 96000 Hz sampling rate in my case. Crispino i5xww" Others seem to say the same.

PSDR, D44 and Vista/Windows 7, See http://kc.flex-radio.com/KnowledgebaseArticle50012.aspx  OK. I think I found the answer here. I loaded the latest Vista SP2 driver package for the Delta 44 from the M-audio site. I then searched at the M-audio site for "deltapnl" which returns a result of the SDK download. Download the SDK, DELTAPNL.ZIP. and copy the DELTAPNL.DLL  file (Yes, this is dated 2003!) inside to the PSDR program folder. After doing this I no longer get the error and PSDR seems to run fine. Doug. This requires registration to download. NOTE this is a PDSR issue, not M-Audio or Windows.

SM5BSZ's page detailing problems with soundcards on newer computers and operating systems. Cards like the Delta 44 may not work properly. http://www.sm5bsz.com/linuxdsp/run/snd-compat/snd-compat.htm He even goes into screening and filtering the computer and modifying a Delta 44 for best performance! http://www.sm5bsz.com/linuxdsp/hware/delta44.htm 

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For some information on better cards:- Mike Collins KF4BQ:- The EMU0202 has average performance for I/Q processing. The RX noise floor is much higher at some frequencies. I put some test results in the files section a while back under my call if interested: Files > KF4BQ. I don't use my EMU0202 that often. The Edirol FA66 is a bit better but more expensive. My best audio system is the EMU1212M, but it is a internal PCI card
KG4LCF:-  USB, Firewire and PCI cards are discussed. http://www.telepostinc.com/  use the LP-Pan link. Scroll down the page to the link for "Sound Card Info." You'll find info on performance of soundcards Larry recommends for use in the real world of SDR.  

16 or 24 bit? Theoretically 24 bit is better but practically? http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/64800  16bit soundcard or 21bit?

June 2011 PCI-E soundcards. I tried a Xonar D2X, this has a good specification. It would not work properly on my Gigabyte motherboard. It worked well on another motherboard but would not work if a Delta 44 was also present.  A lower specification Creative X-Fi Extreme worked on my Gigabyte with  4 other soundcards present, and motherboard sound. See link below for my tests.

August 2011 Some soundcard tests I have made with consideration of SDR http://g4zfq.alotspace.com/RightMarkTests/RightMark%20Soundcard%20Tests.html 

March 2011 This site tests four cards including VERY expensive one. It concludes the Sound Blaster X-Fi is a reasonable 48KHz card - but for SDR? http://www.clarisonus.com/Research%20Reports/RR001-SoundCardEval/RR001-PCsoundCards.html 
EMU 0202/0204/0404 October 2011 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GenesisRadio/attachments/folder/1557160509/item/510487837/view  requires care in connecting and setup.

While most 48KHz sample rate soundcards will work with Softrocks (+/-24KHz) some 96KHz cards do not actually give a panoramic display of +/-48KHz, the audio is sometimes cut off at 24KHz. For a 192KHz sampling the choice is limited. Some are EXTREMELY expensive! See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/37952  and the associated thread, this started with external cards but expanded to internal ones... Note:- Most just use normal 48KHz cards and see no need for a higher sample rate. 

http://ewjt.com/kd5tfd/sdr1k-notebook/sr40/sr6-production/index.html Some examples of Power SDR with a good soundcard. There may be a large spike in the centre when using a card of lower quality. This should be just a spike, a "mound" around this spike could be the effects of a ground loop. At the bottom are some nice oscilloscope pictures, I suspect a very nice oscilloscope was used! This is a v6 Softrock, but they are all basically the same. 

How to get adequate output from Softrock for soundcard Line Input? The output may seem low but it is designed that way..
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/15142  gives an idea of the signal levels and why ground loops show up so well with soundcard SDR! Ideally a Softrock should be modified to suit the soundcard with which it is used. A low-noise card may not give it's best performance because the Softrock's gain is unnecessarily high.


My D44 and Creative with Rocky and notes about ground loops and spurious pickup. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/42176  Good grounding may remove some problems. Some have got round the ground loop problem by using transformer coupling but that may cause problems and they need to be chosen with care. A thorough examination here http://www.cliftonlaboratories.com/softrock_lite_6_2.htm 

It seems if you have the "What you hear" facility it may act similarly to VAC. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/47804  There is a lot of experimenting to do before a system works properly.

The widget, USB sound/ SDR controller best used with Linux, only 48KHz in Windows (waiting for Windows to support the standard!) but good performance. http://code.google.com/p/sdr-widget/ To buy  http://yoyodyneconsulting.ca/pages/SR63ng%20Information.html also another site with useful stuff for SR63ng, Mobo and SDR-Widget.  SR63ng-1.03-kit_files.zip can also be got from http://mobokits.stormwarning.org 

January2012 Lookout for SV1EIA's USB2SDR, replaces the soundcard. See http://www.wb5rvz.com/usb2sdr/ http://www.wb5rvz.org/  and the PDSR-IQ Yahoo group. This message http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/58875 and following gives details and links to information.

Softrock modification for low-noise soundcards http://groups.google.com/group/MOBOKITS/browse_thread/thread/2fab5303bc865c12/040c14d8608b1acd?lnk=gst&pli=1 



 

6 PIC/PICAXE control of the  Si570, Tony's first method. (2008?) switched control without a computer. Reprogramming the PIC (and PICAXE)

Tom KM5H has developed PICAXE and PIC programs to control the Si570. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files/XTALL%20Software/  Also info on editing the hex file. The most used one has 16 frequencies, there is one that has 40, v2.5, with a slightly different way of selection. These have a self-adjust feature that corrects the settings for individual Si570s. This will probably only work for Si570s with the specification that he supplies. (56.32MHz startup.) 
My message 20798, 21048 Read this edited version. gives my experiences regarding programming the PIC and editing the hex. Winpic800 http://www.winpic800.com/index.php?lang=en  Winpic800 is a program for using a PIC programmer to write your personalised frequencies into a PIC. THIS IS EASY!   Note this program started up in the Catalan? language. Click on "Idioma" and your language may be selected, this makes it a little easier! 

Calculating the Registers for your personalised PIC.  Dick, K9IVB's Excel program http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files/K9IVB-Si570/  Xtall-Calc2-VBA.xls will output Tom's v2.4p hex file that will self adjust the PIC to your Si570 giving centre frequencies well within 100Hz of nominal. Most will be much closer.  It outputs three hex files but the v2.4p seems to me to be the best. There is now Xtall-v25-Calc.xls This will produce a 40 frequency v2.5 hex file. The Excel programs all require the Analysis tool pack Add-In. Normally the add-ins must be first installed and then activated on the Tools drop down menu - if the box does not have a checkmark the add-in is not working.  If you really want to produce your own figures but do not have Excel there is a calculator in the SiLabs Evaluation Software https://www.silabs.com/Pages/default.aspx Enter Si570 in "Keyword Search", the data and software will be listed. When installed some of it will not work because you need the Evaluation Board  BUT the calculator software will. Other Excel calculators can be found here http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files/KM5H/   Open Office will open the Excel files but would not run Dick's latest. But they do show how the data is arranged if you want to manually edit using Winpic800.  The Si570 can be set very precisely but this requires manual editing of the hex file, not difficult, see links above. I have crudely hacked Dick's Excel files to produce a v2.4.hex and v2.5.hex that do not self-adjust. These output settings very close to the required frequencies when the exact values for a particular Si570 are entered. (These seem to work but have not been approved by Dick)

 http://hammap.smallcpu.org/softrock/  Detailing the hex file modification procedure. This uses Winpic, Winpic800 makes editing the data very much easier for the two finger typist, with less chance of a mistake, see above, but is slightly different.

In message 23234 Tony is offering to supply a personal PIC burnt with a hex file you supply.   >I am willing to provide custom PIC devices in filling kit orders for 
the XTALL v1.1 kit, the Lite+Xtall v8.3 kit or the RXTX+Xtall v6.3 kit. I would ask that a request for a custom PIC be e-mailed to me with an attached HEX file and a note to help me link the custom PIC request to a specific order.

If you do not have Excel just list your 16 required frequencies and it would only take someone a few minutes to produce and send you a customised version of Tom's 2.4p.hex file. (Or the 40 frequency v2.5)  I could do this. I can also program a PIC so if anyone wants this done let me know so we may arrange something. Any frequency for the Softrock may be calculated, not only amateur bands. Alan G4ZFQ That's me! Email address on image at bottom of page.



7 PARALLEL PORT CONTROL of the SI570. Modern computers with two, or more, cores are easily able to run more than one SDR program. If you want to use two Si570 tuneable Softrocks then a parallel (LPT) port will enable you to do this.

The Parallel port is not obsolete! Motherboards are still being made with parallel and serial ports, fitted. BUT Windows 7 64 bit is reported to deny access.  June 2010. Remember this when thinking about a new computer. Be careful about USB LPT adapters, most are just printer adapters. 

A possible USB LPT adaptor http://www-user.tu-chemnitz.de/~heha/bastelecke/Rund%20um%20den%20PC/USB2LPT/index.html.en  One of these works on my XP setup but I have not tried it for Si570 control yet.

 PE1NNZ has a parallel port control method. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files/Si570/LPT1/ (msvcr71d.dll needs to be in the same folder). This is used several ways, incorporated in SDR programs. WB8LGA uses this in a stand-alone computer program.. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files/WB8LGA/ (DDS Si570.zip) sets the Si570 from 3.5MHz to 440MHz. 

Guido's PSDR 1.9.0 sr40,  Section 11c, has LPT control using pins 2 & 3 (as does WB8LGA's controller). This does not have the fixed IF of Christos' versions. This means it does not change frequency when transmitting, some may prefer this way. For some reason LPT control did not work at first with this version. I changed the I2C pull-ups to 10K and played with the I2C speeds in PSDR.. not sure what I did! 

Also see Christos, SV1EIA's version of Power SDR, below, Section 11c. This uses different LPT pins..

To enable LPT control you will need to use the interface at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files/Si570/LPT1/  On USB models it is possible just to place the FETs on the I2C lines with the AVR still connected. I have done this. BUT a safer way may be to use a switch or plug to swap between the two. 
Winrad may control the Si570 by LPT, see Section 11e



 

8 USB CONTROL of the SI570 (Used 2009 on) Current version, Fred PE0FKO's version of the USB controller see below. 

June 2011 The latest driver does not seem to work with Windows 2000:- I installed PE0FKO-USB-Driver-0.1.12.2 version from
http://code.google.com/p/usbavrsi570/source/browse/trunk/firmware/PE0FKO-USB-Driver-0.1.12.2.zip?spec=svn21&r=21 [View Raw File downloads]
and it installed in a flash. Larry, W2HHV.

Another of Robby's pages, all models, USB driver installation and testing. September 2010  http://www.wb5rvz.com/sdr/ensemble_rx_ii_vhf/09_sw.htm http://www.wb5rvz.org/ If this does not help, look below.

Sept 2010 Installing the driver. http://www.pe0fko.nl/SR-V9-Si570/#install  http://pe0fko.nl/ 

And/or:- Driver Installation go to http://www.wb5rvz.org/common/softwareinstallation  at the bottom it describes the basic driver installation. Get this from   http://www.pe0fko.nl/SR-V9-Si570/ Load drivers:- Unpack the drivers into a folder on your computer. Insert USB plug and direct the "Wizard" to the SI570_firmware folder.  Then the drivers are installed. If you miss this and the driver does not get installed go to "Device Manager", find the "Unknown USB Device" and "Update the Driver", directing it to the folder. Occasionally it may be necessary to find and delete the drivers. In XP they are at C:\Windows\System32\libus0.sys and libus0.dll, one of these in the "Drivers" folder.

Sometimes you will need to remove ALL USB connections, including keyboard and mouse! Reconnect once the Softrock USB is detected. Dave's explanation of USB connection problems http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/56146  

Windows-7 64bits  July 2010 "The open-source group LibUSB-Win32 released  the new and SIGNED version of the libusb0.sys library. Because it is signed it will also install on Windows-7 64bits. I did build a new driver install package and tested it on Windows-XP and Windows-7 64bits.  Also changed the web-page to describe the installation process on Windows-7.  http://www.pe0fko.nl/SR-V9-Si570/index.shtml#install  With thanks to the LibUSB-Win32 group and Pete Batard (who is the developer of libusb-1.0) for contributing the certificate!-- 73, Fred PE0FKO"

Once you have the USB driver installed and got the interface correctly recognised by the PC, the firmware default state is to support the v9.0 and Ensemble RXs and switched BPF  filter module, so no changes are necessary. BUT for RX/TXs CFGSR must be used to disable the Auto BPF feature.
If you need to make any changes or just want some more information about using the firmware, take a read of the 'Firmware Users Guide' and hopefully that should provide some guidance. You can download the user guide from Fred PE0FKO's website: http://www.pe0fko.nl/g8voi/

February 2011 Version 2.3 There is now a new stand alone configuration program called 'CFGSR' which you can download from: http://pe0fko.nl/CFGSR/    with automatic installer and new guide detailing all the functions. Use with care but note any mistake can be remedied by a reset of the Si570 or the AVR.

RX/TX with USB AVR:- CFGSR, see above, is required to configure the device to enable CW TX. ABPF is for RX only and must be disabled.

(8) Calibration:-Setting Si570 frequency calibration. My page http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/calibrating-the-softrock-si570-usb-controller based on Bob's advice, note this will make it correct for all software.  Bob's method is easy. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/49891  In Europe RWM on 4.996, 9.996, & 14.996MHz is often good. Wait for the plain carrier which runs periodically for 8 minutes starting on the hour and half hour. Many of the major broadcasters have excellent accuracy BUT MANY OTHERS DO NOT!!!!

(8)  Fred's CFGSR is able to save your favourite start frequency. If you feed power from the Softrock 5V then USB does not need to be connected for the Si570 to be started at this frequency. When the USB is connected it works normally. I use this feature for my Softrock monitoring RXs, set  to an exact frequency then save it.

A problem with the USB connection developed with my system. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/45071 Answer - USB mouse!

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/39423 Bob's explanation of the differences, and history, of the firmwares used in the ATTiny AVR. Comparisons with Fred's AVR supplied by Tony with the Softrock and the SDR Kit's AVR. Basically the advice is to use Fred's firmware for a Softrock. The early AVR supplied with the Softrock will work but is best replaced.

Compatability with SDR KITS controller and early AVRs:- "First there was the DG8SAQ firmware V1.4 then the PE0FKO firmware V15.x upward compatible with V1.4 then came SDR-Kits firmware V2.x *not* upward compatible with V15.x. --  73, Fred PE0FKO" So the later SDR kits controller may give problems when trying to use with some software. Jan. 2010.

 Getting a new AVR    http://thepartsplace.k5nwa.com/ 
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TESTING This message from Bob removes some confusion Re: V 9.0 Rx LO Stage (and all USB Softrocks) Test. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/39233  

A Beginners Guide to Programming the Atmel ATtiny . Note Fred's latest V12 onwards only fits on the ATTiny85 but you may find V11 will suit your purpose.
If you do not want to  reprogram older AVRs then Cecil will supply the AVRs with the software installed, just make sure he knows what you want. http://thepartsplace.k5nwa.com/ CPU/Logic 

Make sure that you have the 'ABPF' option selected in the firmware by using the set up screens in Winrad or the new (Sept 09) configuration utility. In PSDR-IQ v1.12.20, under the 'General' set up 'USB' tab, make sure you have both 'USBtoI2C adapter' and 'HF bpf' boxes ticked and applied. I have had the program clear one of these very occasionally for no obvious reason. It's worth updating your firmware up to the latest v15.10 as that will give you full bpf switching with Rocky v3.6 as well. Do not fit the 'manual' bpf selection jumpers with the lead still connected to J3 otherwise you might risk damaging the AVR chip as you could be shorting the output pins to 0V if they were high to start with. 73, Bob G8VOI
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Installing the USB driver in VMware. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/50089  

For the independent controller At http://www.sdr-kits.net/USB/USB_Description.html  Look at the compatability note above. The later version may not work with SDR programs. This kit (November 2009) now has the option of a LVDS Si570 going up to 915MHz. NOTE:- The early version is the same as Tony's USB controller. The drivers here are for early versions of Tony's USB AVR. Note:- The drivers only work with the version  of PSDR linked on that site. The AVR is best replaced with the latest Softrock version and Fred's driver/dll. This controller may be interfaced to a Softrock without an Si570.   http://www.mydarc.de/dg8saq/SI570/index.shtml  Here you can download "SOFTWARE AND SCHEMATICS:" SI570_firmware.zip. Extract this to a convenient place. Click "Easy to use PC software" this gives you USB_Synth.zip. Extract the .exe. This enables one to set the frequency independent of an SDR program. (This sets the Si570 to any frequency within its range, try outside their specification, I have at least one of Tom's LVDSs that goes to 700MHz (or higher?)
All this is in the PDF at http://www.sdr-kits.net/USB/USB_Description.html  Click "SDR-Synthesizer Kit Documentation (PDF File)" about 3/4 way down the page, for "USB-Synthesizer Kit Instructions v10.PDF"  and "USB Synthesizer Kit Update 1" for USB Synthesizer Kit Update 1.PDF
For Tom, DG8SAQ's USB troubleshooting http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files/DG8SAQ/AVR-SI570-Troubleshooting.pdf  this includes a link to M$ usbview www.mydarc.de/dg8saq/hidden/usbview.zip 
Included in the software is a  USB test program. It will read the Si570 so its frequency could be set, then the registers read to be transferred to a PIC  for specialist use. TOM WARNS, "DO NOT USE ANY OTHER BUTTONS ON SI570_USB_Test UNLESS YOU EXACTLY KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. YOU MIGHT CORRUPT THE AVR EEPROM". See his PDF!

Si570 Type:- It is recommended to use the CMOS with this kit, but if you have the LVDS it may be used with Softrocks.  Look at http://www.sdr-kits.net/hiddentest/index_files/LVDS%2020interfacing.pdf  The LVDS has slightly higher specifications but the difference may not be noticed. The more adventurous could use a receiver like the FIN1002. 

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Early 2009 Tony's add-on  board to interface USB with the Si570 on his earlier kits. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/24140 Construction and other information here:- http://www.wb5rvz.com/sdr/usb_i2c/index.htm  http://www.wb5rvz.org/  This is likely to be the best way to control it, just plugging in where the PIC goes. As in many of these sort of additions the source is available for those who wish to develop further, or customise.  NOW OT OF DATE! This board now comes with Fred's firmware AVR, not the SDR Kits version, see top of this section. This board did use the controller from SDR Kits so the DG8SAQ software above also worked with it. NOTE Tony's way of connection on the Softrock v8.4 INTEGRATED USB CONTROL:-  "The electrical connections to the PC from the v8.4 board involve only the soundcard line-in cable and the two data lines in the USB port connection. This results in only a single ground connection between the v8.4 board and the PC, the ground in the line-in cable. With only a single ground connection to the PC the center frequency noise is very low, however, the USB control of the Si570 seems to be good." 

Since then problems have been noted, Jan 2010 hopefully all is cured, I keep this here just in case it helps someone!  I rectified a lack of control by connecting a 100nF between the two grounds, Tony has used some filtering in the v9.0 Lite. TONY IS REPLACING THE ZENER DIODES IN THIS UNIT, THEY SEEM RESPONSIBLE FOR INTERMITTENT OPERATION. See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/26904 A further problem may be the result of the SCL I2C line not being pulled high. Many find powering the Softrock BEFORE inserting the USB solves this. Two solutions to this, pull the SCL line to the USB 5V rail with a 47K. Just this line needs pulling high. Or revised software for the ATTiny at http://www.pe0fko.nl/SR-V9-Si570/ Cecil can supply a chip with this new software, ask him:-  http://thepartsplace.k5nwa.com/

Early 2009 NOW OUT OF DATE! Now Tony's  Softrock v8.4 and later come with integrated USB control.  This is the same unit, all the information required for the Softrock is on this site http://www.sdr-kits.net/USB/USB_Description.html  Look carefully, everything is there!  This also applies to the add-on XTALL USB board for early Softrocks. June 2009 Tony is now supplying Softrocks with Fred, PE0FKO's USB AVR firmware, see top of this section. Note this needs Fred's driver.

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Middle  2009, some notes about the USB AVR.

Fred PE0FKO's version of the USB controller ATTiny 45 Look at PE0FKO's web page. He really has the ATTiny USB AVR per forming well!  http://pe0fko.nl/SR-V9-Si570/  Smooth tuning and automatic BPF switching, Si570 calibration. This is supplied by Tony in current USB Softrocks. June 2011 Softrocks have been supplied with ATTiny85s and firmware v15.12 for some time. However, replacements for SDR Kits, Lima sdr, maybe (probably?) in the FA-SY may still have their ATTiny45 reprogrammed with v15.11. Firmware from v15.12 requires a ATTiny85. Look at Fred's page, most will not need any more than v15.11 offers.

Here is Fred's latest development, a stand-alone configuration tool for the USB controller. http://pe0fko.nl/CFGSR/  Now no need to run Winrad. All information on this page.

"I created a new version V15.10 of my firmware for the USB AVR Si570 controller, and put it on my web page   http://pe0fko.nl/SR-V9-Si570/  This version will support the LO frequency change by a offset and multiply (fixed point) numbers. This feature can be used by front end mixers with a fixed frequency, all kind of sub-sampling or other fraction multiply like the SoftRock VHF converter is using. The next version WinRad ExtIO_Si570.dll V0.8 will support the configuration of the offset and multiply factor in the firmware.   For using the CW inputs, disable the ABPF option in the firmware! The 'smooth tune', 'automatic band pass filter selection', 'one site calibration' and 'LO calculation' are included in the ATtiny45 (4K flash rom) with the normal 'set freq by value & si570 register' calls. (No separate set freq command and application change necessary)" People not capable to program the AVR chip, can order a ATtiny45 or 85  programmed chip by Cecil, K5NWA http://thepartsplace.k5nwa.com/. Use CFGSR  to setup the AVR, it will save the Si570 calibration setting so will not need calibrating with any other software. You can also set BPF start and stop frequencies for each band. 
REPROGRAMMING See http://pe0fko.nl/g8voi/  
for Bob's definitive guide. For the record the first thread started here:- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/31029 shows one programmer to reprogram it. My version:- http://g4zfqradio.googlepages.com/avrhvprogrammer . The software is Windows command line, I used W98,  To get it to work on XP or Vista you need to find giveIO.sys on the web (eg  http://www.cs.ucr.edu/~eblock/pages/pictools/giveio.html  but in my case LOADDRV.exe did not work, I got an error message, "invalid service name", I just put giveIO.sys into the same folder as avrpp.exe and avrpp worked properly. 
 http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=46487&package_id=77441&release_id=150767     This is a self extracting exe file that puts the individual files in a folder. It still needs installing.    Here is just one link that shows how to make a command window easier to use. http://www.petri.co.il/add_command_prompt_here_shortcut_to_windows_explorer.htm . Once you have the command prompt in the avrpp folder the command "avrpp file.hex" loads the new file. To set the fuse bits on a new chip use "avrpp -fl11100001" and "avrpp -fh1011101" Thanks Bob!  Not necessary for reprogramming one that has already had a prior version of the software  Other programmers are available.  http://www.pe0fko.nl/Fuse-restore/ -ATtiny45/ Removing the fuse from ATTiny45, restores the AVR to be able to use low voltage programmers.

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Another USB solution for the experimenter:- BitWacker http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files/9V1AL/UBW%20Emulator/  Updating of UBW firmware is very easy, using the bootloader. For detailed instructions see: http://www.schmalzhaus.com/UBW/Doc/FirmwareBDocumentation.html  http://www.schmalzhaus.com/UBW/Doc/FirmwareBDocumentation.html   This is one of the biggest advantages of the UBW - you don't need a hardware programmer to program new firmware. The new firmware is loaded to the UBW via the USB port. There is no need to unplug/plug any chips (but I switch off the power from the SR v6.3...)



9 SERIAL. There is a means of controlling the Si570 using new software in the PIC and connecting to the serial port. A version of Power SDR is used. http://hammap.smallcpu.org/softrock/rs232_509.html This is for more advanced users. It is possible to have 8 switched frequencies as well. http://hammap.smallcpu.org/softrock/rs232_683.html uses the original PIC, but no switched frequencies. The PICs require programming. There is also a small program to set frequency independently.

An earlier, more basic, serial control method using a PICAXE has just been updated. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files/WC5MC/PAXTERM570/ PAXTERM570v072.bas and a PDF. This uses Hyperterm (Found in Accessories - Communication) to send the hex string to the Si570.



10 Stand-alone controller kits are available.    search for more...

These two kits allow the Si570 to be used with any project without a computer! They may be interfaced with an older Softrock that already has a Si570. Interface them using the PIC socket. They both have a large number of memories for direct frequency input. These will set the Si570 to VHF and higher (if the Si570 is capable). 

A complete kit from Kees, K5BCQ, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/message/23997 This is good. It controls the Si570 from 3.5MHz to it's maximum (up to 1.4GHz for "A" grade chips) and works with a 10MHz startup device as well. (Some of us got samples, not realising that software was being written for 56.32MHz startup only.) It has lots of memories and will control band switching. Like the WA6UQF frequency may be set accurately and there are offset and multiplier settings. Switch off and restart after setting the start frequency. The code has been fixed and it now works well. One of my builds of this controller.  Information, code at (Still current Feb 2011)  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/softrock40/files/K5BCQ%20Stuff/ 
Si570 controller etc. web site http://www.qsl.net/k5bcq/Kits/Kits.html  

From SDR Kits up to 945MHz according to type. http://sdr-kits.net/PA0KLT_Description.html Rotary encoder, memories.

February 2012 Si570 http://sdr-kits.net/QRP2000_Description.html  and   http://km5h.com/default.aspx  I do feel that these would be improved by the replacement of the AVR chip firmware for Fred's (PE0FKO) firmware that works so well with ALL SDR software.

Si570 VFO controller WA6UFQ Now at  http://home.roadrunner.com/~wa6ufq//universal_vfo_controller.html   Also Yahoo group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Universal_VFO_Controller/ 
 
This comes as a board, PIC and parts list from Digikey. Parts may be sourced elsewhere, the LCD is a standard 2x16 as sold everywhere. Si570 frequency minimum 10MHz so 8 will be needed for 160m. By setting the Si570 startup frequency to its exact value this controller allows setting to within a few Hz. Also controls DDS30/60. They both use code developed by John, K5JHF. 

 http://wb6dhw.com/  This site and it's Yahoo group now includes the Si570 as well as DDS.

Many other ways are detailed in the Softrock group files, but take some finding!

This is not confined to Softrocks! A web search may find other approaches, for example:-  http://g4oep.atspace.com/si570vfo/570VFO.htm   http://www.pi4raz.nl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1173&Itemid=46 

This is a stand-alone controller with a heater to make the Si570 a little more stable (it already is quite good but every little helps if you are using it for high frequencies) http://www.box73.de/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1869&osCsid=oh8ug0rjrmkoqr7bjbdb4qcu51 

Some non Softrock SDR RX and RX/TX listed here 

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/powersdr-iq/message/1074 

Commercial SDR http://www.lazydogengineering/

Japanese kit http://zao.jp/radio/soft66ad/  



 

11 All SDR software that I know, now at  http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/soundcard_sdr_software 

12 Modes not yet supported by these SDR programs.  http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/soundcard_sdr_software including:- 

Fldigi,

Notes about setting up  VAC, N8VB vCOM Virtual Serial Ports and various digital modes. 

Loop.dll,  

13 Audio files to test software without a SDR  http://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/soundcard_sdr_software 

Listen to SDR via the internet     http://sdrspace.com/   (Download the Console to listen) ..  Or setup your own server?   A full spectrum view http://hfspectrum.net/  and RX.  There are more, links change... search.


14 Miscellaneous

A site having links to just about all aspects of SDR http://f4dan.free.fr/sdr_eng.html 
Another approach to SDR, looks like it is more for the experienced constructor but no surface mount. http://yu1lm.qrpradio.com/  

SDR Kit http://www.dh1tw.de/fa-sdr-trx-funkamateur-allband-sdr  

Genesis, more kits http://www.genesisradio.com.au/G59/  

Fun Cube Dongle (FCD) From AmsatUK A A SDR BUT a good filter may be needed in front of it!  Beginning http://www.funcubedongle.com/?page_id=313  http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/funcube/files/User%20Guides/  



HOMEMADE BOARDS a cheap way of making "PCBs". I've lots of double-sided board which I use for my projects. Some Si570 related examples.

 G4ZFQ April 2014, still updating.

http://homepages.wightcable.net/~g4zfq/ Main Site Index

The background is an Argo display of QRSS reception on 80m.

http://homepages.wightcable.net/~g4zfq/Greyline-index.htm My "research" mainly using Softrocks to investigate dusk/dawn enhancements at greyline (grayline).